Finding Ways to Win

The Los Angeles Angels have been finding ways to win despite a struggling offense - a task the Toronto Blue Jays have dealt with for much of 2008.

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But now that Toronto's bats are finally producing runs, they're finding winning a little bit easier.

Fresh off their most lopsided win of the year, the Blue Jays look for a third straight victory as they kick off a three-game road series against the first-place Los Angeles Angels.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -125 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -125 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Blue Jays (30-26) have received quality pitching all season, as they lead the majors with a 3.32 team ERA. The difference for Toronto lately, however, has been a resurgent offense.

After getting shut out in the first game of a doubleheader in Cleveland on May 12, the Blue Jays were averaging 3.7 runs - which was 27th in the majors. But since then, they've scored nearly a run more per game, winning 13 of 17. They've totaled six or more runs seven times in that stretch, something they had done just once in the previous 25 games.

They had season highs in hits (17) and runs in Thursday's 12-0 victory over Oakland, scoring more runs than they've given up in their last eight games combined. The Blue Jays have outscored opponents 42-11 in their last eight, winning seven times.

"It's nice to go out there and score some runs," said catcher Rod Barajas, who was 3-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs Thursday. "It doesn't matter who's pitching, there aren't very many times we go out there and put a team away early."

The Angels (32-23) have continued to struggle offensively, but they've still won four consecutive series - including winning two of three in Toronto earlier this month - thanks to their own stretch of dominant pitching.

Even after a 6-2 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, Angels pitchers have allowed just 22 runs in their last 10 games, winning seven of them. That's been despite Los Angeles' bats, which had only four hits on Wednesday and have produced three or fewer runs in each of their last seven games.

Vladimir Guerrero - sporting a .258 average that's more than 60 points below his career mark - had Wednesday's game off, while Torii Hunter is hitting just .204 with only three RBIs in his last 15 games.

"These guys know they are better offensive players so there's frustration there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told his team's official Web site. "As long as there is confidence there, it's gonna play itself out. A couple hits here and there. These guys will do fine."

Jered Weaver should have plenty of confidence after going 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA in his last three starts. The Los Angeles right-hander had started the season 2-5 with a 5.59 ERA in his first eight appearances, but he's given up just two earned runs in 20 1-3 innings since.

Weaver (4-5, 4.16 ERA) is coming off his longest outing of the year, throwing eight innings in a 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

"I made a slight adjustment. I felt like I wasn't going through the target," said Weaver, who's 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his only two career starts against Toronto. "I was falling backward which was disrupting my command a little bit. I have been concentrating on driving straight through the mitt."

Toronto's Dustin McGowan (3-4, 3.90) is also coming off an impressive outing, after the right-hander gave up one run in seven innings against Kansas City on Sunday. He's lost all three of his career starts against Los Angeles - including a defeat on May 20 - despite allowing three or fewer earned runs in each game.

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