Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates
The Atlanta Braves will continue to sharpen their game in preparation for the play-offs when they dispatch of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. Braves starter Paul Maholm, a former member of the Pirates, certainly has motivation pitching against his old team. He did well throwing against them at PNC Park on July 24, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings. Beyond that performance against Pittsburgh, Maholm has done well in a Braves uniform, posting a 3.65 ERA in ten starts.
As for Pittsburgh, they’ve fallen apart in the second half and have nearly nothing to play for after clinching a twentieth consecutive losing season on Sunday. Pirates starter Jeff Locke isn’t the type of hurler who will carry a demoralised Pittsburgh club to a victory on the back of a great performance. He’s 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA this year. Choose the Braves rather than the Pirates.
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
While the San Francisco Giants are just tuning up for the play-offs, the Los Angeles Dodgers are far more motivated as they cling to hopes of catching the St. Louis Cardinals for the final National League Wild Card spot. Despite that, the Giants will prevail in this one. Despite having less to play for, San Francisco, who have a long standing rivalry with Los Angeles, will be primed to prevent their nemeses from getting into the post-season.
It’ll help that Matt Cain takes the mound for San Francisco. While he’s not a favourite for the NL Cy Young award, he’s in the conversation and will be primed to make a final argument in his favour. Cain has been sharp as of late with a 2.18 ERA in his past nine starts. Harang has been solid in September (1-2 with a 3.10 ERA), but just not as good as Cain. Look for the Giants (1.81) to reign victorious over the Dodgers (2.00).