July 23, 2015
Are the Houston Astros on their way back toward the top of the American League West? They have done nicely in recovering from a recent seven-game losing streak that allowed the Los Angeles Angels to take over the division lead. Now they seek a three-game sweep over the Boston Red Sox as they line up for Thursday night action that is scheduled to get underway at 8:10 PM ET at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros are battling back against folks who believe the lead they got off to in the division MLB picks was perhaps a fluke. They had at one point lost eight out of nine and then the Angels caught lightning in a bottle and passed them. Houston is the top team in the wild card race at the moment, but on an overall basis they have been a real success story, in that after losing 416 games over a four-year period, they have started to see the results of a lot of their plans, which have been the result of very aggressive use of analytics.
The Red Sox have a far bigger payroll than Houston does; in fact, they are doling out $166 million, while the Astros are just below $72 million. Yet Boston has the worst record in the American League as they work on a seven-game losing streak.
MLB Lines & Odds
MLB Consensus Betting Picks
Houston Astros (McCullers) -149
Boston Red Sox (Miley) +139
Over 7.5 runs -115
Under 7.5 runs -105
Wade Miley (8-8, 4.49 ERA) will try to end the drought for the Red Sox. And it should be noted that one of the games they lost was the last game he started, and he had a no-hitter through six innings, ultimately leaving after seven innings of one-hit ball. They just can’t score runs, and they haven’t during this losing run. They were held scoreless, in fact, in the first two meetings with the Angels, getting a runner as far as third base only once. And they have now tallied nine runs in the last six games.
Lance McCullers (4-3, 2.52 ERA) has been one of the top rookie pitchers in the American League. And he has averaged better than one strikeout per inning. Last time out, which was eleven days ago, he gave up four runs in six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, but registered ten K’s. In his three previous starts, he had allowed just three runs in 18 innings. And when McCullers takes the mound at Minute Maid Park, he is truly tough to deal with, as he has a 1.20 ERA and 0.90 WHIP ratio, with the opposition hitting just .152 and slugging only .248 against him.
This race may be coming close to an end for the Red Sox, but the Astros are offering indication that they could be in this thing till the end. They are just two games behind the Angels at the moment. And they have enough pitching, it seems, to take it to the wire. But that assumes people like McCullers can continue to do well.
The Toronto Blue Jays have moved up two spots in the American League East standings since Saturday, although they haven’t gotten any closer to the lead that is currently held by the New York Yankees. Having won three games in a row, they are looking to extend that on Wednesday night as they play the second of a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics in MLB betting action that is slated to begin at 10:05 PM ET at the O.co Coliseum.
The Blue Jays are now over the .500 mark MLB point spread picks as they rode Mike Buehrle’s solid pitching to a 7-1 win on Tuesday. With a 48-47 record, they are 4.5 games behind in the division, and four games out of the second wild card spot. Oakland (43-52) is in last place in the AL West, nine games out of the wild card picture and perhaps wondering what they could get in exchange for pitcher Scott Kazmir before the trade deadline.
On Wednesday, the A’s send Sonny Gray, their ace, to the mound. He has been one of the American League’s best, with a 10-4 record and 2.29 ERA. He is off one of his worst outings of the season last Friday. Felix Doubront, who recently got called up from the minors, will get the call for the Jays, and he will make his third start of the season.
Today’s MLB Lines & Odds
Oakland Athletics (Gray) -153
Toronto Blue Jays (Doubront) +143
Over 7 runs -115
Under 7 runs -105
Doubront has always been a rather permissive pitcher, despite having won eleven games for the Red Sox in both 2012 and 2013. His lowest ERA for any complete season was 4.32 for Boston two seasons ago, and he has consistently had a ratio of runs to hits allowed that has been less than 2-to-1 (1.78, to be exact). This year, in a rather small sampling, he has departed from that slightly. And in nine starts at the Triple-A level with Buffalo, he has compiled a 2.44 ERA.
Doubront gave this team a lot of encouragement with his first start, as he allowed just one run to the White Sox over 6-2/3 innings. He last appeared ten days ago, and through five innings against Kansas City he surrendered ten hits while throwing 85 pitches. He gave up six runs in the first inning, but stayed in the game, which is very unusual. There was a start against Oakland last June, and he lasted 4-2/3 innings, leaving after yielding three earned runs.
People know that Gray, a 5’11” right-hander, is not an overpowering type, with just 112 strikeouts in 129-2/3 innings. He has allowed 6.53 hits per nine innings, which is the fourth-lowest figure in the major leagues. Gray would like to rebound from a trying time in his last outing, as he gave up five runs in six innings, which was disappointing after he tossed a two-hit shutout at the Cleveland Indians right before the All-Star break.
Oakland, which romped home with a 14-1 decision over the Twins on Sunday, has scored more than three runs only twice in the last eight games.
Last night scheduled game between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels was rained out, so it will be made up as the first half of the doubleheader, with MLB betting action beginning at 5:05 PM ET. This will conclude the four-game series between the two clubs, and for Boston has not been a pleasant experience thus far, as they have failed to score in the first two games, getting a runner as far as third base only once. Will their luck be any better against Hector Santiago? This is one of the hottest pitchers in the American League, and he is well rested; in fact, he didn’t even work in the All-Star Game after being named as part of the AL squad.
GTBets know that he has been a key factor in the Angels moving into first place in the American League West, and at the moment they are a game ahead of the Houston Astros. The Red Sox have a record of 42-49, which makes them the last-place team in the AL East, eight games behind the New York Yankees.
Santiago is 6-4 with a 2.33 ERA, and he will be opposed by fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (5-2, 3.59 ERA), a rookie who has been unusually good on the road. Rodriguez has never faced the Angels, while Santiago threw 124 pitches the last time he faced Boston, which was on May 24.
MLB Betting Consensus Picks
Los Angeles Angels (Santiago) -118
Boston Red Sox (Rodriguez) +108
Over 7.5 runs -115
Under 7.5 runs -105
Over his last four starts, Santiago has an ERA of 1.00, which means that in 27 innings, he has given up only three earned runs. He last pitched ten days ago, so he could either be a beneficiary of extra rest or be rusty. That previous start against the Red Sox was adequate, as he gave up three earned runs and was taken out of the game one out away from completing seven innings. He has had a rather undistinguished career until the 2015 season, but he attributes his success to learning a lot more about the art of pitching.
BetAnySports patrons have to be duly impressed by Rodriguez, who has been hit hard a couple of times but has been more than credible in every other performance since coming up from the minors on May 28. His last two starts have come at Fenway Park, and they were pretty good – he allowed just a single run in five innings against Houston, while striking out eight, then got the victory against the New York Yankees, going 6 1/3 frames while giving up two runs, both on solo homers.
But he has really been impressive on the road. Rodriguez has given up only two runs in 26 innings, and opposing batters have had only a .228 slugging average against him. So it could be said that the Red Sox couldn’t really have anyone better on the mound as they try to get a win out of this series.
It’s been a while since the New York Mets were in this critical a series this late in the year, but the fact is that there pitching has come together and made them a contender. Now, with first place within their sights, the Mets embark on a three-game series against the Washington Nationals, with the opener taking place on Monday night at 7:05 PM ET at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital. Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07 ERA) has been a thorn in the side of the Nats, and he will take the mound against Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99 ERA), who hasn’t had much of a problem with the Mets lately either.
Currently Washington is the first place squad in the National League East, two games ahead of the Mets in MLB baseball picks, who may have worn themselves out in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Today’s MLB Lines & Odds
Washington Nationals (Gonzalez) -121
New York Mets (Harvey) +111
Over 7 runs -110
Under 7 runs -110
Harvey seems to have really had the Nationals’ number, as in his six career starts against them he has a sizzling 0.68 earned run average. He has 14 scoreless innings in Washington’s ballpark, and Bryce Harper, a leading contender for the Most Valuable Player award, has never gotten a hit in a dozen at-bats against him, striking out six times. In his last three starts against the Nats, Harvey has gone 21 innings without allowing an earned run. So the Mets have a guy they hope they can get some innings from.
They certainly could use a break for the bullpen. On Sunday, they had to go 18 innings to beat the Cardinals, and it was a very frustrating experience once again for the offense. BetAnySports Sportsbook patrons are well aware that New York’s pitching staff has had an extra burden this season because the team has just not gotten much hitting at all. On Sunday, they had 25 men left on base, which tied a franchise record. Over the last seven games, the Mets have had three hits in 62 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Gonzalez has also been extremely impressive against the Mets (one this year, one last year), winning his last two starts against them, and putting up some glittering stats. He has held New York scoreless over 14 innings, allowing just seven hits and striking out 21 batters. Gonzales has also shown very good form lately, yielding only two earned runs in 20 innings in his last three starts overall.
Washington is generally considered to be one of those teams that has even better starting pitching than the Mets, but they have not been able to put a lot of distance between themselves and Terry Collins’ team. They were disappointing over the weekend, dropping two out of three at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and before a successful trip to Baltimore just prior to the All-Star break, in which they took two of three, they lost twice in a row to the Cincinnati Reds, a team that seems to know exactly how to beat them.
The Mets still have to show they can gain victories on the road on a consistent basis. Yes, they have won four out of their last seven as the visitor, but on the whole they are only 16-30 in road games.
Last night Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 members of the Philadelphia Phillies on the way to a shutout win for the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Thursday night the Dodgers have another nightmare to throw at the Phils in the person of Zack Greinke, a solid Cy Young Award contender, as Major League Baseball betting action gets underway at 10:10 PM ET at Dodger Stadium.
BetAnySports customers – or at least many of them – are aware that the Phillies are the worst road team in the big leagues at 11-33, and with their 29-58 record they are projected to win just 54 games, which would make them one of the more unsuccessful clubs in recent history. Will people like Cole Hamels be on the trading block? Well, certainly the Phils have to do something to get new blood in the fold, and that may include dealing away their valuable assets.
The Dodgers (48-38) are not only pretty pleased that Kershaw was able to make a case for himself with those fans casting the “Final Vote” for the All-Star Game, they also went back out to a five-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
Now they get to send Zack Greinke to the mound, and that won’t be any picnic for Pete Mackanin’s beleaguered team either.
Check out the MLB Lines & Odds for Today
Los Angeles Dodgers (Greinke) -345
Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez) +315
Over 7 runs -115
Under 7 runs -105
Greinke will battle Max Scherzer and a couple of others for the Cy Young award, in all likelihood. His microscopic 1.48 ERA is the lowest in the majors for a starting pitcher. And he possesses a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) ratio of just 0.89.
Do you remember the 41-inning scoreless streak Clayton Kershaw had last season? Well, Greinke is on his way toward that at the moment, as he has a string of 27 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball going. During that time, he has surrendered just fifteen hits and walked three. So he is in the kind of groove very few pitchers find in their lifetime.
BetAnySports patrons probably aren’t very familiar with Severino Gonzalez, who is getting the start for the Phillies. He sports a 3-2 record with an 8.28 ERA, which is strange until you see that he has pitched pretty well in two of his six starts and been shelled in the other four, including his first, when he allowed twelve runners to reach base in 2 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals (April 28).
He was in Triple-A ball as recently as Friday, and then got the call to come back to Philly. It seems that Mackanin wants to get as many innings as possible out of him, since the Phillies’ bullpen has been overworked. The staff as a whole has an ERA over 7.00 in the last fourteen games.
When the Seattle Mariners play host to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night, it could be a matter of who can get the key hit at the key time. That is how well these two opposing pitchers have performed, both on an overall basis and against each other. The action begins at 10:10 PM ET at Safeco Field.
The Angels are surging, and that is not an exaggeration. They have won nine out of their last ten games and have pulled to within a game and a half of the Houston Astros in the race for the American League West pennant. At 46-38, they are also in the lead for the wild card, but as baseball bettors know, that is a one-game playoff, not an advantageous position to be in. Seattle is once again one of those teams that will have to contemplate a “seller’s mentality” when the trade deadline is approaching, because they are just 39-46 and nine games behind the Astros, Inasmuch as the Mariners are seven games out of the wild card, perhaps there is a chance to make a run, but they better hurry.
MLB Betting Consensus
Seattle Mariners (Hernandez) -131
Los Angeles Angels (Richards)
Over 6.5 runs -115
Under 6.5 runs -105
Felix Hernandez is the ace of the Seattle staff, and the “King” has ruled over the Angels as if he owned them. Hernandez (10-5, 3.02 ERA), the former Cy Young winner, will be headed to the All-Star Game next week, and if he was able to pitch against the Angels every time out, he’s earn a ticket to the Hall of Fame without having to wait five years. He has compiled a 0.93 ERA in his last nine starts against this team, and that is scary. On June 28 he allowed just a single hit to the Angels over six scoreless innings, but that went for naught as the M’s lost 3-2 in ten innings.
Diamond Sportsbook quickly getting to know Garrett Richards, as well they should. Richards (9-5, 3.35 ERA), who was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA last season, has been brilliant against the Mariners, allowing four earned runs and TWENTY hits in 37 innings over his last five appearances against them. Like Hernandez, he threw his own one-hit gem, this one happening last April as he went seven scoreless innings and picked up a win at Safeco Field, which has been like a home away from home. Richards has given up five hits in 14 1/3 scoreless innings there since the start of the 2013 season.
Since Seattle has hit only .203 with runners in scoring position this season, the Angels may be more likely to get that key hit that could spell the difference. Meanwhile, we will probably hear plenty from the “under” bettors in this one.
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