Home run (Safe bet)
In Chicago, look for the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers’ lineups to score fewer than 7 runs in game one of their double header; go with the under at 1.91.
Every team may have a number one pitcher, but it seems so rare that said star squares up against an opposing aces thanks to schedules not aligning. But this Saturday contest gives us one such exciting clash.
Before this season, Max Scherzer was offered a lucrative extension by the Tigers. He turned it down, betting on himself that he’d have a strong year and merit even more money. It was a good wager as he’s 15-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 2014. Getting to square off against White Sox hitters should allow him to continue his fine work. In three meetings with Chicago this campaign, Scherzer has allowed only two runs in 21 innings pitched. In fact, he held the White Sox scoreless in each of his past two outings against them.
As good as Scherzer has been in 2014, Chris Sale has been better. The left-hander is 10-3 with an American League-leading 2.03 ERA. Over his past four starts he’s been very much on form (1.73 ERA) and, like Scherzer, can boast good work against his opponent in this game. In his one start against the Tigers this year, Sale allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of work. He also struck out ten batters.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the New York Yankees, on at 1.75, to win on the road versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
This pick is an endorsement of Michael Pineda’s work on the pitchers’ mound since coming back from injury. Pineda has delivered three very good starts in August after being shelved since April. All told, he’s allowed four runs and eleven hits in 17 1/3 innings (and has thrown particularly well in his two away starts, giving up two runs and seven hits in 11 2/3). Overall, the Yankees are an above-average road team and, coming into this series has played better over their past twenty games (11-9) than the Blue Jays (7-13).
Beyond Toronto’s poor recent run, Canada’s team has one of their weaker starters pitchers in Drew Hutchinson going in this contest. The right-hander is 8-11 with a 4.68 ERA and has really faltered in the second half of this season. While he had a 4.16 ERA at the All Star break, he’s posted a 6.13 ERA in seven starts since.