We have our first division champion of the 2018 season: the Cleveland Guardians have won the AL Central for the third straight season. They will most likely face the Houston Astros in the AL Division Series early next month. Here’s a look at two interesting matchups this week around the majors. Check back for the latest Mybookie Sportsbook Odds on gameday.
Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – September 17th Edition
This is the only matinee of Tuesday and the Red Sox could clinch the AL East title with a victory. Boston’s magic number to win the East for a third straight year dropped to 2 with Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Mets. The Sox would need just one win over New York in this series to clinch.
However, MVP candidate Mookie Betts gave Boston a scare when he injured his left side making two throws to home plate during the game. “It kind of flared back up on the second throw. It’ll be fine. I’ll be ready to play Tuesday,” Betts said. “I was just coming out for precautionary (reasons) just to make sure it didn’t get worse. Everything checked out fine and I’ll be ready to go.”
Betts leads the AL in batting average at .337 and has hit 29 homers with 72 knocked in. Most likely, either he or teammate JD Martinez will win MVP. Martinez was out of the starting lineup Sunday but it was simply a rest day and he’ll be in there Tuesday. Manager Alex Cora also said that infielder Eduardo Nunez (right knee soreness) likely will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Boston is scheduled to start Nathan Eovaldi, a one-time Yankee. Making his first relief appearance for the Red Sox, Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22) gave up two runs in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday against the Blue Jays. Eovaldi, pitching for the first time in eight days, looked great for two innings before his stuff began to fade. He might be in the pen for the postseason and the Red Sox need to see if he’s a potential eighth-inning option in front of Craig Kimbrel.
Eovaldi has pitched well at Yankee Stadium in his career, going 10-5 with a 3.85 ERA. The righty was dominant against his former team at Fenway Park on Aug. 4, allowing no runs and three hits over eight innings.
It’s lefty JA Happ for New York. Happ (16-6, 3.75) delivered six scoreless innings last Monday to earn a win over the Twins, allowing six hits and no walks with three strikeouts. Happ threw 67 percent of his pitches for strikes while throwing first-pitch strikes to 15 of 23 batters he faced. He scattered baserunners throughout the contest and allowed just two of them past first base. Happ has thrown the ball quite well of late, allowing two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts and providing quality starts in three of the last four.
Colorado Rockies at LA Dodgers
When: Wednesday, 10 PM ET (ESPN)
Big series this week between these NL West contenders. They are tied for first as of this writing, and the second-place team could miss the playoffs entirely. Seunghwan Oh (hamstring) is close to being available out of the Rockies’ bullpen. Oh hasn’t pitched in a week because of right hamstring tightness, but he’s improved. He’s posted a 3.06 ERA over 20 relief appearances since the Rockies acquired him from the Blue Jays in July.
Disaster nearly struck the Dodgers on Saturday but X-rays on third baseman Justin Turner’s left arm/wrist were negative. Turner was hit on the arm by Cards starter John Gant in Saturday’s win but he stayed in the game for a few more innings, exiting only after the contest was out of hand. It’s a rare bit of good news for Turner, who’s struggled with injuries this year.
It’s lefty Tyler Anderson for the Rockies. Anderson (6-9, 4.82) had a decent start against the Giants on Friday as he went six innings and gave up two runs and seven hits while striking out six and being dealt the loss. It was an important start for Anderson, who registered his first quality start in over a month. It’s been a rough go of it for Anderson, as he’s seen his ERA increase by almost a full run since early August.
It’s rookie Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.88) for L.A. Buehler earned the victory over the Cardinals on Friday after tossing eight shutout innings. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out nine. In a game with postseason implications, Buehler dominated the Cardinals and didn’t allow a baserunner until the fifth inning. The nine strikeouts tied a season-high, and the young righty keeps collecting punchouts on the season (131 K’s over 118.2 innings).
Buehler has limited hitters to a .201 average this year. He has made four starts against the Rockies this season and is 0-1 with a 3.24 ERA.