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.
- San Francisco
- April 19, 2014 - 8:40 PM
- Art Aronson
- Offered at:
- 5dimes @ -125 San Francisco
This is a 1* Free Play on the San Francisco Giants.
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The Giants fell to the Padres last night in a close 2-1 pitchers duel. I think San Fran is the better team here and finds a way to bounce back and get a win on the road. San Francisco sends veteran Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.35 ERA) to the hill looking to bounce back from a recent rough start. The righty has been pitching very well this season but just gave up four runs in 7 1/3 innings in a no decision against the Rockies in his last outing. Hudson has been downright dominant in 12 career starts versus the Padres though, boasting a 6-1 record with a stingy 2.35 life time ERA. The home side will send Eric Stults (0-2, 5.52) to counter. Stults has struggled to start the year and I think the southpaw will continue to slide, he has a very pedestrian 5.21 ERA versus the Giant in 15 careers starts. Even more telling here is San Francisco’s collective .301 batting average versus him. Hunter Pence has gone 6 for 17 with two homers and a double off him. Crawford also has a pair of homers off Stults, and Pablo Sandoval is 12 for 22 with three doubles and a triple lifetime against him. The Giants sat two of their best hitters in Michael Morse and Buster Posey in yesterday’s lost. I think they jump in rested and ready to help the team score enough runs here to back Tim Hudson. Consider laying the price.