The Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners begin a crucial series on Friday, each looking to claw their way back into the AL playoff picture behind starters who have exceeded expectations.
After spending the 2020 season in Korea, Seattle’s Chris Flexen is 10-5 and is pitching his best at home. He was allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 home starts and the team is 8-4. The ex-Met has a 2.67 ERA and has allowed just four homers and 12 walks in 70 ²/₃ innings at home.
Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray has allowed 23 home runs, tied for fourth-most in MLB, but has overcome that to post a 2.90 ERA. He has not let up a homer in five of his past six starts while posting a 2.30 ERA with a .201 opponents batting average and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings since June 1.
The Mariners entered Thursday with a 3.97 bullpen ERA and the Blue Jays a nearly identical 3.96, but in the past 30 days the Mariners 3.48 bullpen ERA ranks eighth while the 4.02 of the Blue Jays ranks 19th.
With Toronto entering Thursday having scored four runs or fewer in nine of its past 12 road games and the Mariners staff No. 2 in fewest walks in the AL in August, Seattle will continue its success in Flexen’s home starts.
The play: Mariners, +140.
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