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July 25, 2015 (Posted at 3:00 PM ET)

There are 3 picks today.

Selections will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
 

#1: Take Seattle Mariners as underdogs (+119) on the Money Line against Toronto Blue Jays risking 3%. 
(Happ and Hutchison must start for wager to have action)

The Seattle Mariners fought off an early deficit last night to ultimately come away with the win against the high-scoring Toronto Blue Jays. The M's have always been a club that has been known for their quality pitching and last night was no exception as their CY Young candidate Felix Hernandez was able to contain the potent Jays offense. On the offensive side, the Mariners were able to get things going as Mark Trumbo hit a home run, Nelson Cruz had three hits, and Robinson Cano had a hit leading to 5 runs on a total of nine hits. The Seattle lineup does have the potential to be prolific and just needs confidence. Their exploits last night will help them in that department for this afternoon contest. Mark Trumbo in particular needed that dinger as his transition from a Diamondback to a Mariner has not gone smoothly.

When their Mariners offense gets going they can be an extremely dangerous team simply because their pitching has often been so reliable. This is a game where we expect to see their  offense come out on top against as Toronto's Andrew Hutchison. While Hutchison may have a shiny 9-2 overall record on the season, his actual performances have been poor and he's very lucky to be sporting such a record. He has been one of the most hittable starting pitchers in the league as evident by his 5.19 ERA. 

Hutchison was originally supposed to start a couple of days ago but was scratched due to flu-like symptoms. He's now good to go but will be pitching on an usual amount of rest days and could be even more sluggish in the first few innings. You have a mediocre pitcher who has struggled mightily on the road coming into this game off illness which provides the M's offense with the ideal opportunity to get a win and keep their Wild Card dreams alive! It's unknown whether Hutchison is at 100% for this contest but even at his optimal best, he hasn't exactly been good. Add in the fact that on the highway Hutchison has been even worse and has seen his ERA balloon up to 9 after ten starts and we believe this is a false favorite sitaution. He has seen this Mariners lineup just once before and it was not a pleasant outing as he was rocked for 6 earned runs in just under 6 innings! This is a chance for the Seattle bats to explode and give their often unlucky starter, JA Happ some much needed and deserved run support.

Seattle will send the veteran lefty Happ to the hill. While he has somewhat taken somewhat of a backseat in the rotation, he has been producing at home going 2-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 8 starts! He likes pitching at Safeco Field and has had great success there. He is also a former Blue Jay so you can expect him to want to show John Gibbons and the Blue Jays up by proving that they were wrong to let him go. 

Hutchison has been playing with fire all season long having poor outing after poor outing and yet he's been continuously bailed out by the Jays offense. Happ has pitched incredibly well at home this season and this is no doubt a pitchers' ball park which will likely force the Blue Jays to play small ball, something that they have not been used to doing. Seattle is 3-1 against the Jays this season which has proven that good pitching will often beat good hitting. This matchup favors the Mariners who are desperate to get back in playoff contention and can do so by pulling a full game back against a direct Wild Card rival such as the Blue Jays. They also know that they will face Toronto's most consistent hurler, Mark Buerhle tomorrow and that will mean this is their best chance to seal the series win.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Blue Jays have lost their last 5 visits to Seattle.
  • Seattle is 5-1 in their last six Games 2's of a series.
  • Drew Hutchison owns an ugly 9.52 ERA on the road this season!
     

#2: Take KC Royals (-134) on the Money Line against Houston Astros risking 3% of the bankroll. 
(Duffy and Feldman must start for wager to have action)

If there is one team that has been the kryptonite of the Kansas City Royals this season, it has been the Houston Astros. Houston has won each and every meeting between these two clubs including last 7 meetings overall. They have managed to score 13 runs in their last 3 games and are currently in the midst of their own 5-game winning streak. Despite all of these strong trends pointing in the direction of the Astros, the question has to be asked; why are they listed as underdogs in this contest then? 

There are numerous reasons. The fact is that the Royals are the most complete team in the AL. What they lack in power of the long ball, they make up for in every other area. Kansas City is a team that plays fundamental baseball better than any other. They are patient at the plate. No team in the league has struck out less than Ned Yost's group. They are an excellent hitting team, they produce hits in bunches and often timely ones which advances baserunners. They are also extremely proficient at stealing bases. Allowing any Royal on the first will almost always be a threat to steal 2nd and put his team in scoring position. They know how to make the most of their opportunities and they are one of the few teams in the league that often capitalizes on it. They are also one of the best at bouncing back from losses as they've displayed their character and tenacity time and time again as evident by their impressive 22-13 record in such situations!

While they may have split their last 8 games, they have managed eight runs in their last three games and four or more runs in four of their last eight games. The Royals have won nine of their last 10 games when scoring more than three runs. Eric Hosmer leads Kansas City with 107 hits and 49 RBI while Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar have combined for 79 RBI. The Kansas City Royals have also done a good job at protecting their home stadium this season. They are 32-18 this season at Kauffman Stadium and have recently won 7 of their last 10 home games.

The pitching matchup tonight pits two pitchers that are seemingly heading in opposite directions against each other. Danny Duffy is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA this month and has been great since coming off the D.L. list. Kansas City is 4-1 in his last 5 starts. Don't let his somewhat underwhelming statistics distract you, he is a quality pitcher and was a big reason for this team’s success last season. Meanwhile, Scott Feldman will make his second start after returning from the D.L and is a candidate to be dropped from the rotation due to the impressive performances of the other starters. Last Saturday, he allowed 4 runs and 9 hits in less than six innings. The Royals have made a living out of smashing right handed pitchers this season going 40-21 on the season! With Feldman seemingly struggling to find his rhythm, this is the ideal opportunity for the Royals bats to cash in and turn around their fortunes against this ball club.

The Royals bullpen is the best in league and yet they did not use their best arms in form of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Gregg Holland yesterday. They will be fresh and ready to go tonight if called upon. The Royals have already lost 4 games to the Astros this season and know they will be in real danger of being swept if they don't take full advantage of tonight's game. That's because they are going against All-Star Dallas Keuchel tomorrow with the struggling Yordano Ventura on the mound and they've struggled against left-handed pitchers all season. They know they must get the job done against the slumping righty, Feldman tonight and their chances for a win are good since Houston themselves have been poor against southpaws and Danny Duffy is one. This KC ball club has a lot of pride and having been used as a punching bag by another top team in the American League this season, they'll be keen to even up this series and avoid dropping another game to the Astros!

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Astros have won just 3 of Feldman’s last 14 road starts! 
  • Royals are 16-5 in their last 21 games as a favorite.
  • Scott Feldman is just 7-24 when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons!
  • Royals are 44-19 against teams that strand 6.9 or less runners on base in the second half of the season over the last 2 years!


#3: Take NY Mets (-125) on the Money Line against LA Dodgers risking 3% of the bankroll. 
(Harvey and Lee must start for wager to have action)

Having dropped the first 2 games of this series the Mets find themselves in almost a must win situation if they want to have any hope of salvaging this series. Tonight they will have their best chance to pick up a victory with their Ace Matt Harvey on the mound going up against another rookie in Zach Lee. With the Dodgers slated to have Zack Greinke take the hill tomorrow, this contest is a must-win for the Mets.

Last night the Mets anemic offense wasn't able to capitalize against Ian Thomas who was making his first major league start. That was somewhat of an embarrassing performance from the Mets, especially at home where they have played so well this season. We don't believe they will allow another rookie tonight to embarrass them again, especially going up against the Dark Knight. The Mets are in serious danger of allowing their playoff hopes to fall by the wayside if they don't start performing. With the team they are chasing for the division lead, the Washington Nationals currently in an extremely tough series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a loss by the Nat’s and a victory by the Mets will help them gain ground in the standings. 

New York may have been able to breathe new life into this offense with a recent trade with Atlanta. The Mets will add two veteran bats to their lineup with the addition of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Uribe has been surging in the month of July with a .311 average, 3 home runs and 12 RBIs. It was somewhat of a surprise that he was traded to a division rival, but we don't believe the Mets will be complaining. Offense has been something that the Mets have lacked and this recent trade could now have provided that key spark to this team that it had been missing. Confidence should be high knowing that management has a vested interest and hasn't yet given up on this team. Uribe and Kelly of course may not feature in this game but that doesn't matter as their trade should still uplift rest of squad and it's only a matter of time before the players show their appreciation and we believe that starts tonight. 

The Dodgers are a solid team; however they have also shown their ability to get complacent after having extended success. It's not uncommon for some of their younger players to take their foot off the gas pedal and take a day off when on a winning streak. Having already won the first two games of this series tonight would be the night where this team relaxes knowing that they likely have the series wrapped up with Greinke on the mound tomorrow. The Dodgers are in a comfortable position at the moment while the Mets will likely be the team that plays with much more of a sense of urgency in this contest and we believe that gives them the edge. 

LA is also not the greatest team on the road and the Mets have had quite a bit of success at home at CitiField where they are 13-1 when favorites in the -125 to -150 range. Not only would Mets fall to a .500 record with a loss today but so will Harvey himself if he ends up being the losing pitcher on record! Even after yesterday's disappointing outing by Niese, Mets have twice as many wins (32) as losses (16) at Citi Field this season where they have enjoyed great home field advantage. This game means a lot more to them than LA and they also have the better pitcher on the mound. This is a decent price to lay on the Dark Knight and his offense should give him the support needed to outduel the young rookie in his first Major League start snapping their recent losing skid. Statistics show that Mets have the better bullpen especially when you compare home/road disparity for the two clubs so even when both starters come out of the game; this is yet another area where the home team has the edge. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Mets are 32-16 at home this season. 
  • Dodgers are just 14-20 after 3 or more consecutive over the last 2 seasons.
  • Mets are 27-12 in home games against right-handed starters this season. 



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