With a mixture of day and night baseball on Wednesday, we will focus on what the betting odds are from sportsbooks when the lights come up and look into three distinct situations.
We will start with Washington, where the Nationals lead has been sliced to two games in the loss column and the losses are mounting with the Mets gaining rapidly. Next is the Chicago White Sox, who were in last place not the long ago in the AL Central and now are three games Minnesota for the final wild card spot. Finally, for making MLB picks, Houston was a very popular choice among baseball handicappers last night and it is the middle matchup of the best two teams in the AL West. Let's go to work!
Nationals vs. Marlins: Washington Needs Fister and Offense to do their Jobs
Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth all back from injuries for the Nationals, but it mattered little last evening as they only plated one time in losing 4-1 to Jose Fernandez and Miami. The Nationals have lost seven of 10 and in those defeats have averaged two runs per game. It is not likely to get any easier go against the Marlins Tom Koehler (8-6, 3.16 ERA), who has a 1.62 ERA in his past six starts.
Doug Fister (3-6, 4.50) was thought to be one of the main cogs in Washington's "Fabulous Five" rotation, but he's been a nonfactor and is 0-3 with a 5.32 ERA in his last four starts, further hindered by receiving just four runs of support. Known as a sinker ball pitcher, Fister has left pitches up in the zone all season and allowed 92 hits in only 74 innings.
The MLB odds had Washington at -115, but places like Heritagesports.eu are now under -110 (-108), with Koehler and Miami 7-1 when he pitches coming off a victory. However, Fister has itsy-bitsy 1.14 ERA against the Marlins, which all have been Nationals victories. For sports picks, let's give a nod to the Nats who find a way.
Slight Advantage - Fister and Washington
White Sox vs. Red Sox: Chicago Might Have to Rethink Position
Early this century, the Chicago White Sox were eight games out of first place in their division race and were a seller at the trade deadline and caught a ton of flack. Just two weeks ago the perception was the same about the south-siders, with Jeff Samardjiza and others rumored to be on the move.
But baseball's a funny game and after a disastrous 1-5 homestand, Chicago's fate looked sealed with an eight-game road trip. But like a ray of bright light shining through in opening of a cloud-filled sky, the White Sox offense has come alive and they have won the first six contests on this trip and are closing in on the last wild card slot.
After being one of the most moribund offenses all year, the ChiSox batters are averaging 7.5 (compared to 3.5 when they left town) runs per game and will hand the ball to Jose Quintana (5-9, 3.56), who would love to see more runs. The left-hander received a season-high six runs in his last outing, a 6-0 shutout over Cleveland. Prior to this he has gotten 2.9 runs of support.
The Pale Hose are still +110 underdogs to bumbling Boston, who will counter with Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.51), who after a nightmarish start in Bean-Town has a 2.50 ERA in his last three starts.
With Chicago in a great frame of mind and the Red Sox not doing the job, we'll support the visitor since the BoSox are 12-29 at Fenway with a money line of -100 to -125 the last two seasons.
Advantage - Quintana and Chicago
Angels vs. Astros: LA and Houston Do Battle Again
C.J. Wilson of Los Angeles had leads of 4-1 and 5-4 and could not contain a Houston batting which scored 10 runs thanks to six extra base hits, two which flew over the fence. This brought the Astros into a virtual tie with the Angels (one game behind in loss column) who will hope Garrett Richards (10-7, 3.25) can supply a much stronger effort. The right-hander and his club are 6-2 against Houston with a 3.51 ERA, with one of the losses in H-Town back in April. Richards and the Halos are 4-5 on the road and his ERA elevates to 4.73.
Rookie Lance McCullers (4-3, 2.60)has emerged as a key No.3 starter for the Stros. His past three starts have not been great, though he's limited the damage with a 3.94 ERA despite surrendering 17 hits and nine walks over 16 innings.
Houston is a modest -115 home favorite and you have to take into consideration the Halos have won 30 of Richard's past 44 starts. Nevertheless, the Astros are 11-1 at home versus a starting pitcher who gives up 0.5 or less home runs a start and 15-3 after two straight games when the bullpen gave up no runs this season.
Advantage - McCullers and Houston