Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Oakland A’s, on at 1.40, at home against the Houston Astros.
While the odds aren’t great, if you’re looking for about as large a mismatch as possible, this Tuesday game is the one to wager on. The Oakland A’s are the best team in baseball and, while the Astros aren’t the absolute worst record-wise in the American League, they’re pretty close (second-to-last to be exact).
If you want to talk run production, these are two opposite clubs. Houston is last in the AL in runs per game, while the A’s are second in the circuit. If you’d rather talk home field advantage, the A’s are the top-two in the league in terms of home record, and the Astros are the worst team on the road when it comes to winning percentage.
As far as the starting pitching this is also a relatively one-sided affair. The A’s Scott Kazmir has been sparkling this year, posting an 11-3 record and a 2.38 ERA. Not to mention, in his last pitching performance, the left-hander threw a seven inning, three-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.
Don’t expect a similar performance from Houston’s Brett Oberholtzer. Though he’s not terrible, he hasn’t been anywhere as stellar as Kazmir. He’s 2-7 with a 4.50 ERA. It’s also worth mentioning that the last time he faced the A’s, he was tagged for eight hits and six runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Milwaukee, the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds will combine for fewer than 8 runs; go with it at 1.97.
The big X-factor here is Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson. A highly touted prospect, Nelson pitched expertly in his Major League debut on May 25, allowing no runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings versus the Miami Marlins. He was then sent back to the minors and when he returned on July 12, it was a different story as he was crushed for eight runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
I believe he’ll be closer to the ace he was the first time than what he showed against the Cardinals. The reason: Cincinnati is struggling at the plate. They have key hitters Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips injured and their hitting since the All-Star break reflects what losing those players means. In their first three second half games, the team has posted a .198 batting average, a .221 on base percentage and a .366 slugging percentage. In other words, they have not gotten it going.
The Brewers face a bit more of a known quantity in Homer Bailey. Bailey hasn’t been incredibly consistent this year as evidenced by his 4.21 ERA, but he appears to have gotten his groove on as of late. In his past four starts, he owns a 2.63 ERA.
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