Saturday Night American League Baseball: Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners

Rodney K

At 3-7 in their last 10 games, the Seattle Mariners are now on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. They currently sit in third place in the AL West, 6 games behind the Houston Astros and are one game behind the surging Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot. For the Toronto Blue Jays, their playoff aspirations expired a while ago. They currently sit 26 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and 13.5 games back in the wild card.

Still, after winning the first two games of this four-game series, the Blue Jays (50-59) will be looking to ensure a series win when they travel to Safeco Field to take on the Mariners (63-47). The Blue Jays will send Marco Estrada (4-8, 4.90 ERA) to the mound to take on lefty James Paxton (9-4, 3.49 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 pm ET.

The moneyline for Saturday’s game is set at the Toronto Blue Jays +212 andthe Seattle Mariners -230. The over/under for runs scored is set at 7.5.

Blue Jays Look To Play Spoiler With Struggling Mariners

After taking the first two games of the series, righty MarcoEstrada will look to continue the trend as he takes the mound Saturday. On the season, Estrada is 4-8 with a 4.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and opponents are hitting .269 against him. In 93.2 innings pitched, he has 70 strikeouts, 28 walks and has allowed 16 home runs. In his last outing, his first since going on the disabled list with an injured glute muscle, went 4 innings, giving up 4 earned runs and 0 strikeouts in a 10-1 loss to the Athletics. As a possible August trade chip, the Blue Jays are hoping that he can get back on track against the Mariners.

Offensively, Justin Smoak has been swinging a hot bat over the last 30 days for the Blue Jays. In that stretch, he is hitting .304/.360/.587 with a .947 OPS. During those 30 days, he had 6 home runs, 13 runs batted in and scored 11 runs. In Friday’s 7-2 win over the Mariners, DevonTravis was the hot batter as he went 2 for 5 with a home run and 3 runs batted in.

Mariners Looking To Turn The Ship Around

The Mariners have been in a tailspin lately and are hoping that ace James Paxton can help turn around their fortunes on Saturday. On the season, Paxton is 9-4 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and opponents are hitting .214 against him. In 126.1 innings, he has 163 strikeouts, 33 walks and has allowed 16 home runs. In his last outing, a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros, Paxton went 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 8. The last time he faced Toronto, he threw a no-hitter.

One player to watch offensively for the Mariners is Nelson Cruz. In his career versus Marco Estrada, Cruz is hitting .462 with 2 home runs in 13 at-bats. On the season, NelsonCruz is hitting .267/.354/.559 with a .913 OPS. He has 28 home runs (leads the team), 67 runs batted in and has scored 48 runs. Jean Segura is also having a nice season as he is hitting .311/.341.440 with a .781 OPS. He has 8 home runs, 51 runs batted in and 72 runs scored (leads the team). Regardless, after only scoring 5 runs combined in the first two games of the series, the Mariners are hoping to get it going against Estrada.

Mariners Take Game Three

I really like James Paxton in this matchup. He has truly emerged into an ace this season and we already know what he can do against Toronto (he went 9 innings, 0 hits, 3 walks and 7 strikeouts back on May 8th). Even more, I do not like Marco Estrada in this one. He hasn’t been particularly good this year and making his second start since coming off the disabled list, I am not sure that this one is going to be much better. Take the Mariners at -230 in this one.

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