MLB Picks and Predictions For Wednesday September 17

MLB Picks and Predictions For Wednesday September 17

Baseball pushes on towards the postseason and Wednesday offers a full schedule of games. Our team of writers and handicappers has three picks for Wednesday’s action.

Los Angeles Dodgers (79-72) at Pittsburgh Pirates (63-88)

For much of this season, it looked like a team would back into the NL West title with the division leader hovering around .500. The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't having any of that.

The surging Dodgers look to take another step toward a playoff spot on Wednesday night when they continue a four-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Arizona held the top spot in the NL West for most of this season as Los Angeles (79-72) struggled to get above the break-even mark. When the Diamondbacks started to slump, the Dodgers were unable to take advantage, losing eight straight late last month to fall five games under .500.

With their season on the verge of slipping away, the Dodgers managed to reverse their fortunes and win eight in a row to get back in the race. Ending that run with a three-game sweep of Arizona moved them into first in the West and a stunning 14-2 stretch has helped Los Angles open 4 1/2-game lead over the Diamondbacks with 11 contests left.

Zach Duke (5-14, 4.84) hopes to avoid matching a career high with his 15th loss. The left-hander was unable to build on one of the best starts of his career, getting tagged for six runs - two earned - and six hits over 4 2-3 innings Thursday in a 6-0 loss at Houston. He threw a six-hitter in a 7-0 win at San Francisco in his previous start for his first victory since June 9.

Duke is 0-6 with a 6.75 ERA in his last six home starts.

Pick: LA Dodgers - Best line -175 SBG Global

Houston Astros (80-70) at Florida Marlins (78-72)

While the effects of Hurricane Ike linger in the Houston area, they may also be doing the same on the minds of the Astros' players.

The Astros look to break out of their post-storm funk while trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss as they continue their road series with the surging Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

Houston (80-70) lost 5-1 at Florida in Tuesday's opener, sending the Astros to their third straight loss since having to wait two days over the weekend while Ike came through Texas' Gulf Coast.

While ace Roy Oswalt was touched for all five runs in the first two innings, the Astros' offense continued to struggle after totaling one hit and one run in losing a pair of relocated home games to NL Central-leading Chicago on Sunday and Monday in Milwaukee.

Brandon Backe (9-12, 5.44) is scheduled to return to the mound for the Astros after missing one start due to elbow soreness.

In his most recent start, Backe, a Galveston, Texas native who left behind family and friends affected by the brunt of the storm, allowed three runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-7, 11-inning victory over the Cubs on Sept 2.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against Florida and allowed five hits in five innings of a 5-0 win over the Marlins on April 12.

Pick: Florida - Best line -160 SBG Global

San Francisco Giants (68-83) at Arizona Diamondbacks (74-76)

Now that Brandon Webb has achieved his pitching milestone, the Arizona ace hopes to help the Diamondbacks improve their slim postseason chances while trying for a third straight victory over the visiting San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

After failing in his three previous attempts, Webb (20-7, 3.28 ERA) finally became the NL's first 20-game winner after allowing five hits in eight scoreless innings of a 3-2 win over Cincinnati on Friday.

After scoring 20 runs during a three-game winning streak, San Francisco (68-83) has totaled one in the first two of the four-game set, while falling to 7-9 in the season series with Arizona.

Rookie Pablo Sandoval had two hits and is hitting .342 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 30 games since being called up from the minors.

Jonathan Sanchez (9-10, 4.47) takes the ball for the Giants after avoiding a seventh straight losing decision by yielding two runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-2 win at San Diego on Friday. It was his first victory since June 29.

Pick: Arizona - Best line -210 SBG Global

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