I feel like we are at the point in the season where we know teams' strengths and weaknesses and what their identity is. We've seen enough of the
starting rotations, including trade acquisitions, to further come to a conclusion about whether a team is a legitimate contender or just hoping to get
on a hot streak at the right time. Taking a look at the top teams in the majors right now, the Cubs and Nationals are contenders because of their
rotation and lineup. I would also include the Texas Rangers into that discussion, but with the recent loss of Shin-Soo Choo that could leave a hole in
the lineup. The Blue Jays would be in the second tier as they have the starting pitching and lineup to do damage but are just too streaky for my
liking. Same with the Indians. The Red Sox starting pitching, on paper, seems like it should be good, but has been inconsistent at best, with only Rick
Porcello pitching lights out. The lineup, when firing on all cylinders, is near impossible to get through unscathed, which means the Sox would tend to
favor higher-scoring games, and in the playoffs those don't happen all that often.
It was a rough go around last Thursday with only five games on the night card. I thought I had it figured it out, but it just wasn't meant to be. The Yankees and Red Sox combined for only three runs in the first five innings, making my pick a loser. But we can only move forward and try to find the next moneymaking opportunity and take advantage of that.
Tuesday offers bettors a full slate of MLB action, with a matinee taking place at Wrigley Field between the visiting Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are laying a hefty price, which means you would be better off finding value elsewhere. The AL East has two massive games going tonight that includes Game 2 between the Jays and Yankees and Game 1 between the Red Sox and Orioles. As it stands currently, the O's are in first place by one percentage point over the Blue Jays, with the Sox in third, just one game back. Elsewhere, the Dodgers are still spinning their tires behind the Giants, who hold a half-game lead. Both teams are coming off losses in their last game, and trying to predict the winner of that division would be like winning the lottery.
These props are based on the First 5 Inning lines, and I have the utmost confidence in what I expect to happen. As always, odds and lines are courtesy of 5dimes.
Seattle Mariners @ Los Angeles Angels
Two teams going in opposite directions. That's all you really need to know about this game.
The Mariners have won 11 of their last 13 games. They have propelled themselves into the AL West division race, sitting only 5.5 games back of first-place Texas. They are also only two games back of Boston for the second wild-card spot, which means spirits are sky high in a clubhouse that is used to not living up to expectations.
The Mariners come into tonight's game after nipping the Angels 3-2 last night. They were led by Nelson Cruz, who hit his 30th home run, which proved to be the winning run. The Mariners used a two-run forth inning to take the lead after starting pitched Felix Hernandez couldn't quite get into a groove. Once he did, however, it was smooth sailing from there. "King Felix" went on to strike out eight and pitch into the seventh inning to warrant his 150th win.
Tonight however, the Mariners will have to rely on Ariel Miranda to keep the winning streak alive and well. Mirande is making an emergency start after scheduled starter James Paxton was scratched due to pain. This will be Miranda's second start of the season for the Mariners. In his lone start, he allowed only two runs on eight hits while striking out five against Boston. His arm is well rested and he should be up to the task tonight against a team that has already mailed it in.
The Angels come into this game on an 11-game losing streak. They have been outscored by a whopping 73-33 margin. Last night was the fourth loss in 10 days to the Mariners, who swept them in a three-game series on Aug. 5-7.
The Angels will send starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to the mound tonight, and he has lost his last four starts. Chacin gave up seven runs and six hits in just 1 1/3 innings as against the Indians. For the season, Chacin is 2-5 with a 6.11 ERA. Opponents are batting a crazy .304 against him. This has all the makings of another Angels loss, and I will be all over that opportunity.
Pick: Seattle Mariners -0.5 - First 5 Innings (+120)
Miami Marlins @ Cincinnati Reds
This game has the whole "Patrick Ewing" theory tagged all over it. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's when a team loses its star player and the entire team inexplicably plays out of their minds to make up for the loss of their star teammate.
The Miami Marlins' star Giancarlo Stanton suffered a Grade 3 groin strain this past weekend, which means he will likely be out of the lineup for the rest of the season. His teammates have responded by going 2-0 without the 2016 Home Run Derby Champion in the lineup and are looking to make it three on the trot to keep their wild-card hopes alive. The Marlins topped the Reds last night by a 6-3 final thanks in large part to some timely hitting and good pitching.
Tonight they send a pitcher to the mound that I have been tracking since his first start in the majors. Jose Urena is a 24-year old righty who has pitched 36.1 innings so far this season. His record is not indicative of his performance. He owns a 1-3 record with an ERA around 6.70. His last start was his worst outing of the season (eight hits, eight earned runs, four walks). Prior to that, he had allowed only two runs combined in 11 2/3 innings against Philadelphia and the Mets. He has the stuff but he just needs to perform consistently.
The Reds will send former Marlin Anthony DeSclafani to the mound tonight. He won his first six starts after starting the season on the DL. His latest outing, however, was a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. He gave up three runs on six hits in five innings. He's always walked five batters in his last 11 innings of work. I think his better days are behind him, and the law of averages for average pitchers will show up in a hurry tonight.
The Reds as a team have lost their last two games by a 13-6 count. It's time for them to look forward to next season.
Pick: Miami Marlins -0.5 - First 5 Innings (+165)
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