MLB Picks for July 23rd – Brewers Giants, Blue Jays Rangers

Milwaukee Brewers +115 @ San Francisco Giants -135 (Total: 6.5)
Randy Wolf (6-7, 3.58) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (71-, 2.02)

Tonight’s pitching match-up features a familiar name looking to pull his record to .500 and one of the season’s most pleasant success stories squaring off. For Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf, it has been a bit of an up and down season, and the past month particularly so, going 0-3 with a 4/94 ERA in his last four starts. However the Bay area has treated him kindly of late. He won his last two starts in the ballpark formerly known as PacBell, and gave up just one run (good for an 0.53 ERA).

For the Giants, Ryan Vogelsong was a somewhat controversial All-Star selection, though his numbers and performance seem to have merited more inclusion far more than his more famous counterpart, Tim Lincecum. Vogelsong had been a journeyman much of his career, even ending up pitching in the Japanese minor leagues at one point before landing in San Fran for this dream season. As a matter of fact, prior to 2011, his last appearance in the big leagues was all the way back in 2006 as a set-up man for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Brewers have played well in San Fran, winning 7 of 10, but have been one of the worst road teams in baseball this season with a dismal 16-30 record away from Miller Park. Their potent lineup will provide a stern test for Vogelsong tonight, but I think he’ll be up ofr the challenge. They could get a nice life tonight with the probably return of Ryan Braun, but I still like the Giants, finding a way to scratch out just enough runs to get the win at home, and are a decent value given the favorable pitching matchup at -135.

FREE PICK: San Francisco Giants to WIN -135

Toronto Blue Jays +145 @ Texas Rangers -165 (TOTAL: 10)
C. Villanueva (5-2, 3.31) vs. M. Harrison (8-7, 2.91)

Both of these offenses can put runs on the board in bunches. Toronto, led by MVP and Triple Crown Candidate Jose Bautista’s insane production; .330 BA, 31 HRs and 68 RBI, while Texas can finally boast a healthy Josh Hamilton to add to Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and the rest of the Ranger machine. These kind of stat lines create the salivating potential for a high scoring affair, as evidenced by the very large 10 run OVER/UNDER line tonight.

However, both teams are sending out quality starters tonight, who both post ERAs right around 3.00, a pretty respectable mark, particularly in the American League. Matt Harrison has been especially sharp lately, as the big left-hander has posted wins in two straight starts and is a very impressive 5-3 with a 1.94 ERA over his last ten starts. If he can hold anywhere close to his usual form of the last two months, it is easy to see the Jays struggling to put up a ton of runs tonight.

Villanueva was roughed up a bit in his last start, but much of that can be rationalized away by the abnormally long rest between starts (10 days) due to the All-Star break. Villanueva is expecially used to getting more regular work, as he is a converted starter who began the season in a relief role for the Jays. Since joining the rotation, he has gone 4-2 with a 4.02 ERA; the damage from his rusty start against the Yankees last week doing much of the damage.

If the Jays can get a decent outing from him, and can take advantage of the gap in the lineup that Nelson Cruz’s likely absence affords, I see no reason why this game can’t stay comfortably in a single-digit run total. I’d lean towards the Rangers tonight at home, but at -165 I’m not real wild about the value of the pick. Instead, my official play is the run total UNDER 10.

FREE PICK: Run TOTAL UNDER 10

Chris Scheeren / Author