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Rays vs. A’s Pick MLB – Aug 5th

So far, so good for the Yankees in their daunting task of taking on the Tigers with the three most recent Cy Young winners taking the hill in consecutive days. They toppled the first of three, the most recent and reigning, Max Scherzer 2-1 last night between yet another fantastic outing from Brandon McCarthy. While the whole baseball world was fawning over David Price and Jon Lester (and to somewhat lesser degrees pitchers like John Lackey), is it possible that the biggest pick-up might wind up being the Yankees nearly unnoticed addition of Brandon McCarthy?

If so, chalk it up as one of the best sports stories of the year. Even for a neutral fan of both the Yankees and his former club, Oakland, it is nice to see a guy recover from such a scary head injury several years ago.

A big part of the “biggest addition” story takes the field tonight for the Tigers one night after McCarthy’s gem as the Tigers welcome David Price. It’s not my featured pick of the day, but I am looking forward to seeing how Price handles the Yankees in his debut tonight.

Personally, I’m looking to bounce back after my worst pick of the season. I got seduced by the big payout potential of the Reds and ignored the dominance of Kluber over the last six weeks. My fault. Terrible.

Today’s Free Pick:

Tampa Bay Rays +118 at Oakland A’s -127 (Total: 7.5)

Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.93 ERA) vs. Jason Hamel (8-9, 3.87 ERA)

Welcome to Tampa Drew. Now please adequately replace David Price! Yeah…. that’s a pretty tough ask. But that is exactly the situation that Smyly finds himself in tonight in the O.Com Coliseum trying to help the Rays continue their furious charge back into the postseason race.

Meanwhile, ignore the above stats for Jason Hamel. Here’s all you need to know; he is 0-4 with a 9.74 ERA in four starts with Oakland, and there’s a reason why the A’s traded their cleanup hitter for Jon Lester. Hamel ain’t getting it done. To say there is some pressure on him tonight would be an understatement. In his last four starts against Tampa Bay as an Oriole he was 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA. If he has a similar outing tonight, he may be headed to the bullpen…

Tampa Bay has been the best team in baseball over the last month and despite dealing Price, is still within striking range of an improbable playoff berth. Zobrist is 6 for 12 against Hamel with a homer. Perhaps he can notch a few hits and get Hamel rattled and get Tampa some early runs.

Either way, I think Hamel has hit a major wall – be it mental, physical or both. I don’t like him to slow the Tampa Bay mojo tonight. Given the plus-money line as well, it’s a good value ply.

Free Pick: Tampa Bay Rays to WIN +118