MLB Win Projections for 2015

Can the Royals duplicate their success of last year?

Can you believe teams have already reported for spring training in Florida and Arizona? Seems like the season just ended doesn’t it? Here are you season total win total projections from our friends at Bovada.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

Despite the changes, I like the UNDER.

Atlanta Braves – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      73½ (-115)

Under                                   73½ (-115)

The Braves always seem to find a way to succeed. Take the OVER.

Baltimore Orioles – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

I think they take a step back but go with the OVER.

Boston Red Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

The BoSox have upgraded in all the right places. Take the OVER.

Chicago Cubs – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Will the Cubs be better? Yes, but I’m not ready for over .500 so take the UNDER.

Chicago White Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I’m just not convinced this team is ready for recovery yet. Take the UNDER.

Cincinnati Reds – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

Take the UNDER as the Reds are still reshuffling the deck.

Cleveland Indians – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Take the OVER. I like the direction of the Indians.

Colorado Rockies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

I don’t see much to be positive about here. Take the UNDER.

Detroit Tigers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

It’s really hard to see them doing as well as recent years with injuries and pitching losses. Take the UNDER.

Houston Astros – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      74½ (-115)

Under                                   74½ (-115)

Arrow up on the Astros. I like the OVER.

Kansas City Royals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      79½ (-115)

Under                                   79½ (-115)

Can they repeat last year’s success? I say no. Take the OVER.

Los Angeles Angels – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      89½ (-115)

Under                                   89½ (-115)

Take the OVER. Big year coming from the Halos.

LA Dodgers
Can the Dodgers get over the hump and get to the World Series?

Los Angeles Dodgers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

It’s a big number but I’ll take the OVER.

Miami Marlins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I really like the OVER here as new additions boost the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

Take the UNDER in a super-competitive NL Central.

Minnesota Twins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      70½ (-115)

Under                                   70½ (-115)

Managerial change brings instability. Take the UNDER.

New York Mets – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

What reason have they given me to be excited? Take the UNDER.

New York Yankees – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

If A-Rod can contribute without being a problem, I like the OVER.

Oakland Athletics – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      80½ (-115)

Under                                   80½ (-115)

They stumbled to the finish last year and it continues in 2015. Take the UNDER.

Philadelphia Phillies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      68½ (-115)

Under                                   68½ (-115)

Can they really be this bad? Yes, take the UNDER.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Playoffs for two straight years in Pittsburgh and things look as good this season. Take the OVER.

San Diego Padres – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      85½ (-115)

Under                                   85½ (-115)

Fantastic additions but I’m still going UNDER.

San Francisco Giants – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

The defending champs have some offense to replace but I still like the OVER.

Seattle Mariners – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

Could the Mariners be the cream of the crop in the AL? Maybe and I’m taking the OVER.

St. Louis Cardinals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      88½ (-115)

Under                                   88½ (-115)

This number is really close for me. I’ll take the UNDER but barely.

Tampa Bay Rays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

I just don’t see this team improving much. Take the UNDER.

Texas Rangers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

With Profar likely out for the season I’ll take the UNDER.

Toronto Blue Jays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Lots of excitement in Canada about this team and rightfully so. I’ll take the OVER.

Washington Nationals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a World Series team. Take the OVER.

Alphabet Soup Today as I Hit on the NFL, MLB and the NCAA.

Was Odell Beckham's catch Sunday night the greatest ever? I'll leave that to you.

I can’t remember a time when one individual play, in a losing effort, garnered so much attention. But that was the case Sunday night when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants in Sunday Night Football.

The Cowboys winning should have been the story but instead it was the one-headed, falling backwards into the end zone grab by Giants’ rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

I’m going to spare all of you as to whether or not I believe it was the greatest football catch of all time but I will tell you it has to rank right up there among the top five. I leave the debating to you.

The one question I have for you is this; does Beckham make that catch without the use of gloves?

Pablo Sandoval looks to be headed to the Boston Red Sox.


Clearly the Boston Red Sox were not thrilled with their last place finish in the American League East this past baseball season. The BoSox appear to have infielder Hanley Ramirez ready to sign for five years and $90 million and now it seems they will lock up third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval is fresh off of another World Series Title with the San Francisco Giants and reportedly turned down offers from the Giants and San Diego that were very similar to what Ramirez is getting from Boston.

The Red Sox are also reportedly interested in bringing back lefty Jon Lester who went to the Oakland A’s in a mid-season trade this past season.

Should all three, or at least the first two happen, Boston is making it clear they are all-in for 2015.

NCAA Football

Because of his connections with the University of Florida going back decades, former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins’ Head Coach Mike Shanahan has been rumored to be a favorite of Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. My gut feeling tells me there is nothing here more than conjecture.

At 62 years old, I can’t see a major program like Florida starting over with Shanahan. If the program is much more damaged than we have been led to believe then I can see the hiring of Shanahan as a “stabilizing force” type of hire who cleans things up and then moves on. Still, I find his hiring difficult to believe.

The college football playoff committee will announce their latest rankings this evening and at this current point, the teams ranking five through eight might be more important. The top four should be Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State. The Seminoles and Ducks have already established spots in their respective conference title games and the Crimson Tide can punch their ticket with a win on Saturday over Auburn.

The teams that will be watching closely are Ohio State, TCU and Baylor among the one-loss teams. Of these teams, only Ohio State will have to play a conference title game. The real controversy of course is between Baylor and TCU. The Bears own the head-to-head win but the committee is more impressed by TCU’s level of competition and of late has had them ranked higher.

The Buckeyes continue to be the most intriguing one-loss team looking up in the rankings. Their level of competition is pretty weak compared to other teams and their lone loss (to 5-6 Virginia Tech) looks worse and worse every week. Ultimately it could keep them out of the four-team playoff.

Of the tw0-loss teams still holding out hope, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA would seem to be the front-runners. Each of those teams is going to require a lot of help however.

Boston vs St. Louis World Series Preview

The 2014 World Series starts Wednesday and will feature the American League Champion Boston Red Sox versus the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals.

The two clubs have not played interleague games since 2008, but have met three times in the World Series. St. Louis won in 1946 and 1967 in seven game series and Boston swept the Cardinals in 2004.

Boston will be seeking its third title over the past 10 seasons, while St. Louis is attempting to win their second in three years and third in seven seasons.

Each of the clubs had 97 wins during the regular season, which tied them for the best records in baseball.

The Cardinals scored the most runs, 783, in the National League, while the Red Sox led the majors in runs scored with 853.

The World Series rule where the DH will be used in the AL park and not in NL park will raise questions for both teams.

St. Louis has any number of candidates and adding an extra bat to their lineup during away games can only help them.

For Boston, when they play in St. Louis without the DH they will have tough decisions to make. Will David Ortiz be held out of the lineup or will he play first base and cause Mike Napoli to sit. Napoli has played well and hit two home runs in the ALCS.

The starting pitching has to give St. Louis an advantage. Adam Wainwright a candidate for the Cy Young Award is their ace. The Red Sox will have Jon Lester as their ace, along with Clay Buchholz.

St. Louis is looking for its 12th title in the World Series after winning pennant No. 19 for the franchise. The Cardinals have been fantastic in elimination games. Over the past three seasons, when facing elimination, the Cardinals are 8-1.

Boston won its 13th pennant to reach this point. The Red Sox have been consistent all season never losing more than 3 straight games at any time the entire season.

Only David Ortiz remains from the team that won the World Series in 2004, however, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz all played on the 2007 title winning team.

According to odds makers on Bovada, Boston is the favorite to win the series.

The Red Sox are currently on -135, while the Cardinals have a +115 money line to win.

Pick: Boston in six 4-2

Huge College Games, ALCS Highlight Saturday Sports Action

How will Tyler Murphy handle the crazy crowd in the Death Valley?

It’s going to be really hard to avoid watching an SEC game today. The nation’s best football conference has been a heart specialist’s dream so far this season. Going back to Bama-A&M, LSU-Georgia and Georgia-Tennessee, the SEC has provided a number of high-scoring and heart attack inducing games.

Today looks like that very well may happen again. Florida goes into Death Valley to play LSU who is but a three-point loss from being unbeaten right now. With QB Jeff Driskel out for the season, how will QB Tyler Murphy handle the crowd in Baton Rouge?

Georgia could find itself in yet another shootout as 5-0 Missouri comes to Athens today. The Bulldogs have sustained some horrible injuries in the last couple of weeks but they continue to persevere. Both teams are scoring points at will so this could come down to who can get crucial stops and turnovers at the right time.

Out west, Oregon faces their stiffest test in a trip to Washington. The Huskies battled last week before finally losing by three points to Stanford. With D’Anthony Thomas questionable with an injury, the Ducks appear to be less than 100% which is why so many think the Huskies will pull the upset today in Seattle. I’m not sold on that.

What was once always the game of the day regardless of whom else was playing; Texas and Oklahoma meet in the Cotton Bowl to renew the Red River Rivalry. The game has certainly lost its’ luster with Texas struggling the way they are. In fact, there are many ‘Horns fans who are quietly hoping for a blowout in hopes that the loss would seal the fate of Mack Brown.

I expect Texas to fight hard today, but Oklahoma is once again playing great defense and has the threat of both the run and pass on offense. Texas’ fans may actually get their wish.

Lester takes the hill in game one of the ALCS against Detroit.

In Major League Baseball, the American League Championship Series gets underway tonight in Boston. The NLCS started last night with St. Louis getting a 3-2 win over Los Angeles.

The Tigers enter the ALCS off the spectacular pitching performance of Justin Verlander. While his regular season was very average by his standards, he has now pitched 15 straight innings without giving up a run in the playoffs. Dating back to September 15th, he hasn’t given up a run in that span either.

Boston will offer different challenges however because of their offense. Ranked number one in baseball, the Red Sox and Fenway Park will also create a tougher environment than the Tigers faced in Oakland. The two ballparks couldn’t be more different and Detroit will need to adjust.

With Verlander on rest and Max Scherzer scheduled for game two, Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland will go with Anibal Sanchez to oppose Tim Lester in game one. Sanchez was as dominant as any Tigers’ pitcher in the second half of the season but was roughed up by the Athletics in game three of the ALDS.

Lester went seven and two-thirds against Tampa Bay giving up just two earned runs in the Red Sox 12-2 win. Both of those runs came via the long ball which should concern Manager John Farrell a bit considering the Tigers penchant for going deep. Lester will need to keep the ball down and keep the hitters off balance.

Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera showed some signs of life hitting a huge two-run homer in the deciding game five in Oakland. It’s no secret he has been battling injuries.

Both teams can score runs, have good starting pitching and have very good closers. The difference I believe will be in the middle relief where the Sox have a clear advantage. This could go seven but I’ll take Boston.

Who I’m Buying and Selling Early in the Baseball Season

Troy Tulowitzki


Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki and the Rockies lead the National League West.

Despite the fact that both the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association both play very long regular seasons, even they can’t compare with the marathon that is Major League Baseball. The 162 games played by the big-leaguers is a long, grueling amount of baseball that starts cold, gets hot and then ends when the frost on the pumpkins starts becoming a norm.

Through the first three plus weeks of the MLB season, there are several things to analyze in moving forward. Who is at the top of the standings that shouldn’t be? Who is at the bottom that shouldn’t be and who is stuck right where we thought they’d be?

If you’re thinking of putting some money down on teams that a month ago you would have said “no way” too then let’s take a look. If you already laid money on teams that are struggling, there’s still time, but I would start worrying a bit.

Who am I buying and who am I selling?

Colorado Rockies – Colorado ranks first in batting average and first in slugging percentage. They also rank 2nd in runs scored and 2nd in fielding percentage. The Rockies have played nine games at home and nine games away. This shows they aren’t just taking advantage of the mile high air in Denver because they are above .500 on the road too. The only issue long-term is pitching where starter Jhoulys Chacin is now on the 15-dauy DL.

With the Dodgers and D-Backs middling around .500 only the Giants are a legitimate threat right now. That will change over the long haul, but with the current offensive pace I have to like the Rockies chances. Verdict: Buying.

Boston Red Sox – Let’s be real here, not many people thought much of the Red Sox heading into the season. Many experts had the Sox and Yanks at the bottom of the division thinking injuries and Father Time would have caught up to them. Yet here is Boston sitting atop the American League East.

Clay Bucholz and Jon Lester have been really good on the hill through the first month of the season and the team is actually playing better on the road then they are in Fenway Park. While I think they’ll need to improve their 15th overall ranking in slugging percentage, I like them to keep things going for the duration if the health stays up. Manager John Farrell has made a big difference. Verdict: Buying


Prince Fielder
Fielder is doing his part but the Tigers’ bullpen needs help.

Detroit Tigers – At 9-9 and coming off a sweep at the hands of a previously struggling Anaheim Angels team, there is cause for concern in Motown. Obviously the offense is not typically a problem as they rank 4th in the majors in batting average but their 22nd ranking in slugging percentage is cause for concern.

Prince Fielder is doing his share, but Victor Martinez is struggling and that needs to change. The most pressing issue for Detroit is their bullpen which has already blown several games. With no closer and a shaky middle relief section I’m suddenly not so confident in this team. Only thing saving them is a weak division. Verdict: Selling (for now)

Los Angeles Dodgers – At 8-10 the heavy favorites in the National League West are struggling in large part due to injuries to pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Now Chad Billingsley is on the DL with elbow issues.

If pitching were the only problem they might survive, but their offense is lacking now too. They currently rank 27th in slugging percentage and 29th in runs scored.  Teams with the payroll of Los Angeles should usually overcome these injuries but not even they are exempt. Verdict: Selling

Monday MLB Quick Picks: April 15, 2013

If you aren’t in the baseball spirit already, it’s about time to get pumped for a long spring and summer filled with action on the sun-drenched diamond. With the NBA and NHL playoffs about to get underway, most of the attention will be turned in that direction in the coming weeks, but until then you’ll be able to enjoy all the MLB offerings, including a nine-game slate today that is simply dying to be wagered on. Oblige it by checking out our quick picks!

Tampa Bay Rays +1.5 at Boston Red Sox -1.5

The Sox have gotten off to a decent 7-4 start while the Rays have struggled at 4-7. The Rays rotation – which was so solid a year ago – has gotten beat up so far this season, but don’t expect that to continue. Despite their records, the Rays are the better and they should start to put together some wins. Take Tampa to cover +1.5 here.

Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 at Cincinnati Reds +1.5

The Reds are certainly one of the favorites in the NL this season, but the Phillies look like an improved team ready to make a run. Cliff Lee is getting the ball for Philly today and considering how brilliant he has been in his first two starts – with a 2-0 record and 1.08 ERA – it would be hard to go against him and the Phils here. Take the Phillies to cover -1.5.

Chicago White Sox +1.5 at Toronto Blue Jays -1.5

Mark Buehrle has been absolutely shelled in his first two outings for the Blue Jays, as Toronto has failed to live up to preseason expectations – at least so far. However, we know how good of a pitcher he is and against his old team – a team he is undoubtedly familiar with – he should perform much better. Look for the Jays to win this one and cover -1.5.

St. Louis Cardinals -1.5 at Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5

Pittsburgh was one of my dark horse picks coming into the season and although they haven’t been great so far, they certainly posses the kind of young up-and-coming talent that could shake up the NL Central. Plus, they have home field today, so take Pittsburgh to cover +1.5 here.

Los Angeles Angels -1.5 at Minnesota Twins +1.5

It’s been a bumpy 3-8 start for the Angels, but they simply have too much talent to stay in their current rut. Look for L.A. to begin to pick up the pieces and earn the win against the Twins, covering -1.5.

Washington Nationals -1.5 at Miami Marlins +1.5

This may be one of the more lopsided match-ups of the day, with basement dweller Miami hosting one of the favorites to win the NL pennant, Washington. Jordan Zimmermann is getting the ball for the Nats today and he has dazzled so far this year, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his first two starts. Look for more of the same from him and for the Nationals to earn the win, covering -1.5.

Houston Astros +1.5 at Oakland A’s -1.5

Houston is expected to be the league’s worst team for the second straight season, so this should be a pretty easy one considering how well the A’s are playing. Take Oakland to cover -1.5.

New York Mets +1.5 at Colorado Rockies -1.5

The Rockies have enjoyed a surprisingly fast start and against the Mets, they should continue to find more success, especially at home and against starter Dillon Gee, who got rocked in his first outing for seven earned runs. Look for Colorado’s power hitters to rock Gee and earn the win, covering -1.5.

San Diego Padres +1.5 at Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

Carlos Quentin will not be in the lineup tonight for San Diego after receiving an eight-game suspension for charging the mound and injuring L.A.’s new star pitcher Zack Greinke. That will hurt the Padres and they were already at a huge disadvantage playing at Dodger Stadium, so take the Dodgers to win this one and cover -1.5.


MLB Opening Day!

Major League Baseball is back!

The 2013 season officially got underway last night with the Houston Astros defeating the Texas Rangers 8-2, but with 24 teams throwing out their first pitches of the year today, Monday marks Opening Day and the beginning of the long, but beautiful 162-game MLB schedule. Here are today’s match-ups and our quick picks:

Boston Red Sox +1.5 at New York Yankees -1.5

Look for the Sox to get their season started off right and upend the injury-ridden Yankees by covering +1.5.

Miami Marlins +1.5 at Washington Nationals -1.5

The Nationals are going to be the team to beat in the NL this year. Look for them to earn their first win today and cover -1.5.

San Diego Padres +1.5 at New York Mets -1.5

The Mets should be able to take care of the Padres at home. Take New York to cover -1.5.

Kansas City Royals +1.5 at Chicago White Sox -1.5

The Royals should be improved this season, but against Chris Sale and the Sox, they’ll struggle getting out of the gate with a win. Take the White Sox to cover -1.5.

Detroit Tigers -1.5 at Minnesota Twins +1.5 

The Tigers are one of the favorites in the AL and that’s because they have Justin Verlander. Since he’s pitching today, things don’t look good for the Twins. Take Detroit to cover -1.5.

Chicago Cubs +1.5 at Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5

We saw a huge improvement from the Pirates last year. Look for them to continue to get better with a win today.

Seattle Mariners +1.5 at Oakland A’s -1.5

With King Felix on the hill, the Mariners should be able to at least keep things close against Oakland. Take Seattle to cover +1.5.

Colorado Rockies +1.5 at Milwaukee Brewers -1.5

The Brew Crew is a bit too powerful in their own park for a team like Colorado. Take the Brewers to cover -1.5.

San Francisco Giants +1.5 at Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

If you remember, the defending champs got off to a little bit of a slow start last year. Expect the same today as the Dodgers get the win.

Philadelphia Phillies +1.5 at Atlanta Braves -1.5

The Braves made some key acquisitions in the offseason. Look for them to pay off right away as they earn the win.

St. Louis Cardinals +1.5 at Arizona Diamondbacks -1.5

The Cardinals have too much firepower to lose to Arizona, even on the road. Take St. Louis to get this one.

Los Angeles Angels +1.5 at Cincinnati Reds -1.5

The Angels are more stacked than ever, but Johnnu Cueto shut down everybody last season. Expect him to do the same and guide the Reds to an Opening Day win.


Penultimate Day of MLB Regular Season

For the Baltimore Orioles to win the AL East, Jon Lester and the Red Sox will need to pick off the Yankees today and tomorrow. That's a tough ask.

Just four days ago no American League team had booked its place in the postseason. Now we know all five competitors. We just don’t know who enters as division winners and who enters as Wild Cards.

Meanwhile, with much of the National League postseason having been booked for nearly two weeks, there’s still one place to play for with just two games left to play. It’s down to the Cardinals to hold off the Dodgers in this one.

When you wake tomorrow (Wednesday), all of this could be sorted. That means tonight could be your last chance for meaningful MLB betting. Well, until the postseason begins on Friday with the inaugural second Wild Card round.


Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees

(7:05 PM ET)

Pitching matchup: Jon Lester (9-14, 4.94 ERA) Vs. David Phelps (4-4, 3.34 ERA)

Following Monday night’s win, New York (93-67, 49-30 home) needs just one win to secure the AL East title. The Yankees have two tries against the Red Sox to record that win.

Whilst Boston (69-91, 34-47 road) has little to play for – finishing above Toronto?­ ­– spoiling the Yankees’ division hopes would be just fine by the Bean Town faithful.

Lester will be grateful for the end of the season, along with a lot of Red Sox players, although a win tonight would at least give him a winning record (2-1) against the Yankees this season.

Phelps will also be looking for a 2-1 record over the Sox as he replaces the struggling Ivan Nova – not what the Yankees need heading into play this weekend.

Over the next two games, Curtis Granderson (40) needs one homerun to tie last season’s output and two for a career best.

Take: NEW YORK — everybody wants the race with Baltimore to go down to game 162 but the Yankees will spoil with a win tonight, before reorganizing the rotation.


Baltimore Orioles @ Tampa Bay Rays

(7:10 PM ET)

Pitching matchup: Miguel Gonzalez (8-4, 3.45 ERA) Vs. James Shields (15-9, 3.62 ERA)

With Tampa Bay (89-71, 45-34 home) eliminated from the postseason race on Sunday, last night’s 5-3 win over Baltimore (92-68, 45-34 road) did nothing but hand the Yankees a lead in the AL East.

Baltimore now needs to win to avoid playing the one-game playoff against Oakland/Texas on Friday. With ‘Big Game James’ on the mound it doesn’t look good for the Orioles, who counter with Miguel Gonzalez.

That being said, Baltimore has made a habit of winning in the unlikeliest of circumstances this season and Tuesday looks like another chance for fans to ‘Buck-le Up’.

Take: BALTIMORE — the Yankees may well take the AL East but a win is important if the Orioles are to host the Wild Card game on Friday. A loss would mean a long trip out west.


Texas Rangers @ Oakland Athletics

(10:05 PM ET)

Pitching matchup: Matt Harrison (18-10, 3.26 ERA) Vs. Travis Blackley (5-4, 4.25 ERA)

They’ve threatened it for months but it now looks like Oakland (92-68, 48-31 home) could actually snatch the AL West crown from Texas (93-67, 43-36 road).

Last night’s 4-3 win over the Rangers put the A’s just one game back with two to play. Texas didn’t expect to be playing back-against-the-wall baseball this late in the season but it’s been a funny old year.

Matt Harrison’s uneven season has still spawned an impressive 18 wins, but the A’s will know that they can get at him. Blackley got beat up last time out against the Yankees so he has the potential to either lockdown and take charge, or mentally slip a step and blow this one. Trying to pick between these two is an absolute crap shoot.

Take: OAKLAND –This one deserves to go down to the last day of the season, not least because seeing two competitors face each other on the final day is about as perfect as it gets. Texas, by the skin of their teeth, will get out with the division though.


Cincinnati Reds @ St. Louis Cardinals

(8:15 PM ET)

Pitching matchup: Mat Latos (13-4, 3.52 ERA) Vs. Chris Carpenter (0-1, 3.27 ERA)

St. Louis (87-73, 49-30 home) has had command of the second Wild Card spot since mid-August. Just one win puts the Cardinals back in the postseason with a chance to repeat.

You’d forgive Cincinnati (96-64, 46-33 road) for resting up and getting ready for Sunday’s NLDS opener with San Francisco. That’s not going to happen though. The Reds want homefield advantage throughout and to do so they must better Washington’s record over two games.

Chris Carpenter will take the mound in his third start, having been injured most of the season. It’s a bold move putting a ‘cold’ pitcher out there, and it will be a decision that could decide the Cards’ fate.

Take: CINCINNATI — Mat Latos and Co. will want to finish strong and will be too much for St. Louis tonight. St. Louis needn’t worry though…


San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers

(10:10 PM ET)

Pitching matchup: Barry Zito (14-8, 4.19 ERA) Vs. Chris Capuano (12-11, 3.69 ERA)

By hook or by crook, the Dodgers (85-75, 44-35 home) have somehow managed to stay in the postseason hunt until the very end. Granted, there was a time where it looked like this series would decide the division, but L.A. will take an in any way they can get it.

San Francisco (93-67 45-34 road) meanwhile has nothing to play for. The Giants know they’ll be visiting Washington or Cincinnati on Saturday, and that’s all they need to know. However…

You don’t think the Giants would revel in eliminating the Dodgers from contention? Of course they would. That’s what rivalries are all about. And with Barry Zito on the mound, that’s what’s likely to happen.

Take:  SAN FRANCISCO — Los Angeles’ six-game win streak comes to an end with bitter consequences, made worse that the Giants are postseason bound.

St. Louis Close in NL; Still Everything To Play For In AL

Eight days will decide it all.

There are only eight days left in the Major League Baseball regular season calendar and there’s still a whole heap of questions to be answered. The National League is all but set, but the American League is still as competitive as it comes.

In eight days’ time, all will be decided. Well, it might take a ninth day; who’d bet against a playoff game to get into the Wild Card playoff game? Chicago; Detroit: we’re all looking at you.


National League Wrap Up Close

Wednesday has a schedule chock full of important games.

In the National League, Atlanta wrapped up a postseason berth with a win over Miami on Tuesday. The Braves can finally exorcise the demons of last September and prepare themselves for that one game playoff, unless they can make up four games on the Nationals that is.

Atlanta’s success – alongside Washington, Cincinnati and San Francisco already qualifying – leaves just one NL postseason berth up for grabs. That spot looks every bit like it’s going to go to St. Louis (84-71, 38-42 road), who plays in Houston (50-105, 34-46 home) tonight. The Cardinals have gone about it quietly as well. The focus has been on the Dodgers and their megabucks spending, leaving St. Louis to get the job done. Expect the Red Birds to do likewise in tonight’s game.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (79-75, 39-40 road) meanwhile have made the trip south down Interstate 5 to San Diego (74-80, 41-35 home). The Padres – who are no slouches at home – took Tuesday’s series opener and enters the second as favorites. Los Angeles needs a win or else they can wave goodbye to any postseason hopes. Actually, at four games back of the Cardinals, they need a miracle. Take them to win this game though.

Milwaukee (79-75, 33-46 road) visits Cincinnati (93-61, 49-30 home). The Reds may have locked up their postseason berth last week, but the team is still looking to finish with the best record in the National League. Don’t expect them to roll over in this one. Like Los Angeles, the Brewers are four games back of the Cards so anything less than a win is postseason suicide. The Reds will take this one behind Bronson Arroyo (12-8, 3.63 ERA) though, effectively eliminating Milwaukee from contention.


AL Central Race Couldn’t Be Closer

Tuesday saw Detroit win and Chicago lose. The result? A tie at the top of the AL Central.

Detroit (82-72, 48-31 home) hosts Kansas City (70-84, 36-42) in the third of four meetings this week. The Tigers have taken the first two. With Rick Porcello (9-12, 4.57 ERA) going up against Jeremy Guthrie (7-12, 4.80 ERA) this will hardly be a pitching duel. Take the Tigers to win a high-scoring affair.

Chicago White Sox (82-72, 44-32 home) plays Cleveland (64-91, 30-50 road) in the rubber game of the set. The White Sox have managed to stave off Detroit’s surges over the past two months, but they may not do so tonight. Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.45 ERA) has barely pitched over the past two weeks. His rustiness could cost the White Sox in this one.


AL East To Go Down to the Wire

The race between the Yankees and Orioles has swung in New York’s favor over the past week or so, but the Birds are hanging in there.

The New York Yankees (89-65, 41-35 road) play Minnesota (65-90, 30-47 home) this afternoon (1:10 PM ET) in the third of four, with the set having been split at one-apiece already. This one looks like a no-brainer betting-wise. C.C. Sabathia (13-6, 3.47 ERA) will take the mound and the Yankees will ultimate come out with a win that will equate to a two-game lead by the time Baltimore takes the field.

Baltimore (88-67, 43-34 home) hosts Toronto (68-86, 32-48 road) in the final game of a series that has seen the Jays take two out of three from the O’s. Expect a bounce-back performance after two straight losses and that gap closing to 1.5 games again. This race could go down to early next week.


AL Wild Card Looking Clearer

It’s looking less likely that the loser of the Detroit/Chicago race will make the playoffs. It’s also looking more and more like the loser of the Yankees/Orioles race will. That leaves one spot to play for.

That spot currently belongs to Oakland (87-67, 43-36 road) who looks to beat Texas (91-63, 48-28 home) tonight. The hometown Rangers are favorites despite losing Tuesday night’s encounter. With four head-to-head games left between the two after tonight, an Oakland loss effectively hands the AL West title to Texas, and leaves Oakland trying to hang on to the Wild Card place. Take a Texas win tonight.

Los Angeles Angels (85-69, 45-34) will need to beat Seattle (72-82, 34-42 road) to stay in the race, although it’s looking more and more unlikely we’ll be seeing the Halos after next Wednesday. Felix Hernandez (13-8, 2.85 ERA) goes for the Mariners, and could be a thorn in the L.A. side. He won for the first time in September last time out. Take the Mariners for the upset win.

Tampa Bay (84-70, 40-36 road) has compiled a six-game winning streak and will need to beat Boston (69-86, 34-46 home) if their very slim chances of making the postseason are to remain intact. The Red Sox have managed to put dents in both New York and Baltimore’s run to the postseason so expect them to do the same to the Rays tonight. The fate of Joe Maddon and Co. lies in Texas beating up on Oakland this week and next.

Busy Day in Baseball Has Postseason Contenders On Show


If anybody had any lingering doubts about whether the additional Wild Card place this year was a good thing, they need only look at the standings as we head into the final two weeks of the regular season.

No fewer than 10 teams in the National League have a valid shot at making the postseason, while eight teams in the American League are in with a chance. Everything really is still to play for.

Here’s a look at some of the important games on tap Tuesday night. If you’re thinking of placing a wager or two, you’ve got plenty to contemplate first; no fewer than 14 of the 15 games feature teams still in the postseason hunt.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals

Jordan Zimmerman takes the mound for Washington against Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (76-71, 36-36 road) visits Washington (89-57, 44-27 home) on the back of a 4-game split with St. Louis. The Cardinals remain one game up in the race for the final Wild Card place – Atlanta has all but wrapped up the first Wild Card. Winning in Washington is essential, especially with a tough trip to Cincinnati following.

The Dodgers may have a chance on Tuesday night as Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmerman (10-8, 3.01 ERA) looked tired last time out. Aaron Harang (9-9, 3.79 ERA) takes the mound for L.A. and has been consistent at keeping his team in the game if not winning.

Los Angeles swept Washington in a 3-game set at the end of April. The Nationals are sitting on three straight losses to the Braves, who are closing the gap in the NL East. Take Los Angeles to upset the Nationals in this one. Take the under on 8 runs.

Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates

After a late surge, Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers (74-72, 28-43 road) are somehow back in the mix for a postseason berth. They head into Tuesday’s game tied with Pittsburgh (74-72, 42-30 home) at 2.5 games out of the final Wild Card place.

Pittsburgh has gone into free fall over the last month and now looks unlikely to be play on in October. However, with their ace A.J. Burnett (15-7, 3.66) taking the mound on Tuesday they look a good bet to squeeze past the Brewers. Take the underdog Pirates at +105 in this one. Take the over on 7.5 runs.

National League Round Up: Atlanta (85-63, 42-31 road) is favored over Miami (65-83, 34-39 home) and looks a safe bet. Ian Kennedy pitches for Arizona (72-74, 36-36 home) giving the D’Backs a decided advantage over San Diego (71-76, 31-41 road). St. Louis (77-70, 43-29 home) hosts Houston (48-99, 16-56 road) and should win in what will be the Astros’ 100th loss of the year. Philadelphia (74-74, 37-37 road) will be underdog in New York but Monday night’s win will spur the Phillies on to victory.


Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers

Detroit will look to Max Scherzer to lead the team to a much-needed victory over Oakland.

Detroit (77-69, 43-28 home) lost in Monday night’s rescheduled game in Chicago, dropping the Tigers to three games back of the AL Central-leading White Sox. It’s now looking increasingly unlikely Detroit will be playing come October.

Oakland (84-62, 40-31 road) on the other hand continues to hold tight to its postseason hopes. A series win over Baltimore, and an 8-2 record over the last 10 has the A’s headed for Detroit on a roll. Expect a slight bump in the road as Max Scherzer (16-6, 3.77 ERA) takes the mound on Tuesday night. Go with the favorite Tigers in this one.

Texas Rangers @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Texas (87-59, 40-32 road) has been quiet of late. That’s what happens when you consistently go about your business. The Rangers have led the AL West since April 9, and rarely looked like relinquishing that lead. Oakland currently sits three games back, and has seven still to play against the Texas side, so it’s not quite a done deal yet.

Tuesday sees the Rangers enter a game as a rare underdog, something that can be attributed to Jered Weaver (17-4, 2.74 ERA) taking the mound for the Angels (80-67, 40-32 home). Without Weaver, the Angels would have been long-gone in the hunt for the postseason. As it stands, the Orange County side is just three games back of the final Wild Card berth. Despite the pitcher’s record, take Texas in this one. This is a team looking to close out.

American League Round Up: Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.22 ERA) returns from injury to start for the Yankees (83-63, 43-29 home). The Bombers are favored over Toronto (66-79, 30-41 road) and there’s very little to suggest going against the odds. Tampa Bay (78-69, 39-33 home) has fallen behind the pace and will need to beat Boston (67-81, 34-38 road) to stay in the hunt. Monday night’s loss was a reminder that the Red Sox can still play spoiler. Take the favored Rays in this one though. Meanwhile, expect Baltimore and the White Sox to win respectively.