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.
- Kansas City
- April 25, 2014 - 7:05 PM
- Bryan Power
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1* Kansas City (7:05 ET): The Royals dropped their final two games in Cleveland, including a 5-1 loss Thursday afternoon. The Tribe scored all five of its runs in one inning (the 5th) and offensively KC had no answer for Corey Kluber. But tonight they get to face a struggling starter (and former Indian!) Ubaldo Jiminez, who has an 0-4 TSR thanks to a 6.75 ERA and 1.875 WHIP to this point. They should have far more success at the plate tonight as they open up a three-game set at Camden Yards.
Baltimore won 11-4 yesterday in Toronto, scoring double digit runs for a second straight game. Offense is the Orioles' strength, but I see them getting slowed down here by Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who had been outstanding in two starts before running into Minnesota last time out. For all the alleged offensive prowess, the O's are averaging just 2.7 runs per game at home this year. Look for them to drop the series opener. 1* Kansas City.