Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins
Pick: Over 8 runs -110 odds (September 28th 2011)
A struggling Twins team ends their season on Wednesday when they host a surging Royals squad who is putting the finishing touches on a good September. Carl Pavano makes the start for Minnesota. He’s 8-13 with a 4.48 ERA and 18 Overs in 32 starts. Pavano faced the Royals on September 13th allowing four runs and 11 hits in seven innings. Overall, he’s 8-7 with a 5.62 ERA in 16 starts against the Royals with 10 of them going over the total. Billy Butler (20-45), Melky Cabrera (4-11), Johnny Giavotella (2-3), Jason Kendall (10-35), Mitch Maier (5-16) and Salvador Perez (1-3) all hit Pavano well. The Royals are hitting over .320 as a team in their last eight games and averaging nearly six runs per contest over that span. They have stayed Under the total just once since September 14th as their young hitters seem to be rounding into form. The Twins’ bullpen has an ERA near 4.60 at home this season and has converted only 60% of their save opportunities.
Bruce Chen is 6-5 with a 4.25 ERA in 11 road starts. He shut down the Twins at home on the 13th allowing just two hits and one walk in eight innings, however Chen’s last start in Minnesota was a rocky one allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings. Jason Kubel (4-11), Trevor Plouffe (2-6), Denard Span (5-10) and Danny Valencia (8-14) all hit the southpaw well. Minnesota has had a nice spurt of Overs, hitting six straight and eight of their last nine. They’ve scored five runs or more in four of their last six games. The Kansas City bullpen has 25 losses and 20 blown saves this season, so they are a bit inconsistent. Look for both offenses to continue to hit the ball well in their season finale tonight. Get more MLB picks from Steve Merril at Touthouse.com.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros
MLB Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals -174 odds (September 27th 2011)
The St. Louis Cardinals trail the Atlanta Braves by one game for the wild card spot in the National League. Obviously, this is a must-win situation for them and I like their chances with Jake Westbrook on the mound against the major league-worst Houston Astros (56-104). St. Louis was 10 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the wild card Aug. 24, but has won 21 of 30 since. Lance Berkman, who starred for the Astros from 1999-2010, is hitting .406 with five homers and 14 RBIs against Houston this season. All five home runs have been hit at Minute Maid Park. Westbrook is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in two starts this year versus the Astros, and 8-4 with a 3.61 ERA on the road. He didn’t get a decision despite a solid outing at home in his most recent outing Thursday, giving up one run in six innings before the bullpen allowed six runs in the ninth during an 8-6 loss to New York.
Henry Sosa is 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.400 WHIP in nine starts this season. Sosa is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.867 WHIP over his last three starts as well. He has yielded seven home runs while issuing 21 walks in 50 innings this season. The Astros are 6-28 when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) this season. The Cardinals are 8-3 in Westbrook’s last 11 starts following a team loss in their previous game. The Astros are 33-70 in their last 103 overall. Bet the Cardinals Tuesday.
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Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
MLB Pick: Baltimore Orioles +155 odds (September 27th 2011)
The Red Sox have lost 17 of their last 22 games as they continue their gagging act all the way to the end of the regular season. The oddsmaker knows the Red Sox are in must-win mode with the AL wildcard race now even between Boston and Tampa. So, once again, the Red Sox are way overpriced and there is tremendous value on the underdog. The Red Sox have dropped seven of their last eight road contests. Baltimore has proven to be a feisty ‘dog. The Orioles have won 10 of their last 14 games. These victories have come against excellent competition, too, as during this span the Orioles have defeated the Rays twice, Angels twice, Tigers twice while going 4-1 versus the Red Sox. The Orioles are taking these last two games as serious as the Red Sox are trying to learn what a September race is all about. Unlike the Red Sox, who have been way too tight feeling the pressure, the Orioles are loose, relaxed and at home. The pitching matchup is Erik Bedard versus Zach Britton. Boston is 3-7 in Bedard’s last 10 outings. Bedard has just a 15-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last four starts and is not experienced pitching in high-pressure situations. Britton’s pattern is good at home bad on the road. He is 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA when pitching at Camden Yards. The Orioles are 6-1 the past seven times Britton has taken the mound. Baltimore is 9-4 the last 13 times it has been an underdog. Not helping matters for Boston is a cluster injury situation at catcher. Jason Varitek missed last night’s Red Sox loss because of a knee injury. His replacement, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, had to leave the game after being struck in the throat by a foul ball. Get more MLB picks from Stephen Nover at Touthouse.com.
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox -1.5 -110 odds (September 26th 2011)
The Boston Red Sox came up with a huge 14-inning victory in Game 2 of their double-header yesterday, beating the Yankees 7-4 to stay one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild-card spot. I look for Boston to take a collective sigh of relief, and to come into Game 1 against Baltimore with confidence and a chip on their shoulder. The Red Sox lost three of four to Baltimore from 9/19-9/21 in their most recent series. They clearly won’t be taking this team lightly, and they’ll be looking for revenge tonight. Josh Beckett is going to be hungry as well after giving up a season-high six runs in 7 1/3 innings of a 4-6 loss to the Orioles on 9/21.
Beckett has been one of the best big-game pitchers in MLB history, and this is certainly a huge stage here tonight. Boston’s Ace has gone 13-6 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in 29 starts this season, including 7-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 0.925 WHIP in 15 road outings. Beckett will show up with his best stuff tonight. Tommy Hunter is 3-3 with a 5.26 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 10 starts this season for the Orioles. He has allowed a whopping 10 home runs in 63 1/3 innings. Hunter sports a 7.50 ERA and 1.499 WHIP in five career starts against Boston.
The Red Sox are 46-13 vs. a starting pitcher who gives up 1 or more HR’s/start over the last 3 seasons. They are winning in this spot 6.6 to 4.1 on average, and they are 40-19 against the run line in this situation. Roll with the Red Sox on the Run Line Monday.
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