August 8, 2015 (Posted at 3:00 PM ET)
Picks will be posted at 11:00 AM ET on Saturdays and Sundays (including tomorrow) moving forward.
#1: Take Arizona Diamondbacks on the Money Line (-140) against Cincinnati Reds risking 4.2% of bankroll to win 3%.
(Ray and Sampson must start for wager to have action)
At first glance, it may seem like both teams have no chance of making the playoffs and therefore have nothing to play for but that isn't entirely true. The D-Backs still hold post-season ambitions and while the odds are slim, they are still in the hunt. The same can not be said about the Reds who find themselves in the ultra competitive NL Central division and are far too behind (11.5 games) in the Wild Card race! Arizona knows it'll have a very tough time beating the Dodgers and the Giants to that NL West title but it hasn't yet given up hopes on potentially clinching a wild card spot if they can remain consistent in the final 1/3rd of the season.
The Diamondbacks have clawed their way back to an almost .500 record and when teams do that, they often get a new lease of life and set themselves the goal of meeting that mark. They shutout Cincinnati's offense yesterday and know that if they can get 2 more wins in this series and pull off the sweep, they'll pull back to a .500 mark. That is no doubt Chip Hale's objective now and he and his squad will feel that if they can do that, there's still time to make a run as they currently find themselves 7 games back of a Wild Card position and aren't completely out of it like their Ohio counterparts.
Robbie Ray will take the mound for the snakes tonight and he's one of the under-appreciated pitchers of the season. He's put in a lot of quality starts but has often been left disappointed by a lack of run support. The fact that his ERA is a solid 3.01 on the season shows just how well he has pitched and yet his win-loss record currently sits at just 3-6! We don't believe Paul Goldschmitt and his teammates will continue to disappoint Robbie Ray and expect them to punish Reds' rookie Keyvius Sampson who happens to be making only his 2nd ever MLB start! Arizona needs every win to stay releavant in the playoff hunt and a loss at home to a club that has nothing to play for would be a huge disappointment. Last night's win will have given this squad confidence and instilled belief that they are still not out of it if they can manage to put together a winning streak.
The Reds traded away Johnny Cueto in what was a signal of their intentions for the season. They are too far behind to think about making the playoffs and while they will put in the occasional solid performance in front of their passionate fans, they won't be too interested in random west coast trips and may not give 100%. Travelling and fatigue takes its toll on players at this stage of the season in an every day sport like baseball and while it is enough to fight through all that when a roster is in the playoff hunt, it becomes a challenge when they're not! One side could be somewhat disinterested in this contest while the other has a lot more to gain! Look for Arizona to record back to back wins and stay in contention as they have both power and speed. Every player in the lineup except pitcher Ray and catcher Castillo, has stolen at least 3 bases! Not only is Ray more experienced at this level than Sampson, who has never pitched at this ball park before, but the Arizona offense is the hotter of the two coming into this game.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Reds have won just 4 out of 14 against NL West clubs!
- Arizona is 29-16 against teams with losing records.
- Cincinnati is just 10-28 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 over the last two seasons!
#2: Take Minnesota Twins as underdogs (+122) on the Money Line against Cleveland Indians risking 3% to win 3.66%.
(Santana and Bauer must start for wager to have action)
These two squads faced off in an absolute slugfest in a game that finished 10-9 last night! When a normally quiet offense like the Tribe, crosses home plate 9 times and yet they still lose, it can leave the entire clubhouse dejected and demoralized the next day. It shows that they simply don't have a winning mentality and that has been a point of discussion all season with Terry Francona's team. The Twins on the other hand showed their grit and character in rallying from a big deficit to tie the game and win it in the 9th inning despite riding an ugly 5-game losing streak. They knew that a loss would take them below a .500 record and their pride and determination along with the leadership of Torii Hunter didn't allow that to happen. This Twins squad has some very good young players like Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Aaron Hicks. They simply needed a bit of guidance from the likes of Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki to fight through the ups and downs of a long baseball season and they are getting that now.
Not only has Santana pitched much better on the road (1.5 ERA) than at home this season, he has great numbers against many of the players he'll be facing tonight. Without their best bat, Jason Kipnis in the lineup, the Tribe have hit just .187 against Santana in 75 previous at-bats! We don't expect to see another high-scoring game tonight but do see the veteran doing better than Trevor Bauer who, much like the rest of his teammates has not had much fun at Progressive Field this season. Bauer sports an ERA in mid 5's at this venue and has often found it tougher than playing on the road.
The Minnesota Twins will be riding the momentum of last night's impressive comeback victory and that will give them a mental edge against a Cleveland squad that is now 8.5 games back of a Wild Card spot and sits at the very bottom of the AL Central division! The departures of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher will also take out two veteran voices out of the dugout and may have left some of the players surprised. In this particular game, it is the underdogs that should arguably have been installed as favorites as they are not only the better team but have a lot more to play for. Cleveland may come into this one deflated and disinterested and that will give the Twins, who are chasing a Wild Card spot (3 games back), the edge.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Twins have won 4 of 5 games when facing Bauer.
- Ervin Santana has a 1.25 ERA in his last 3 road starts!
- Indians are winless in their last 4 games as -110 to -150 home favorites.
Please refer to the important SPS Bankroll System instructions received via email upon joining.