The All-Star break is over, and it’s back to regular season action on Friday night. Baseball will be here all the way through October now, leading us to the World Series where a new champion, or the Chicago Cubs, will win it all. The Cubs don’t look like they’re in repeat mode, but it’s worth nothing. They’re 43-45 heading into the second-half, so no where near out of anything just yet.
Right now, it’s the Dodgers and Astros who are well ahead of the pack. At 61-29 for the Dodgers, and 60-29 for the Astros, the next closest team is the Nationals behind by eight games. The Dodgers are known chokers, and the Astros don’t have much experience on their roster playing deep in the postseason. So, there are still some reasons to believe they will fade away in October.
If the Red Sox continue playing well, I think they’re going to be a fancy pick by a lot of people. They are a team that resonates with people, a championship caliber organization that has excelled this last decade. They’ve proven they can play clutch baseball, while the ‘Stros and Dodgers are still working on that. And then there are the Indians, a team who reached the World Series under the radar a year ago, and are flying under the radar once again in 2017.
The Indians are leading the AL Central, as they take a record of 47-40 with them to the second-half of the season. It’s good enough for 1st in the division, 2.5 games in fact. Corey Kluber took the night off at the All-Star Game to preserve his arm for the second-half.
The Tribe will need every extra pitch they can get out of him. Carlos Carrasco will assume the starting job for the Indians tonight, while Sonny Gray hopes to continue the resurgence he started late in the first-half. We’re back with our first pick of the second-half in the MLB regular season. Head below for our selection.
Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland Athletics Pick
Carlos Carrasco (10-3, 3.44 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (4-4, 4.00 ERA)
Ideally, the Indians would love to have a nice 1-2 punch with Kluber and Carrasco in the second-half. Kluber has done his job thus far, and so has Carrasco. Note that Carrasco has held up well, posting a 3.44 ERA through the first-half of the year. He’s also been strong on the road, with a 2.38 ERA and 0.935 WHIP. Carrasco also has that terrific bullpen to back him up, which finished 1st in the first-half with a team ERA of 2.84. Their bullpen will keep them in talks of making it back to the World Series.
The A’s play in a pitcher’s friendly park here in Oakland, so we’re thinking Carrasco will get some help in that regard. The Athletics are average only 4.29 runs per game, and have little chance to do anything with the talent they have on their offense. Moneyball only works when all of the pieces come together. In 2017, they’re a jumbled-up mess.
The Athletics will counter with Sonny Gray, whose career looked like it was in the toilet for a couple months there. Gray is steadily turning it back, though. He comes in with a 4.00 ERA but he’s gotten it back to respectability from earlier in the season. In his last three outings, Gray posted an ERA of 1.71 and 0.619 WHIP. He’s also been respectable with a 3.49 ERA and 1.12 WHIP at home. Yes, he will probably be gone at the trade deadline, maybe to the Astros? In any event, tonight, I expect some tired bats early to start the second-half. In Oakland, the UNDER looks like a solid play between the Indians and Athletics.
PICK: UNDER 8 (-110)