MLB Picks: Wild Card contenders to all prevail Thursday?

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

There are four days left in the American League wild card race, and with all three teams chasing two spots winning last night, the standings are unchanged entering Thursday.

The American League wild card race is now down to the last four days of the regular season, and possibly beyond in the event of a tie, and we have MLB picks in games involving the three teams chasing the two wild card spots on Thursday.

The Tampa Bay Rays still appear to be in the best shape on the MLB odds to get one wild card spot, as they hold has a one-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the second wild card spot, but more importantly a two-game lead over the Texas Rangers, who currently remain on the outside looking in, with just four games remaining.

If those standings look the same to you as they did yesterday, well, they are as all three teams did what they had to do Wednesday by beating non-contenders. Keep in mind though that while the standings remain the same, the big difference is that there is now one less game left for each team.

We are expecting more of the same Thursday with three chalky results as you will see in our predictions on the games involving the wild card hopefuls, with all odds coming from Pinnacle Sports.

Tampa Bay Rays -125 over New York Yankees (7:05 ET): This line is being kept down because Yankee starter Ivan Nova has become quite reliable this season, going 9-5 with a career-best 3.13 ERA, and he has done his best pitching at home where he is 7-2 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Still, the Yankees are a dead team that is out of contention and has stopped hitting, batting a ridiculous .193 in their last 10 games after managing a total of three runs the first two games of this series, both losses. Meanwhile the Rays are a team on a mission as they have now won six straight games at the best time imaginable, and they have their own hot pitcher that can continue to keep the Yankee bats quiet in Alex Cobb, who is 10-3 with a sparkling 2,90 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 21 starts covering 136.1 innings. Cobb was simply amazing over his last two starts, allowing three runs on 11 hits in 16.1 innings with 22 strikeouts vs. three walks, and he has also been brilliant in three 2013 starts vs. the Yankees allowing a total of four runs and 15 hits in 22.1 innings with 20 strikeouts and four walks. Look for the Rays to eke out enough runs off of Nova to get one step closer to clinching a wild card spot.


Texas Rangers -177 over Los Angeles Angels (MLB Network National - 8:05 ET): The Rangers are still one game out of a playoff spot, but they continued to keep the pressure on the Cleveland Indians by completing a sweep of the Houston Astros last night. The competition gets tougher tonight with the Angels coming to Arlington, but the Rangers should still prevail in the series opener with Matt Garza taking on Jerome Williams. Garza is a combined 10-6 with a 3.90 ERA this season putting together his work with the Rangers and his previous team the Chicago Cubs, and he comes off of a fine start in a key game vs. Kansas City that helped knock the Royals out of the wild card race as he allowing just one run and five hits in eight innings of a 3-1 win on Saturday. Granted Garza has had just one good start and one bad start vs. the Angels while with Texas, but the good start did come here in Arlington where he allowed three runs on only five hits in seven innings of a 4-3 Rangers’ victory. Meanwhile Williams has split time between the rotation and the bullpen for the Angels and the results have not been pretty for the most part. Williams is 9-10 with a 4.55 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, and the last time he faced the Rangers they reached him for five earned runs on six hits plus three walks in 5.1 innings back in Anaheim on August 8th.


Cleveland Indians -159 over Minnesota Twins (MLB Network Regional - 8:10 ET): The Indians may have the least talent of the three wild card contenders, but try telling them that after they extended their winning streak to six game by beating the White Sox Wednesday! Now Cleveland undoubtedly has benefited from favorable scheduling, as the six wins during this winning streak that has so far allowed them to hold off Texas have come vs. the teams with the two worst records in the American League in the White Sox and the Houston Astros, who actually have the worst record in the entire majors. To its credit though, Cleveland has done what it has had to do vs. inferior competition, and now as fate would have it the Tribe finish up the season vs. the team with the third worst record in the American League with four games in Minnesota! We look for the Indians to take advantage of this in the series opener at least, with Zach McAllister taking on Andrew Albers. McAllister has pitched better than his 9-9 record as he has a very acceptable 3.88 ERA and he enters this game in good current form, have allowed exactly one run in each of his last two starts. Yes, like his team, McAllister benefitted from facing the Astros and White Sox, but he has also allowed just three earned runs and eight hits in 13.1 innings with 12 strikeouts over two starts vs. Minnesota this year. Albers has been maddeningly inconsistent for the Twins as he broke into the majors by tossing 17.1 scoreless innings in his first two starts, but he has allowed 30 runs in 37 innings since then.


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