Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Chris Jordan

I swore off the Philadelphia Phillies more than a month ago, and I never thought I'd be saying this, but they're still in the playoff hunt and you cannot count them out just yet. Tonight I think they're going to have an easy time matching their season high with a sixth straight win.

Just one game under .500, the Phillies can pull even tonight and continue their momentum toward a winning season and postseason berth. They're currently in third place in the National League East, 17 games back of the National League East-leading Washington Nationals, but only five games back in the Wild Card hunt.

When I was ready to throw in the towel on them - and I still won't play them with a premium selection - they were 14 games under .500, and it appeared they would endure a losing record for the first time since 2002.

But they hand the ball to Roy Halladay tonight, and I like my chances at winning the run line with him on the hill, as he's 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last seven starts, including 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA at home. Against the Marlins, he has a 2.52 ERA lifetime.

He should get plenty of run support against Nate Eovaldi, who takes the mound mired in a personal three-start losing streak. Plus, he's also 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia this season.

Take the Phils on the run line tonight.

2♦ PHILADELPHIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Scott Delaney

I'm not getting too long-winded this... you're either playing with what is the easiest game on the entire card, or you're beating yourself up tomorrow cause you missed out on the easiest game on the entire card.

Did anyone else think, back in April, we'd be talking about the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals battling it out for the best record in baseball? Seriously, not me. I like the Nats to make the playoffs, and thought the Reds would give the National League Central division a nice run, but to say they'd be battling for the No. 1 spot overall - never.

Nonetheless, I'll ride them this month. Tonight they host the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have lost eight of 10 and have been mired in a horrendous slump since Aug. 1, when they were 16 games above .500, at 60-44. Now they're just four games above sea level, a 12-game dropff in a month; and at 72-68, don't look like a team that is ready to make a run at the postseason.

Cincinnati starter Mike Leake is 0-1 with a 4.95 ERA in three 2012 starts versus Pittsburgh, so I would have to assume he'll be out to avenge those outings in what is a crucial start this evening. Fact is, every game is crucial the rest of this month. Lay the chalk with the Reds.

3♦ REDS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Rocketman

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Play: Pittsburgh +143

The Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Reds in Cincinnati in Game Two of this three game series. Cincinnati is scoring only 2.7 runs per game their past seven games overall as their team batting average is only .224 during this time. Mike Leake is 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA at home this year and has a 6.00 ERA his last 3 starts. Kevin Correia has a nice 6-1 record in all his starts vs Cincinnati in his career while Leake is 1-3 in all his starts vs Pittsburgh in his career. Pittsburgh is 8-0 last 8 games when Correia starts against the National League Central Division. Pittsburgh has won 7 of their last 9 games when Correia starts. Cincinnati is 3-7 last 10 games when they face a right handed starter. Pittsburgh still has a little fight left in them as they are only 2 1/2 games out of the wildcard spot. We'll recommend a small play on Pittsburgh tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Ross King

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers 

Dodgers avoid losing their 7th in a row while handing Arizona their 7th loser in a row at home.Dodgers are 56-35 in the second half of the season versus teams with a losing record the last 3 seasons.Kershaw is 7-4 with a 2.45 e.r.a versus Arizona versus Keneddy who is 4-2 versus the Dodgers with a 3.80 e.r.a.Kershaw is 5-2 with an e.r.a of 1.97 in his last 8 while Keneddy is 2-3 with a 5.40 e.r.a in his last 6 starts.Take the Dodgers who are still in the race as your freeplay winner.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

MLB Predictions

Milwaukee Brewers +106

The Milwaukee Brewers won 4-1 last night in these two teams first meeting, and although they sit 70-71 and 4th in the NL Central they still have playoff hopes with the second Wild Card spot added this year. The Brewers are a very solid 42-28 at home this year. The Braves are 81-61 good for 2nd in the NL East and are 41-19 on the road. Tonight's pitcher for Atlanta is Tim Hudson who is 14-5 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and .247 opponents batting average. Not much bad can be said about Tim Hudson who is having a solid year. Marco Estrada is starting for Milwaukee and he is 2-6 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and .255 opponents batting average. His numbers are solid at home where he is 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and .224 opponents batting average over 13 appearances. He gave up 4 earned runs in his last start which was on the road, but in three previous starts he had given up just 1 earned run combined. Take note that Atlanta has scored 3 or fewer runs in 6 of their last 7 games as their bats have cold (expect for one outburst in New York over the weekend). The Brewers are averaging 5.41 runs per game at home this year and are averaging 5.8 runs per game over their last 9. Milwaukee is 16-5 in their last 21 overall and 20-7 in their last 27 home games and I like them to continue to make a run at that final wild card spot with a win here tonight building off of last night's 4-1 victory.


Cardinals / Padres Over 7

These two teams met last night with San Diego winning 11-3 to give us our 5 star winner. The Padres have now won 5 of their last 6 games and have scored 40 runs over those 6 games (6.7 runs per game). St Louis has lost 4 of their last 5 games, only scoring 17 runs over those 5 games, but with the lineup they have it is due to break out sometime and we can hope for that to be tonight. St Louis batters will deal with Edinson Volquez tonight who is 9-10 on the season with a 4.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIp, and .230 opponents batting average. In his last start he went 4.2 innings giving up 9 hits and 5 earned runs. In his 5 starts previous to that last start he was 2-2 with a high 7.66 ERA. Adam Wainwright is on the mound for St Louis and he is 13-12 on the season with a 4.04 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and .263 opponents batting average. Over his last three starts he has gone 1-2 with a 8.78 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, while giving up 23 hits over just 13.1 innings of work. The OVER is 16-5-1 in the Cardinals last 22 overall, and 3-0-1 in Wainwright's last 4 overall. The OVER is 4-0 in the Padres last 4 games and 7-3 in their last 10 as a home underdog. Neither of tonight's starting pitchers have been pitching well, while the Padres bats are hot and we know that the Cardinals have a good offense that could break out anytime. Take the OVER with a low 7 run total.


Toronto Blue Jays  -1.5 +133

Getting some key players back from injury has led the Toronto Blue Jays to 4 straight victories where they have scored 26 runs (6.5 runs per game). The Mariners have lost three straight after being swept at home against Oakland, and are now just 3-6 over their last 9 games where they've scored just 18 runs (a brutal 2 runs per game). Seattle will have Erasmo Ramirez on the mound who is 0-2 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and .229 opponents batting average. In his lone road start he went 4 innings giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs against. On the mound for Toronto is Brandon Morrow who is 8-5 on the season with a 2.94 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and .206 opponents batting average. Since being back from injury he has continued to pitch well allowing just 5 earned runs over his 3 starts. Note that the Blue Jays are 9-4 in Morrow's last 13 starts and 4-1 in his last 5 home starts. Going against a team that is really struggling to score runs I like Morrow to shut down Seattle and give the Blue Jays a good shot at winning by a few runs tonight. Take the Jays on the run line getting +133.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Wunderdog

Atlanta at Milwaukee
Pick: Milwaukee +105

The Milwaukee Brewers blew-up a good Atlanta bullpen last night on their way to a hard-fought 4-1 win. The Brewers have gone on a 16-5 run over their last 21 games, and have closed to within one game of the coveted .500 mark. They are now just five games outside of the wildcard chase, so they are still alive. The Brewers have taken on better teams and emerged with wins, as they are now 8-5 in their last 13 posted as a dog. Marco Estrada appears to be gaining confidence and has won four of his last five starts, yielding just 5 runs in his last four. Tim Hudson has been highly inconsistent, alternating good starts with bad over his last six and is off a good one. The Braves just 1-6 in their last seven as a favorite of -110 to -150, while the Brew Crew has turned in a 41-18 mark at home in their last 59 vs. a winning team. Play on Milwaukee.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

DAVID BANKS

Detroit Tigers -110

First place in the American League Central Division could be up for grabs on Tuesday night when the Detroit Tigers (73-66) visit the Chicago White Sox (75-64) in the second game of a crucial four-game series from US Cellular Field in Chicago, IL at 8:10 ET. The Tigers, who were prohibitive favorites to win the division in preseason, just can't get over the hump as they have tied the White Sox for first place a couple of times since the All-Star break but they have been unable to take sole possession of the division lead. The best they could do in this game is tie for the lead, and that is only if Detroit manages to win the series opener on Monday.

It appears as if the Tigers have to win the division to make the playoffs, as they currently trail the Orioles by 4 games for the last wild card spot with two other teams sitting between them and Baltimore. That may seem disconcerting for a team expected to run away with the division, but this series provides a golden opportunity for the Tigers to make a statement. Doug Fister gets the start on Tuesday and although he is just 8-8 on the year, he still has a good 3.54 ERA and he is in excellent current form. Fister has nine Quality Starts in his last 10 outings and most have not been of the cheap variety either as he allowed two earned runs or less in eight of those starts including six times in his last seven starts overall! His last gem came vs. the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday when he allowed one run on only four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts vs. one walk. Granted, Fister is 0-2 in five starts vs. the White Sox in his career, but he still has a fine 3.52 ERA over those outings. One possible caveat here is that the White Sox have hit right-handed pitchers well at home this year, batting .272 while averaging 5.58 runs per nine innings against them in this ballpark.

People keep waiting for the White Sox to give up the division lead, but they have not been accommodating to this point despite not appearing to be as good as Detroit on paper. Chicago ranks 14th in the Major Leagues in batting at .257 overall and 20th in ERA at 4.11, and yet the Chisox have remained surprisingly resilient. They hope to keep defying the skeptics Tuesday with Jake Peavy on the mound. It has been an uneven year for Peavy, as he appeared to have rediscovered the form that once earned him a Cy Young Award over the first couple months of the season before tailing off, and the bottom line is that he is 10-10, although like Fister, Peavy has a good ERA of 3.22 that belies his record. Peavy has also allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, and he allowed one run on five hits in six innings vs. the Minnesota Twins in his last start Wednesday, and despite his recent string of good outings, that start marked his first win since August 1st. Peavy has not been good in his five starts vs. the Tigers this year though, going 1-2 with a bloated 5.79 ERA vs. Detroit in 2012.

Amazingly, the Tigers have won the last seven head-to-head meetings with the White Sox this season, and that includes two recent three-game sweeps that on both occasions left the teams tied for first place when the series was over, only to see Detroit lose the very next day to fall behind Chicago again on each occasion!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday August, 28

Nelly

San Diego Padres + over St. Louis Cardinals

Adam Wainwright owns a higher than expected ERA this season but he has had a strong season by most other measures. Wainwright is in his first season back after missing the entire 2011 season and as his innings climb his numbers could deteriorate. His last three starts have all failed to be quality starts as he has allowed 23 hits and 13 runs in just over 13 innings. The Cardinals are just 4-8 this season in his road starts as he has not been the same pitcher away from home. San Diego is 15-5 in the last 20 games and the Padres are not getting enough respect for great play in the last several weeks. The Padres have won five of the last six games while scoring 40 runs in those six games. San Diego dominated the opener last night with 17 hits and the already fading St. Louis bullpen needed to pitch five innings after Jaime Garcia went just three innings. In the last 10 games the Padres are batting .287 with 5.8 runs per game compared with a slumping Cardinals team that is hitting just .260 while scoring less than 3.9 runs per game in that span. Edinson Volquez went through a rough stretch in early August but two of his last three starts have been excellent. Volquez does battle with walks occasionally but he has a high strikeout rate with 155 strikeouts this season and he has not allowed more than four walks in any of his last 10 starts. Volquez is far more comfortable at home with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP and in recent weeks the San Diego bullpen has greatly out-performed the St. Louis bullpen. The Cardinals continue to watch the wild card lead shrink with losses in four of the last five games and the home team has won five in a row in this series.

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