Three contests stand out on the Friday betting board as good conflicts and our mission today is to look and determine how they might fall versus the MLB odds set by the sportsbooks.
Each feature winning teams and our level of interest begins with the starting pitchers and what role they will have in figuring out if they are deemed worthy of sports picks to defeat the MLB odds.
Cubs vs. Nationals: Wada vs. Roark in D.C.
Washington’s bats were kept quiet again last evening, with the Nationals falling 2-1 to Chicago in series opener. Washington had eight hits but could never bunch them and might be without three starters tonight if Yunel Escobar’s wrist continues to give him trouble.
That means Tanner Roark (1-2, 2.59 ERA) has to come through to end 2-6 tailspin and he will have to be stingy with the runs with the Nats averaging 2.28 runs a contest in their last 14 games. Roark does fine work commanding his 90-94 MPH two and four-seam fastballs and he can effectively work either side of the dish. He takes hitters off the heat with a downward curve, slider and changeup.
Chicago's Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.30 ERA) has thrown well in three starts (one against Washington – 1 run, 4 hits, 5 1/3 innings), but manager Joe Maddon has him on a short leash. Wada is 34 and has shown an extreme tendency to start losing everything in a hurry once he’s around 80 pitches.
The Cubs have not exactly been tearing the cover off the ball, averaging 2.5 RPG in their last nine tries. Chicago is a +110 underdog and while the situation looks close, Washington is 8-4 versus left-handed starters and for our picks we will head on that direction.
Slight Advantage – Roark and Washington
Angels vs. Yankees: Weaver vs. Eovaldi in the Big Apple
New York has their heads up in pride after sweeping Seattle on the road and is back home to face another AL West squad. Nathan Eovaldi (4-1, 4.40) is in charge of handing Los Angeles a third straight loss (4-1, 4.40), but he has a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the Angels. The Yankees right-hander has a big time fastball which he throws in the mid to upper 90’s, but he struggles with his secondary pitches and when he cannot throw those for strikes, opposing hitters sit on dead red and Eovaldi gets in trouble.
Jered Weaver (4-4, 4.08 ERA),has flipped his season around with a 4-0 mark with a 1.98 ERA in his last five starts after going 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his first six. Though throwing a little harder with a minor adjustment in his release point, the righty still is dependent on his control and has to toss his off-speed just off the plate to have batters swinging and missing.
The Yankees are a smallish -120 (even lower at GTBets last time I checked) favorite against the Halos and I’m inclined to agree with this because in Weaver’s prior six starts at Yankee Stadium, only once has he surrendered fewer than three runs (the last five were five runs or more), with his best outing there his first in 2006.
Advantage – Eovaldi and New York
Cardinals vs. Dodgers: Martinez vs. Anderson in La-La Land
St. Louis defeated Los Angeles for the eighth time in 11 attempts (includes postseason) last night as Michael Wacha got his revenge for his lone loss of the season 7-1. The Dodgers task appears no simpler facing Carlos Martinez (5-2, 3.13), who has worked three scoreless starts in a row, totaling 20 1/3 innings, the longest streak among starting pitchers in MLB this season. Martinez has the radar gun humming with his high-90’s heat and during this scoreless stretch his slider has been a challenge to square up.
Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.42) will go for L.A. after he was outdueled by Martinez on Sunday 3-1. Anderson tossed six innings and allowed two runs which was not good enough and he knows against St. Louis you have to be at your best.
Initially for MLB picks, the Cardinals were very tempting at +105, but further research uncovered Anderson and his new teammates are 4-1 at Dodger Stadium this year and he has a 2.57 ERA. With the quick turnaround, Los Angeles should feel more comfortable seeing Martinez for a second time in six days and get this, the Redbirds are 0-10 after scoring seven runs or more in consecutive games the last three seasons.
Advantage – Anderson and Los Angeles