Erik Underwood’s Free MLB picks 7/31/2012

July 31, 2012

Baseball, Features

The Tigers need Justin Verlander to shine tonight

Detroit Tigers @ Boston Red Sox

The Tigers haven’t played particularly well lately, but they should find a boost for themselves as their ace steps to the mound against a Boston team who is starting to get healthy and preparing to make a run.  The key to this game is the dominance the Tigers have had against Josh Beckett this year.  In two starts against Detroit this year, Beckett has give up 11 runs in 11.2 innings.  He certainly hasn’t been the same Josh Beckett that we’ve seen win World Series-clinching games, and this play is somewhat of a fade on him.  Getting Justin Verlander at a low price doesn’t hurt things either.  He’s totally capable of throwing an 8 inning gem tonight, and I’ll take a chance on Detroit roughing up the Red Sox ace.

Play: Detroit Tigers -127, 1.5 units

San Diego Padres @ Cincinnati Reds

I made a play on San Diego last night against one of the hottest teams in baseball. A lot of the reason for that came because the Reds were just getting home from a long road trip, and I don’t feel that teams are always focused in that situation.  They clearly weren’t and suffered an 11-5 beatdown at the hands of the Padres.

I think we will see a much more focused Reds team tonight as they send their hottest pitcher to the mound.  Homer Bailey has given up only 6 runs over his last 5 starts, which have totaled 37.2 innings.  He has also struck out 34 over that period.  He should find success against the Padres, who don’t always feature a very threatening offense.  Play the Reds at -1.

Play: Cincinnati Reds -1 (-121), 1.5 units

Tommy Milone has been sickeningly good at home

Tampa Bay Rays @ Oakland Athletics

Tampa lost a heartbreaker last night, blowing a 7th inning lead to lose in 15.  Bullpens may be a little taxed tonight, but what I’m really hoping for is the position players to be taxed tonight.  After playing what almost amounts to a double-header, the Rays get to face A’s start Tommy Milone, who is carrying a ridiculous 0.91 ERA at home this year.  I’ve thought for weeks that we would see some serious signs of regression, but it just doesn’t appear that it will happen.

There is no way I’m going to fade Milone against a Rays lineup that saw 15 innings of play last night, but I still have trouble trusting the A’s.  I’m going to make a play on Milone to dominate a worn out Rays offense and keep the team total under 3.5.

Plays: Rays Team Total Under 3.5 (-125), 1.5 units

Erik Underwood is the creator of Saturdays in the Fall.  Visit him at for these picks and more, and follow him on Twitter at



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