With about 30 games remaining in the regular season, we now see that five of the six Divisions are in anywhere from a two- to a four-team race. As good as I am as a professional handicapper, the National League’s East, Central, and West are still anybody’s guess.
AL Central favorite Cleveland is the only team in all of the Majors to have a foothold on first place. While Houston is still the team to beat in the AL West, Oakland is right behind them just 2.5 GB. You can say what you want about any of the teams in baseball, but there is no debating that Boston and New York are the strongest and most feared.
Since Opening Day, the Red Sox have been the most consistent squad. But the Yankees have picked up four games on them (6.5 GB) over the last week. And who is about to return to action in September, but Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman. Yes, Boston will see the return of Chris Sale this upcoming month as well. I said it months ago and I will say it again – the real championship is the eventual matchup of the most-storied rivalry in all of sports.
Speaking of champions, I swept the board last week for the eighth time in the last 12 columns (one week no play) to bring my current record here in the GamingToday up to 28-9-1. Here are this week’s best bets (all stats and trends are as of print and may change as can starting pitchers):
Take St. Louis over Pittsburgh: St. Louis is making a serious run at Chicago for the NL Central’s top spot. The Cardinals have won 20 of their L26 games to pull within just 4.5 GB of the Cubs. They face a Pittsburgh team they have dominated, taking 7 of the L9 overall meetings and own a 36-15 edge vs. the Pirates at Busch Stadium. They send their team leader in ERA and Wins to the hill here. Miles Mikolas is 13-3 with a 2.94 record on the season. The RH is 0-1 in three starts vs. Pittsburgh in 2018, but has allowed just 7 ER’s in 19.0 IP against them.
Trevor Williams gets the nod at home. The RH is 10-9 with a 3.44 ERA and owns a 1-2 record in four starts vs. St. Louis this season, yielding 13 ER’s in 20.0 IP vs. the Cards. Pittsburgh is 1-5 the L6 on the road, 1-5 the L6 vs. teams with a winning record, and 1-4 the L5 vs. RH starters. St. Louis is 7-2 the L9 at home, 5-1 the L6 vs. teams with a losing record, and 4-1 the L5 vs. the NL Central. ST. LOUIS
Take Boston run line over Miami: Boston has dropped six of their L8 outings and have New York creeping up on them, just 6.5 GB. Playing Miami is just what the doctor ordered. The Red Sox have made a meal out of most opponents the last few years, particularly the Marlins, who they have beaten in both meetings in 2018, 9 of the L11 overall, while winning five consecutive matchups at Fenway Park. Things just can’t get worse for Miami as they are a dismal, 7-18 the L25 contests to bring the NL East cellar dwellers to 58-74, 23.5 GB.
Boston owns the top offense in baseball at 5.35 RPG and Team BA (.268). They account for over 5.69 RPG at home, nearly two runs more than does Miami on the road (4.02). David Price gets the home start here. The LH is 14-6 with a 3.50 ERA TY, fanning 149 batters in 149.1 IP. Taking the mound on the road is Trevor Williams. The RH dons a 3-7, 4.23 ERA. The Red Sox are 42-13 the L55 IL games, 47-17 the L54 at home, and 41-15 the L56 vs. the NL East. The Marlins are 2-8 the L10 vs. LH starters, 25-54 the L79 on the road, and 5-15 the L20 vs. teams with a winning record. BOSTON -1.5
Good Luck and have a winning day.