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Wild Card Races Tighten In AL and NL As September Comes to a Close

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 9/18/2014 9:18:08 PM

Only three MLB teams have clinched a playoff spot as of September 18th, meaning half the divisions are still without a champion, and both wild card races are heating up with less than a dozen games remaining. A few aces will be taking the mound for Friday's MLB action, but the teams to keep an eye on are the ones who currently are leading the wild card race, such as the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, to see whether or not they have the pitching and hitting to win during the home stretch of the baseball schedule.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs

Friday September 19, 2014 – 2:20 PM ET

The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently leading the NL West by two games, meaning this game against the Chicago Cubs, with Clayton Kershaw taking the mound, is a must-win for a Dodgers team that's still looking to clinch home-field advantage through the playoffs. Kershaw has been on the top of his game lately, and the Cubs on the other hand are batting .238 as a team, tied for second-worst in the majors this season. Edwin Jackson will be on the mound for the squandering Cubs, and with a 6.09 ERA through 26 starts this season it's safe to say Jackson is ready for 2015, and the Dodgers lineup, which has the third-highest team batting average in the league, should have no problem winning this game and putting even more pressure on the second place Giants.

Pick: Dodgers

New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves

Friday September 19, 2014 – 7:35 PM ET

It's unlikely either the New York Mets or Atlanta Braves make the postseason, but with Julio Teheran on the mound for the Braves this is a sports betting opportunity that's hard to pass up. Teheran took strides during his second full season at the major league level, and with a 2.89 ERA and four complete games he's beginning to look like a future ace. He was forced to be at the top of the Braves' pitching staff this season, but if he continues to progress his game and strikeout almost one batter per inning he's a player that could soon enter Cy Young discussions. This won't be an easy victory for the Braves as the flame-throwing Zack Wheeler will take the mound for the Mets, but a lack of offensive firepower for both squads will turn this into a pitchers duel, one that more than likely will be won by Teheran and the Braves.

Pick: Braves

Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals

Friday September 19, 2014 – 8:10 PM ET

As of today both the Royals and Detroit Tigers are in the playoffs, but you can bet the two will have a tough fought series this week as the Tigers currently lead the AL Central, and the Royals lead the wild card race and are scheduled to face the Oakland Athletics, the other wild card team, in a one-game win or go home playoff match-up. The two pitchers taking the mound for this crucial late-season game are Justin Verlander and Jason Vargas, and neither pitcher has been dominant as of late as it's been six starts since Vargas made it through seven innings, and Verlander continues to look like a middle of the rotation arm. This means it will be up to the offense of both squads to determine the outcome, with the edge going to the Tigers who have the leagues best team batting average and second-best run scoring offense.

Pick: Tigers

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