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Rick's MLB Plays 8/25

Los Angeles Angels @ Tampa Bay Rays (1:10 ET)

Favorite: Rays -170

Total: 6.5

Pitchers: Patrick Sandoval (3.14 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) vs. Drew Rasmussen (2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

The Angels nearly squeaked out an 11-inning thriller but fell 3-4 to the Rays in game three of the series. Two of their three runs came in extras, so the Angels have now managed to score just 3 runs over their 27 regulation innings in this series. Even with Mike Trout and David Fletcher in this lineup, they still can't manage to string together hits to turn into runs and the long-ball escapes them. Welcome Drew Rasmussen to take advantage the league's largest underachievers. Having nearly thrown a no-hitter two outings ago, Rasmussen has proven that wasn't the anamoly. His ERA has improved in every month this year, and sits at a 2.09 since the beginning of July.

His counterpart is no slouch for the game, Sandoval has been a rare bright spot for the Angels and should give them a puncher's chance against the Rays. With an ERA of 0.96 over his last 3 starts, he's throwing his best ball and even though the Rays have been swinging the ball well lately (8th in OPS last 14 days), they still have the tendency to go dormant for stretches (see the game tonight). I'd lean the under but with the way the Rays are going and hitting lefties I'll take them to be leading after five innings.

Pick: Rays F5 -.5 -119 (1u)

Cincinnati Reds @ Philadelphia Phillies (7:05 ET)

Favorite: Phillies -300

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Justin Dunn (6.08 ERA, 1.72 WHIP) vs. Aaron Nola (3.25 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)

The Phillies offense should be embarrassed that one of, if not their best, pitchers in Aaron Nola has a losing record for the year. At 8-10 the Louisiana native is looking to add a win to the tally against a fiesty Reds team that has nothing to play for and poor pitching to tack on. Justin Dunn is in his fourth year in the majors and is looking worse than ever through three starts. You'd think positive regression is due but his expected stats in all four years are well-worse than his actual stats and this year is no different. His WHIP throughout his career hovers around a 1.50, so expect frequent baserunners and with how well the Phillies are swinging it lately he'll get into trouble early. It doesn't help that the Reds' relievers are some of the worst in the league as well so when he leaves it'll only get worse.

Nola is off the back of one of his worst outings of the season allowing 5 runs on 8 hits over 5 innings against the Mets. In his three games prior though he had allowed no more than 1 run in each outing over 20 innings pitched. He should get back to business against the Reds and capitalize on how often they strikeout (24.5% last 14 days). Don't overthink this, take the Phillies at home behind one of the league's best.

Pick: Phillies -1.5 -140 (1u)

Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox (7:10 ET)

Favorite: Blue Jays -165

Total: 9

Pitchers: Kevin Gausman (2.99 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs. Kutter Crawford (5.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

The Red Sox got a surprise gem of a performance from Brayan Bello on Wednesday night, allowing just two runs over 6 innings, giving them every chance to take advantage of Jose Berrios. Unfortunately for them, they were only able to muster up two runs through nine innings and lost the game in extra innings. The matchup on Thursday is much less favorable for the Sox as Kevin Gausman has been unbelievable away from home (1.65 ERA), and has kept this Red Sox offense quiet time and time again, allowing just 4 runs over 26 innings, striking out 37.

Kutter Crawford has been a godsend for the Red Sox during their injury riddled campaign, posting reasonable outings consistently to keep them in games before the bullpen could let the team down. But, as is the case with most pitchers, teams have the tape on him now and are starting to get to him. He's lost his last three starts and I trust this Blue Jays team to make it four as they'll be able to notch a handful of runs on him and then keep it going when the bullpen joins the party.

Pick: Blue Jays -1.5 -105 (.75u) & Blue Jays F5 -.5 -121 (.75u)

Nick Turchiaro - USA TODAY Sports

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