Houston right-hander Mike Fiers owns a disturbing 5.96 ERA in 51.1 innings of work on the road this season, together with a 1.75 HR/9 rate and a 7.3% K-BB%. The 31-year-old’s strikeouts have plummeted (5.61 K/9 vs. 7.36 K/9) and his walks have increased (2.63 BB/9 vs. 1.68 BB/9) on foreign soil in 2016. Fiers’ road woes are substantiated by a 5.53 FIP and a 5.14 xFIP, together with a 1.58 WHIP.
Houston’s bullpen has also been struggling recently, posting a 5.03 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over its last seven games. The Blue Jays’ relief staff has been better at home this season, garnering a 3.90 ERA and 1.18 WHIP (186/53 K/BB in 194 IP). Conversely, Houston relievers have yielded 25 home runs and 176 hits in 175 innings on the road (3.96 ERA; 1.31 WHIP).
Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman toes the rubber with a 4.76 ERA on the year, but his 3.87 FIP, 3.43 xFIP and 3.60 SIERA suggest that his pedestrian ERA is grossly misleading. Stroman leads MLB in ground ball percentage (60.3%) and owns a 3.86 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over his last three starts.
The talented hurler also owns a 3.87 FIP and 2.44 xFIP in the second half of the MLB season with a 27.1% strikeout rate (10.05 K/9) and a 3.9% walk rate (1.44 BB/9).
In his previous start against the Astros this season (8/1), Stroman yielded one run on 3 hits in seven innings (13/1 K/BB). From a technical standpoint, Toronto is a profitable 16-7 in its last 23 home games, 37-18 in its last 55 games versus right-handed starters, 38-14 in its last 52 home games versus teams with a losing road record and 15-7 in Stroman’s last 22 home outings, including 9-4 versus .501 or greater opposition.
In contrast, the Astros are a money-burning 3-9 in their last 12 games versus teams with a winning record, 1-6 in their last seven games versus a right-handed starter and 3-7 in Fiers’ last ten road starts. Houston is also 7-20 in its last 27 games on artificial turf and 1-4 in its last five affairs in Toronto.
With Toronto standing at 21-6 versus foes with a win percentage between .510 and .540 over the last two seasons, take the Blue Jays as Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Pick on Sunday!