For your consideration....
With teams having completed between eight and 30 percent of their games, it’s hard to get a clear picture for MLB’s unprecedented 2020 season. Betting action has been even more of a challenge.
Some contenders are rolling along, but some divisions are being led by surprise teams. With MLB’s trade deadline looming at the end of the month, here’s a look at some intriguing match-ups ahead for this weekend.
Miami Marlins (8-4) v Atlanta Braves (11-9)
The Miami Marlins leading the NL East in August is not something anyone in the baseball world pictured happening. But here we are. The Marlins are coming off a thrilling 14-11 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays despite surrendering seven home runs. That sort of moxie seems to fit this rag-tag group which has been assembled piecemeal in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak. Even with 20 players on the IL, the Marlins are making a run.
This weekend, Miami welcomes the Braves to town. The Marlins are finally getting their home opener, and the series is for control of the NL East. The Braves trail Miami by one game in the standings, but they’ll be without both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies.
Missing their top two offensive weapons will hurt Atlanta this weekend. And while the Marlins might not scare anyone on paper, there seems to be something building around this team.
PICK: Marlins take two of three over the weekend, including the opener on Friday. (Pablo Lopez 1-1, 1.80 v Kyle Wright 0-2, 6.75)
NY Yankees (12-6) v Boston Red Sox (6-12)
The fact that this one isn’t for the lead in the AL East is a surprise as well. Boston’s bad this year., losing nine of their last 12 games. They’re heading to New York after suffering a four-game sweep to the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston’s been okay at the plate, but their pitching staff has posted the fifth worst ERA in the league thus far (5.24).
The Yankees, meanwhile, are coming off a two-game sweep of the Braves and sport one of MLB’s best offenses. They’re top-five in runs scored, home runs, and first in SLG (.468) and OPS (.813). Aaron Judge, who sat out Wednesday’s game, leads the Majors in homers (nine) and slugging percentage (.758), and he's tied for the lead in RBIs (20).
PICK: Yankees take this grudge match 3-1, including Friday night. Yankees will start RHP Gerrit Cole (3-0, 3.22) vs. Red Sox Friday.
Chicago Cubs (12-3) v Milwaukee Brewers (7-9)
The Brewers were supposed to be better, but certainly no one expected the Cubs to have baseball’s best record in mid-August. The Cubs are coming off a two-game sweep of the Indians after having their series versus the Cardinals postponed.
Milwaukee travels to Chicago with a team batting average of .220. Christian Yelich is hitting just .175 and Ryan Braun .143. The pitching staff’s ERA remains middle-of-the-pack, but the team has struggled for consistency, alternating wins and losses all week.
The Cubs, however, are rolling. They’ve won eight of their last 10 and they’re leaning on a pitching staff that’s top-10 in ERA and top-5 in OBA (.216) and WHIP (1.14). The offense is top-5 in OPS (.775).
PICK: Cubs take three of four in this one, including Friday’s game. Chicago starts Tyler Chatwood (2-1, 5.40) in that one.
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-- D.L. Ferno
Headline Photo Credit: CubbiesCrib.com