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American League Betting Preview & Best Bet: Toronto at New York

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Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman takes the mound with a 2.97 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 3.10 xFIP and a 3.27 SIERA through his first five outings this season, a span covering 36.1 innings.  Stroman is 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in eight career starts against the Yankees, including throwing a seven-inning shutout last September.

Stroman is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP on the road this season so tonight’s venue should not be a problem for the talented righty (although he does own a 4.12 ERA in four career starts at Yankee Stadium).  Last season, Stroman was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.

Stroman has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his starts this season and garnered a career-high five strikeouts with his four-seam fastball in his last outing against the Rays.  He threw his four-seamer 42.9% of the time in two-strike counts, indicating that his confidence in the pitch is at an all-time high.

The current New York lineup is batting a combined .176 (15-for-85) against Stroman.  Let’s also note that the Blue Jays are 6-1 in Stroman’s last seven starts against New York, whereas the Yankees are 0-6 in CC Sabathia’s last six outings against Toronto (dating back to 2014).

The veteran southpaw toes the rubber tonight with a 4.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, including a 5.54 ERA and 1.15 WHIP at home and a 6.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over his last three starts.  Sabathia’s underlying peripherals suggest a turnaround is not likely: 5.21 FIP, 4.66 xFIP, 6.21 K/9, 3.41 BB/9, 1.55 HR/9 and a 33.3% hard contact rate.

In contrast, Stroman has not hurt himself this season, posting a 1.73 BB/9 rate and a 0.50 HR/9 rate.  The 26-year-old continues to induce a lot of ground balls (59.8% GB%), which is consistent with his 58.3% career mark.

Finally, tonight’s home plate umpire, Bill Welke, is 10-4 in favor of the road team in his last fourteen appearances with the mask on.  With Toronto standing at 4-1 in its last five games versus left-handed starters, take the Blue Jays at an excellent price as Oskeim’s Free MLB Best Bet for Wednesday, May 3.

Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Best Bet: Toronto Blue Jays (-104)

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