Rick's MLB Plays 8/4

Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates (12:35 ET)

Favorite: Brewers -250

Total: 8

Pitchers: Brandon Woodruff (3.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs. Zach Thompson (5.09 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

These two teams could not be farther apart on the offensive spectrum than these two. Over the last two weeks Milwaukee leads the league in OPS (.898) while Pittsburgh is last (.551) and one Pirates win Wednesday night changes nothing. Brandon Woodruff takes the mound absolutely dealing lately with a 2.10 ERA over the month of July. He's not giving up many hits (23 in 30 IP) but is getting himself into trouble with walks (11). Given his opposition on the mound is Zach Thompson who has allowed 20 hits and 14 runs over his last 11 innings, I think it's safe to say there's a distinct pitching advantage to go along with the offensive one. It's chalky and the public will be all over it, but it's a clear bounce-back spot for the Brewers.

Pick: Brewers F5 -1 -110 (1u)


Los Angeles Dodgers @ San Francisco Giants (3:45 ET)

Favorite: Dodgers -210

Total: 8

Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (2.66 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) vs. Jakob Junis (2.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

Jakob Junis has been solid since he came back from injury but by all advanced metrics he's due for a regression. He doesn't give up free baserunners but does allow his fair share of hard contact and against an offense like the Dodgers (2nd in OPS L14) I doubt he pitches a shutout against them. Kershaw on the other hand hasn't been good in his last two starts (7 ER in 9.2 IP) but should get back to his dominant fashion (1 ER in 23.2 IP prior). Given how poor this Giants team has been offensively (29th in OPS L14) scoring 5+ runs just twice over their last 13 games, I think Kershaw and co dominant in route to a 4-game sweep. I'll take the Dodgers on the run line to get it done.

Pick: Dodgers -1.5 -120 (1u)

Mark Terrill - AP

Toronto Blue Jays @ Minnesota Twins (7:40 ET)

Favorite: Blue Jays -125

Total: 8

Pitchers: Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) vs. Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)

The Blue Jays travel to Minnesota for a 4-game road trip after splitting a quick 2-game series in Tampa. While their bats never got going in that series, facing some of the top pitchers in the league with a great bullpen behind them can do that to teams. Now up against what has been a stagnant offense lately in Minnesota, they look to get back to winning ways. With Alek Manoah at the helm today, they have every opportunity to do so. Manoah is coming off of his worst outing of the season, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits to the Tigers in Toronto. Sonny Gray has been excellent on the road this season, but has struggled when in Minnesota. Over his last 3 home games he's allowed 12 runs over 12.2 innings, and given the bats up and down this Toronto order he could be in for another tough day. Give me the Blue Jays over the first five innings to get the job done behind what should be an All-MLB player by end of season.

Pick: Blue Jays F5 ML -125 (1u)

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