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May 28, 2016

There are two picks today.

1: Take New York Mets (-143) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 4.29% to win 3%.
(Syndergaard and Maeda must both start for wager to have action)

Los Angeles saw its 4-game winning streak snapped after flying across the country to play the Mets. This is the middle game of a 3-game set, in what is the final regular season series between the two clubs! Therefore it is an important one for each team to take but we believe the edge lies with the hosts for several different reasons.

New York knows Clayton Kershaw will toe the rubber for LA on Sunday! That means, their best chance of winning the series comes through securing the 'W' tonight as opposed to tomorrow. And it is something they are more than capable of doing given that they have Noah Syndergaard on the hill. Syndergaard has been NY's best hurler this season and has been nothing short of dominant, especially at home going back to last year. His fast-ball averages 98 mph and yet what is most impressive about him is his command and attention to detail. Syndergaard is issuing just one free pass (walk) per game on average while fanning 11 batters per nine innings. His strikeout to walk ratio of 8.44 is second to only Mr. Kershaw in the Majors! He's playing like one of the best pitchers in the league and has already outdueled Kenta Maeda once this season.

The Mets will also be riding last night's momentum after winning the opener. They nearly threw it all away by giving up 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning but exhaled a sigh of relief after Curtis Granderson hit a walk-off moonshot! Granderson had been looking shaky and less than confident and might just have an extra bounce in his step if he's in the lineup tonight. The Mets, as a whole, will be playing more loose and relaxed after avoiding what would have been a very difficult loss to 'get over'! Given that they weathered the late storm and still came out on top, they'll have an air of quiet confidence about them tonight.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, rallied to score 3 of their runs with 2 outs in the 9th inning and yet still fell short. That type of loss is demoralizing and can leave a clubhouse dejected in the aftermath. Yasmani Grandal's reaction said it all after sliding to home plate to tie the game. He, like most Dodgers, believed at that point, that the momentum lies with them and it is suddenly their game to lose. That was until Granderson, the first man up in the bottom of the 9th inning took matters into his own hands by hitting a dinger that stayed just 'fair' as opposed to drift foul. All in all, psychologically, the hosts own an important mental advantage over the visitors tonight. It's also worth noting that Dave Roberts had to go to his bullpen much earlier than he would have liked yesterday, after starter Julio Urias lasted just 2.2 innings! He had to use 6 different pitchers and some of his best arms to get through the game while Jacob deGrom's quality start kept the vast majority of the NY relievers on the bench, which means they are better rested for this game.

LA is short in depth in the outfield positions right about now which is why Howie Kendrick, an infielder has been playing out there. Being a fill-in at a position that requires a lot of speed and can be tricky, makes the possibility of an 'error' more likely and whether it's Kendrick that committs it or not, we don't expect the Dodgers to play flawless defense. Another factor that gives the Mets an edge is the hitting of pitcher Syndergaard. The NY starter is a lot more capable with his bat than his counterpart, Kenta Maeda. The last time these two met, it was the man nicknamed 'Thor' that hit not one but 2 home runs against the Japanese import! That'll no doubt be on Maeda's mind and while we expect a sharper outing from him tonight, New York still has the edge.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Mets have won 9 of 12 games against teams with winning records!
  • Syndergaard owns a 2.66 ERA and a WHIP of less than 1 in prior starts against Dodgers.
  • Mets are 30-11 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 over the last 3 seasons!

2: Take Cleveland Indians (-150) on the ML against Baltimore Orioles risking 4.5% to win 3%.
(Salazar and Jimenez must both start for wager to have action)

Much like last night's winners, this is another mismatch on the mound. Danny Salazar is pitching at a pretty high level and yet still has not peaked and has another level to go to. Ubaldo Jimenez, on the other hand, is certainly past his prime and leaves a lot to be desired. The veteran righty has always struggled with his command and wild pitches and yet his control has not improved with age, despite the reduced velocity! He's given up 17 runs over his last 3 starts (just 15 innings) and is now going up against a team that knows him pretty well.

As a former Cleveland Indian, the Tribe know the tendencies of Jimenez very well. Not only do they have an extensive scouting report on him, they have several players in their lineup that have troubled him in the past. Guys like Mike Napoli and Juan Uribe have great numbers against him and when you put them and the likes of Jason Kipnis around youngsters that are swinging a hot bat right now, such as Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor, you have a pretty dangerous offense. For all the attention that the O's get with their ability to 'go yard', some forget that Cleveland actually has the statistically better offense and has scored 14 more runs than their opponents, so far this season! Part of their success relies on the fact that unlike Baltimore, they can hit dingers but aren't overly reliant on them. That's because they can play 'small ball' too and swipe a bag here and there to put themselves in scoring positions. The Oriole offense, on the other hand has only 8 stolen bases on the season and rarely even attempts it, given that they've been caught 6 times! The Tribe have 32 steals on the season in comparison.

Not only is Salazar likely to give his team the edge in the starting pitching matchup, the Indians might just have a bullpen advantage as well. That's because while Buck Showalter had to call upon his best 3 relievers: Britton, O'Day and Brach last night to secure the 'W', Terry Francona gave Shaw and closer Cody Allen the night off. Zach Britton has pitched in 2 consecutive games and may not be available tonight. Even if he does get the ball however, his arm may be tired and not as sharp as it normally is.

The Tribe are only half a game behind the White Sox for the AL Central division lead and know that with a victory today, they could potentially find themselves at the very top! That will be an incredibly motivating factor but that is not all. Given that they dropped the series opener last night, and the fact they have rookie Clevenger on the hill tomorrow going up against Baltimore Ace, Chris Tillman, they understand the importance of winning the middle game of this 3-game set. Failure to get the job done this evening would see them lose the home series and potentially even get swept! Pedro Alvarez is in the lineup for the Oriole defense and he leads the Majors in fielding errors over the last few years. Look for the home team to find a way to win this game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Orioles are just 3-8 on the road when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs.
  • Danny Salazar has limited hitters to just a .181 batting average this season!
  • Indians are 13-8 after a loss this season and 97-80 over the last 3 years.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez is just 2-11 on the road when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs over the last 2 years!

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