Interleague play has been an easy way to beat the MLB odds for me, although I also know many baseball handicappers who believe the flow of the game breaks with interleague play.
The next four days will feature interleague play exclusively and for today we delve into experienced pitchers versus those in their youth and determine how the contests might come out. The last time the National League won a season series was 2003 and other than 2011 and 2013, the results have been fairly one-sided.
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Blue Jays vs. Mets: Buehrle vs. Syndergarrd
Highly touted Noah Syndergarrd (2-4, 4.15 ERA) has a mammoth challenge trying to contain or slow down Toronto as New York opens up a two-game home series. The Blue Jays are after their first 12-game win streak in franchise history and their baseball-best offense has taken off into another gear, averaging eight runs per game in this sensational stretch. After a great start, the Mets right-hander has been hit hard surrendering 11 runs and 20 hits in 10 innings in his back-to-back losses this month, as his normally reliable hard curve and high 90’s fastball have lacked their usual movement. Hardly an ideal situation facing an offense as hot as Toronto.
The Jays will counter with 36-year old Mark Buehrle (7-4, 4.25) who after a few tough starts has fared better with a 2.25 ERA in his past three outings. The lefty has played a big part in the success of the AL in interleague play being the pitcher with most wins in AL vs. NL confrontations with 30-10 record in 51 starts. Since returning to the AL with Toronto he has a 1.97 ERA in nine games against the NL.
The betting odds show New York as -115 favorite, but they are lower at Heritagesports.eu at -111 and though Toronto looks the part with the right pitcher, the Mets are 17-3 at home with a money line of -100 to -150 this season and the Blue Jays are 14-30 away after sweeping a three-game series against a division rival.
Slight Advantage – Syndergarrd and New York
Twins vs. Cardinals: May vs. Lackey
St. Louis at 41-21 is already 20 games over .500 after just 62 games. This has not happened to this storied franchise in 71 years. John Lackey (4-4, 3.74) at 36 has and will again look to contribute tonight against a Minnesota, who is only 4-9 in June after being 20-7 in June.
Lackey can still be tough on right-hand hitters with his sinking fastball and slider and will take on Trevor May (4-4, 4.16). The 25-year Twins starter has conceded one run in his past two outings over 13 innings and he’s quit nibbling, which is why he’s struck-out 14 and walked just three in those starts.
The Cardinals are -155 home favorites, where they are 24-7 this season. Though St. Louis has had problems with interleague play through the years, it is hard not to like them as the MLB pick in this matchup.
Advantage – Lackey and St. Louis
Mariners vs. Giants: Walker vs. Hudson
It will be up to both these starting pitchers to alter the mood of their teams with how they have been playing. In Seattle’s past five tilts, the average scoring margin outcome has been over eight runs with the Mariners losing three of those contests by a combined score of 29-0. (Not a misprint)
San Francisco was sailing along, but has lost four straight including just being swept by Arizona at home. Tim Hudson (4-5, 4.60) of the Giants will be 40 next month and he’s been very average for San Fran since August of last year. His pitches no longer have the same effectiveness, which makes sense at his age.
Seattle will counter with Taijuan Walker (3-6, 5.40) who was incredibly bad for almost two months, but the right-hander is finally settling in and the 22-year old has 1.64 ERA in his last three starts. The Mariners have dropped in MLB odds from +120 to +105 underdogs, yet are 11-24 when the money line is +125 to -125 this season. San Francisco also needs a spark, but has yet to win a home game in six tries this month and is 2-10 at AT&T Park after two or more consecutive losses this season.
Slight Advantage – Hudson and San Francisco