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May 11, 2016

1: Take Tampa Bay Rays (+110) on the ML against Seattle Mariners risking 3% to win 3.30%.
(Archer and Walker must start for wager to have action)

After an uncharacteristically poor start to the season, Chris Archer is back in his All-Star form. He's now had 3 outstanding starts in a row and has a miniscule 0.96 ERA in that span! Archer is a crafty hurler that needs to be in the right groove to perform well and now that he's regained his swagger, he's hard to stop. He'll also take confidence from the reminder that previous visits to Safeco Field have gone very well for him as evident by an impressive 1.64 ERA in two previous trips to Seattle! That success has largely been made possible by the fact that he's baffled the Mariners' most two dangerous lefties, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. Those two home-run threat bats are still hitless when facing Archer despite 26 combined at-bats against him! To say he's had their number would be an understatement. If he can keep the two southpaws off-base, he should be able to limit the damage that a guy like Nelson Cruz might do.

Taijuan Walker is an impressive 23-year old with a very bright future. Not much negative can be said about him but in this particular outing, he is unlikely to be at his sharpest. That's because he had to leave the previous game after just 2 innings due to neck spasms! It was his worst start of the season as he gave up 3 runs (two homers) in just two frames and while he seems to be healthy again going into this contest, he's probably not 100%. Having a start cut that short could also impact his conditioning in this matchup as he may get tired earlier than he normally does. Walker, like Archer, is a very talented young pitcher when on top of his game but all signs point toward Archer being in better shape this afternoon.

There are some ex-Mariners in this current Tampa team and we don't believe they'll want to mark their return to Seattle with an ugly 0-3 sweep! Brad Miller and Logan Morrison played their trade at Safeco Field and have a point to prove today. The two lefties also know a few things about Walker and his particular tendencies as former teammates. Given that the Rays have already lost the first two games of this series, we see them saving face by avoiding the sweep and putting in a quality performance. The M's on the other hand have already secured their 8th series win of the season and are stop the AL West division. They might just have a false sense of security going into this matchup and overlook their opponents. Seattle is a team that can get a bit complacent after a winning streak and won't be as motivated as Tampa Bay in our opinion. Kevin Cash's squad can go back to a .500 record with a 'W' this afternoon and we expect them to do so, especially since they've the day off tomorrow and can give their best relievers an extended outing if necessary.
 

2: Take Texas Rangers (-132) on the ML against Chicago White Sox risking 3.96% to win 3%.
(Hamels and Latos must start for wager to have action)

This is the finale of a 3-game set as the Chicago White Sox close their series with the Texas Rangers. The White Sox managed to take the series opener on Monday, 8-4 in extra innings and it appeared as if last night's matchup was in danger of being postponed, however after a delay due to weather, the White Sox scored a bunch of runs before the Rangers rallied and shocked them by scoring an impressive 7 runs in the 8th inning to pull off an improbable 13-11 victory! There is no doubt that the Rangers’ confidence will be high heading into this contest this afternoon after such a dramatic comeback. Meanwhile, the White Sox have got to be absolutely crushed after losing last night's game the way that they did. Some of the players will still be feeling the hangover effects when they wake up this morning and that could cause issues with this game being played on such a short turnaround, in the afternoon.

Starting this game for the Rangers this afternoon is lefty ace Cole Hamels. Hamels is off to a spectacular start to the season as he is 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA. He is coming off a strong start in his last outing, giving up just a single hit over 7 innings against a strong Detroit Tigers lineup. Hamels also struck out a season high 9 batters in that outing. The southpaw has evolved his game this season, changing his pitch speed more often and is using a lot more pitches in his arsenal. He is firing at the plate as 73 of his 113 pitches were thrown for strikes against Detroit. The White Sox have historically struggled with left handed pitchers and Hamels is certainly one of the best! Chicago has averaged only 3 runs against lefties this season! Hamels has had 2 career starts against the Pale Hose and is an impressive 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 15 strikeouts and just one walk in those outings!

The White Sox will counter with former Cincinnati Red, Mat Latos this afternoon. Like his counterpart, Latos is having an impressive season and also comes into this contest undefeated. The issue here is that we do not believe that Latos can sustain this type of performance. In fact, it's starting to look like hitters are catching up to him recently. Latos allowed just two total runs in his first four starts to the season but has given up four runs in each of his past two trips to the mound while not lasting more than five innings in each. We believe he is starting to regress and that could spell trouble this afternoon against a powerful Rangers' lineup that is seeing the ball extremely well at the moment.

The mental stability of the White Sox bullpen could also come into question heading into this contest. After blowing the game last night and giving up 7 runs in the 8th inning, it will be interesting to see how they respond at the plate. With Latos not making is past the 5th inning in each of his last few starts, the bullpen could be called upon early in this contest. White sox closer, David Robertson has not had much success at keep this Rangers' lineup at bay as both of his blown saves this season have come against Texas. The Rangers enjoy a strong home field advantage in Arlington and with this being the rubber match between the two teams, we expect momentum to carry over from last night and Texas come away with the series ending victory.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Rangers are 9-1 in Hamels' last 10 home starts!
  • White Sox are 18-27 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 over the last 3 seasons.
  • Rangers are a perfect 3-0 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 this season.
  • Hamels has won his last 11 decisions and can match a franchise record with another ‘W’.



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