Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - on at 1.55 - to win on the road against the Houston Astros.
The Angels come into this Tuesday game full of momentum. They’ve won six straight and during that stretch swept a four-game series against their biggest division rivals, the Oakland A’s. While that could mean a letdown when facing a much weaker Astros club, I don’t expect it here.
The Angels are an excellent road team (fourth out of fifteen teams in the American League), and this is a favorable pitching matchup. Despite an overall season that has been disappointing, Los Angeles pitcher C.J. Wilson has been rounding into form. His overall ERA is 4.46, but in his last five starts – which reflect a period after getting back in sync following a stint on the disabled list – Wilson has a 3.34 ERA.
As for the Astros’ Brad Peacock, he has looked neither good over the long haul (5.13 ERA for the season) nor in the recent past (5.84 ERA in his past five starts). Another big issue with Peacock, he doesn’t go deep into games. He hasn’t completed six innings of work in any of his past nine starts. That means the Astros’ subpar bullpen will be called into serious action, which doesn’t help Houston’s hopes.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Seattle Mariners – at 2.35 - to prevail on the road against the Oakland A’s.
Simply put, the A’s are in the midst of a freefall. After flying high for most of the first half, they were dismantled by the Angels this past weekend and now look like they’re going to have to fight to maintain a position for a wild card birth into the post-season.
The biggest problem for the A’s has been their hitting. Since trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox, they’ve seemed somewhat listless. That’s bad news as they face the Mariners’ James Paxton. The Canadian has been fantastic in seven Major League starts this year. Over that stretch he has a 1.83 ERA. He appears to be growing stronger with each outing. The evidence: in his past four appearances, he’s thrown an even more impressive 1.17 ERA.
Oakland A’s starter Sonny Gray has been excellent all season as evidenced by his 13-7 record and 3.03 ERA through twenty-seven starts. But there are signs that he’s starting to wear out. In his past five outings he possesses a 5.06 ERA. Most notable over that stretch is he’s walked thirteen batters in his last 32 innings. This suggests that there might be some fatigue diminishing his performance, which makes sense. He’s pitched 178 innings so far in 2014, which means he’ll likely surpass his career-high in innings pitched (last year between the Majors and the minors, he threw 182 1/3 innings).