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July 16, 2016

There are two picks tonight.

#1: Take LA Angels (-153) on the ML against Chicago White Sox risking 4.59% to win 3%.
(Shoemaker and Shields must both start for wager to have action)

James Shields may have a bigger name and reputation than Matt Shoemaker but that's predicated on history, more than current ability. Shields is a veteran whose best years are well behind him. The 34-year old former Ray and Royal had a disastrous time in San Diego this season before being traded to the south side of Chicago, where he endured a similarly miserable start. The 34-year old has since steadied the ship a bit and finally turned in some quality starts but just as he was starting to find his groove, the All-Star break arrived. It comes at a time where he would have liked to keep pitching on normal rest and improve his bloated 5.42 ERA! Instead, he'll be on the mound after 7 days and could struggle with his command in the first couple of innings. He owns a 4-10 win/loss record this season and will face a team that strikes out less than any other in the American League and knows how to put the ball in play.

Other than one or two starters, Matt Shoemaker has been tremendous over the past couple of months. He is among the top 5 in the Majors in a number of important categories over that span and it is a lack of run support, rather than his pitching that is responsible for his less than ideal win-loss record! We believe he'll outduel and outlast James Shields tonight and given the fact that the LA lineup got going last night, by crossing home plate 7 times, he should get some offensive support in this matchup. 

Not only do the Halos have an edge in the starting pitching matchup, they should have an advantage when it comes to the bullpen as well. That's because only two relievers were called into action yesterday while Robin Ventura needed 5 pitchers to get the necessary outs. The likes of Duke and Albers looked rusty and the fact that Miguel Gonzalez didn't go that deep into the game, meant others such as Jennings came into the game. Santiago, on the other hand, gave the Angels 7 shutout innings which has the 'pen in good shape heading into tonight. There were over 42,000 fans in the stadium for the Anaheim club and given what they saw yesterday, they'll be cheering on their team passionately tonight. Look for Mike Trout and company to get on base against James Shields and make him pay as the Halos use their momentum from last night to seal another victory.


#2: Take Kansas City Royals (-133) on the ML against Detroit Tigers risking 3.99% to win 3%.
(Duffy and Pelfrey must both start for wager to have action)

This is a classic mismatch on the mound. Danny Duffy has been arguably Kansas City's most consistent pitcher since being moved back into the rotation while Mike Pelfrey is among the worst starters in the Majors in a number of categories! Not only are the Royals in a prime 'bounce-back' spot tonight, they also have several other advantages. Look for them to even up the series at one game a piece before a rubber match decides it tomorrow afternoon.

Duffy is 4-1 with a solid 3.09 ERA and has struck out 7 or more batters in four straight starts! It isn't his ability to punchout opposing hitters that impresses us however. What we like is the fact that he's allowed 3 or less runs in each of his last 8 starts! He's been able to keep base runners to a minimum and strand them for the most part when needed. He'll be aided by a KC defense that uncharacteristically made a couple of fielding errors yesterday but should atone for it tonight. 'Errors' are more likely to happen after an extended break and Charlie Cuthbert was the culprit in last night's matchup. We expect him and the rest of the team to be fully focused on the task at hand tonight, in what is a crucial game against a direct rival.

Michael Pelfrey could be in a world of trouble against this Kansas City offense. The hittable veteran has been stranding base-runners at an abnormal rate over his last 3 starts and is likely to regress in that regard. His 1.21 K/BB ratio (strikeouts to walks) is the second worst in the Majors! His inability to fool hitters and lack of a deep pitching arsenal gets him in plenty of jams as he doesn't have the velocity nor the repertoire to baffle opposing batters. He puts men on base nearly each and every inning and if the Royals can get the timely hits that they are so accustomed to doing, they should have no problem chasing him. 

At this stage of the season, the defending champions, Kansas City Royals are far from guaranteed to make the playoffs. Ned Yost and company know that they have their work cut out for them, to achieve at least a Wild Card spot, something that they face stiff competition for. The Tigers are one of the teams in a battle for that same spot and they're not the only ones as the White Sox, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Astros and the Mariners are all in that same Wild Card hunt. The Royals are increasingly looking like a team that will have a tough time catching up to the Cleveland Indians and if that is the case, they need to get results against teams like Detroit, in order to secure a WC spot. Look for them to come out motivated and get a much-needed 'W' against a division and playoff rival. Given the success of the likes of Hosmer, Escobar and Gordon previously in their careers when facing Pelfrey, look for the Royals offense to do big damage, if they avoid hitting into double-plays.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Kansas City is 21-12 against division opponents!
  • Only 5 of Mike Pelfrey's 17 starts have been 'quality starts'.
  • Kansas City is 105-82 after a loss, over the last 3 seasons! 

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