Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Seattle Mariners, on at 1.35, to win at home against the Houston Astros.
The Mariners give their ace Felix Hernandez the start in this game. He’s 5-1 with a 2.94 ERA, but, interestingly, he hasn’t pitched particularly well against Houston this year. In fact, his only loss came against the Astros back on April 21. With an ace like Hernandez, I do believe he’ll use that as motivation to up his game in this contest. After all, his loss to Astros could be considered a bit of a fluke (he gave up six runs in that game but only two were earned; in other words, his defence uncharacteristically let him down as those represent four of the seven unearned runs he’s given up all season.)
Even if Hernandez is a little less than dazzling, the Astros will need a good performance from their starter Brad Peacock. That’s unlikely. Peacock has a 5.20 ERA, but, even more troubling, he leads the American League with 30 base on balls allowed. Throw in the fact that Houston is a dismal road team (7-15 in away games), and this will be a tough one for the Astros to win.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Go with the Oakland A’s (1.72) on the road to win versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto has been a solid performer this season, and they are at home, which is typically an advantage, but neither will make a difference with the A’s in town. Here’s why: Oakland is fantastic road team (18-6) and is very good against teams with winning percentages over .500. In fact, they lead the American league with 22 wins against teams with more wins than losses. As for Toronto, they’ve been surprisingly bad at the Rogers Centre this season (10-11).
The pitching is also a plus for Oakland. The A’s starter Scott Kazmir has been excellent in 2014. In nine appearances he’s 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA. In contrast, Blue Jays’ pitcher Liam Hendricks doesn’t have a promising history – either in general or against the A’s. This will be his first career start for Toronto, but in 30 career appearances with the Minnesota Twins, he was 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA. In three lifetime games against Oakland he’s 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA.