MLB Picks: 2014 MLB Wild Card Matchups

Ross Benjamin

Monday, September 29, 2014 1:08 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 29, 2014 1:08 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapping expert analyzes both wild card games that take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Read this revealing article, and receive his free picks in both of these games.

American League
The Kansas City Royals will host the Oakland A’s on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday with the opening pitch slated for 8:05 PM ET. The game will be televised by TBS. This will be a one-game win or take all 1-game series. The winner will advance to the ALDS to take on the Los Angeles Angels in a best of 5-game series. While the MLB odds favor the Royals, we look at this matchup to see if and where any betting value might lie.


Bittersweet for the A’s
Oakland entered the month of August seemingly in a commanding position with a comfortable lead on top of the AL West standings. Shockingly they proceeded to go on what amounted to be a 2-month tailspin, and that corresponded with the red-hot play of the Angels over that stretch, and they finished a distant second in the division. As a matter of fact, they had to scratch and claw in the final two weeks of the regular season to stave off the Seattle Mariners, just to avoid missing the playoffs altogether. On a positive note, they acquired tonight’s starter Jon Lester at the trade deadline from the Boston Red Sox. The veteran southpaw is 9-3 against the Royals in his career with a 1.84 ERA. He’s also been terrific in 13 postseason appearances as evidenced by his brilliant 2.11 ERA in those outings.


The Long Wait Ends
The Kansas City Royals will embark on their first postseason game in 29-years. This is a young team that may believed were still a season away from being where they are right now. They not only made the playoffs, but gave a veteran and powerful Detroit Tigers team all they can handle in the AL Central, finishing just a mere 1.0 game behind the division leader. The Royals will go with right-hander James Shields on the mound for the biggest game for the franchise in close to three decades. In 5-starts during the month of September, Shields was superb, posting a stellar 2.13 ERA in those outings. Although the Royals hurler has postseason experience, he doesn’t have the same glittering resume that Lester has put together. This will be his 7th career postseason start, his first 6 coming as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s posted a lofty 4.98 ERA in those appearances.


Final Analysis
At the time of this writing there was no money line or total posted on this game. When it comes to one game playoff, I would much prefer to have Lester over Shields. The Royals were much better on the road (47-34) than at home (42-39) in 2014.

Free MLB Pick: Oakland over Kansas City

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National League
The Pirates will host the Giants on Wednesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh with the opening pitch slated for 8:05 PM ET. At the time of this writing there was no money line or total posted in the game. The scheduled starting pitchers will be Madison Bumgarner of the Giants and Edinson Volquez for the Pirates.


Making it a Habit
After the Pirates organization suffered a long 21-year drought without a playoff appearance, this is the 2nd consecutive year that they will be part of the postseason party. Getting home field advantage for this one game wild card playoff was huge for Pittsburgh. They went a dominating 51-30 (.630) at home in 2014.


Experience on Giants Side
The Giants roster possesses not only a plethora of postseason experience, but a large number of players that’s tasted a high degree of success at this time of the year. Tonight’s starter Madison Bumgarner has been terrific on the road this season, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA. Despite recently turning just 25, the Giants hurler has already earned a NLDS win, and two World Series victories.


Final Analysis
The Giants certainly hold the advantage in both experience, and in the starting pitching department for this 1-game win or take all postseason game. However, the Pirates have been playing excellent baseball throughout the month of September, and have been exceptional in their home ball park in 2014. For that reason we are looking to back them with our MLB picks in this matchup.

Free MLB Pick: Pirates over the Giants

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