Monday's MLB Pitcher Report: Short Schedule, Yet Riveting Baseball Options

Doug Upstone

Monday, August 10, 2015 1:59 PM GMT

With just seven hardball games to choose, some baseball handicappers when looking at the betting odds might thing this is a good chance for a rare day off and who would argue.

With the NFL betting season basically here and knowing what kind of workload lies ahead, the timing could be right. Then there are the rest of us, daily grinders, pounding out MLB picks like an assembly line that works 24/7.

Today we will turn our attention to a pair of rotten teams who for some reason are playing good baseball and what was supposed to be the premier club in the majors who opens a treacherous road trek which could doom their season.

 

Phillies vs. Diamondbacks: Phillies a Confident Crew Heading to Arizona Desert
Be honest, when Philadelphia at the beginning of last week lost three of four, you thought, OK, nice job Phillies but reality is making a house call and they would return to whom they had been up the All-Star break, a team with a 39-62 record.

Instead, the Phillies rolled in San Diego, swept the Padres and stole their lunch money and have the best record in the majors since the break at 16-5 and is a jaw-dropping +19.97 units in that span. This was about as likely as Donald Trump being the front-runner of Republican party, nevertheless, it's true.

Whether either situation continues to play out is to be determined, but veteran pitcher Aaron Harang (5-12, 4.11 ERA) will want to do his part to keep the now fourth place Phils winning. After a surprising start to the season, the right-hander has returned to career norms as a back of rotation hurler and at 37 is hanging on, lacking velocity and movement and has last just five innings in his previous three outings.

Sportsbooks have Philadelphia at +140 MLB odds at the Diamondbacks, who have been alternating wins and losses in their last eight contests, including 4-3 win in extra innings on Sunday. Rubby De La Rosa (9-5, 4.56) record does not belie how he's pitched, but he has a 2.84 ERA in last three starts.

The Phillies are feeling great and swept the Snakes back in May, but Harang and Phils are 2-13 versus teams whose hitters strike out seven or more times a game this season.

Slight Disadvantage - Harang and Philadelphia

 

Orioles vs. Mariners: Seattle Looks for Fast Start Over Orioles
With yesterday's victory over Texas, the Mariners have won consecutive series for only the second time since May and are 6-3 in last nine. After beating one of the best road teams in baseball, they will face among the worst in Baltimore, who is 22-33 (-10.2 units). As bad as the O's have been away from Baltimore, they have been even worse under the lights at 9-24.

Vidal Nuno (0-0, 2.88) will make his second straight start after 19 relief appearances with the Mariners this year and he's not fared well in this role in his career with a 2-12 record and 4.29 ERA in 28 tries. The left-hander seldom breaks 90 MPH and realistically has two pitches, a fastball and slider, with the others are just for show, which is less than a starting pitcher needs.

Nuno and the M's are +105 home underdogs, (Heritagesports has the Mariners at +110), however, Baltimore's starter Wei-Yen Chen (5-6, 3.32) has struggled in last four starts, allowing 30 hits (5 homers) in 20 innings. The concern with Nuno is the teams he's started for the past two years were only 8-20, making him undesirable choice.

Slight Disadvantage - Nuno and Seattle

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Nationals vs. Dodgers: Washington Needs Awesome Effort from Gonzalez
The Nationals could not afford to lose a home series to Colorado, but they did. While the first place Mets are back home to face the same Rockies squad and have one of the best home records in the majors, Washington embarks on a 10-game Western road trip that could define their season.

Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.75) will face an angry yet tired Dodgers club who was swept in Pittsburgh, but played last night there and had to fly cross-country. Gonzalez numbers do not look bad with a 4-0 record and 1.77 ERA in his last seven starts, but his lack of command has built up pitch totals quickly and he has not recorded an out beyond the fifth inning in any of his last three outings.

The Nats are +120 road dogs for MLB picks, but the Dodgers are 11-20 against a starting pitcher who gives up 0.5 or less homers a start this season and have to be mentally and physically tired from the long trip. Los Angeles is averaging only 3.5 runs per game versus lefty starters. Good spot for Gonzalez and Washington to sneak out a W.

Slight Advantage - Gonzalez and Washington

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