One of my favorite things about baseball is all the daytime games they have on weekdays. Not only are these games great ways to get some quick thrills on lazy summer days, they are also easier to handicap than typical games. Most of these games precede travel to whatever the next city a team is playing in, and usually the players for these traveling teams just want to get the games over with as quickly as possible so they can get on the road and start lining up their the next side pieces they have on the docket. Besides the standard baseball analysis before picking a game, you want to ask yourself the following questions…
-Is one team typically a lot more disciplined and focused than the other?
-Was the home team a heavy favorite in the series, but is currently losing or tied in the series split leading up to this game?
-Is the home team traveling the next day?
Bet double units on these games…
Detroit (+190) at Cleveland (-210)
Detroit has dished out two straight blowout losses to Cleveland at Progressive Field, so expect their division rivals to come out focused on trying to somewhat salvage themselves from an embarrassing series. Cleveland is laying heavy juice because Verlander was scratched from this start due to a sore back. I would’ve preferred Verlander was starting because he’s hurt and doesn’t really seem into baseball this year, but Buck Farmer serves just fine as a replacement to fade. His only outing this year was a five inning, seven run shellacking against the Angels in May. He struggled in the majors last year and has been underwhelming in the minors as well. The pick is Cleveland.
Blue Jays (even) at Rays (-110)
You can answer ‘yes’ for Tampa Bay in all three questions above. Also Nathan Karns is starting for them and he’s been sick this year. Definitely taking Tampa here.
Phillies (+110) at Yankees (-120)
Philadelphia’s getting a steeper price than usual because Hamels is starting for them. He was scratched from his last start because of injury, but I expect him to fight through anything that is ailing him so he can help hurry up the trade negotiations that will get him the fuck out of Philly and to a team playing meaningful baseball for once. It’s hard to fade him, but I gotta take the Yankees here who have to be trying their hardest to save themselves from a humiliating home sweep to the worst team in baseball.
White Sox (-140) at Twins (+130)
Yes, Chris Sale is the truth. He’s had 26 strikeouts and two earned runs over the past two games, but both were against teams that suck against lefty pitchers (Tampa Bay and Texas). Minnesota is a top ten team against lefty pitching, Phil Hughes has been good at home this year, and I like the aspect of Minnesota needing this game for the series and Chicago being in ‘getaway day’ mode.
Astros (+110) at Angels (-120)
The Angels are one of my favorite teams to fade, and I’m loving that Houston is getting plus money for the third straight game this series. Lance McCullers is one of the best rookie pitchers in the majors this year, and Matt Shoemaker has been LA’s worst starter. Pick the division leaders at plus money.