Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Seattle Mariners, on at 1.32, at home against the Houston Astros.
Every once in a while you get such a no-brainer option that, even if the odds aren’t great, you need to jump on it. This Monday match-up is one such instance.
On the pitcher’s mound for the Mariners is Felix Hernandez. The All-Star has been dominating all season (14-5 with a 2.18 ERA) and has been nearly as good in two relevant sub-categories: his pitching at home (2.26 ERA in fourteen starts) and his work against this Houston ball club in 2014 (2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched).
In Astros’ starter Brad Peacock, you get an exact opposite picture of performance in the same metrics. Overall, Peacock is 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA. On the road he is 1-5 with a 6.14 ERA and against the Mariners, the pitcher has a 6.35 ERA in 11 1/3 innings pitched.
Houston has played well over the last month, but this pitching mismatch should be enough for the Mariners.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Detroit, pick the Tigers and the Kansas City Royals to combine for more than 9 runs; take it at 2.00
Earlier this year a reader made fun of me for picking the Tigers in a game featuring this contest’s starter, Justin Verlander. The read said, “Of course, it’s obvious to go with Verlander.” Well, despite my belief in that game that the former Cy Young Award winner would bounce back from early season woes, he lost the contest and he’ll probably do so here. (Sorry reader, we were both wrong!)
While it’s been unclear all season whether it’s physical or mental, this will likely be Verlander’s worst season of his career as evidenced by his 4.80 ERA. He started poorly, and has not improving as the season progressed. In his past four outings, for example, he owns a 6.64 ERA. With the Tigers’ bullpen so weak, it’s hard to expect a good performance from the relieving corps as well.
On the other hand, the Tigers’ excellent lineup should do well against Royals’ pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Already this year, Detroit has smacked around Guthrie to the turn of a 7.59 ERA in two games. While Guthrie’s form hasn’t be terrible lately, it also hasn’t been great. He has a 4.13 ERA in his past five starts.
With Comerica Park grading out as an above-average run-scoring venue (it’s eleventh out of thirty Major League teams, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors), you should be able to look for a lot of scoreboard action in this one.