A couple teams notched huge wins last night to heat up already-exciting playoff races in the American League West and the National League Central. The Reds capped off a rare winning series against the Cardinals, taking three of four games after last night’s 6-2 win, and their bats seem to have woken up as they scored at least four runs in seven of their last eight games and have averaged 5.75 over that stretch. Meanwhile, Houston played the role of spoiler, knocking off Oakland 3-2 and pushing them a half-game back of Texas after their series win earlier in the week had pulled the two teams even.
I also took a bad loss last night with New York and Boston lighting up the scoreboard in the late innings and blasting the modest OVER out of the water. It was the first time I’ve taken consecutive losses in nearly three weeks – and I’m not feeling too good about it. So let’s get back on track tonight with a pair of TOTAL picks to start off the weekend.
Texas Rangers -110 at Los Angeles +102 (Total: 7.5)
Matt Garza vs. C.J. Wilson
It’s disappointing for LA to be in the role of September spoiler rather than October contender, but alas, it’s the spot they find themselves in for the remainder of the season. They have 13 of their final 23 games against the Rangers and A’s, including the start of tonight’s three game series. So the winner of the West will indeed go through Anaheim…just not in the way most of us expected.
The Angels have had all sorts of problems this season, but C.J. Wilson hasn’t been one of them. He is 14-6 with a respectable 3.35 ERA. While it isn’t Cy Young stuff, it is a solid season. He has been good in his recent outings as well, going 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA over his last three starts (18.1 innings). His opponent tonight, Matt Garza, gave the Rangers a high-profile addition via the trade deadline, and he is certainly an upgrade, but he hasn’t been fantastic. He looked strong in his last outing, allowing just one run, but in his six starts before that he allowed four or five runs in each of them. The interesting things about Garza is that despite the high number of earned runs, he has averaged at least seven innings in those starts and hasn’t gone less than six in ANY.
He gives up some runs, but the dude also eats some innings.
Four or five runs sound like enough to push this thing OVER the relatively low 7.5 total given the power of these two offenses.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 7.5
Los Angeles Dodgers +114 at Cincinnati Reds -123 (Total: 9)
Chris Capuano vs. Mike Leake
The OVER has been money in games Mike Leake has started lately, despite his solid season statistics that indicate otherwise. The OVER is 5-1 in his last six outings and 7-2 in his last nine. And it hasn’t been close. The total runs scored have been 11, 13, 14, and 17 in his last four outings.
Add in the scratch of Ryu in favor of Capuano for tonight’s start and that TOTAL over 9 starts to look pretty vulnerable. I like some runs to score, and am taking the OVER 9 in tonight’s bonus pick.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 9