MLB Picks for August 31st – Nats vs Braves, Rays vs Rangers

Chris has the day off today with his MLB picks.  Although he has been red hot as of late, he came up short yesterday going 0-2.  I will take over for the day with two moneyline plays here in the MLB for Wednesday, August 31st 2011.  Hopefully we can come right back with some WINNERS and start up another winning streak for Chris when he returns tomorrow.

My two free MLB selections are below…

Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves – BRAVES TO WIN (-154)

The Braves look to rebound from a brutal 9-2 loss in the opening game of this three games series against the Nationals.  As heavy favorites the Braves got rocked at home and look for a bounce back performance tonight.  Atlanta will have Derek Lowe on the mound who is only 8-12 with a 4.63 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and opponents batting average of .275, but I expect a solid outing from him tonight to follow up his last two outings where he pitched 12 innings combined giving up just 2 earned runs.  John Lannan is on the mound for the Nationals, and he has similar numbers to Lowe.  He is 8-10 on the season with a 3.59 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and .265 opponents batting average.  He has put together some solid starts over his last 10, only allowing more than 3 earned runs once.  He has had a lot of career success against the Braves with an 8-4 record and 3.31 ERA in his 14 career starts against them, which includes being 3-0 against them this season.  Lowe hasn’t been too outstanding against the Nats posting a 9-8 record and 4.04 ERA versus Washington.  But note that the Braves are 7-3 in Lowes last 10 home starts, and 11-5 in his last 16 starts following a quality start in his last appearance.  The Braves are 14-6 in their last 20 overall, and 23-9 in their last 32 home games.  They are 5-2 in their last 7 following a loss, and I can’t see them starting off this series with two home losses in a row.  They have one of the best records in the National League for a reason.  Note that the Nats are just 1-6 in their last 7 overall, and 2-5 in their last 7 following a win.  Wins have been tough to come by for Washington lately, and I fully expect the Braves to hand them a loss tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers – RANGERS TO WIN (-123)

Odds have gone down on the Rangers money line today and I am jumping on them with Ogando on the mound.  Yes he will have it in tough against James Shields, but the Rangers are 43-27 at home on the year.  They are averaging almost 6 runs per game at home, and with Ogando behind them I think they get things done here against the Rays, who they beat 2-0 in the opener.  Note that the Rays are just 1-4 in their last 5 games as a road underdog, and 1-5 in their last 6 games as an underdog overall.  They are just 1-4 in Shield’s last 5 road starts, and 2-5 in his last 7 following a quality appearance.  Texas is 7-3 in Ogando’s last 10 home starts, and 5-2 in his last 7 starts with 5 days of rest.  The Rangers are also 3-16 in their last 52 games as a favorite, and 19-9 in their last 28 home games.  Also take note that TExas is 9-1 int heir last 10 home games with a total set at 7-8.5., and 18-4 in their last 22 games as a small favorite of -110 to -150.  At these short odds I’m backing the Rangers to get things done against the Rays.  Both teams have hopes of making the playoffs, but the Rangers will be the only team here playing some fall baseball.  Take Texas moneyline.

I hope you enjoyed my write ups for my MLB picks, and lets hope we can have a nice 2-0 night backing 2 home favorites.  Look for Chris to be back tomorrow!