All the AL East clubs are back on schedule to continue their playoff push. Sportsbooks have released their MLB odds and it is time to disseminate them and find winners.
Toronto and the New York Yankees are tied atop the division, with Baltimore three games in back of Texas for the last wild card spot. Each of these teams is facing an opponent that if the season ended today would be in the postseason. The pressure is on the starting pitchers to excel, how will they do?
Let's take a quick inventory of each club and starting hurler and determine what side to be on for MLB picks, looking to improve recent 17-8 record.
Yankees Nova Has to Elevate Game to Beat Keuchel
New York received a superior performance from Nathan Eovaldi and one reliever and Carlos Beltran delivered a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a tense 1-0 victory over Houston yesterday. This helped New York match Toronto 69-55 record at the top of the division and this evening will face the Astros Dallas Keuchel (14-6, 2.37 ERA). As good as this left-hander has been all season, like his teammates, he not been nearly as good on the road.
Keuchel is 3-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 11 road starts, including three consecutive defeats with a 4.64 ERA, which goes along with Houston's road woes which now has them at 24-36 (-12 units). Ivan Nova (5-5, 3.72) of New York will try and add to the Astros miseries, but he's had plenty of his own of late with a 1-2 record and 5.19 ERA in his last three starts. What Nova has to be careful of is grooving pitches since Houston leads the majors in home runs.
The betting odds at Waberweb.ag have the visiting Astros as -125 favorites, not trusting Nova and knowing Keuchel has 1.59 ERA in two starts against the Pinstripes. Nevertheless, as a baseball handicapper, have to take into account Houston has dropped 17 of last 21 away games and they are 7-16 on the road with a money line of -100 to -150 this season.
Disadvantage - Keuchel and Houston
Buehrle and Blue Jays Try to Round up Rangers
Two of the hottest clubs in baseball will collide, each in charge of their own destiny. Toronto is 19-4 in their last 23 as their offense is punishing opposing teams and their pitching is markedly improved, now having permitted fewer runs than the Yankees, which many making sports picks might not realize.
Texas was not on anyone's radar 24 games ago, but having posted a 17-7 record, they moved into second place in the AL West and are just two games behind Houston in the loss column to tie for division lead.
Mark Buehrle (13-6, 3.45) scuffled a bit in last outing, allowing four runs in four innings, but prior to that was 7-1 with a 2.16 ERA over his previous 13 starts. Against Texas, the lefty is 14-5 in 22 career starts and in Arlington he is 6-2 with a 2.92 ERA. Current MLB odds have Toronto as a -135 favorite against Derek Holland (1-1, 3.68) and Texas, who has won 12 of 14 at home. A lot to like about the Rangers, but given Buehrle's track record and the Rangers 8-21 record after batting .225 or worse over a five-game span, I prefer Toronto.
Slight Advantage - Buehrle and Texas
Orioles and Gonzalez in Tough Spot in K.C.
After being among the better home teams in baseball, inexplicably Baltimore was swept at Camden Yards over four games by Minnesota and the losses have reached five after falling at Kansas City 8-3 on Monday. Miguel Gonzalez (9-9, 4.73) like his teammates has hit the skids and is 0-3 with a 7.82 ERA in his last five outings and will face a Royals club that is rolling again at 13-4 and has pounded out at least a dozen hits in its past three trips to the yard.
With the Orioles and Gonzalez slumping, hard to like the Birds as +125 underdogs, knowing they are 0-10 in road games playing against a team 54% to 62% win percentage this season.
Disadvantage - Gonzalez and Baltimore