Toronto needs a win to break even in its west coast road trip but Iwakuma has been shutting teams down
Toronto used a ninth inning rally to avoid the sweep in Los Angeles Sunday and tonight the Jays begin a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners needing at least two wins to hit .500 on this 10-game west coast swing. Early season odds that favored RA Dickey in the neighborhood of -170 are a memory and tonight the knuckleballer finds himself in the “doghouse” with the majority of online sportsbooks listing Seattle around -130. The total is 7.5 after the majority of early betting action moved it off an opening line of 7.
The Jays are 3-4 through the first two legs of this road trip and they can still salvage a .500 record with a series win at Seattle. It starts with Dickey but the question so far this year has been “Which Dickey will show up?”
Looking at his home and away numbers this season it seems fairly obvious Dickey (8-11, 4.66 ERA) prefers pitching away from the Rogers Centre. Innings pitched and team W/L records are pretty close at home and away but his ERA north of the border is 2.69 higher than on the road (5.97 vs. 3.28) and he has given up three times as many home runs (18 to 6). Seattle’s turned into a bit of a launch pad this year with the lowered outfield walls but it’s a warm day on the west coast and those are good conditions for Dickey’s knuckleball to start dancing.
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Only eight of the past 31 road dogs this season played over the total when coming off a 1-run win
Last year in August the Mets were 1-5 O/U in six Dickey starts including 3 of 3 unders on the road. The Cincinnati Reds were the only team to score more than three total runs and in four of those six games the Mets led through the first 5 innings by scores of 1-0, 1-0, 1-1, 1-3 (CIN), 2-1 and 1-0.
In Dickey’s last four road starts against Oakland, Cleveland, Texas and Tampa Bay he has only given up one dinger and the only two M’s hitters with much experience vs. Dickey are Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez. The latter took him deep three times in 30 AB but Ibanez hasn’t hit a HR since July 12.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma’s (10-4, 2.76 ERA) numbers are fairly consistent home and away, his numbers since the break are solid but it’s fair to point out that in two of those games he’s faced some pretty weak competition (Astros, Twins). In two career starts against the Jays, Iwakuma pitched 15 innings and allowed just two earned runs and one homer. He also struck out 18 of the batters he faced. Toronto didn’t steal a single base in either of those starts.
The Jays are just 10-19 their past 29 at Seattle and 8-16 in night games including 2-6 the past two seasons. When coming off a one-run win the past 10 years the Blue Jays are 1-11 O/U on the road when their line is within 20 cents of ‘Pick em’ and it is the first game of a series. Toronto may be riding high off the come from behind win but that won’t necessarily translate into runs vs. Iwakuma, especially in the early going.
Pick: Take the Jays-Mariners Under 4 runs (-125) in the first 5 innings