Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, on at 1.48, to prevail at home against the Minnesota Twins. Both of these teams have performed well as of late, but this Wednesday contest tips in the Angels favour thanks to home field advantage. Los Angeles has been one of the best teams in the American League when at home (23-14). The Twins have been typically bad on the road (17-21).
The Angels’ prospects are further bolstered by Garrett Richards getting the pitching assignment. A former first round draft pick, Richards has developed into a front line Major League pitchers. He’s 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA and is just getting better as the season progresses. He’s 3-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his past five starts.
The Twins will counter with Yohan Pino, who will be making just his second start at baseball’s highest level. At 30-years-old Pino has toiled for parts of ten seasons in the minors to get this opportunity. While he looked good in his debut (seven innings; two runs allowed against the White Sox), there’s usually a good reason why it takes a player that long to ascend to the Majors. Against an Angels’ team that ranks second in the AL in run production, we’ll likely see that deficiency.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Detroit Tigers at 1.65 to win on the road at the Texas Rangers. The splits very much favour the Tigers in this game. Typically teams play their best at home and scuffle a bit on the road (see the “Home Run” pick above), but it’s the reverse for these two clubs. Detroit is an impressive 21-13 in away games, while the Rangers are a tepid 16-19. The Tigers came into this series with momentum having put up a recent string of four straight wins; in contrast the Rangers had lost five in a row through Monday.
The pitching matchup buttresses this pick. Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez is simply one of the game’s best pitchers at the moment. He led the AL in ERA last year (2.53) and has picked up where he left off in 2013, posting a 2.33 ERA through his first twelve starts. In particular, he’s been great as of late. He’s currently riding a streak of six straight quality starts (six or more innings pitched; three runs or less allowed). On May 23, he faced Texas and was great, throwing seven innings, while allowing just five hits and two runs (no walks) and striking out five.
In contrast, the Rangers must rely on Nick Tepesch. His overall numbers – 2-3 with a 4.38 ERA – aren’t good, but even more telling is his performance seems to be eroding as the season develops. In his past four starts he’s 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA.
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