With today's card only having MLB odds on 10 games and five are during the day, we will focus our attention on the sportsbooks releases for night baseball in generating sports picks.
With five evening contests, this baseball handicapper will take a look at the three most attractive matchups and seek to improve on 32-19 recent the last two and half weeks.
Giants vs. Cubs: Heston vs. Hammel
When the season concludes, we might well look back on this four-game series in Chicago as very important with the Giants and Cubs presently tied in the loss column for the last wild card. If either club can win the series they take the upper hand. This matchup will draw the attention of many making MLB picks and this particular game the Muppets Elmo, since both starting pitchers last name begin with 'H'.
Rookie pitcher Chris Heston (11-5, 3.13 ERA) has helped save San Francisco's season as their aging and often injured starting pitchers have become bit players, with Heston becoming an important front of the rotation contributor. At 27, he was no longer a prospect and has embraced the situation and gotten exceptional results, which includes a no-hitter. The Giants are looking like the Giants, winners of 16 of 21, which includes an 8-4 road record and they like playing at Wrigley Field where they are 7-2 of late.
Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.13) won his first game in nine starts at Milwaukee last Friday and appeared to overcome tightness in his left hamstring, which has bothered him off and on the last month. Hammel is 0-3 in nine starts (Team's record 3-6) against the Giants and could face a couple of hot hitters in Buster Posey (.449, L19G) and Matt Duffy (.383, L21G).
There is speculation Posey might get a night off and the San Francisco is a +105 road underdog , but given their pedigree and the fact Chicago has not played well against elite teams with their young squad, for these betting odds have to lean with the champs.
Slight Advantage - Heston and San Francisco
Twins vs. Blue Jays: Gibson vs. Buehrle
Toronto's aggressive position at the trade deadline not only improved the club, but gave the team a refreshed attitude and they are 7-2 as they get ready to wrap up the homestand. Having beaten Minnesota three times this week, the Blue Jays have seized control of the last wild card slot in the AL and is tied with rival Baltimore in the loss column, with that duel to be settled later.
One of the losses on this homestand was when Mark Buehrle (11-5, 3.32) pitched against Kansas City, but he did not suffer the defeat in allowing three earned runs over seven innings and is 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA in nine home starts. Because of how consistent the left-hander has been in his career and having pitched most of his career with the White Sox, Buehrle has 29 victories against Minnesota, the most off any team he's faced (29-19), which includes four in a row.
The Twins have lost nine of 11 and need a superb effort from Kyle Gibson (8-8, 3.37), who has yielded one earned run over 13 2/3 innings in two starts against Toronto. The Blue Jays are enormous -185 favorites (Heritagesports.eu has them at -178) which seems high until you find out Buehrle is 38-9 as a home favorite of -175 to -250 for his career. (Team's record)
Advantage - Buehrle and Toronto
Astros vs. Athletics: Feldman vs. Brooks
Some people believe there is no such thing as - momentum - it is nothing more than a fleeting feeling that comes and goes rapidly. This case can be made reviewing how Houston has played, since after sweeping the L.A. Angels and completing a 5-1 homestand to retake first place in the AL West, the Astros hit the road and dropped all three to cross-state rival Texas.
Houston has lost 28 of 38 away games and will lean on suspect Scott Feldman (4-5, 4.58) to change their fortunes. Somehow, Feldman's been in the big leagues for 10 years and his greatest strength is he more or less keeps his team in games as No. 4 or No. 5 starter.
The Astros has slipped from -140 to -120 away favorites as evidenced by SBR's live MLB odds page and will see Aaron Brooks (1-0, 3.09), who will be making his third career start and second for Oakland since arriving in the Ben Zobrist trade with Kansas City. This is a contest Houston should win, but for MLB picks, I will not ignore the A's are 11-2 after consecutive games with five or more extra base hits since 2013 and are facing a pedestrian hurler.
Slight Advantage - Brooks and Oakland