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My free winner for today is on the New York Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays, and I want you listing both Ivan Nova over Chris Archer in this pitching rematch from not too long back. Nova will be out for revenge, and I think he gets it in rather easy fashion.
Though Archer picked up his fifth win on Sunday, at Toronto, after allowing one run in seven innings and has now won his last three starts and has allowed just three earned runs over his last 28-1/3 innings in a span of four starts - today he is pitching under a lot of pressure.
At Yankee Stadium, against a pissed-off team that desperately needs to find an offensive spark and he faces Nova, who as I mentioned is in revenge.
Nova, in fact, has been solid since returning to the Yankees' rotation in late June. He comes in after taking a hard-luck loss on July 22 at Texas, where he allowed three runs in seven innings. Nevertheless, he still boasts a 2.72 ERA and .214 opponents average in five outings since June 23.
Your comp play for Saturday is going to be the Under in the Minnesota-Seattle contest.
The first 2 games of this weekend set have alternated from Over on Thursday to Under last night.
You may think the way to go in this game is to go Over the total, especially with Samuel Deduno and Aaron Harang trotting to the mound, but I beg to differ.
Deduno has actually pitched quite well his last few times on the mound, as the right-hander has allowed just 3 runs on 10 hits over his last 13 innings pitched, and each of his last pair of starts has ended up playing Under the total.
In fact 8 of Deduno's last 10 starts have seen the hurler allow 3 runs or less, and the Under has gone 4-2 the last 6 times he has made the start.
Aaron Harang has also been pretty steady over the last month-plus of action, as he has allowed 3 runs or less in 6 of his last 7 starts.
With this being a late-afternoon start followed by a night game last evening, going to look for the pitchers to hold the advantage in this one.
Twins-Mariners to hold Under the total on Saturday.
That's 23 wins in the last 28 for Tampa Bay after romping to a 10-6 win (which was easier than the score indicates) on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays thus assume the top spot in the AL East and now threaten to bury the Yankees, losing touch with the top contenders, in the division race. We hardly think the recent addition of Alfonso Soriano is going to be any panacea for the Bronx Bombers; Soriano went 0 for 5 on Friday in his Yankee homecoming as he donned the pinstripes for the first time since early in his career, way back in 2003. Tampa Bay's starting pitching has been airtight now for over a month and even youngsters like Saturday starter Chris Archer are joining in the fun; all Archer has done in his last three starts is win them all, conceding just one run and 13 hits over 22 IP. In fact, the Rays have won his last six starts. Doubtful that New York starter Ivan Nova fares any better against Tampa Bay than his last outing on June 23 when absorbing a 3-1 loss when outpitched by...you guessed it, Chris Archer. Play Rays on Money Line
The race for the A.L. East is heating up, and Baltimore is right in the thick of things, three games back of Boston and 3.5 behind the division leading Rays. The Orioles have owned Boston lately, and they will look to wrap up their seventh straight series win over the Sox at Camden Yards Saturday.
Ryan Dempster will toe the slab for the visitors today, and he hasn't been all that sharp lately. Dempster (5-8, 4.28 ERA) has been tagged for 12 runs over just 8 2/3 innings in his last two starts, but the Red Sox have been able to overcome his mediocre efforts and win each of those games. He's faced Baltimore twice already this season, going 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA, and the Red Sox lost both those games.
Adam Jones has given him trouble in both those meetings, and he's 4-for-9 with a pair of RBIs lifetime versus the veteran right-hander. At this stage in his career, Dempster doesn't log a lot of innings, so the Sox bullpen will likely see plenty of action as well in this fixture.
The Orioles hand the ball to recently acquired Scott Feldman, who is coming off his best performance as an Oriole. Feldman (9-7, 3.75 ERA) went eight strong innings allowing a pair of runs on five hits in a win over the Royals his last time out. He's enjoyed success against the Sox, going 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three starts versus Boston since 2010.
With a more consistent starter and a lineup that's been successful at the plate, the home team should have a significant edge here today.
Jim Feist's FREE MLB Play for Saturday, July 27, 2013
Take: (971) MINNESOTA TWINS
Minnesota has a good young arm going in Samuel Deduno (604, 3.50 ERA), who is 2-1 his last three starts. Twins are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. American League West. The Seattle Mariners are 5-11 in their last 16 vs. American League Central and the offense is tweak, 19th in on base percentage, 23rd with a team batting average of .244. Seattle has their worst starter going in Aaron Harang (5-8, 5.06 ERA), so grab the visitors. Play the Twins.
Play On - All teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (TAMPA BAY) with a team batting average of .265 or worse on the season (AL), after scoring 10 runs or more
99-59 over the last 5 seasons. ( 62.7% 41.3 units )
18-12 this year. ( 60.0% 5.5 units )
StatFox Situational Power Trends™ - FoxSheets
MLB LA ANGELS at OAKLAND
OAKLAND is 68-37 (+34.9 Units) against the money line after 2 straight games without giving up a stolen base over the last 2 seasons.
The average score was: OAKLAND (4.8) , OPPONENT (3.8)
Max Scherzer seeks his major league-leading 15th victory as the Detroit Tigers attempt to hand the Phillies a season-worst seventh consecutive loss.
The right-hander won for the 20th time in his last 30 starts since Aug. 10, the most in the majors in that span, while the injury-ravaged Phillies (49-54) have plated only 10 runs during their losing streak, batting .208 with 48 strikeouts in 197 at-bats, and they've scored five times in their last five