Handicapping the MLB Stretch Run
Ten days from now we’ll be into October, and the MLB regular season will be over. Before then, though, there is a whole lot of betting left to be done.
Capping the Division races
Only the AL East and AL Central are really in play at this point.
Crucial series: New York at Minnesota, Sept. 24-26. Minnesota has won four of six, and took two of four in New York earlier. If New York falters here the O’s can get ahead -- they play four “gimme” games against Toronto.
Crucial series: Cleveland at Chicago, Sept. 24-26. Chicago has lost five straight, but it returns home for an easy three-gamer. If the Sox don’t have two wins by Tuesday, though, they could be in trouble. Detroit is struggling, too, so Chicago needs to find momentum and maintain its lead.
Capping the wildcard races
Crucial series: Angels at Rangers, Sept. 28-30. The red-hot Angels play six against hapless Seattle, so these three in Texas will matter most. With a strong performance they could climb past the A’s - who are faced with seven against the Rangers.
Crucial series: St. Louis at Houston, Sept. 24-26. The cards swept the Astros last week. If they do it again here and it should be all over in the NL.
Capping clinched clubs
Three NL teams have secured their postseason tickets. We’re unlikely to see a strong, representative effort from any of them down the stretch.
With serious questions about who their fourth starter will be and how to shape the rotation, you can be sure they will focus on this far more than on winning down the stretch.
The Reds celebrated their title on Sunday by giving five starters the day off. Rest appears to be their focus for their remaining games.
They have a bit more work to do. They have secured a wild card spot, but they still have to win the division. When they do, though, Davey Johnson says that rest will be his only priority.
Capping teams out of the race
Give up on:
Ozzie Guillen is a serious distraction and Atlanta and Philadelphia will be hungry for wins, so it seems likely that the Marlins will give up -- or keep giving up like they have for weeks now.
They are an ugly, injury-riddled mess. They play the Orioles and then the Yankees, so they will feature prominently in the fate of their division title. An 0-8 record over that stretch is conceivable.
There is still fight in:
The Twins have won four of six, showed no fear against Detroit this weekend, and could give those Tigers and the Yankees some headaches this week.
- Power Sports
- May 1, 2016 - 4:05 PM
- Offered at:
- 5dimes @ -152 Oakland
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1* Oakland (4:05 ET): Not to make a cliched reference, but Houston, you definitely have a problem. What has gone wrong with the Astros? They are now just 7-17 with an AL-worst -33 run differential. Yesterday's shutout loss (2-0) certainly offers no optimism and I see the club getting swept here in Oakland. As I'll explain, it also doesn't help that they'll be facing a lefty this afternoon.
The southpaw in question in Rich Hill. Oakland's starter comes in with a 2.42 ERA through five starts and just tossed seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball his last time out (with 8 K's and zero walks). Even better though is the fact that Houston is 0-4 this season vs. LH starters. The 'Stros were of course shut out Saturday and so far they've totaled only 11 hits in the series.
Houston's bullpen regression from last year, which was to be expected, is the most easily identifiable problem. The team is 3-11 on the road and a big reason for that is the relievers posting a woeful 7.32 ERA and 1.550 WHIP. Sunday's starter Doug Fister offers little in the way of promise himself as he's 0-3 his L3 starts w/ a 5.60 ERA and 1.528 WHIP. Not only has Fister allowed at least one home run in every start this year, but he walked a career-high seven batters his last turn in the rotation. Right now, Houston simply is not a team worth backing. 1* Oakland