Home run (safest bet)
Go with the Los Angeles Dodgers to beat their cross-town rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at home at odds of 1.40
I return to this series for a second straight game on Tuesday with good reason: Clayton Kershaw goes for the Dodgers. Whether he’s facing good teams like the Washington Nationals or San Francisco Giants or stinkers like the Colorado Rockies or San Diego Padres, the results have been the same all season – near domination. In seventeen starts, he’s only given up more than three runs once and, even more impressive, he’s allowed either one or zero runs an astounding twelve times. His 13-2 record reflects a consistent ability to steer his club to victory.
Perhaps, if he was facing one of the Angels’ top pitchers, I might consider the American League’s Los Angeles club slipping by with a win. But it’s hard to have confidence in Hector Santiago who is 1-7 with a 4.16 ERA as a starting pitcher this year. The Angels bullpen has been improved considerably through acquisitions over the last month, but Santiago has a tendency to tax them as he’s only thrown as much as seven innings once all season.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Houston Astros, on at 1.82, to win on the road versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
Quietly, yet consistently, the Phillies have been one of baseball’s worse teams this year. In fact, despite the fact that we spend so much time talking about how bad the Astros are, Philadelphia has an only slightly better winning percentage. Both teams have identical 9-11 records over their past twenty game.
As a result, this could be a toss up if not for the fact that the Astros send Dallas Keuchel to the pitcher’s mound. Despite Houston’s dismal 2014 performance, Keuchel has found a way to win as illustrated by his 10-7 record. The left-hander possesses a 2.97 ERA and has been building steam since the beginning of the second half. In his three post-All Star Game starts he owns a 1.71 ERA.
The fact that Keuchel is left-handed should also benefit the starter. In 26 games against lefty starters, the Phillies have a .236 batting average, .297 on base percentage and .372 slugging percentage. While Philadelphia’s slugging is slightly better than against righties, the batting average and on base percentage are both notably lower. Philadelphia goes with Kyle Kendrick in this contest, which doesn’t instill much confidence. He’s 5-11 with a 4.92 ERA. In his last five games, he’s delivered a troubling 8.04 ERA.
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