MLB Picks of the Day: Playoff Contenders Highlight Monday's Best Bets

Joe Catalano

Monday, September 14, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

Fall is here as we are mid-September & every game is more important than ever in the MLB. We certainly take this into account when making our MLB picks of the day.

Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies: The Pressure Is Off?
Sometimes when teams know that they don't have a realisitic chance of making the playoffs, they play better baseball. At 72-70, the Nationals would need nothing short of a miracle to make the post season, but I could see them beating up on a bottom-feeder such as the Philadelphia Phillies, who are one of the 2 worst teams in baseball. In a Zimmerman vs. Nola matchup, the Nats are heavy -156 betting favorites and should have an easy time of it here.

 

Bryce Harper For NL MVP
Washington is coming off of a 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins in which Max Scherzer led the way, but this team is clearly Bryce Harper's team.

After watching Harper some games back, I'm realizing he is the full package and can also play superb defense in saving runs.He reminds me of a race horse that has won from wire to wire as there's been no lapses in his season.

For the season, Harper is hitting .333 with 36 HR and 85 RBI. He also possesses an amazing .463 OBP %. If you put this guy on a better offensive club, he would already have surpassed the 100 RBI mark, but that really isn't important  In the month of September, Harper has 5 HR,8 RBI and is hitting .371. There was a question if he would play tonight. Of course, I'd rather see him in the lineup, but the Washington Nationals are the clear cut play in this game.

MLB Pick: Washington Nationals (-156) at 5 Dimes

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay RaysSabathia Can Get the Hook At Any Time
The Yankees are coming off of a much needed win over the Toronto Blue Jays after a 5-0 victory. This puts New York 3.5 games in back of the Jays and they're still within reach of the division title, but with C.C. Sabathia starting, even against the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, New York can't feel too good because they might possibly have to burn their bullpen as the second Sabathia gets in any type of trouble, Joe Girardi gives the sign for a new pitcher to come in from the bullpen.

Thus far this season, Sabathia has been atrocious at 4-9 with a 5.16 ERA. In his last 2 outings, Sabathia has went a total of 7 1/3 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs. This tells you that he's actually pitched very well, but that management has no faith in him after throwing so many innings in his career and they're waiting for him to implode each and every time that he takes the mound. I expect Sabathia to pitch well and get 4 to 5 innings at best against Tampa Bay.

 

Hitting For Average
This is another issue for New York. If you look at their season, you would think that guys have had big years and most of them have, but it hasn't translated over to their batting averages.

Carlos Beltran, who hasn't had a good season, leads the team with a .279 batting average. If we look at some of these averages, Brian McCann is hitting .244, Jacoby Elllsbury is at .257, and Brett Gardner is at .270. In my opinion, Gardy and McCann have had good if not great seasons, but these are ugly numbers and New York will need for guys to get on base as Tampa Bay has the likes of Longoria that can steal this game away from the Bombers. That said, the Yankees are the hungrier team. I love the odds here and it's due to Sabathia starting.

MLB Pick: New York Yankees (-104) at 5 Dimes - 3 Unit Play