Thursday Night Baseball: Blue Jays at Angels

Thursday Night Baseball: Blue Jays at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels continue their homestand Thursday night when they begin a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Angels took two out of three against the Blue Jays in Toronto last month and are -155 favorites to win Thursday.

After such a promising start to the season, injuries have caused the Angels to spiral out of control. The Halos are just 2-7 in their last nine games. After keeping things close with the Astros and Mariners for much of the season, Los Angeles is now just four games over .500 and 10 games out of first place.

Things haven’t been any better for Toronto this season. The Blue Jays had hopes of finding a way to compete in the top-heavy AL East, but they are currently five games under .500, 16 games behind the first-place Yankees, and 11.5 games out of a wild-card spot. Toronto could be looking at a fire sale this summer.  The Los Angeles Angels are -155 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

The Few, The Proud

Lefty Tyler Skaggs starts for the Angels Thursday night. He’s been the team’s only starting pitcher who has managed to stay healthy all season. Fortunately for the Halos, he’s also been their best starter, going 6-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts. He’s been particularly dominant since the calendar flipped to June. In his last three starts, Skaggs has allowed three runs (one earned) over 20 innings, striking out 22 in that span.

On Thursday, Skaggs will have the luxury of facing a Toronto lineup that’s still without Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. The Blue Jays to watch closely are Teoscar Hernandez, Yangervis Solarte, and Curtis Granderson, who are a combined 5 for 12 against Skaggs. Devon Travis and Randall Grichuk have also started to heat up lately and could cause trouble for the Los Angeles lefty.

Where’s the Magic?

Opposing Skaggs on Thursday will be Aaron Sanchez. The Blue Jays were hoping Sanchez would return to being their ace the way he was during his breakout campaign in 2016. Last season, injuries were a problem for Sanchez, but he’s been healthy this year and still hasn’t returned to form. Through 14 starts, Sanchez is 3-5 with a modest 4.35 ERA. He also has just one win in his last eight starts. However, he did toss five scoreless innings against the Angels in what has been his best start of the season.

Outside of Zach Cozart and Shohei Ohtani, the Angels should be able to play their best lineup against Sanchez. Mike Trout, of course, is the guy to watch. He has an eight-game hitting streak and is 16 for 23 during that span. Justin Upton is also 5 for 10 with two doubles in his career against Sanchez. Also, despite poor career numbers against Sanchez, Ian Kinsler has started to heat up for the Angels.

Unhappy Homecoming

Sanchez grew up just over 100 miles from Anaheim, so Thursday’s game is a homecoming for him. However, it may not be a happy one for him. Skaggs is red hot right now, and Toronto’s lineup may not have the hitters who can cool him down. There’s also no cooling down Trout, who just needs a little support from his teammates. Take the Los Angeles Angeles -155 on Thursday.

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