MLB Picks for August 17th – Giants vs Braves, Indians vs White Sox

We may not be Dan Uggla quite yet, but if you are keeping score at home, that’s five winners in a row reeled off here at The Sports Geek. However, I am wise enough to know a braggart and his money are usually soon parted, so we will humbly dive into today’s picks with quiet confidence that we can keep the streak going…

Let’s get to today’s free picks…

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San Francisco Giants -105 @ Atlanta Braves -105 (Total: 7)
M. Cain (9-9, 3.00) vs. J. Jurrjens (12-4, 2.63)

So far, this series has lived up to the lofty pre-billing. Two well-pitched games, two very close games, and two walk-off wins for the Braves who have now reeled off eight in a row (regular season, of course) against the Giants.

Tonight Atlanta ace Jair Jurgens makes his return from the 15-day disabled list, seeking to return to his Cy Young-caliber form before the rough patch that coincided with his trip there. Jurgens’ ERA before the skid; a dynamic 1.87. His last three starts before being shut down for a few weeks? An even 5.00 with just 18 innings pitched.

For the Giants, they will turn to their co-ace, Matt Cain to salvage the series and stop their precipitous slide back to (and now behind) the Arizona Diamondbacks. His last three starts haven’t been “bad” per se, but they have resulted in three losses tagged onto his record. Ending that streak in Atlanta facing Jair Jurgens might be a pretty tall order.

The Braves have won 19 of 26 at home, and are getting tremendous pitching to accompany their rejuvenated offense. They are averaging 5.7 runs scored over their last 10 games. With a team ERA of 3.40, and one that shrinks to 2.96 at home, plating nearly six a night will keep you in the win column more often than not.

I got my wager in nice and early before the action starting pouring in Atlanta’s direction. The line by the time you read this might be more like Atlanta -125 or -130. Either way, I still like it, and am making that today’s official pick.

FREE PICK: Atlanta Braves to WIN -105

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Cleveland Indians +150 @ Chicago White Sox -160 (TOTAL: 8.5)
F. Carmona (5-12, 5.12) vs. M. Buehrle (10-5, 3.06)

The White Sox outlasted Cleveland in a 14-inning thriller last night to edge to just a half-game behind the Tribe for second place in the AL Central, and move to within 3 ½ back of the Tigers. Tonight, they send their quietly fantastic, steady ace, Mark Buehrle.

How good as Buerhle been this season? Try this stat: he has allowed three or less runs in each of his last 18 starts. Eighteen! In an ERA where teams get excited when a guy links three or four quality starts together, this guy has done it basically the entire season! I see no reason to doubt that streak continues tonight.

So then the real test comes down to Cleveland start Fausto Carmona. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday Carmona was bursting onto the scene as a young fireballer, leading the Indians to a 3-1 series lead over the Boston Red Sox en route to the World Series? Well, for both Carmona and Indians fans, things have been heading south ever since.

Carmona has the third-worst ERA in the league for pitchers who qualify for innings pitched, and the White Sox have helped him earn that dubious distinction. This season they have lit Carmona up for 18 runs in just 8 innings pitched. For you math fans, that’s and ERA over 20.00. Ouch.

I like the Sox to move past the Tribe in the standings tonight behind another dependable, strong outing from Buehrle, and to win with ease (They are +150 on the money line if you are interested, might not be a bad value play).

FREE PICK: Chicago White Sox to WIN (-155)

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Chris Scheeren / Author