MLB Picks: Wild Card contenders in trouble Monday?

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, September 23, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The American League wild card race has come down to the final week, but there could be money to be made by going against three of the wild card contenders on Monday!

The American League wild card race has come down to the last week of the regular season with some of the contenders in action on Monday. As you will see by our MLB picks today however, we see value on the current odds in some of those teams falling further off the pace, possibly insurmountably.

We are going with three underdogs against those wild card hopefuls today, with all odds coming from Pinnacle Sports.

Baltimore Orioles +120 over Tampa Bay Rays (3:10 ET): The Rays now own the first wild card position with a two-game cushion over the Texas Rangers, thanks to Tampa Bay going 5-2 on this home stand including taking the first three games of this series, effectively dashing Baltimore’s playoff hopes. So in this case unlike our next two selections Monday, we are looking for a team in good wild card position to blow a chance to come closer to securing its spot. The southpaw Wei-Yin Chen gets this start for the Orioles and he has been a Rays-killer for the most part. Chen has faced Tampa Bay twice this season and has allowed a total of four runs in 12.2 innings. That now makes six consecutive starts since last season that Chen has held the Rays to three earned runs or less, in fact allowing two earned runs or less in his last five starts against them! He has a 2.93 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 46 career innings vs. the Rays, and he is facing a Tampa Bay lineup batting a mere .208 vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games. Yes, rookie Chris Archer has pitched with poise under pressure belying his age for Tampa Bay as he is 9-7 but with a fine 3.02 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 21 starts in the heat of a pennant race. However, he must deal with a Baltimore lineup full of left-handed power, and that is thus averaging a potent 4.82 runs per nine innings vs. right-handers for the season.


Houston Astros +236 over Texas Rangers (8:05 ET): This is the play that would guarantee a profitable play fading the three wild card contenders today regardless of the other two results. The Rangers have gone from leading the American League West for a nice chunk of this season to now being on the outside looking in for a playoffs spot, trailing the Cleveland Indians by 1½ games for the second and last wild card spot after losing to the Kansas City Royals 4-0 in 10 innings on a walk-off grand slam by Justin Maxwell yesterday. They now return home to face the team with the worst record in the Major Leagues, yet it is still not a given that the Rangers merit this price. Derek Holland was having a great season under the radar for them, but his wheels may now be coming off as he has slumped to 0-2 with a bloated 8.59 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over his last three starts. It does not help his cause that Texas has stopped hitting since Nelson Cruz was suspended for the season, as the Rangers are batting just .231 while averaging 3.30 runs over the last 10 games. That includes a .218 mark and a scant 2.61 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitching in that time, which should make things easier for Houston starter Jordan Lyles, who has managed to go 7-8 this season while pitching for a team that is 51-105.


Seattle Mariners +126 over Kansas City Royals (10:10 ET): The Royals kept their dimming wild card hopes alive with the aforementioned walk-off win vs. the Texas Rangers Sunday in a game that was 0-0 in the 10th inning, but they still trail the Cleveland Indians by 2½ games for the last wild card spot with Texas splitting those teams. Now Kansas City is forced to thrust a rookie into the spotlight in starter Yordano Ventura, he of the one lifetime Major League start last week. Yes, he pitched well in that outing allowing one run on five hits in 5.2 innings vs. the Indians, but that is probably not enough for him to now be a decided road favorite without much of a tracking history in the big leagues. Meanwhile, the highly regarded Seattle rookie pitcher Brandon Maurer has been erratic in his first full season going 4-8 with a 6.95 ERA in 12 starts after being the Mariners’ minor league pitcher of the year each of the last two seasons, but he did hold the mighty Detroit Tigers’ lineup to two runs on five hits in five innings last time out, and he could be tough in his first career start vs. a Kansas City lineup batting just .235 vs. right-handed pitchers for the whole year.


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