The playoff races are as intense as ever, making Sunday's games all the more important.
Cardinals (Kelly) vs. Pirates (Johnson)
Covered by Ron Patrick
An excellent series so far for Pittsburgh, as they've won both games to re-gain their lead atop the NL Central. Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett have put up two excellent starts in a row.
Today the Pirates call on left-hander Kris Johnson, who's been impressing in Triple A all year long. He'll have a tough go of it against St. Louis, with the road team hoping Joe Kelly (6-3, 2.91 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) can provide enough quality innings to give them a chance.
What's Ron's preferred selection for Sunday?
Covered by Willie Bee
All of a sudden the Yankees are only 3.5 games behind in the Wild Card standings. Ivan Nova gave the Bronx Bombers a terrific shutout performance yesterday and now it's Andy Pettitte's turn to get the job done.
Pettitte has looked a lot better over his last three starts, but opposing hitters are still batting .304 against him since the All-Star break. He's also 4-4 with a 4.79 ERA in 11 starts at Yankee Stadium in 2013, though he did pick up the winning decision in his one appearance against Baltimore.
The Orioles need a good outing from Wei-Yin Chen, who was battered for eight hits and eight runs last week against the Red Sox. Clearly the momentum is on New York's side at the moment, which is why Willie is thinking the Yankees at -125 or so is the best MLB pick.
Covered by Ron Patrick
The Dodgers scored a couple late runs to grab the win over the Padres last night. You've got to like their chances of winning again today with Zack Greinke on the bump, since he's been nothing short of brilliant as of late.
Greinke, who's 13-3 with a 2.86 ERA overall, has gone 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA in eight second-half starts, while going 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA when pitching at Dodger Stadium. He's also allowed only three earned runs in 13.0 innings against the Padres this season.
Ron took a chance by backing San Diego at a sizable dog price last night, and that almost came through at the sportsbooks. Today however he's going right back to L.A. and siding with Don Mattingly's ballclub to cover the run-line at -104.
Covered by Ross Benjamin
One of the late afternoon games involves Alex Wood and Atlanta up against Nate Eovaldi and Miami. The Braves are right up there as one of the largest favorites of the day in the MLB odds, listed at -225 to win this series finale at Turner Field.
Atlanta is back on a roll again, winning six straight ahead of today's game. They'll also be welcoming the Mets for a three-game set starting on Monday, so the Braves have a great chance to make this streak last even longer.
That's especially true with the way Wood has been pitching. He's allowed one or less earned run in five straight outings, lowering his ERA from 3.51 to 2.27. Ross sees good showings from both Wood and Eovaldi, leading to a cashed ticket for your sports picks of ‘Under’ 7.5 runs.
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