As we enter the last quarter of the season, there have been some real developments in both leagues in the race for the pennants.
The top two teams in each of the three divisions in the National League began the week separated by 1.5 games or less. However, the American League’s first place squads are starting to distance themselves from the rest of their division foes.
To be quite honest, there is no team in baseball as feared right now as the Boston Red Sox. The BoSox come off a four-game sweep of the Yankees to put themselves nearly 10 games ahead in the AL East. When you possess the Majors’ top scoring offense (5.31 RPG) along with its No. 2 pitching staff (3.43 ERA), wins are going to pile up.
Speaking of piling up wins, my overall record here in GamingToday remains at 24-7. Here are this week’s Best Bets (all stats, trends and starting pitchers subject to change):
Take Arizona over Philadelphia: Two Divisional 1st place teams square off here with serious post-season implications at stake. Due to their five-game win streak, Philadelphia is now 1.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. But four of those games were at home. Prior to that, the Phillies were riding a 1-4 mark – all games away from Citizens Bank Park. Philly has problems on the road, where they are 25-30 and account for 4.00 RPG – almost a half run less than their overall average (4.42 RPG).
Nick Pivetta has got an arm, no doubt about that. Despite his 141 K’s in 113.2 IP this season, the RH is just 6-9 with a 4.75 ERA. And the team is a dismal 2-8 in his last 10 starts vs. NL West opponents. Zack Greinke, on the other hand, hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start in just short of two months. The RH is 12-6 with a 2.96 ERA, fanning 148 batters in 142.2 IP. Arizona is 4-0 in the last four vs. RH starters, 5-1 vs. the NL East, and 10-2 in Greinke’s past 12 outings vs. NL East foes. ARIZONA
NY Yankees -1.5 over Chisox: New York is in unfamiliar territory. The Yankees have dropped five in a row, their longest drought of the season. Yes, since they lost Aaron Judge the Bronx Bombers are just 3-6. Their ace, Luis Severino, has lost three straight decisions. But facing Chicago is just what is needed to get their confidence back and put a few W’s in the win column.
The Yankees have dominated the White Sox, taking 17 of the last 25 matchups, and on the season, score more than a run per game higher (NY 5.13, CHI 4.11.
Severino is 14-5 with a 3.08 ERA, 159 K’s and only 36 BB’s in 143.1 IP. Lucas Giolito takes the mound at home. The RH owns a 7-8, 5.97 record with just 77 K’s and a whopping, 68 walks in 120.2 IP. New York is 24-7 in the last 31 vs. the AL Central. YANKS -1.5