The first thing that I notice as I look at the MLB schedule are the abysmal pitching matchups. Could we be in store for a lot of high scoring affairs? Here are your MLB Picks of the Day for Thursday.
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers: Coming On Like Gangbusters
I haven't given them a thought all season long as the Astros have been dominating, led by Jose Altuve, but the Texas Rangers have made people take notice and have gotten hot at the right time.
The Rangers have won 4 straight games and 7 out of their last 10. One facet to their game that will benefit them is that they're road warriors, boasting a 41-34 mark. From the Astos perspective, they have gotten cold at the wrong time as they trail the Rangers by 1.5 games after a 3-7 stint. That said, a win here, would put them just 1/2 game behind the Rangers and this division is basically up for grabs. Another attractive aspect in this game is the bettor can pick up the Rangers, who have all of the momentum, at appealing MLB odds.
Turned a Corner?
All eyes will be on Texas starter, Colby Lewis (15-8, 4.45). Lewis had been receiving a ton of run support and had been struggling, but on September 11th against Oakland, Lewis threw a complete game 2 hitter.
Will this confidence carry over to this game? Houston starts Lance McCullers (5-5, 3.10) and you know that he'll most likely keep Houston in this game as he's provided 8 quality starts in his last 10 games. That said, his worst outing of the season came against Texas. McCullers pitched 1/3 of an inning and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits. Houston can't be too confident coming into this game.
Can the Astros Salvage a Game?
Texas can go for the perfect 4 game sweep after a 14-3 beating of the Astros yesterday. In yesterday's game the Rangers got off to an early start, scoring 6 runs in the 1st inning. One key player that has turned his game around this season is Prince Fielder. Fielder is coming off of a 2 home run game to go along with 5 runs batted in. For the season, he's hitting .314 and has a .383 OBP%. When a player has an OBP% of .380 or more, they're hitting elite status and Fielder might very well produce the Rangers a division title.
Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals: Is It Too Late?
I did mention this in an article a week ago regarding the Nationals. When a team feels like the pressure is off because they can't make the playoffs but are a good team, they start winning games and in the Washington Nationals case, they've won 4 straight games and are 7.5 games behind the New York Mets at 75-70 with 17 games remaining in the season.
Washington's will be thinking one thing and that's "win today". I've seen stranger things happen,especially when the Mets and Phillies were in this same situation a half decade ago and Philly came back to overtake the Mets.
Washington did just as I predicted and that's sweep the Phillies. Now, they have another inferior opponent in Miami and they need to push their weight around. One way to do that is with the best hitter in the National League in Bryce Harper.
I was ready to give up on Harper and declare Mike Trout the face of baseball, but Harper is having the season of a lifetime and he's just 22 years old. Harper has 4 HR and 7 RBI in his last 3 games, homering in each game and raising his seasonal totals to 40 HR, 92 RBI, and a .338 BA. In my opinion, Bryce Harper is the best player in the game and can also save runs defensively. You just can't right the Nats off yet after the way that Harper has been playing. He's one of the best parts of baseball, especially from a sport with a black eye from the past and the PED situation