2016 MLB Series And Predictions Of The Weekend
With plenty of MLB online betting action after the short hiatus at the All-Star weekend, anything baseball is gladly acceptable to baseball diehards (like you and me) who’ve missed the pulsating thrill that comes with watching and handicapping several slates of games. But for the sake of this weekend, here are the games that top our list of best MLB series of the weekend. Enjoy the previews!
2016 MLB Series And Predictions Of The Weekend
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (July 15-17)
The Boston Red Sox and Yankees are two renowned baseball powerhouses, so it comes as no surprise that we are looking forward to their meeting this weekend. The problem, however, is that the two team are trending in opposite directions this season, with the Red Sox (49-38) placed up there in the AL East race and boasting of the best hitting unit in the nation with a .292 average, along with an MLB-best 490 runs scored and a whopping 103 home runs tallied through the first half of the season.
The Yanks (44-44), meanwhile, are virtually out of the postseason race, unless they somehow put up a magical second half of the season to sneak into a wild card spot. In spite of these disparities, the enmity between these two teams should see MLB fans treated to a thrilling series starting on Friday, with plenty of scoring and Boston probably coming out victorious over the New Yorkers. Be, however, on the lookout for at least a win by the Yankees, especially on Sunday when RHP Masahiro Tanaka (five or more strikeouts in his last five starts, going 3-0 in the process) takes to the mound for New York.
Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics (July 15-17)
After a rather iffy start to the season, the Blue Jays (51-40) have cranked up the heat and are now seated just two games off the top spot in the AL East division, largely thanks to their 8-2 run in their last 10 games before the All-Star break and balanced offense plus defense in their recent games. The A’s have been nearly the exact opposite of the Blue Jays, starting the season with a lot of promise, before cooling off. Coming from the break, the A’s are just 38-51 and have lost 7 of their last 10 games.
Can the A’s begin the second half strongly like they did the first half, or will their recent struggles (especially in pitching) continue? It all remains to be seen this weekend. On paper, though, Oakland should be able to hang tough in this series, particularly if its dismal pitching department (26th in team ERA at 4.72) can get its act together. But then again, if the disciplined Toronto shows up with its best starters on the mound–read that J.A. Happ (12-3, 3.36 ERA) and Aaron Sanchez (9-1, 2.97 ERA)–for this series, then nothing will probably save the A’s from continuing to spiral downwards.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals (July 15-17)
After avoiding each other in the first half of the season, National League foes Washington and Pittsburgh will renew their rivalry when they meet for the first time this season, starting on Friday. Key to the Nationals success this season is their excellent starting pitching, led by aces in Stephen Strasburg (12-0, 2.62 ERA) and Max Scherzer (10-6, 3.03 ERA). Washington’s starters for Saturday and Sunday are yet to be decided, but with Strasburg taking to the mound on Friday, it goes without saying that the Nats (54-36) should be due for a good start.
The fact Pittsburgh’s best starter Gerrit Cole (5-4, 2.77 ERA) has been on the DL with a nagging triceps injury (and will probably not be 100 percent healthy when he starts on Saturday) should additionally mean more advantage for the home-playing National hit-men. Bettors must, however, be cautious about underestimating the Pirates (46-43), who’ve been scoring plenty of runs this season. Not to mention, the Pirates have a solid bullpen, led by Mark Melancon, who has 27 saves and a very solid1.23 ERA. Tony Watson (18 holds, 3.00 ERA) and Neftali Feliz (19 holds, 2.88 ERA) have also contributed decently in the bullpen. Given a chance, these run-friendly and bullpen-reliant Pirates could easily steal a game or two in this series, especially if Washington’s shaky bullpen fails to take care of business down the stretch of their meetings this weekend.
Texas Rangers at Chicago Cubs (July 15-17)
When the AL West-leading Texas Rangers (56-36 SU, 48-37-5 ATS) go against the AL Central-leading Cubs (53-35 SU, 46-38-4 ATS) this weekend, expect nothing but fireworks on the field. Texas’ ace Yu Darvish (2-0, 2.87 ERA), who has been out for most of the season with a shoulder injury, will be back this Saturday in a must-watch encounter against Chicago’s fan-favorite Jason Hamel (7-5, 3.46). This will be followed with another magnificent pitching matchup between Pittsburgh’s best starter Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.21 ERA) and Chicago’s ace John Lackey (7-5 3.70 ERA).
With a 2-8 record in their last 10 games, we don’t need to tell you than the Cubs come with plenty of risks in this series, despite being home favorites. But then again, the Rangers have not been any better recently, going 3-7 in their last 10 games. So, in short, we should be in for a feisty series with both teams looking to start the second-half of the season strongly to avoid giving more ground to their divisional competitors. I know everyone will probably be on Chicago, but I am leaning on Texas to win this series, mainly because I believe Darvish and Hamels will outperform Hamel and Lackey, with Friday’s duel between Texas’ Martin Perez (7-5, 3.85 ERA) and Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks (7-6, 2.55 ERA) being anyone’s game.