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Chris Archer Toes the Rubber for Tampa Bay vs. Toronto Blue Jays

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Toronto us a money-burning 10-23 in its last 33 games overall, including 4-11 in its last fifteen road games versus right-handed starters, 5-11 in its last sixteen games versus division foes, 1-4 in its last five road affairs, 0-7 in its last seven games following a day off and 0-4 in Francisco Liriano’s last four road outings.

The Blue Jays are also a woeful 29-61 in their last 90 trips to Tropicana Field, whereas the Rays are a profitable 7-3 in their last ten home tilts and 59-29 in their last 88 home games against teams with a .399 or worse road winning percentage.

The Blue Jays have been one of the most disappointing teams in the American League this season, going 6-13 in division play (3.7 runs per game), 5-11 on the road (4.4 runs per game) and 5-14 at night (4.2 runs per game). Toronto southpaw Francisco Liriano has also struggled away from home where he owns an 11.13 ERA and 2.82 WHIP in 2017. Liriano is 3-3 with a 5.18 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in eleven career starts against the Rays, including giving up five runs in just 1/3 of an inning in St. Petersburg last month.

In five starts this season, Liriano owns an alarming 5.96 BB/9 rate, together with a 4.60 SIERA and a 4.21 xFIP. After three seasons where he posted earned runs averages under 4, the wheels came off Liriano’s wagon in Pittsburgh last season. The lefty finished the 2016 campaign with a 4.69 ERA and 4.89 FIP, together with posted a career-high 13.0% walk rate with the Pirates.

Liriano pitched better after being sent to Toronto where he garnered a 2.92 ERA and 3.98 FIP in ten appearances (8 starts) but his inconsistency makes him a high-risk investment.

Liriano finished 2016 with a 5.54 ERA and 5.77 FIP on the road, together with a 12.0% walk rate and a 1.93 HR/9 rate across 74.2 innings. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer toes the rubber with a 3.43 ERA and 3.38 FIP in 2017. The 28-year-old won’t have to face Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, both of whom are rehabbing in nearby Dunedin, Florida and are expected to miss this series.

Chris Archer has excelled within the friendly confines of Tropicana Field where he posted a 2.65 ERA and 3.04 FIP last season (29.6% strikeout rate) and a 2.94 ERA and 2.30 FIP in 2015 (33.0% strikeout rate). The talented righty owns a 27.2% strikeout rate at home this season (19.8% K-BB%) with a 1.72 FIP. Finally, Archer owns a 3.06 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 21 career starts against the Blue Jays.

With Toronto standing at 1-10 in its last eleven games after scoring 5+ runs in its previous contest, take the surging Rays behind Chris Archer as Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Sports Pick for Friday, May 5.

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