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Angels vs. Rays Pick MLB – August 1st

Yesterday’s trade deadline ended up being one of the busiest and most exciting in recent memory. The Lester/Cespedes deal got most of the early headlines, both for its impact and its “All-Star for All-Star” audacity, but there were some other deals that turned heads and altered the potential balance of October power.   The Tigers acquisition of David Price may have negated the pitching advantage Oakland picked up in the morning, and they didn’t have to send away their cleanup hitter to do so.

A little more unnoticed was the Cardinals shipping off Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, two 2013 heroes, for John Lackey. Yes, Lackey helps their pitching staff, but the undercurrent of the move for me was simply making room for rookie Oscar Taveras to become a more central figure in the Cardinals every day plans. We shall see if it pays off, as Craig was one of the best RBI producers for the past two years but was mired in a miserable 2014 season.

The Sox may have been “sellers” yesterday, but bringing back Joe Kelly, Allen Craig, and Yoenis Cespedes ensures they will have a pretty good roster once everyone is healthy in 2015. Could it be a rags to riches 2012-2013 story remix??

We notched a win last night with Johnny Cueto again delivering a fantastic outing. Let’s try to start the weekend off well and notch another winner.

Today’s Free Picks:

It’s a day of huge favorites with Detroit, Washington and the White Sox are more than -200 favorites. While there may be some value in the -1.5 wagers, we are going to head to a better value line for today’s edition.

Los Angeles Angels -107 at Tampa Bay Rays -103 (Total: 7)

Matt Shoemaker (8-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 1.00 ERA)

Day One of the post-Price era begins tonight, and taking the ball will be the hopeful replacement ace, Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson has been good in his first two starts this season after missing the entire year on the DL, but I am not discounting the emotional effect of losing a mentor, friend and ace of the rotation. Hellickson was one of the most outspoken prior to the deal about the dire importance of Price, even going as far as saying they “can’t get to where they want to go with David.”

Emotional factors aside, he has his work cut out for him with one of the best offenses in all of baseball. In fact, despite statistics, with the departure of Cespedes from Oakland and the recent good health and play from Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, I’d take LA over any team in baseball. They are averaging 4.8 runs per game, and their pitching average runs allowed is right on par with the highly-touted Rays staff.

The Angels will turn to young Matt Shoemaker, who seems ti be gaining confidence with every start. He is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA over his last three starts, and his WHIP is under 1.00 at 0.96. If he can keep the Rays off the bases tonight, I like his offense to give him a little cushion. Helickson has been good in a small sample size, but tonight is a tough task, both on the field in inside his head.

I’ll take the Angels to cool off the sizzling Rays tonight in Tampa.

Free Pick: Los Angeles Angels to WIN -107