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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics - 4/22/16 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Oakland Athletics (9-7) at Toronto Blue Jays (8-8)

MLB Baseball: Friday, April 22, 2016 at 7:07 pm (Rogers Centre)

S Gray (2-1) (2.33) vs. A Sanchez (1-0) (1.35)

The Line: Toronto Blue Jays -129 / Oakland Athletics +119 --- Over/Under: 8.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: RSN1, CSCA

The Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays will be meeting in game one of their weekend series at Rogers Centre on Friday evening.

Both teams finished up their mid-week series on Thursday. The A’s won their first two matchups against the Yankees, then in Thursday’s finale they completed the sweep with a dominant 7-3 victory.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics - 4/22/16 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

As for the Blue Jays, they had a three-game set against the Orioles this week, splitting the first two games before falling 3-2 in the finale and losing the series.

For Friday’s game one in Toronto, the A’s will be using right-hander Sonny Gray. Over three starts this year, Gray has been strong with a 2.33 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 17 strikeouts across 19.1 innings. In his most recent appearance on Saturday, Gray allowed two runs (one earned) in a victory over the Royals.

The Oakland bats have performed pretty well overall this season. Danny Valencia (who is fighting a hamstring injury and didn’t play Thursday) has 15 hits with five runs and a .294 average. Josh Reddick has 10 RBI with 12 hits but is batting .218. As for Khris Davis, he’s been struggling with his swing to the tune of 21 strikeouts and a .180 average. Davis did bag a solo homer in Thursday’s game, though.

Over on the Toronto side, they’ll be bringing out right-hander Aaron Sanchez for Friday’s matchup. Sanchez has been absolutely superb so far, with a 1.35 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over three starts and 20 innings. In his most recent outing, Sanchez logged one earned in five innings during a win over the Red Sox.

There have been a few rough spots, but overall the Blue Jays have been putting up runs at or near their potential this year. Edwin Encarnacion has been leading the way with 20 hits, 11 RBI and seven runs. Encarnacion came up empty on Thursday, however. Josh Donaldson has been great as well, with 19 hits, 14 RBI, six homers and 16 runs. Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t been able to get it going, with just three runs and a .150 BA in 2016. Tulowitzki put up an 0-for-4 outing in Thursday’s game.

The Athletics are just 3-7 in Gray’s last 10 starts during game one of a series, and 2-9 in their last 11 games on Astroturf. As for the Blue Jays, they’re 0-5 in their last five Friday games, but 20-7 in their last 27 against the American League West.

I love the way Sanchez looks so far this year, and I’m picking the Blue Jays to keep riding that wave to a victory here. I expect Gray to hold his own, but ultimately be overmatched by the Toronto bats.

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Toronto Blue Jays -129

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