Locked Into the Post-Season
Both of these teams are just about guaranteed a playoff spot as the Dodgers, even on a 3-game losing streak, are leading the National League West Division by double-digit games and the Reds have a comfortable 8 game lead for the the final wild card spot in the NL.
Los Angeles still has a chance at the best record in the National League as they trail the Braves by 2 games and the Reds are 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for the top spot in the National League Central. The moral of this story is there’s still something to play for. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, they’re getting cold at the wrong time.
Momentum is mandatory in order to be successful in the MLB Playoffs. If you watch the bearded Red Sox dominate the Yankees, you’ll see that the Sox are full of momentum.
After one of the greatest 50 game stretches in baseball history, the Dodgers are gradually coming back down to earth and at the wrong time. They’ve dropped their last 3 games and have to face a tough customer in Homer Bailey (10-10, 3.42) for the Reds. Luckily for L.A., they counter with possibly the best pitcher in the majors in Clayton Kershaw (14-8, 1.89). From a mental aspect, this game is very important. Kershaw had his worst performance of the season in his last outing, allowing 5 runs and 11 hits in a loss to Colorado, and the Dodgers need Clayton to come up big in this spot.
Cincinnati offers a variety of looks where Kershaw is concerned. Leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo has been tearing the cover off of the baseball. Shoo is 12 for 27 with 3 HR and 6 RBI in this last week alone. If it’s a low scoring game, Kershaw doesn’t want to see Shoo because he can turn a run into a walk.
Joey Votto is the leader of the Reds and starting to find his stroke. In his last 2 games, he’s reached safely in 9 consecutive at-bats. Facing Clayton Kershaw will be the ultimate test for the native Canadian.
Will Kershaw bounce back is the question in this game?
Tampa Bay Rays (77-64) at Seattle Mariners (65-77)
This is a must win situation for the Rays and a team that they should beat. Tampa Bay is on a 3-game losing streak and has lost 8 out of their last 10 games. Cleveland and Baltimore are both just 1 game behind the Rays for the final wild card spot while the Yankees are 2.5 games behind.
The Man That You Want Taking the Ball
Matt Moore (15-3, 3.27) has come up huge for the Rays this season and he needs to give his best effort here. Some east coast teams get flustered on these long road trips across the country and Seattle has taken advantage of the situation thus far. That said, they haven’t face Moore. Moore has allowed 1 run or less in 5 out of his last 7 outings.
Tampa Bay’s offense has only scored 11 runs in their last 4 games and this offense, led by Evan Longoria, is capable of much more. Longo is on a 5-game hitting streak and is coming off of a game in which he homered, but game changers like Ben Zobrist, James Loney, and Will Myers need to contribute as the wild card is within this team’s reach.
Despite the high earned run average, Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.07) has pitched well as of late and this game will rest upon the bats in the Rays’ lineup. Consider the Rays for your sports picks.
Good luck, everyone!
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