Factor in these starting pitchers when forming MLB picks tonight, as their contributions are extremely important if their teams are going to meet there dreams of making the playoffs.
Tigers vs. White Sox: Detroit Hopes Simon Say “Winner”
With Justin Verlander still on the shelf, Anibal Sanchez scuffling and Shane Greene making sense now why the Yankees were willing to move him, that places a lot of pressure on Alfredo Simon (4-1, 3.13 ERA) to be a strong No. 2 on the Detroit staff behind David Price. The right-hander has a tough assignment in the Windy City on two fronts, first to shake off last outing in which he gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings in loss to Kansas City (after yielding five runs over 27 1/3 while winning his first four starts) and having to defeat Chris Sale (2-1, 5.32) on the road.
Simon has turned out to be a late bloomer, becoming a starting pitcher in his 30’s and one who has been rather effective. His mid to low 90’s fastball will sink and run depending on the grip and his curve is tightly-spun to achieve max downwards breaking action.
Chicago will have no real point of reference against Simon, who they last faced five years ago when he was a reliever for Baltimore. Sportsbooks like GTBets.eu have Simon and Detroit as +135 underdogs; however, the Tigers are worth a look. Sale has a solid 2.92 ERA against Detroit but in his dozen starts versus the Tigers, his team is 5-7 and Simon is a stellar 18-4 in the first half of the season since last year. Might have a live MLB Odds underdog with the visitor.
Grade – C (For Detroit)
Cubs vs. Cardinals: Games like this is Why Cubs Signed Lester
The St. Louis Cardinals are off to their best start since the late 1800’s at 20-6 and they have come from behind three times in two games against Chicago from deficits of at least three runs and won both contests. The Cubs came into the season saying they were ready to compete in the division but the Cardinals (favored by -119 on BetOnline's MLB odds) are distancing themselves from the pack.
In Game 3 of a four-game series, Chicago needs to see why they paid 155 million to Jon Lester (1-2, 4.71), for contests just like this. The left-hander has been largely ineffective until he beat Milwaukee in his last start, but let’s be honest as MLB baseball handicappers, the Brewers and Cards are not in the same stratosphere. Lester has to contain the Redbirds offense which has scored 17 runs in last two games. His task does not get simpler taking in Lance Lynn (1-2, 3.07). With St. Louis a -120 home favorite, Lynn and the Cardinals are 15-2 at home with a money line of -100 to -150 the last two seasons.
This is a very difficult task for Lester versus a team that expects to win after this start and backing the lefty for MLB picks seems foolhardy.
Grade – B (For St. Louis)
Mariners vs. Angels: Wilson Has to Assist the Angels
Los Angeles fell behind 4-2 in the eighth inning to Seattle, tied the game and won in with Carlos Perez walk off homer in the ninth in his first game since being called up from Triple-A. Those type of outcomes can lead to winning streaks, if, you win the next encounter.
This is where C.J. Wilson (1-2, 2.73) comes in and has to supply a big effort. Wilson has not pitched badly and has a 1.86 ERA in his past three starts without registering a personal victory (Angels 1-2) because of no run support. In his career the lefty is 11-6 with a nice 2.98 ERA vs. the Mariners and if the offense is going to waken, Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.86) might be the right candidate for them to bust loose. The Halos are a -140 favorite and they and Wilson are 11-0 at the Big A versus an AL team with a batting average of .260 or worse since last year.
Grade – B (For L.A.A.)