Routing the Rivals
The Toronto Blue Jays look to hold on to the American League East lead this week as they kick off a pivotal three-game series Monday night in the Bronx. Toronto barely avoided a sweep at the hands of the lowly Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and find themselves in a three-way battle for the East lead with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Toronto has reversed a recent trend that had seen it struggle against the Yankees, coming into this series with a 22-9 edge since the beginning of 2015.
Home of the (Red-Hot) Braves
The hottest team in the National League? That designation belongs to the Atlanta Braves. No, that is not a mistype – and no, this isn’t 2005. The Braves have won six in a row as they open a three-game set Monday in Washington against the NL East-leading Nationals. Oddsmakers aren’t that shocked at Atlanta’s recent fortunes; the Braves were favorites in four of those six games, including all three against visiting San Diego. They’ve done it with offence, averaging seven runs over their winning streak.
Cincinnati is So Not Over
The Cincinnati Reds are well-known in betting circles as having been the strongest Over play of the season to date – but things may finally be evening out a little. The Reds relied on solid pitching to take two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, putting the brakes on a four-game losing skid. That pitching improvement, coupled with struggles at the plate, have conspired to make the Reds 1-4 O/U in their last five games. We’ll see if that trend continues as they host the New York Mets for a three-game set.
WAG of the Week
Los Angeles Angels starter C.J. Wilson won’t throw a pitch this season, but he’s still doing just fine – thanks in no small part to wife Lisalla Montenegro Wilson.
* No Cameron Maybin? No problem for the Detroit Tigers – at least this time around. The Tigers have gone 4-1 SU for +325 units in the five games Maybin has missed with a thumb injury; however, that only improves the Tigers to 28-35 SU for the season in games Maybin has been out.
* Things have gone south for the Pittsburgh Pirates since losing infielder Jung Ho Kang to a shoulder injury earlier this month. The Pirates fell to 5-10 SU for a whopping -$867 in his absence in Sunday’s 10-0 drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers; they’re 6-8-1 O/U in that span.
* Justin Upton didn’t look like he was destined for a 20-homer season earlier in 2015, but a hot second half helped him reach that plateau Sunday. The Detroit Tigers have been big benefactors of his power this season, having gone 8-0 in games in which Upton has homered since July 29.
* Milwaukee outfielder Domingo Santana went deep twice Sunday in the Brewers’ one-sided win over Pittsburgh for his first home runs since June 4. Milwaukee is a sizzling 11-3 SU and 10-4 O/U in games in which Santana drives in at least one run.
* Get your parlay ready. Washington ace Stephen Strasburg is expected to return to the starting rotation Wednesday against the visiting Braves after missing three weeks with an elbow injury. Strasburg is 17-5-1 O/U in his 23 starts, and has hit the Win-Over combination 13 times to date.
* Drew Pomeranz will look to climb back to his pre-trade form as he leads the Red Sox into San Diego for a date with the team that dealt him to Boston at the trade deadline. Pomeranz earned $193 in 17 starts with San Diego this season, but is sitting at -$327 in nine starts with the Botox.
Congratulations to those who pegged the Tampa Bay Rays as a strong Over option. The Rays have played to the Over in eight of their last nine games, improving them to 66-62-7 O/U for the season.
Monday’s Weather Watch
The weather report looks perfect for this holiday Monday. There is a threat of some thunderstorms in a couple of cities, but they are in Florida at stadiums with roofs. Every other baseball city is forecasting sunny conditions and plenty of afternoon action.