Sports BIT: Indians-Red Sox, Dodgers-Braves & 2017 Raiders

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On the Tuesday, Aug. 1 Sports BIT show, Teddy Covers & Pauly Howard break down a great pitching matchup on the diamond between the Red Sox and Indians. Also, the LA Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish at the trade deadline to become an even bigger favorite to win the World Series.


Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox

The marquee pitching matchup of the night in Major League Baseball is from Fenway Park. The Tribe go with right-hander Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.58). He’s among the AL leaders in wins, strikeouts and WHIP. The Indians had been favored in all 20 of his starts this season, never lower than -144 and seven times higher than -200. The sharps were on Carrasco right from the get-go and kept cashing on him to force books to adjust: Cleveland is 15-5 in his 20 starts. But any pitcher in the majors right now likely would be an underdog against heavy Cy Young favorite Chris Sale (13-4, 2.37) of Boston. He leads the American League in essentially every major category a starting pitcher can and will be working on an extra day of rest. Sale’s strikeout percentage this season is a career-high 36.7 percent. His FIP of 1.91 over a full season would be the second best in baseball for any starter over the past five years. Since the All-Star Break, Sale has made three starts, not allowed a run and struck out 33 in 20.2 innings.

LA Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

The rich get richer. The Dodgers, on pace to win more than 110 games and a lock to be the NL’s top seed in the playoffs, acquired Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish before Monday’s trade deadline. They also added two lefty relievers. Now that team has an embarrassment of riches. The Dodgers are now +200 to win World Series and +110 to win pennant at BetOnline. They are in Atlanta on Tuesday night with Kenta Maeda (9-4, 4.09) on the mound. Bullpen depth makes it easier for Maeda to only have to make two passes through lineups as he has just pitched 83 innings through 16 starts. It’s young Lucas Sims for Atlanta in his MLB debut. He’s a hometown kid from Brookwood High in Snellville, a suburb north of Atlanta. Sims, just 23, was a first-round pick in 2012. He opened 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA across 115.1 innings at Triple-A and strikes out 10.3 per nine innings.

Deep Dive on 2017 Oakland Raiders

The Raiders hadn’t made the playoffs since 2002 but showed major signs of growth in 2015 and then blew up to a 12-4 mark last year. They likely would have won the AFC West if star quarterback Derek Carr hadn’t broke his leg in Week 15. Without Carr, the Raiders went out meekly in the wild-card game in Houston. The Raiders had the No. 2 offense in the AFC in 2016 behind Carr. That unit scored 26 points per game, good for No. 7 in the NFL, and averaged 373.3 yards per contest. Yet offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave wasn’t brought back, replaced by quarterbacks coach Todd Downing. The Raiders also beefed up the ground game by luring Oakland native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Oakland’s defense ranked 26th last year despite superstar Khalil Mack, and that’s the side of the ball where things must improve if Oakland is to reach the Super Bowl. The Raiders addressed defense with their first three 2017 draft picks, led by Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. He fell out of a projected Top 15 spot due to some off-field issues. Will the home crowd support still be there for a team that has one foot out the door for Las Vegas? Oakland has a win total of 9.5 for 2017 at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks. 

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