MLB Picks: Wild Card outlook for Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The American League wild card race has come down to the final week, and the LT Profits Group has selections for games involving three teams chasing two wild card spots Wednesday.

The American League wild card race has come down to the last five days of the regular season, and we have MLB picks in games involving the top three teams in pursuit of the two wild card spots on Wednesday.

While the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be in pretty good shape on the MLB odds for one wild card spot, they are still not officially in with the top three teams in the wild card standings all winning on Tuesday. Thus, Tampa Bay has a one-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the second wild card spot, and more importantly a two-game lead over the Texas Rangers, who currently remain on the outside looking in.

We would be remiss if we did not give a shout out to the Kansas City Royals, who probably had their wild card hopes dashed when they lost to the Seattle Mariners on the road last night, leaving them a seemingly insurmountable four games behind Cleveland for the last playoff spot. The Royals are a nice young team with a great future ahead of them, so watch out for Kansas City next season.

But back to the present, here are our predictions for Wednesday night, including a pair of shockers, with all odds coming from Pinnacle Sports.

Tampa Bay Rays -160 over New York Yankees (ESPN - 7:05 ET): No, this selection is not one of the two shockers. The Rays had an easy time with what looks like a dead Yankee team while winning 7-0 on Tuesday and Tampa Bay now sends ace David Price to the mound against the struggling Phil Hughes, who was actually demoted to the bullpen but is now forced to make one more start in light of the season-ending hamstring injury to C.C. Sabathia. Do not be fooled by Price’s 8-8 record as he was off to a terrible start this year when he was almost undoubtedly bothered by the triceps injury that ultimately landed him on the Disabled List for longer than he let on. Keep in mind that Price was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA when he was disabled, but he has looked like the reigning Cy Young Award winner again since coming back in July. That ERA is now all the way down to 3.43, to go along with a 1.12 WHIP and a terrific ratio of 139 strikeouts against just 26 walks in 170.2 innings! Meanwhile, the oft maligned Hughes is 4-13 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.42 WHIP and he has failed to last more than 4.2 innings in any of his last four starts, in fact not making it out of the fourth inning in his last three outings.


Chicago White Sox +245 over Cleveland Indians (7:05 ET): We were on the White Sox +201 on Tuesday and they certainly gave us a thrill taking a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning, only to fold on a two-out walk-off two-run homer by 42-year-old Jason Giambi in the home half of the final frame. Undaunted, we are calling for another upset Wednesday with Cleveland’s Danny Salazar taking on Dylan Axelrod. Yes the Tribe look to have the starting pitching advantage here as we actually like Salazar quite a bit. Our problem though is assigning this price tag to a rookie that has had all of nine Major League starts to this point, especially considering that he was not sharp in his last outing vs. Kansas City, allowing four earned runs in six innings of a 7-2 defeat to fall to 1-3 for the year. Furthermore, as bad as Axelrod has been against the rest of the league, he is actually two for two in Quality Starts vs. the Indians this season while allowing a grand total of four runs and eight hits in 12 innings against them. Yes Axelrod was lit up in his last two starts allowing seven runs on each occasion, but both of those outings came vs. the Detroit Tigers, who can do that to even the best of pitchers, and he is now facing a Cleveland offense that has not hit as well vs. right-handers (.242) as it has vs. southpaws (.265) this season.


Houston Astros +245 over Texas Rangers (8:05 ET): It is a battle of southpaws in Arlington with Martin Perez of the Rangers taking on Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and we feel Keuchel gives Houston a nice chance to play spoiler at an enormous price here. For starters, Keuchel has had some uncanny success vs. the Rangers over his brief career thus far, limiting Texas to two runs or less in three of his four career starts against them including winning here in Arlington as a whopping +288 underdog earlier this season. Secondly, Keuchel already did his best to play spoiler by holding the Cleveland Indians to one run in seven innings his last time out in an unfortunate 2-1 loss, so he certainly enters this game in good form. Meanwhile the rookie Perez has looked like the real deal while going 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA for the Rangers, but he is in unchartered territory as this huge of a favorite and he does tend to put men on base with a below average 1.35 WHIP overall, a WHIP that has soared to 1.82 to go along with a 4.24 ERA over his last three starts. He may not get as much run support as he has become accustomed to either if Keuchel matches both his most recent outing last week and his lifetime form vs. Texas.


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