There are nine left-handed pitchers scheduled to start today and three in particular have caught our attention when looking at the sportsbooks betting odds, as we forecast how they might perform.
This is a power trio of port-siders who have brand names and over the years have been chosen frequently for MLB picks. Here is the lowdown as we attempt to improve on 12-4 week with free picks.
Hamels Might Be Making Last Start in Phillies Uniform
Cole Hamels (5-7, 3.91 ERA) this spring was basically saying "trade me already", but Philadelphia has been steadfast in wanting to fleece a team in need of Hamels services and supposedly have not gotten the right deal. The 31-year old Hamels is a known quantity, but my guess is he's bothered by not knowing what is going to happen and it's affected his pitching and in some part explains is 5.06 ERA in his last nine starts.
One of the reported suitors is today's opponent, the Chicago Cubs, whose MLB odds have them at -190 (-185 at Heritagesports when writing this article) with Jake Arrieta (11-5, 2.52), who ranks in the Top 10 in the NL in wins, ERA, strikeouts (133), opponent batting average (.211) and WHIP (0.98). Nonetheless, the Phillies are feeling frisky these days and their 6-1 record since the break is their best stretch since assembling 7-1 mark in mid-May.
Hamels has only faced the Cubs twice in the last five years and is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last six matchups, but few of them have been with Chicago current players since the last meeting in 2013. Though Philly won in extra innings yesterday, they are still 2-16 as a road underdog of +150 to +200 this season.
Disadvantage - Hamel and Philadelphia at Heritage
Sabathia Still a Work in Progress for New York
Coming up at age 19, C.C. Sabathia (4-8, 5.25) was blessed with great arm and was always a favorite with baseball handicappers because of his durability and toughness. But the last couple years he's broken down and at 35 he's trying to hang on to career without the toolbox he used to have.
Opposing teams are batting .299 against the big lefty, but he's been better in his last couple starts, surrendering three runs in 11 2/3 innings. Though Sabathia has a spiffy 19-9 record with 3.02 ERA against Minnesota, this is a pesky offense that sprays the ball around, which could nickel and dime right out of the game.
For the Yankees starter it's about ball placement and changing speeds which is the forte of his mound opponent Tom Milone (5-2, 3.38). The Twins are +108 home underdogs despite their sensational 32-16 home record (+18.9 units), but for sports picks, we will agree with the odds makers, barely.
Slight Advantage - Sabathia and New York
Chicago Would be Dumb to Put Sale on Sale
Rumors have surfaced this week the White Sox might be willing to trade Chris Sale (8-5, 2.86), which would be one of the worst moves of the season. The left-hander is one of the top pitchers in the game and at 26, a strong case can be made his best years are still ahead of him. Tonight he will try and help his club escape the AL Central cellar and possibly move within five games of Minnesota for the last playoff position.
Sale lead the AL in punch-outs per nine innings at 11.61 and would enjoy the same kind of run support Chicago hitters have provided the last two nights in tallying 14 total runs. Sale will do business against Carlos Carrasco (10-7, 3.94) of Cleveland, whom other general managers have inquired about his availability. While he reportedly not going anywhere either, his team is brutal 19-28 (-19.8) at home and Carrasco and the Indians are 5-13 at Progressive Field versus an AL team with an on-base percentage .330 or worse the last three seasons.
That might be reason enough to take the Pale Hose as -110 favorites, however, it gets a little sketchy with the Tribe 12-1 revenging two straight losses as a home favorite since last year.
Slight Advantage - Sale and Chicago