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Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Free Pick - 8/23/13

Toronto Blue Jays (57-71) at Houston Astros (41-85)

MLB Baseball: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm (Minute Maid Park)

Todd Redmond (R) (1-1) (3.320) vs. Jordan Lyles (R) (5-6) (5.190)

The Line: Houston Astros +127 / Toronto Blue Jays-137 --- Over/Under: 8.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: SNET, CSN-Houston

The Toronto Blue Jays head to Minute Maid Park to open a series with the Houston Astros.

I have said the Blue Jays still have a shot at reaching .500, but as each day goes by and the losses mount, I think reality has begun to set in. Possible, but not likely, is how I would term it, but certainly Toronto won't be in shouting range of the postseason. The Jays took another step back in a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Yankees on Thursday, with neither the arms or bats getting the job done. JA Happ allowed four runs on three hits and five free passes over 5.1 frames. The offense had their share of base runners on eight hits and four bases on balls, with JP Arecibia slamming number 19. Todd Redmond makes his 8th consective start against Houston since coming out of the bull pen. Redmond is 1-0 with six straight no decisions with poor support, relief pitching and his own efforts squandering several games.

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Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Free Pick - 8/23/13

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros haven't had a great first season in the American League, but truth be told, it wouldn't have been a good year in the National League if they had stayed. The Astros were written off before 2013 began, which wasn't going out on a limb. Having said that, the Stros have surprised on occasion and been competitive at times, although winning and being competitive are different animals. That was the case in Wedneday's 5-4 defeat at Texas, where both the hitting and pitching fell short, with starter Erik Bedard allowing three runs (two earned) in 4.1 frames, while Chia-Jen Lo gave up the game winner on a sacrifice fly in the 9th. Houston had opportunities to score on an eight hit, five walk attack that saw Jason Castro club his 15th round tripper. A struggling Jordan Lyles faces the Blue Jays for the second time in 2013. Lyles defeated Oakland 5-4 in his last start with only one run allowed on five hits and a pair of BB in seven innings.

On paper. Toronto has an advantage, but I ask myself if I can lay road chalk on a bad team and a pitcher with eleven career starts. I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole, although backing Houston is really a stretch...

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