New York Yankees -120 @ Tampa Bay Rays +100 (Total: 8.5)
B. Colon (6-5, 3.47) vs. J. Hellickson (8-7, 3.21)
The Rays have used a lot of gas this weekend, particularly that of their bullpen which is no doubt still feeling the effects of Sunday’s 16-inning 1-0 loss to the Red Sox. That puts an even greater premium on Jeremy Hellickson to give the Rays a solid 7+ innings tonight.
The Yankee lineup isn’t the easiest to eat innings against though. Not only is it packed with potent bats, but they are also one of the more patient teams in baseball, seeing an average of almost four pitches per at bat, which ranks them near the very top of the league.
Also in the Rays favor tonight is the nervousness over whether or not Bartolo Colon’s solid first half of the season was more of a last gasp of quality rather than a harbinger of things to come. In his last three starts, Colon is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.84. Even more troubling is his enormous WHIP of 2.18. It’s hard to win many games when you allow more than two base runners every inning.
Tampa has a favorable pitching matchup and the home field tonight, so getting them at even money is a pretty good bargain wager. If you are interested in overall trends on the run total, tonight’s trends all scream UNDER; for the Yankees the under is 15-5-1 in their last 21 road games and 11-4-1 in the last 16 games overall. Tampa is trending in a similar direction, having stayed UNDER in 8 of Hellickson’s last nine starts.
However, given Colon’s recent performance and the Rays depleted bullpen, I like Tampa to WIN over betting the UNDER, however both are decent statistical plays.
San Diego Padres +120 @ Florida Marlins -140 (TOTAL: 7)
T. Stauffer (5-6, 2.97) vs. A. Sanchez (6-2, 3.54)
The Marlins are one of the streakiest teams in all of baseball. At one point early in the season they rode a torid streak into the wildcard lead and were just a few games lingering back of mighty Philadelphia. A month later, an eleven game losing streak sent them toppling out of the division contention and into the cellar.
The Marlins appear to be back, entering tonight’s game they have taken 9-1 and their pitching has been a major reason why. During their current run they have posted a team ERA of just 2.30, taking a ton of pressure off their young offense and helping them edge out some narrow wins (as well as a few blowout wins over the Cubbies). Tonight they send their ace to the mound, Anabel Sanchez, who is looking to rebound from several of his worst outings of the season. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA over his past three starts and has lasted an average of less than five innings per start. Given that, his 6-2 record and 3.54 ERA is even more impressive.
Tonight is a good opportunity to get right facing one of the weaker lineups in the league. The Padres have lost 8 of 9, hitting just .178 over that stretch. The Padres have been held to six or less runs in 6 of 10 games, including a pair of shutouts tossed against them.
The Marlins aren’t a bad value pick at -140. I like this play better than the slim UNDER at 7, though it is likely this game stays relatively low scoring given the two pitchers and the punchless Padre offense.