Home run (Safe bet)
Choose the home team New York Yankees, who are on at 1.45, to beat the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s really hard to bet against Yankees’ starter Masahiro Tanaka right now – especially when he’s facing the American League East’s last place team, the Tampa Bay Rays in this Saturday contest. Tanaka has been excellent in his brief Major League career. He’s posted a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed) in all five of his starts and has an array of pitches (especially his forkball) to strike out batters at will. He’s already struck out 46 in 35 2/3.
He gets a Tampa Bay Rays team that has been decimated by injuries to its pitchers. With Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson out for the season with arm injuries, the Rays have been forced to dig deep into the reserves for starting pitchers. The starter in this game is a perfect example. Jack Orodizzi has a 6.85 ERA and has a string of four appearances without delivering a quality start.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Look for the Boston Red Sox (1.67) will defeat the Oakland A’s at home.
Casual fans will think there’s nothing gutsy about this choice. After all, the Red Sox are the defending World Series champs, and they’re at home here. But take a look at the standings: Boston has lost more than they’ve won this year, while the A’s are comfortably at the top the American League West standings.
The difference maker hear is home field advantage. The A’s are going with Tommy Milone, who is notorious for being solid in Oakland and pretty poor elsewhere. In his career, he has a 3.25 ERA at the O.Co Coliseum and a 4.56 ERA elsewhere. In his one previous start in Boston two years ago, he was shelled for eight hits and eight runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Jon Lester has pretty even splits on the road compared to at home, but benefits here from being a left-hander. The A’s lineup has been a much stronger offensive force against right-handers. Moreover, Lester isn’t just any left; he’s one of the better ones in the American League. The two-time all-star had a 3.10 ERA, but his fielding independent pitching (a statistic that is considered particularly good at assessing performance) is even better at 2.55.