Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, available at 1.57, to prevail on the road against the Texas Rangers.
There isn’t a lot of certainty in the fixtures for Friday, but the stark difference in momentum between the Angels and the Rangers make this as good a mismatch as you’ll find. Los Angeles has been one of baseball’s hottest teams. Coming into this weekend, they were 8-2 in their past ten games and 16-4 over their last twenty. Texas is the exact opposite. Over the same stretch, the club is a woeful 1-9 and 3-17.
Pitching-wise, the Angels’ Jared Weaver has been solid – albeit unspectacular – this year. He’s 9-6 with a 3.50 ERA, but what’s notable with the pitcher is his teammates have backed him well lately. Los Angeles has won each of Weaver’s last four starts.
Ravaged by injuries, the Rangers must depend on Miles Mikolas as their starting pitcher. He’s given little reason this year to suggest that’s a good decision. In two starts, he owns an appalling 12.46 ERA. Being at home probably won’t help the righty. In his one start at Globe Life Park in Arlington, he was tagged for nine runs and twelve hits in 3 1/3 innings by a weak-hitting Houston Astros team. The Angels, on the other hand, lead the American League in run scoring.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Milwaukee, look for the Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals combine for fewer than 7 runs; take it at 2.02.
While the Brewers and the Cardinals rank first and second, respectively, in the National League Central, there is reason for concern for both of their offenses. The Cardinals recently lost catcher Yadier Molina, who is a hitting catalyst for the club, to injury, and the Brewers success at the plate has stalled greatly as of late. In the past two weeks, Milwaukee is hitting .209 with a .262 on base percentage and a .331 slugging percentage.
The upshot is even under the best current conditions, both these teams might struggle for runs in their current state. Now, take a look at the pitching match-up and the likelihood of limited scoring is even greater. The Cardinals have Adam Wainwright going for them. The ace has been great all season, posting an 11-4 record and a magnificent 1.79 ERA.
His pitching adversary, Jimmy Nelson, is probably an unknown to most casual fans. But the Milwaukee starter has been a top prospect in that organization and has been impressive in his few big league opportunities. Over the past two years he’s seen action in five contests and owns a 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.