The unofficial second half of the MLB regular season continues tonight with a full slate of 15, as some of the Big Leagues' hottest pitchers take the mound on Saturday. Get analysis on all of today's games as well as tips on weather, umpires, and other betting trends with our daily MLB Line Drive.
The Dodgers picked up right where they left off in the first half of the season, topping the Marlins 6-4 in their first game back from the All-Star break and extending their winning streak to seven games. Los Angeles looks to make it eight in a row and take the series from the Marlins when Game 2 goes tonight in Miami.
The Dodgers won’t make it any easier on the Fish in the second game of this three-game weekend set as they send arguably their hottest starter to the bump and we’re not talking about Clayton Kershaw for once.
We’re talking of course, about veteran southpaw Alex Wood. The 26-year-old has been outstanding since joining the Dodgers rotation. Wood is 9-0 with a 1.79 ERA and a 0.942 WHIP since taking the mound every fifth day and Los Angeles is 10-0 in his last 10 starts overall.
The crazy part is he’s been getting even better as the season wears along. In his last four starts he has an ERA of 1.00, a WHIP of 0.704, while racking up 30 strikeouts.
The Marlins will counter with Jose Urena. The young right-hander has been one of the Marlins’ better starters this season going 7-3 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.216 WHIP, but has had a bit of a tougher time over his last three starts, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Urena also hasn’t faced anyone that can mash like this Dodgers lineup, who have scored 6.2 runs per game in their last 12 road games.
Now the Dodgers don’t show much value on the moneyline today at -190, but they are also 7-3 on the runline in Wood’s last 10 starts.
Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (-110)
The Rangers and Royals open their second halves of the season in a battle of two teams in the midst of the American League Wild Card race. It was Texas who struck first with a 5-3 victory on Friday and will look to win the series with a win in Kansas City on Saturday night.
The Rangers are 44-45 after the win and sit two games behind the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot in the AL, while the Royals dropped to 44-44 and 1.5 games back with the loss.
Texas has stated they may become sellers at the deadline and are willing to listen to offers for Yu Darvish and Saturday’s starter Cole Hamels.
Hamels spent most of the season on the DL due to an oblique strain. The veteran lefty got rocked in his first start back, but since then has begun to regain his old form (see Streaking Starter below).
Hamels faces Royals southpaw Danny Duffy, who has had a solid season for Kansas City despite his recent struggles. Luckily for Duffy and KC, he will make his first start of the second half at home, where he has been very good.
Duffy is 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.188 WHIP in five starts at Kaufman Stadium this season. Most importantly for this game, Duffy is great at keeping the ball in the ball park, only allowing seven home runs this year. Something the Rangers rely on.
Texas ranks fifth in runs this season thanks to the long ball. They have hit the third most homers, but are the fourth worst hitting team in terms of average.
Meanwhile, Kansas City ranks 26th in runs and OPS and 21st in batting average.
Pick: Under 9
Yesterday's Picks: 1-1
Season To Date: 87-77-8
Streaking and Slumping Starting Pitchers
The Texas Rangers might not be waving the white flag yet, but they’re definitely talking about it. Reports came out this week that the Rangers will listen to offers for Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish if the team doesn’t make strides before the July 31st trade deadline.
Hamels takes the mound tonight not only looking for a win but to increase his trade value to World Series contenders. A strained right oblique muscle caused the lefty to miss eight weeks of the first half, but if his last two trips to the mound are any indication he’s rounding into form.
Over his last two starts, Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA, .4186 WHIP in 14.1 innings and has only walked one batter to go along with 12 strikeouts. Every contender could use this in their rotation. Hamels and the Rangers are +108 road dogs against the Kansas City Royals.
It seems like it would be difficult to struggle on a team as good as the Astros, but that is exactly what is happening to Joe Musgrove.
The right-hander is 4-7 with a 6.04 ERA this season and the last three games have been even more of a struggle, where he is 0-2 with a massive 10.80 ERA with a WHIP near 2.000. He takes the mound Saturday at home against the Twins, with Houston currently a -160 fave.
Saturday's Top Trends
* Diamondbacks are 1-11 in Patrick Corbin's last 12 road starts. D-backs -105 @ Braves.
* Under is 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings between the Blue Jays and Tigers. O/U: 9.5.
* Twins are 0-7 in the last seven meetings in Houston. Twins +150.
* Rockies are 2-12 in their last 14 road games. Rockies -105 @ Mets.
Weather To Keep An Eye On
According to the forecast precipitation won’t be an issue anywhere across Major League Baseball, everything should start on time and won’t be delayed.
The Wind may be a factor at Oakland Coliseum for tonight’s game between the A’s and Indians. There is an 11-13 mile per hour wind blowing out to right-center. The total is currently sitting at 8.
Ump Of The Day
Gary Cederstrom: Cederstrom will be calling balls and strikes this evening at Fenway Park and that is troublesome news for fans/backers of the New York Yankees. Over the first half of the season, Cederstrom ranks second among umpires in home team money. The home team has won 14 of his 18 starts (77.8 percent) behind the plate and a blind $100 wager on the home team in all of those starts would have profited $987 thus far.
Chris Sale and the Red Sox are -170 home chalk this afternoon.
Saturday's Top Consensus
Here are the top side and total play according to our Covers Consensus.