Toronto Blue Jays (-117) at Oakland Athletics (+107)
The Josh Donaldson trade will be center stage tonight as the Toronto Blue Jays (47-47, 19-28 Away) swing into Oakland (43-51, 20-27 Home) almost eight months after acquiring the All-Star third baseman in a blockbuster deal. However, the Athletics will be looking to prove they got the upper hand in the trade by sending one of the pieces they got back, righty Kendall Graveman (6-6, 3.38 ERA), to the mound for tonight’s showdown (10:05 PM Eastern).
Since arriving in Toronto, Donaldson has continued to swing a hot bat, hitting .288 on the year with 22 jacks. He’s also brought outstanding defense; but for all his contributions, the Jays remain a middle-of-the-pack team, thanks largely to shoddy pitching. A 4.10 team ERA has cost the club a number of close games, despite having the MLB’s best order in terms of runs scored by a wide margin.
However, the Jays will have veteran Mark Buerhle (10-5, 3.35 ERA) going for them tonight. Buerhle has been the model of consistency for the past month, going at least 7.0 innings and allowing no more than two earned runs in his last six starts. If Buerhle can match those starts again, he’ll turn the ball over to a well-rested bullpen, thanks to Marco Estrada pitching eight innings on Sunday followed by a day off on Monday.
For their part, Oakland has been on a decent run for a team that is supposed to be sellers this deadline. The Athletics have won four of their last five, including a 14-1 pounding of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday that saw Josh Reddick hit his third career grand slam.
Oakland’s order ranks fifth in the MLB in runs scored; former Jay Brett Lawrie has done his part since moving to the Bay Area as part of the Donaldson deal. The third baseman is hitting .280 and has managed to stay healthy, something he couldn’t do consistently during his time in Toronto.
Heading into tonight, Graveman is coming off a rough start against Cleveland, where he surrendered four earned runs in 5.2 innings in a 5-1 loss. The rookie has some alright stuff, but coming from the Jays organization, they’ll have a very accurate scouting report on the youngster. Expect the Jays bats to get after him and pull out the win on the road.
Pick: Jays (-117)
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Originally posted to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].)
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