Home run (Safe bet)
Choose the New York Yankees (1.41) to win at home over the Baltimore Orioles. It seems that all I need to say are two words to support this Sunday pick: Masahiro Tanaka. No pitcher has given his team a better chance to win than Tanaka this season. He currently leads the American League in ERA at 1.99 and sports a sparkling 11-1 record. He’ll be pitching at home, where he’s 5-0 and with a 1.86 ERA. He’ll also be facing a team that’s never batted against him. With Tanaka’s impressive arsenal of pitches a lack of experience against the right-hander will severely hinder Orioles’ batters.
In case you need more supporting evidence for this one, the Yankees have played well as of late. Coming into this series, the club had won seven of its past ten games. Throw in the fact that Chris Tillman is pitching for the Orioles and you have more reason to doubt a Baltimore win. He has a 4.82 ERA this year and New York hitters own a healthy lifetime batting average of .286 in 106 plate appearances against the pitcher.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Houston Astros on the road at 2.00 to prevail over the Tampa Bay Rays. Neither of these teams have been too good overall this year, but the Astros are on the rise, while the Rays are stagnating. Consider this: coming into this series, the Rays were 10-20 in their past thirty games. Over that same stretch, the Astros have put up a much more reasonable 16-14 record.
Further helping the Astros’s cause is that their best starting pitcher gets the assignment here. Dallas Keuchel is 8-4 with a 2.63 ERA. He’s been so consistent this year. In his last eight appearances, he’s thrown seven quality starts (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed). What’s also notable is he goes deep into games, protecting leads himself rather than relying on his subpar bullpen.
In contrast, the Rays will be counting on starting pitcher Erik Bedard. The veteran left-hander has a mediocre 4.33 ERA in thirteen appearances. But he’s had troubles as of late. In his past two starts he’s given up a total of eight runs in eight innings of work. While Tampa Bays’ bullpen has been a source of strength over the past few years, that’s not been the case this season – they are below-average in terms of run prevention in 2014. This fact is very important because Bedard does not go deep into games. In his past seven games, he’s thrown as many as six innings just once.
Bet on all of today's MLB action now.