Despite the slim card today for students of the betting odds to work with there are still some very good pitching matchups of significant proportions to ponder as we begin another week of wagering.
Phillies vs. Reds: Hamels vs. Leake
After going 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA in his previous three starts, Mike Leake (2-4, 4.40 ERA) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Philadelphia and was pulled in the ninth with a 4-0 lead after giving up a couple hits. Unfortunately for him, closer Chapman had a rare bad outing and gave up the tying run and the Phillies ended up winning in extra innings 5-4.
Leake himself was encouraged. "Just my head was off for a few games, just something I can't probably explain what was going on," Leake told MLB's official website. "It was just a matter of coming back and re-finding what was making me do well." What this means for him sticking with mechanics which allows him to throw in the 90-94 range with his fastball which ironically is faster than he threw his first couple seasons with Cincinnati, thanks to a modification in his windup. He has the ability to make his fastball run or sink and he offers a big sweeping breaking pitch and good changeup. In his career Leake is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA against Philadelphia in seven starts (Phils 1-6) and the UNDER is 6-0-1.
With the fortunate comeback by the Phillies in his last outing, Cole Hamels (5-4, 2.88) remains unbeaten against the Reds at 10-0 with a 1.45 ERA in 14 career starts, including one in the postseason. Hamels has four outstanding pitches, a fastball, cutter, looping curve and devastating change. Hamels club is +105 road underdog, which is even lower at Heritagesports.eu thanks to eight-cent progressive baseball lines. There is a great deal of conflicting information in regards to the side, but we will give slight edge to Hamels record and having the better bullpen.
Slight Advantage – Hamels and Philadelphia
Astros vs. White Sox: McCullers vs. Sale
Baseball can be a humbling game and after enjoying a lofty status for 8 ½ weeks into the season, Houston has lost four in a row, with the last the most painful as their outstanding bullpen could not hold a two-run ninth inning lead and they fell to Toronto 7-6.
Rookie Lance McCullers (2-0, 1.88) will try and play stopper and he’s averaged 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings through four starts. The 21-year old left-hander is a hard thrower with a big fastball and explosive curve and thus far has solved his only real problem in the minors, giving up the gopher ball, having not allowed any in 24 innings. Chances are he will not in this game either with Chicago last in homers in the AL.
But what a mound opponent is Chris Sale (5-2, 3.27), who has 53 strikeouts in his past five starts covering 38 1/3 innings walking six, surrendering six earned runs on 19 hits. With the Astros leading the AL in fanning, Sale should have another large total.
The sportsbooks MLB odds have the White Sox as -145 favorites and with Sale sporting a 0.38 ERA in three starts versus Houston, you have to like the Pale Hose chances in their series opener.
Advantage – Sale and Chicago
Royals vs. Twins: Vargas vs. Hughes
The top two teams in the AL Central collide for a third time this season, with each winning a home series. Both enter a little woozy off unexpected series losses with starting pitchers who have been less than stable. Jason Vargas (4-2, 4.79) has a higher ERA, but has been improving with a 3.43 ERA mark in last four starts, but faces a Minnesota batting order that is 15-7 against lefties this season.
After being a stud a year ago, Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.96), is showing why the Yankees were willing to part ways. He’s given up 86 hits in only 69 innings and a dozen of the base-knocks have flown over the wall.
This contest is listed as Pick with a total of 8.5 and when studying the results of both pitchers and current form of both clubs, a possible lean with the Twins, with the OVER appearing to be the better choice for MLB picks.
Slight Advantage – Hughes and Minnesota