TheSpread.com Monday MLB Picks and Predictions 8/25

TheSpread.com Monday MLB Picks and Predictions 8/25

Some teams are fighting for their playoff lives, while others are just getting a look at their prospects. Our team of writers and handicappers gathered three of their top picks for Monday’s MLB action.

Los Angeles Dodgers (65-65) at Philadelphia Phillies (71-59)

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Phillies were knocked out of first place in the NL East after getting swept in a four-game series by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Less than two weeks later, they're primed to return the favor - and perhaps reclaim the division lead, too.

After a dramatic extra-inning win on Sunday night, the Phillies will look to ride a red-hot Brett Myers to a fourth straight victory over the Dodgers on Monday, when the teams conclude their series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Dodgers, who remain three games back of first-place Arizona in the NL West, are trying to avoid falling below .500 for the first time in 15 days, when they were 58-59. They'll have perhaps their best starting pitcher on the mound to help, as Chad Billingsley looks to win his fourth straight decision and set a new career high in victories.

Billingsley (12-9, 3.10) has allowed three or fewer runs in eight consecutive starts, going 4-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 53 1-3 innings over that span. He was outstanding in his lone career start at Philadelphia, allowing four hits and a run in a 5-2 Dodger win on Aug. 23, 2007.

Pick: Philadelphia - Best line -110 SBG Global

Colorado Rockies (61-71) at San Francisco Giants (58-72)

Neither the Colorado Rockies nor the San Francisco Giants look like they're going to make the postseason this year, but that hasn't stopped either team from playing some of its best baseball lately.

The Rockies and Giants look to continue their respective surges as the NL West rivals open a three-game series Monday night at AT&T Park.

Though the NL West is considered one of the weakest divisions in baseball with first-place Arizona just six games over .500, Colorado (61-71) and San Francisco (58-72) have been unable to take advantage.

The Giants hope to continue their run with Matt Cain (8-9, 3.52 ERA) taking the mound Monday. The right-hander has a 1.88 ERA over his last eight games, but has been rewarded with only three wins in that stretch. He held Florida to two runs in 7 2-3 innings Wednesday and left with a 5-2 lead, but didn't get a decision after the San Francisco bullpen gave up three runs in the ninth. The Giants went on to win 6-5 on Molina's walk-off sacrifice fly.

Cain, who's hoping to even his record for the first time since he was 1-1 in April 2007, is 6-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rockies.

Pick: San Francisco - Best line -130 SBG Global

Cleveland Indians (62-67) at Detroit Tigers (64-66)

At the start of the season, a late-August series between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers figured to be a battle for first place in the AL Central.

Instead, the two disappointing clubs will be jockeying for third place in a three-game set that begins Monday night, even though the Indians carry a seven-game winning streak into Detroit's Comerica Park.

With Cleveland coming off a division title and the Tigers (64-66) adding Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis and Edgar Renteria in the offseason, it seemed the focus of the Central would be around Lake Erie in 2008. But due to unexpected struggles and injuries, both teams sit at least 10 games behind both the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota.

The Indians (62-67) have finally found a groove recently, winning 13 of their last 16, including a season-high seven straight. Their offense, missing scuffling sluggers Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner for much of the season, has averaged six runs in the last 16 contests.

The Tigers' 4.53 ERA ranks 21st in the majors, but their problems opened up an opportunity for Galarraga, and the right-hander has responded with a rookie of the year-caliber season.

Pick: Detroit - Best line -205 SBG Global

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