Baseball’s non-waiver trading deadline comes this Wednesday at 1 p.m. Pacific time with things fairly quiet over the past week. But we may see a trading frenzy over the 48 hours leading up to that deadline, especially Wednesday morning.
The list of buyers and sellers has narrowed and it will be interesting to see how defending World Series champion San Francisco views itself given its last place position in the NL West.
The Giants start the week at 46-58 and figure to be sellers. The name of former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum has been brought up by several teams looking for bullpen depth and/or a spot starter. Philadelphia also should be a seller after dropping its eighth straight game on Sunday.
This really has become a season of parity. Only one team, St Louis, has won more than 60 percent of its games and by losing three straight at Atlanta over the weekend is barely above that mark with a 62-40 record (.608).
With less than 60 games remaining only eight teams start the week more than 10 games above .500 and just four are less than five games behind division leaders.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays continue as baseball’s hottest teams and have been for well over a month.
The Dodgers have gone 27-8 to overtake Arizona and assume control in the NL West. The Dodgers start the week 2½ games ahead of second place Arizona and seem poised to extend that lead in the coming weeks.
Tampa Bay has gone an almost identical 26-8 since mid-June to pull within a half game of Boston for first in the AL East, a spot they occupied briefly over the weekend.
The Dodgers and Rays are well constructed to win it all and the current World Series odds reflect this. The Dodgers are between 6-1 and 8-1 at the more generous sports books while Tampa Bay is from 10-1 to 12-1.
The higher odds on the Rays reflect the fact they might well have to make the playoffs as a Wild Card in battling both Boston and Baltimore in an AL East race that appears headed to perhaps the final week of the season.
The Dodgers’ odds reflect that they seemingly will face less of a challenge in the NL West as only the Diamondbacks have a winning record in the division.
Here’s a look at four interesting series this weekend.
CARDS/REDS: St. Louis has won 6 of 9 meetings with the Reds, taking 2 of 3 in each of their prior three series. The UNDER is 5-4 with the teams averaging a combined 8.6 runs per game. Both teams have gotten solid starting pitching with Cincinnati’s rotation the better balanced. St. Louis has also excelled with runners in scoring position.
Recommended plays: St. Louis +125 or more in any matchup; Cincinnati -125 or less in any matchup; UNDER 8.5 or higher in any matchup except in a start by St. Louis righty Jake Westbrook; OVER 7 or lower in any matchup.
RANGERS/A’S: Texas has won 6 of 10 against the A’s with the UNDER having a slight 5-4-1 edge. The teams have combined to average a total of 8.4 runs per game. Texas strengthened its rotation by acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs. And Garza was very sharp in his Rangers debut. Yu Darvish remains the staff ace and Derek Holland has also been very solid. Oakland has gotten strong starting pitching across the board. The Rangers have scored fewer than 4 runs in 11 of its previous 15 games.
Recommended plays: Oakland +125 or more against Garza, Darvish or Holland; Oakland as dogs of any price against other Texas starters; Texas -120 or less not facing Bartolo Colon; UNDER 9 or higher in any matchup.
INDIANS/MARLINS: This is an intriguing Interleague matchup between a Cleveland team that remains very much in contention in the AL Central and a Miami team that is 27-23 over the last 50 games! The Miami success has been largely the result of outstanding young starting pitchers, notably Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner. Cleveland has also benefited from better than expected starting pitching with Justin Masterson has shown better consistency at the top of the rotation while both Ubaldo Jimenez and Cory Kluber have been steady over the past two months.
Recommended plays: Miami as underdogs of any price in starts by Fernandez or Turner against Masterson. Miami -125 or less not facing Masterson; UNDER 8 or higher in any matchup; UNDER 7 or higher if Fernandez or Turner oppose Masterson; Cleveland -125 or less not opposing Fernandez or Turner.
D’BACKS/RED SOX: With Clay Buchholz still sidelined for Boston the best starting pitcher in this series is Arizona lefty Patrick Corbin. Close behind is Boston’s John Lackey although Arizona’s Wade Miley and Randall Delgado and the Sox’ Felix Doubront have also pitched well of late. Note that in Lackey’s 18 starts, 15 have stayed UNDER with just 2 going OVER and 1 PUSH.
Recommended plays: Arizona as underdogs of any price in starts by Corbin or Miley not facing Lackey (or Buchholz if activated); Arizona +120 or more if Corbin faces Lackey; Boston -140 or less not facing Corbin or Miley; UNDER 8 or higher in a start by Lackey against Corbin or Miley; UNDER 9 or higher in all other matchups.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]