Regional coverage for baseball fans on Friday night as division rivals meet with playoff implications on the line. The Cincinnati Reds take on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees battle the Toronto Blue Jays with action beginning at 7:05 p.m. Eastern.
Matchup: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
Date/Time: August 29, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: CIN: Mike Leake (10-11, 3.51) v. PIT: Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.56)
Moneyline: Pittsburgh -144
Total: 7.5 -110/-110
Sitting 6.5 games back in the NL Wild Card standings, the Cincinnati Reds have pretty much fallen out of the playoff race. With three teams between them and the second wild card spot, the Reds are resigned to playing spoiler. One of the teams in front of them is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates started just 10-16 through the first month of the season, but are 11 games over .500 since the start of May and are right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Mike Leake will take the mound for the Reds and this is a series that the Reds need to win if they want any hope of climbing back into the wild card hunt. Leake hasn’t been Cincinnati’s best pitcher, but he has been one of their more consistent arms this season. Leake entered the All-Star Break with a 7-7 record and a 3.54 ERA. He’s 3-4 since the All-Star Break with a 3.44 ERA. The problem for Leake has been the complete lack of run support. The Reds have scored three runs or less for Leake in 15 of his 27 starts.
Edinson Volquez has one good outing and one awful outing against his former team this season, but he has been pretty good overall as the Pirates’ latest reclamation project. Volquez is 11-7 with a 3.56 ERA. Even though he leads the league in wild pitches, Volquez is posting the lowest walk rate of his 10-year career. Since taking a 4.23 ERA into his June 12 start against the Cubs, Volquez has a 2.93 ERA over his last 13 starts and has won eight of his 10 decisions in that span.
Leake has faced the Pirates a lot in his Major League career. This will be Leake’s 19th career start against the Pirates. He’s 6-3 with a 3.53 ERA in those 18 previous starts, but he’s in the midst of his worst season against the Pirates with a 5.03 ERA in three outings. The Reds are 11-16 in Leake’s 27 starts for a loss of more than five units.
Volquez will be making his sixth career start against his former team. He’s 1-2 with a 5.86 ERA, in large part because he allowed eight runs in 2.1 innings earlier this season against the Reds. The Pirates are 15-10 for a profit of nearly six units in Volquez’s starts this season.
Free MLB Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are going into this series playing pretty well and Volquez has been a big reason why. The Pirates are 10-3 in Volquez’s last 13 starts. The bullpen has pitched well and the Reds have had far too many problems to back them in this spot. Leake has pitched well, but this price on the Pirates is pretty good all things considered.
Matchup: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Date/Time: August 29, 7:07 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: NYY: Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.57) v. TOR Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.41)
Moneyline: Toronto -113
Total: 9 -101/-109
The New York Yankees have won (six of their last eight, seven of their last eight) in their quest to stay alive in the AL Wild Card hunt and they’ve done just that as they trail by three games. While the Yankees have stayed pretty consistent, the Toronto Blue Jays have fallen apart. Since losing their division lead on July 4 with a 47-41 record, the Jays have fallen to third place and trail Baltimore by nine games. A loss on Friday will drop them to .500 for the first time since May 15 when they were 21-21. Friday’s game will feature a couple of veteran left-handers as Chris Capuano takes on Mark Buehrle.
For Chris Capuano, the long and windy road of being a southpaw capable of giving some length has taken him to New York City. With the Yankees, Capuano is 0-2 with a 4.21 ERA in six starts. He made 28 relief appearances for the Boston Red Sox this season before winding up with the Yankees. Capuano has pitched into the sixth in each of his six starts for Joe Girardi and has not allowed more than four runs in any start.
Mark Buehrle’s incredible start to the season has tailed off considerably. Through his first 13 starts, Buehrle was 10-2 with a 2.04 ERA. In his last 13 starts, Buehrle is just 1-6 with a 5.08 ERA. Opponents are slugging .497 against Buehrle and have hit 10 of the 13 home runs he has allowed this season. Buehrle has just one win since the first week of June. Since the All-Star Break, Buehrle has a 6.23 ERA in seven starts, but the Blue Jays are 5-2 in those starts. The worst of those six starts came against the Yankees.
Capuano has six career appearances and three career starts against the Blue Jays. All but one of those appearances has occurred over the last two seasons. Capuano has thrown 9.1 innings against Toronto this season and has allowed three earned runs. The Yankees are 2-4 in Capuano’s six starts for a loss of 2.93 units.
Buehrle has really struggled in his career against the Yankees. In 19 previous starts, Buehrle is 1-12 with a 6.15 ERA. He is 0-10 in his last 15 starts against the Yankees. The Blue Jays are 18-8 for 10.64 units of profit in Buehrle’s starts this season.
Free MLB Pick: New York Yankees
The Yankees might not win this game, but the Buehrle against New York trends are a lot to overlook. Keep in mind that it will be built into the line, but in a sample size of 350 plate appearances, the Yankees has a slash line of .335/.361/.526/.887 against Buehrle. You’ll pay a premium to fade Buehrle in this matchup, but these two teams are going in different directions.