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Giants vs. Brewers Odds & Prediction from Larry Ness: August 22nd 2017

San Francisco Giants vs. Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Prediction: SF -102 odds (August 22nd 2017)

Milwaukee had won six of seven to climb back to within two games of the Cubs, as the Brewers began a three-game road series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Yes, the Giants owned MLB’s third-worst record plus MLB’s worst moneyline mark but the Brewers had lost nine of their last 10 at AT&T Park. Make that 10 of their last 11, as  the Brewers wasted an excellent effort from staff ace Zach Davies (6 IP / 2 unearned runs allowed) by being held to just four singles in a  2-0 loss.The setback dropped Milwaukee 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs (idle on Monday) in the NL Central, as well as 3 1/2 back of Arizona for the second wild-card spot. San Francisco improved to 3-2 on its seven-game homestand but at 51-76 on the season, who really cares.

Jimmy Nelson (9-6, 3.74 ERA) will take the mound for Milwaukee against San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.79 ERA). Nelson was 9-5 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 158 strikeouts in his first 22 starts of the season but he’s coming off back-to-back poor outings (that’s being kind!), surrendering 15 runs (12 earned) on 19 hits over 10 innings in his last two starts, giving him a 10.80 ERA. Nelson evened his career record against San Francisco at 2-2 on June 7, when he gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings of a 6-3 victory. Samardzija has won four of his last five starts but even after a solid stretch, the Giants are just 11-14, minus-$524 in his 25 starts this season.

Samardzija remains a consistent underachiever but he does seem to be on a little bit of roll, while the ‘wheels have come off’ for Nelson in his last two starts. There is also the issue of Nelson’s 4.22 ERA compared to his 3.39 home ERA. The Giants can only play the role of spoiler the last 1 1/2 months of the season but my bet is that they play that role well, here.

Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels MLB Pick from Will Rogers: August 21st 2017

Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels
MLB Pick: LAA -147 odds (August 21st 2017)

The set-up: The LA Angels  were able to survive with Mike Trout on the DL and since his return right after the break, have been able to make a strong push into wild card contention. Los Angeles capped a 7-2 road trip with Sunday’s 5-4 win at Baltimore and returns home having won nine of 11 overall to earn a virtual tie for the second AL wild card spot with Minnesota (both sit 2 1/2 games back of the Yankees, owners of the top wild card spot). The Mariners and Royals are 1 1/2 games back of the Angels and Twins, while the Rangers, who visit Anaheim tonight for the first contest of a four-game series, are lurking 2 1/2 games back of both LA and Minny. Texas has won five of its last seven but was held scoreless until the ninth inning of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

The pitching matchup: Cole Hamels (8-1 & 3.48 ERA) takes the mound for Texas and Tyler Skaggs (1-3 & 3.63 ERA) for the Angels. Hamels spent about two months on the DL but since struggling in his first start back on the mound in late June, owns a 6-1 mark with a 2.93 ERA in nine starts since the beginning of July (Texas is 7-2).  Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels (teams are 4-3). Skaggs will be activated from the bereavement list to make his fourth start since returning from disabled list after missing 85 games with an oblique strain. He’s 0-2 (team is 1-2) since returning to the mound on Aug. 5 but he’s pitched much better than his record with a 2.93 ERA in his three outings. Skaggs is 2-1 with a 5.46 ERA in six career starts against Texas (teams are 4-2).

The pick: Hard to find fault with Hamels but the Angels look more and more like a wild card team every day. Take the Angels.

Diamondbacks vs. Mets Betting Odds & Pick from Mike Lundin: August 21st 2017

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets
MLB Betting Pick: Arizona -126 odds (August 21st 2017)

Two struggling teams will do battle at Citi Field Monday night when the New York Mets host the Arizona Diamondbacks for the opener of their four-game series. The Mets are 1-6 in their last seven overall while the Diamondbacks are 1-5 in their last six overall. The D’Backs are still in postseason contention though, and this looks like a good series for them to get back on track.

Tonight Taijuan Walker (6-7, 3.83 ERA) will take the ball for Arizona. The D’Backs have lost each of his last seven starts and the 25 year old is 0-4 with a 4.33 ERA in those games, but note that he’s 4-4 behind a solid 3.30 ERA in 11 road starts this season. He held the Mets to two runs on two hits and six walks over five innings in the lone career meeting while with the Mariners back in 2014.

The Mets turn to Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.98 ERA) who is set to make his second start since being activated from the DL after missing more than six weeks with a hamstring injury. He was tagged with three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees his last time out, and I think the D’Backs will feast on the right-hander tonight.

My free pick is on the Arizona Diamondbacks ML.

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