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July 27, 2016

There are 2 selections tonight.

#1: Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-150) on the ML against Seattle Mariners risking 4.5% to win 3%.
(Cole and Paxton must start for wager to have action)

The Pirates will be in bounce back mode tonight after giving up the lead and taking the loss against the Seattle Mariners last night. They have a great chance to get their revenge in this contest as they send Gerrit Cole to the mound. Cole made his second start last Friday since returning from the DL and pitched extremely well, allowing just one run on six hits (seven strikeouts) over six innings of work. It was a pretty impressive display given that Cole induced first-pitch strikes on 18 of the 26 batters he faced and forced 14 swinging strikes overall. It was also Cole's sixth straight start not allowing a home run. He has been great this season at keeping the ball in the park and is a big reason for his respectable 2.99 ERA on the season. Cole has only allowed 3 homers in 14 starts this season. The fact that he has never faced the Mariners should give him the advantage in this contest.

Seattle rallied yesterday from a 4-1 early deficit to come away with the 7-4 victory. While that certainly was an impressive win by the M's, we believe the runs will be much harder to come by for them in this contest. Both Gerrit Cole and James Paxton come into this contest on 4 days rest and it has been night and day for both hurlers. Cole has thrived on short rest going 24-9 in in his last 33 starts on 4 days’ rest. Meanwhile, Paxton hasn't fared so well having gone just 1-5 in his last 6 trips to the mound on short rest. The Pirates have also managed to win their last 4 starts against left handed pitchers. Paxton may be coming off of one of his best starts of the season as he held the high powered Blue Jays offense to just a single run, but we believe he'll be in for a bit of a letdown in this contest.

This is a matchup that we believe favors the Pirates. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz, who happens to be the M's best hitter, is also questionable for this contest. With this being an interleague matchup, Cruz normally plays the DH position and manager Scott Servais has a decision to make in whether to sit Cruz for this contest, or play him in a less comfortable position in the outfield. Whether Cruz plays or not is certainly not a make or break factor, if he does indeed sit, that will certainly be yet another advantage that the Pirates would have in this contest.

Pittsburgh let one slip away from them last night, but we don't believe they will allow that to happen two nights in a row. Cole should contain the Mariner's offense in the early part of this matchup and as long as the bullpen doesn't implode in the later stages, the Pirates should come away with the victory.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Pirates are 8-3 in Cole’s last 11 interleague starts!
  • Mariners are 2-6 in Paxton’s last 8 starts vs. a team with a winning record!
  • Mariners are 1-4 in Paxton’s last 5 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance!
  • Pirates are 37-18 in Cole’s last 55 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance!

#2: Take Milwaukee Brewers (-140) on the ML against Arizona D-backs risking 4.2% to win 3%.
(Nelson and Bradley must start for wager to have action)

The Diamondbacks are spiraling downward and at an alarming rate. After dropping yet another game with the Milwaukee Brewers last night, the DBacks have now lost 18 of their last 23 games. After starting the season off so well and being one of the more impressive teams on the road, the highway has been where Arizona has been struggling most. They have managed to win just once in their last 9 road games and are winless on the road against a right handed pitcher in their last 6 attempts. This is a tough spot for the Diamondbacks as there is no doubt their season is over and given their recent struggles, motivation is certainly in short supply in the clubhouse. They are simply going through the motions of the game at this point and that makes them virtually unbackable.

The Milwaukee Brewers are another team whose season is all but over, however their franchise has taken this opportunity to build for the future as Brewer manager Craig Counsell has elected to experiment with his lineup and give some younger players a shot in order to gauge his talent. It's a smart move by Counsell as it gives his younger players motivation to make an impact and gain some experience. While this strategy often results in an above average amount of errors as they gain experience, it does often help with offensive production. The Brewers managed to score 9 runs on 11 hits yesterday against the dangerous Patrick Corbin. Their offense should continue to produce tonight against Archie Bradley. The Brewers, meanwhile, will also send their most reliable starter to the mound tonight in Jimmy Nelson. Nelson has pitched extremely well recently and has a 2.00 ERA in his last 3 starts. He has also had some success navigating this DBacks' lineup having gone 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in 2 career starts.

Arizona is a team that seems to have given up trying to win ballgames at the moment while the Brewers are still a team that is making an effort and playing inspired baseball. Motivation could be the difference in this contest as teams who haven't given up and continue to play the game, even with nothing else to play for, typically get rewarded for their passion. This is a decent price to lay with what we believe is the much better team at the moment.

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