Expert Handicapper Advises To Take The Chalk On MLB's Two Late Games

Angel Pagan Runs The Bases

Joe Catalano

Thursday, September 15, 2016 5:08 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 15, 2016 5:08 PM GMT

With some somewhat lopsided matchups on paper for this Thursday in the MLB, we must decide whether the heavy chalk or the underdog is the the way to play. Here are your MLB Picks of the day.

Toronto Blue Jays vs Los Angeles Angels

Back to Their Losing Ways
There is just something from preventing the Los Angeles Angels (63-82) from winning as I don't think that they're as bad as their record indicates. Every time the Angels appear to get on a run after a long stretch of losing, the fall back into their losing ways. This time, they've lost 7 out of their last 8 games. This is a great opportunity for starter, J.A. Happ (18-4, 3.33 ERA) who has had a magnificent season as his Toronto Blue Jays (79-66) look to make the post-season.

The Blue Jays haven't been playing well themselves, losers of 7 out of their last 10 games and have fallen behind both Boston and Baltimore in the race for the top spot in the American League East Division and now Toronto must also worry about grabbing a wild-card spot. That means this game is important and when facing a team with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on it, it's a dangerous game for the Jays.

 

Not Allowing the Big Inning
When you have an offense to support you like J.A. Happ, the object of the game is to avoid allowing the opposition to have a big inning, especially in a game of this amount of importance. Happ has done a fine job lately, not allowing the opposition to score more than 4 runs in any of his last 10 starts. This might be the one and only 20 win season that J.A. Happ ever see's as a career .500 pitcher, but he need's to keep being consistent as Toronto is capable of going deep into the playoffs with the roster that they possess. In his last 9 starts, Happ is 6-1 and he's allowed the opposition to a.235 batting average all season long. He should at least keep Toronto in the game as the Halos have been ice cold as of late.

 

The Offense Has Disappeared
In the Angels last 3 games, they've lost all 3 games and have managed just 2 runs! The Angels have been outscored 18-2 during this period of time and that's simply unacceptable. Albert Pujols has managed to drive in 110 runs and has had a successful season, but he's really hit a rough patch of games as he's just 1 for his last 24 at-bats. That said, he's batting .500 in 12 at-bats vs. Jays pitching this season. Could this be the game that Albert Pujols breaks out of his slump is the question?

Free MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -168 
Best Line Offered: 
at 5Dimes

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St. Louis Cardinals vs San Francisco Giants

Hitting Hard Times
Both of these teams have not had an easy road up until this point. The San Francisco Giants have dominated their respective division all season long and now find themselves on a 3 game losing streak and 5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West and the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been holding onto the final wild-card spot in the National League, have finally been knocked off of their perch as the New York Mets hold the final wild-card spot with the Redbirds trailing the Mets by 1/2 game.

The implications of this game are huge and the starting pitching is top-notch as Adam Wainwright (11-8, 4.45) squares off against Johnny Cueto (15-5, 2.90 ERA). In this instance, San Francisco has the advantage as this hasn't been one of Wainwright's better seasons.

 

Gearing Up For the Playoffs?
After hitting a dry spell himself, Johnny Cueto has come back strong during the latter stages of the regular season. In his last 5 starts, he's pitched 31 2/3 innings and has allowed just 9 earned runs. During this period of time, he's went 2-2. The San Francisco offense must do a better job in rewarding a quality start by Cueto. Look for Cueto to continue to pitch well and this game hinges upon the Giants either "getting to Wainwright or being shut down".

The Giants offense has scored just 5 runs in their last 3 games and this has resulted into 3 losses.

 

Hunter Pence
The one-hitter keeping this Giants squad afloat is Hunter Pence. After coming back from a long stretch on the disabled list, Pence has been tearing the cover off of the baseball. In his last 22 at-bats, he's hitting a red-hot .545 with 1 HR and 4 RBI's. Pence is also hitting .324 at home and has gone deep a couple of times against Adam Wainwright during his career. Let's also not forget that he's on an 8 game hitting streak and has had at least 1 RBI in 4 out of his last 7 games and San Francisco needs all of the offense that they can get.

It's basically picking the lesser of the two evils as the Giants have been the better ball club and Johnny Cueto provides this slumping team with a major edge in this game, thus making them my MLB Pick.

 

Free MLB Pick: San Francisco Giants -133 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes, where you can find a 50% Free Play bonus

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