I didn’t want to write my MLB Weekend Preview until after the trade deadline. As to be expected some great trades have shifted the balance of power in both the AL and NL.
Okay. The balance of power didn’t really shift in the National League. I mean, the L.A. Dodgers were tearing it up before they managed to trade for Texas ace Yu Darvish. Yu becomes a clear-cut number 2 behind Clayton Kershaw.
If you’re a Dodger fan, you’ve got to love how Dave Roberts is utilizing his bullpen. Realistically, neither Darvish nor Kershaw, when he returns, is going to have to pitch past the 6th inning. That’s how well Roberts is managing.
2017 MLB Week 15 Weekend Preview and Picks
Although I’ve spent almost this entire introduction discussing the L.A. Dodgers, they don’t participate in any of my weekend preview games. Why? The Dodgers are 2 to 1 to win the World Series. I don’t see how MLB bettors can make any money off the Dodgers in regular season games.
It’s just too difficult to predict which games the Dodgers are going to lose. Check out this 2017 MLB week 15 weekend preview!
Thursday, Aug. 3
Philadelphia Phillies at L.A. Angels
The Phillies send pitcher Jerad Eickhoff to the mound for this Thursday battle against the American League’s Los Angeles team. Eickhoff has a 2 and 7 record. His ERA is 4.56 while his WHIP is 1.48. Eickhoff has only faced Angel batters 14 times. He’s allowed 2 hits for a .143 batting average.
The Angels counter Eickhoff with pitcher Parker Bridwell. Bridwell has a 2.83 ERA. His win-loss record is 5 and 1. His WHIP is 1.19. Bridwell’s never faced a single Philadelphia batter. That could give him a big advantage going into this game on August 3.
Bridwell has pitched well in his last 4 starts. At Minnesota on July 4, Bridwell allowed 0 earned runs in 6 innings while yielding only 4 hits. In his next start versus Tampa Bay on July 16, he allowed 2 earned runs off 6 hits in 6.1 innings pitched.
Bridwell pitched 7 innings versus Boston on July 23. He held the Red Sox to 2 earned runs off 5 hits. Then, in his last start on July 28, Bridwell pitched 7.1 innings. He allowed a single earned run off 3 hits versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Angels won all 4 games. Bridwell could pitch great on Thursday. But, because the Angels have played so well when he’s on the mound, the odds are going to be low on both the money line and the run line.
The value play is on Eickhoff and the Philadelphia Phillies. Although Eickhoff’s overall stats aren’t appealing, he’s shown up in his last 2 starts. He allowed only 2 earned runs in a 6 to 3 win over Milwaukee on July 23. In his next start against Atlanta on July 29, Bridwell allowed 1 earned run off 3 hits. Philly won both games.
It makes sense to go for the money in this match up. I’m taking a shot on Philadelphia on the money line.
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies money line
Friday, Aug. 4
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
The Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t sure who they’re sending to the mound for this Friday match up with the San Francisco Giants. If they stick to their schedule, Corbin, Godley, Greinke, it might be Robbie Ray.
Right now, Ray is on the 7-day DL. The key will be for Ray to have a bullpen session on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you find out he does, then expect Robbie to step to the mound on Friday at AT&T Park.
There’s no doubt who San Francisco starts on Friday. The great Madison Bumgarner steps to the mound to try and shut down Arizona’s offense. MadBum has started to get it going. 2 games ago he yielded 1 earned run off 6 hits in 5 innings. San Francisco demolished Pittsburgh 11 to 3.
In his last start, Bumgarner yielded 0 earned runs off 5 hits in 7 innings. He also struck out 7 batters. He walked only a single batter.
Here’s the problem with San Francisco’s last game where MadBum started: the Giants lost. That’s right. Although Bumgarner was brilliant in 7 innings, the Giants lost 2 to 3.
I think that’s the biggest issue San Francisco’s faces on Thursday. Even if the D’Backs decide they don’t want to start Robbie Ray, the Giants could have trouble winning this game. Bumgarner only figures to pitch for 7 innings.
That gives Arizona 6 outs to rally if Bumgarner is as awesome versus the D’Backs on Friday as he was in his last start. If he’s not, Paul Goldschmidt does bat .288 versus Bumgarner, things could go south in a hurry for the San Francisco Giants.
I’m going with the D’Backs in this match up on Aug. 4.
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks money line
Saturday, Aug. 5
Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
Two well-known pitchers take the mound in the Saturday matchup between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. James Shields heads to the mound for the White Sox. Doug Fister steps to the mound for the Red Sox.
Shields has had a rough time since returning from an injury that kept him out of action since mid-April. His ERA is 6.19. His WHIP is 1.66. He has a 2 and 3 record.
Fister hasn’t been much better than Shields. Fister’s ERA is a worse than Big Game James 6.27. His WHIP is 1.64. His record is a terrible 1-5.
I love handicapping games with 2 starting pitchers that aren’t throwing well. Usually, the odds are close to even on the money line. So, if you can find the winner, you make money.
In this case, the winner must be Doug Fister and the Boston Red Sox. Fister’s overall stats are terrible. But, he was spectacular versus one of the better teams in the American League, the Cleveland Indians, in his last.
Fister allowed 2 earned runs off 5 hits in 7.2 innings. The Red Sox beat Cleveland 6 to 2. The Chicago White Sox have only seen Fister 20 times. If his form has finally come around, the Red Sox can win this by at least 2 runs.
Shields just doesn’t look right. I think he needs to take the offseason to work on his mechanics.
I like Boston on the run line. There’s no way Boston doesn’t go off the favorite in this match up.
Pick: Boston Red Sox run line.
Sunday, Aug. 6
Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs
ESPN’s Sunday Night MLB battle pits the L.A. Dodgers versus the New York Mets. I’m not sure why Washington versus Chicago isn’t the marquee game.
Both the Nats and the Cubs send two great pitchers to the mound for this August 6 contest. The Nationals send Gio Gonzalez to the mound. The Cubbies’ starter is listed as Jon Lester.
Gonzalez’s 2.66 ERA and 1.15 WHIP are terrific. The Cubs bat .191 versus Gonzalez. They’ve got 21 hits from 110 at-bats versus Washington’s under the radar ace.
Jon Lester has started to get it going. Lester hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs in his last. His ERA is down to 3.88. His WHIP is 1.21. The man is feeling good.
Gonzalez should pitch an excellent game. Here’s the thing, though. Gio threw 8 innings, almost garnering a no-hitter, versus the Miami Marlins on July 31. He was revved up for the game because it occurred on the anniversary of Jose Fernandez’s death. Gonzalez and Fernandez were close friends.
Is Gonzalez really going to pick himself up a week later against the Chicago Cubs? I don’t know. Even if he does, Washington, at some point, is going to throw someone from their bullpen to the mound to battle the Cubs’ vaunted batting line-up.
I think Lester is getting into postseason form. I love how he’s pitched in his last 2 starts. I’m backing Jon Lester and the Cubs on the run line.
Pick: Chicago Cubs run line