LOS ANGELES ANGELS (83-69)
at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (77-75)
First pitch: Monday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Toronto -145, Los Angeles +135, Total: 8.5
The Angels and Blue Jays will square off on Monday night in a very important series for Los Angeles. The Angels are 4.5 games back of the AL West leading Rangers and four back of the Wild Card-leading Red Sox with nine games remaining.
The Angels will send Jerome Williams (3-0, 3.90 ERA) to the mound on Monday night to make his fifth start of the season. Williams had a shaky outing on Tuesday, lasting only 4.1 innings and allowed three runs and walked five. The red-hot Ricky Romero (15-10, 3.02 ERA) will get the ball for Toronto. Romero is 8-1 in his past 11 starts and the Jays have won 10 of the outings. The Angels have been just average on the road this year, going 39-38. Los Angeles has not been good as an underdog where it is 24-32 and also just 19-21 against the AL East. Toronto, on the other hand, is 39-28 as a favorite and a solid 52-42 in night games. As much as L.A. needs this game, the pick is for TORONTO to win behind another great pitching performance by Ricky Romero.
The FoxSheets provide two more trends supporting the Blue Jays.
Play Against - Road underdogs with a money line of +100 or higher (L.A. ANGELS) - terrible offensive team (<=4.2 runs/game) against a good starting pitcher (ERA<=4.20) (AL), with a starting pitcher whose gives up 0.5 or less HR's/start. (125-45 since 1997.) (73.5%, +55.6 units. Rating = 3*).
Play On - Home teams (TORONTO) - with a team batting average of .260 or worse on the season (AL), after shutting out their opponent. (182-113 since 1997.) (61.7%, +49.7 units. Rating = 2*).
Williams has notched a perfect record thus far, but will need to be extra sharp against Romero on Monday. The Angels as a team need to clear their heads after almost getting swept by the lesser Orioles and knowing that the window of opportunity is closing. This will be the Angelsí last road series before playing their final six at home which includes a three-game home series against Texas. Vernon Wells would love to stick it to his old team, but hasnít so far this year, going just 2-for-24 against his former team.
Romero has been great at home lately, going 4-0 with a 3.05 ERA in his past six starts in Toronto. Romero has started against the Angels five times in his career, going 3-2 with a 3.24 ERA. The lefty had a nice outing on Wednesday against the Red Sox, going eight innings and allowing three runs in a 5-4 victory. The Jays might not be in any race, but have been playing the role of spoiler this month taking two-of-three from the Yankees and three-of-four from Boston.