August 5, 2015 (Posted at 2:00 PM ET)
ATTENTION: Thursday's selections will be posted at 11:30 AM ET.
There are 2 picks today.
#1: Take Baltimore Orioles (-126) on the Money Line against Oakland Athletics risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Chen and Graveman must start for wager to have action)
The Orioles are at the Coliseum this afternoon for the series finale rubber game against the Athletics. The O's were in a let-down spot last night and were shutout but still comes into this contest hot, having won eight of their last 11 games. Unlike the A's, they are right in the thick of the postseason race as they still harbor ambitions of repeating as division champions but perhaps more realisticaly, clinching a Wild Card spot, a feat they are close to achieving being just 1 game back! And yet while it would not entirely surprise us if they did catch the Yankees and even ended up winning the division, they need to be mindful of not only the Blue Jays who are currently 1 game ahead in that final Wild Card spot but also the surging Tampa Bay Rays who are just behind them in the standings and could soon overtake them. Buck Showalter will be reminding his squad of that fact and urging them to bounce back after a lackluster effort last night. This is a tenacious ball club that responds to losses as evident by their 68-53 record over the last 2 years.
The Orioles will send their most consistent pitcher, Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. The craty lefty is having a very solid season but will be searching for his own bounce back effort after giving up six runs to the Tigers in his last start. The southpaw has a respectable 3.24 ERA on the season and has given up two runs or less in eight of his last ten starts! He has given the birds plenty of quality starts this season and his numbers are even better away from the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards owning an impressive 2.88 road ERA! The man from Taiwan has pitched just as well as his numbers show and other metrics prove that since he has an excellent 1.18 WHIP with 102 strikeouts. He's also had a ton of success against the A's in the past including in this very venue and that should come as no surprise since Bob Melvin's squad has struggled mightily against lefties all season long! Sam Fuld and Josh Reddick are among the Athletics who have been left baffled by Chen. The fact that this game is being played in the afternoon does not help either as the A's are just 8-14 at home in day games this season.
The A's will counter with Kendall Graveman who is having a solid season himself but he's nowhere near as experienced as Chen at this level and has had some outstanding as well as some very poor outings. Against a hungry Baltimore lineup that has both power and speed and can not afford to drop any further in the AL East standings, we believe he could find it tough today. He should have some success in the early going as the Orioles get used to his pitching style but after the first few innings, they will make the right adjustments and get to him. Even if he does have a quality start however, the Oakland bullpen is nowhere near as accomplished as that of the Orioles this season and that gives Baltimore yet another edge. The O's have the better relievers including closer Zach Britton who has helped the club to a 80% save mark on the road while the A's relief core are just 50% at home in save situations having blown just as many saves! Oakland will not be making the playoffs and will simply be satisfied with last night's win. They are also a team that has committed more than twice as many fielding errors as the Orioles! Baltimore wants to make the playoffs and to do so, they need to win games and series like this. We believe their urgency and desire, not to mention superior overall talent will bring them the W.
Other notable facts to consider:
- The A's are 9-19 against left-handed starters this season.
- The A's are just 2-11 after shutting out their opponents this season!
- Orioles are 30-14 against teams with losing records in the second half of the current and last season.
- Wei-Yin Chen is 4-0 in his career against Oakland with an impressive 1.69 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP!
#2: Take LA Angels (-121) on the Money Line against Cleveland Indians risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Santiago and Salazar must start for wager to have action)
Much like the other pick, this is the rubber match and the finale of a 3-game series for both clubs having each taken one game. The Halos took the opener thanks to a lengthy outing by Garrett Richards while yesterday's contest went 11 scoreless innings before the Tribe finally took the lead and got a 2-0 win! They won that battle but are likely to lose the war as Mike Scioscia's side needs this series much more! The Indians aren't completely out of the running but the likelihood of them grabbing a Wild Card spot is quite slim. The Anaheim club, however, not only currently occupies a playoff position thanks to owning the best record among 2nd place teams but still has ambitions of catching the Astros by winning the AL West division. They are just 3 games behind Houston and with so many games still left to play, this is a race that could go down the wire.
Terry Francona's Cleveland side has had trouble with lefties all season long! They are just 13-23 against southpaws and are currently sitting at the very bottom of the the AL Central division. The loss of Jason Kipnis is a huge one for this team as he was without a doubt their MVP and quite often, the only real source of offense for a team that has struggled to score runs. Kipnis' batting average has been right up there with the best in the league all season long and his absence has already been felt in this series. It isn't just him that they're missing. They traded Brandon Moss to the Cardinals and looking at the make-shift and youthful lineup they have starting tonight, it is clear that they are building for the future. This is in stark contrast to the Halos who need to win games now and are built for the present. They have won just 2 of their last 10 games and that has made them a lot more affordable. The average sports-bettor is quick to write teams off and that is what is happening with the Angels at the moment. Their recent cold streak is nothing that other playoff teams don't endure and yet it has plummeted their odds to -121 when they could easily be at least -130 favorites in games such as this.
Hector Santiago will be looking to recapture his All-Star form after a couple of uncharacteristic outings. The southpaw has been brilliant this season and owns a 2.7 ERA. The last time he lost at Angels Stadium was all the way back in April! He has 115 strike-outs on the seaosn and the only reason he doesn't have a better win-loss record than 7-5 is that he hasn't always gotten proper run support from his offense. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the likes of Kole Calhoun not to mention former Tribe player, David Murphy are all capable of getting to Salazar however and should give Santiago some help. They can not afford to drop a home series to the hapless Indians and will be keen to bounce back.
Danny Salazar has been dominant in his recent outings and has a very good arm but he's still learning his trade at this level and has been known to make one costly mistake per game. He has often put in 5 quality innings before suddenly giving up a 3-run homer on a hanging changeup or fastball right down the middle and cost himself and his team the game. He is a talented hurler but his decision making isn't always sharp and that could be a problem against the big LA bats. He was pounded for 6 runs in his last start against the Angels; a fact that will be on the back of his mind. He has gone deep into games and thrown a lot of pitches in recent starts and while that looks good on paper, it often leaves a pitcher susceptible to a poor outing in the following game. We believe the Halos need this game much more and will give Santiago the assistance required to turn around his and their recent woes by winning this series!
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