Rick’s MLB Plays 8/3

Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves (12:20 ET)

Favorite: Braves -135

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Zack Wheeler (2.77 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) vs. Charlie Morton (4.34 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

Philadelphia ended their 5-game winning streak in depressing fashion, losing 13-1 in their first of two games in Atlanta. Dominated from beginning to end by Spencer Strider, the Phillies bullpen game didn’t provide fruitful but luckily they welcome Zack Wheeler to the mound Wednesday to get back on track. The ace has been phenomenal since the beginning of June posting a 2.46 ERA over 60+ innings. He’s been solid against the exceptional offense of the Braves as well, allowing just 5 runs over 13.1 innings. Charlie Morton and his dominant curveball cannot say the same. He has a 6.00 ERA over 15 innings against the Phillies and has allowed 11 walks over his last 4 games. Both of these offenses have been middle of the road as of late so while the Braves are top tier, they’re not performing like it lately. Give me Wheeler and the Phillies to be at least tied through 5 innings in an important divisional clash.

Pick: Phillies F5 +0.5 -135 (1u)

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Detroit Tigers @ Minnesota Twins (1:10 ET)

Favorite: Twins -220

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Tyler Alexander (4.10 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) vs. Joe Ryan (3.78 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)

The Tigers’ pitching staff might figure itself out throughout the rest of this year and be decent, but their offense is basically an All-Star AAA team. Even though they’ve seemed to be pretty decent lately they still rank 26th in OPS over the last two weeks and a 5-3 win against the Twins Tuesday changes nothing. Joe Ryan is one of the ascending stars in the game and with only 5 hits and 1 ER over 12.2 innings against the Tigers this year he’s in line for another stellar outing. He had an all-time bad outing in his last game against San Diego (10 ER) but allowed just 5 ER over his 4 starts before that. He’ll be looking to bounce back and there’s no better team to do so than Detroit at home. Give me the Twins to be leading after five innings in an afternoon date with Tyler Alexander.

Pick: Twins F5 -.5 -130 (1u)

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Chicago Cubs @ St Louis Cardinals (7:45 ET)

Favorite: Cardinals -178

Total: 8

Pitchers:Justin Steele (3.86 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) vs. Miles Mikolas (2.86 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)

Much like Joe Ryan is an ascending star for the Twins, Justin Steele is the same for the Cubs. The difference is one plays for a divisional leader and the other plays for the lowly Cubs. Steele’s record is 4-7 and it’s all due to a lack of run support. The 27-year-old had a 2.06 ERA in July and is looking to continue the streak against a hot offense in the Cardinals on the road. Finally healthy and with some solid pitching moves made at the trade deadline, the Cardinals are poised to make a run at the Brewers for the divisional title and today will be a step towards that. Mikolas has been dominant lately and is great at home, expect that to continue against a depleted Cubs team Wednesday.

Pick: Cardinals F5 -.5 -115 (1u)

Jeff Curry - USA TODAY Sports

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