Toronto Blue Jays (35-41) at Houston Astros (51-27)
When and Where: Monday, June 25, Houston, Texas, 8:10 P.M. EST
The Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros will begin an American League series this Monday night in Texas. The Blue Jays are pretty much out of it in the very strong AL East. They are 16 games behind the first place Yankees. The Astros recently took back their division lead from the Mariners and are already three games clear of the rest of the division.
Toronto hovers around mediocrity
The Toronto Blue Jays are in rebuilding mode this season but they have kept up some consistency lately. It seems they have not gained or lost any ground on the rest of the division in weeks. They have a powerful offensive leader in Yangervis Solarte who has hit 15 home runs with 44 RBI so far this season. After an amazing start to the season, Justin Smoak has fallen off the pace, putting up a worse batting average each month. In June, he is hitting just .161 but still has the second-best mark on the team with 35 RBI.
Toronto is expected to send their lefty ace, JA Happ to the mound to make the road start in Houston. He is 9-3 so far in 2018 with a 3.56 ERA. He has also struck out 102 batters in 91 innings of work. Happ has been on a roll lately, going 5-0 in his last seven starts, but he will be in for a challenge against this Houston offense. The struggling Toronto bullpen is led by Ryan Tepera who has appeared in 36 games to put up a 4-2 record with a 2.63 ERA. He is always ready to pitch more than one inning which is great for this bullpen that lacks depth.
Houston joins baseball’s elite
While everyone is distracted with the battle between the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East, the Houston Astros have taken back the AL West and are tied for the most wins in baseball. They have the bats to back up their incredible pitching, led by Carlos Correa who leads the team with 49 RBI thanks to 13 home runs and 16 doubles. Jose Altuve has been as consistent as ever, hitting .346 with 50 runs scored and 21 doubles. The Astros have one of the deepest lineups around with seven players driving in more than 30 runs.
The Houston Astros will send the front-runner for the AL Cy Young award to the mound this Monday night. Justin Verlander holds the MLB lead in two categories with a 1.60 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. He also holds a 9-2 record with 130 strikeouts in 107 innings of work. Verlander has not been quite as dominant in June, giving up home runs in each of his last three starts, but he has not given up more than three runs, which is plenty for the Houston offense. Houston has a much deeper bullpen than the Blue Jays. They are led by Chris Devanski who holds a 1.42 ERA in his team-leading 32 appearances.
- 2-10 in last 12 road games
- 2-9 in last 11 vs. AL West
- 19-7 in Verlander’s last 16 starts
- 5-2 in last seven games vs. left-handed starter
The Blue Jays are always confident when JA Happ is on the mound but the Astros will send out an even bigger threat in Justin Verlander. Even if Happ pitches a gem, Verlander will not be far behind and the Astros bullpen is far better than Toronto’s. The Blue Jays do not have consistent enough hitting to rock Justin Verlander.