MLB Series Analysis & Betting Advice
The Seattle Mariners arrive in Pittsburgh to face the Pirates, a team that finds itself facing very similar circumstances to the Mariners, both clubs battling to get back into the wildcard playoff chase in their respective leagues.
MLB Series Preview
Seattle Mariners (-102) at Pittsburgh Pirates (-105)
Five games out of the second American League wildcard playoff position, the Mariners come to the Steel City looking to get back in the race and will hand the ball to their recovering ace in hopes of getting on a roll. Out for almost two months due to a right calf strain, righty Felix Hernandez (4-4) was touched for five runs in 6 2/3 innings work in his return to action last Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
The Pirates are also looking to their struggling ace to get them going as they seek to close the gap in the National League wildcard race. Just 1.5 games out of the second wildcard place, Pittsburgh will send Francisco Liriano to the hill. Liriano, 6-9 with a 4.96 earned-run average, looked like his old self in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers, fanning 13 in 6 2/3 innings without walking a batter.
Seattle designated hitter Nelson Cruz comes into the series having reached base safely in seven straight games. Liriano is 6-2 with a 2.61 ERA versus the Mariners. The Pirates have won five of their last seven games.
Pick: The Pirates (-105)
Washington Nationals (+139) at Cleveland Indians (-137)
A World Series preview? Perhaps. The Nationals arrive in Cleveland with the best winning percentage in the NL (.586), while the Indians rate second overall in the AL at .577 but have lost three straight.
The Tribe will look to ace Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.75 ERA) to get them off on the right foot and they breathed a sigh of relief when the elbow ailment that caused Salazar to miss the All-Star Game didn't seem to impact him in his first second-half start, as Salazar fanned eight in 6 2/3 innings a week ago against Kansas City.
The Nationals give the ball to lefty Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.53 ERA), who has won three of his last four starts. They will follow with Stephen Strasburg (13-1), while the Indians counter with Carlos Carrasco (7-3) to complete the quick, two-game series.
It's the first meeting between the two teams since 2013. The Nationals are expected to activate first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (ribs) from the disabled list in time for Tuesday's game. Cleveland is home for the first time since July 10, while Washington is beginning a 10-game road trip.
Pick: The Nationals (+139)
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