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Erik Underwood’s MLB Picks: 7/24/2012

July 24, 2012

Baseball

Andrew McCutchen is leading the Pirates to a possible playoff berth this year

Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cubs have faded a bit lately after a stretch where they played like one of the best teams in baseball.  Since then, they have lost 3 out of 4 games.  It should come as no surprise that the Cubs have been on the road during this bad stretch.  They have posted a 15-35 record away from Wrigley so far this season.  The Pirates on the other hand have been stellar at home, posting a 32-15 record.

James McDonald has a home ERA of 1.69.  Although he has struggled over his last two starts, coming home to Pittsburgh should be just what the doctor ordered.  The Pirates are hitting .312 against lefties in their last 10 games, and I look for Cubs starter Paul Maholm to regress slightly after five consecutive stellar starts.  The price is a little high on the Bucs, so I bought into this game at -1 to reduce the juice.

Play: Pittsburgh Pirates -1 (-115) 1.4 units

Oakland A’s @ Toronto Blue Jays

What better time for the hottest team in baseball to have a let down than the first game on the road after a 4-game sweep of the Yankees?  There is none.  There is no doubt that the A’s are hot, but this is a really tough spot situationally for them.  There is just no way for them to keep going at this level after all the tight, intense games against New York.  The Blue Jays are in a good spot to get a victory tonight.

Brett Cecil has pitched fairly well this year, other than two bad starts against a couple of high-powered offenses in the White Sox and Angels.  He matches up well against Oakland, who despite winning 9 of their last 10, are only hitting .224 against lefties this season.  I’m fully expecting the Jays to jump all over Oakland in game 1 of this series.

Play: Toronto Blue Jays -1 (+106) 1.4 units

Erik Underwood is the creator of Saturdays in the Fall.  Visit him at www.saturdaysinthefall.com for these picks and more, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/erikunderwood

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