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July 3, 2016

There are 3 picks today.

1: Take Colorado Rockies (+123) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 3% to win 3.69%.
(Gray and McCarthy must both start for wager to have action)

Brandon McCarthy is making his first big league start in 14 months! The veteran right-hander is 55-65 with a career ERA of 4.13 in 157 starts and is a mid-level pitcher. He's not one to leave hitters in awe even when at his best but today, after a such lengthy layoff due to injury, he's unlikely to perform optimally. He's had only one rehab start at Class-A level prior to what will be his 2016 debut and that isn't enough physically or mentally to prepare for this occasion. Brian Roberts and the Dodgers know that realistically it'll take him a few outings before he regains his form. To pitch at such a high level (Major League Baseball) against a dangerous offense like the Rockies is extremely difficult, to do so in your first appearance in over a year, even more so, as nerves and anxiety may also be factor with the torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery still in the back of his mind! McCarthy may prove to be a valuable addition to the starting rotation for LA in the long run (rest of season) but in what is his first start of the season, he's unlikely to have a quality start. We don't foresee him throwing much more than 90 pitches and believe he'll have a hard time logging more than 5 innings.

Jon Gray will be taking the mound for the Rox and he's the more dangerous hurler in this matchup. The unpredictable righty throws his fast-ball at an average velocity of 95 mph and has been baffling opposition hitters for much of the season. He's got 'good stuff' and has shown signs of it on a consistent basis. And yet he's been unlucky with stranding base runners, and is likely to have better times ahead. His 3.87 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a more accurate representation of how well he's pitched this season than his 4.8 ERA. We believe he'll have some success against the Dodgers or at least do enough to keep his team in the game, much like his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays, a game that Colorado won despite Gray giving up 4 earned runs. His 3.46 K/BB ratio is impressive and if he can limit free passes today, he's likely to earn another 'W'.

The Rockies are coming off a couple of quiet games as far as 'offense' is concerned but are too good to continue slumping. We believe facing McCarthy will be just what the doctor ordered if they can avoid hitting into double-plays and expect them to find their rhythm today. Let's not forget that Colorado leads the NL with a .273 batting average! They've crossed home plate 419 times already this season and have no problem scoring runs. They are undervalued in this spot because the team has dropped the first 2 games of the season and because they are on the road against a much more popular franchise. We believe they are more than capable of winning this game and expect them to do so in order to avoid the 3-game sweep. The Dodgers are one of the teams they are chasing and if they are to keep up their post-season hopes alive, they need to win exactly games like this. If the Rox bullpen doesn't throw away the lead, we believe Gray is likely to outduel and outlast McCarthy and give Colorado a much needed win against their NL West rivals.

2: Take Chicago White Sox (+127) on the ML against Houston Astros risking 3% to win 3.81%.
(Quintana must start for wager to have action)

Both the White Sox and 'Stros are similar teams. They both have similar records, similar offensive stats and even similar pitching production. That being said, we believe that White Sox pitcher, Jose Quintana is undervalues in this particular situation. Looking at his 5-8 overall record, it would be easy to dismiss the hurler as having a mediocre season but that isn't necessarily the case. Quintana has pitched superbly this season and has been more of a victim of lack of run support than struggles on the mound. Quintana's 96:25 strikeout to walk ratio is one of the best in the league! While on paper it appears that he and Astros starter Collin McHugh are evenly matched, in reality that is certainly not the case. Quintana is the craftier overall pitcher and we believe it will show this afternoon.

When Quintana has started against Houston, his team has won 5 of those 6 games throughout his career! He has held the current Astros lineup to just a .212 batting average! What's even more impressive is that only 3 of the hits he's allowed (85 total previous at-bats) have been for extra-bases and none were home runs equating to a miniscule .257 slugging percentage! Even the red-hot Jose Altuve has struggled against Quintana in his career, going just 3-for-20 in previous plate appearances.

The White Sox managed to hold onto the lead and come away with a victory last night. For a like Chicago, who has shown a fragile mentality when it comes to losing, hanging onto that lead was pivotal. The pressure is now on the Astros to defend their home field so Robin Ventura's side can play more loose and free as the 'underdog' when in reality, they should be slight favorites in our opinion. Doug Fister lasted less than 5 innings yesterday which put some burden on the Astros bullpen. Meanwhile, Chris Sale lasted longer and White Sox needed only two other pitchers (Jones and closer Robertson) to finish the job. There's great value with the Southsiders at these odds as we expect them to win another close game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Houston is just 9-14 against left-handed starters.
  • White Sox are 11-3 in road games in July over the last two seasons.
  • Astros offense has scored an average of only 3.7 runs against southpaw pitchers!

3: Take Tampa Bay Rays (-150) on the ML against Detroit Tigers risking 4.5% to win 3%.
(Archer and Pelfrey must both start for wager to have action)

It's a pitching mismatch this afternoon as Tampa Bay's Chris Archer squares off against who has been one of the worst pitcher's in the league this season, Detroit's Mike Pelfrey. The veteran Pelfrey continues to give up double digit hits in his starts and is averaging less than 6 innings per start. He's 2-7 on the season with an ERA of over 5.00 and we believe even those numbers are flattering him compared to how he has actually pitched! He has a tendency to allow runners on base and yet has somehow gotten himself out of jams mostly by his defense turning an above average amount of double plays! Eventually Pelfrey's luck is going to run out and we are starting to see the beginnings of that as the season goes on. Pelfrey is well past his prime and the lack of movement on his stuff is really starting to show as his strike-outs to walks ratio is the second worse in the Majors!

Chris Archer may not be having a great season compared to last year; however he is still a much better pitcher with more weapons in his arsenal. He has also been much better at home in Tropicana Field where he is lasting just under 7 innings per game and his ERA shrinks to 3.00! Archer gives his team a great chance at getting the win each time he takes the mound and with how hittable Pelfrey has been this season, the Tampa offense should generate enough runs to come away with the victory.

This is also a strong situational matchup for the Rays as they are in danger of being swept in a 4-games home series! It's incredibly hard for a team to defeat an opponent four consecutive times and we believe the Rays will come into this contest motivated to at least not get embarrassed in front of their home fans and salvage at least one game in this series. Meanwhile, the Tigers have handled business through the first three games of this series and may come into this series finale a bit overconfident, knowing that they have already taken the series and may actually be a bit disinterested in this one particular matchup.

Cameron Maybin is also out of the lineup this afternoon and will be given the day off. Maybin is an important part of this Tigers team as he is a strong two-way player and provides a lot for this team in terms of not only his offense / defense but also in terms of stealing bases and the energy he brings to the field. Romine will also be making a rare start in Center Field this afternoon. With Detroit playing with a somewhat out of the ordinary lineup, that could cause issues for them in this contest and be a contributing factor if they should lose, which we believe they will. Archer should outduel the extremely hittable Mike Pelfrey in this contest and if the Ray's bullpen does their job, then Tampa should come away with the victory in this series finale this afternoon.

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