After a long and very entertaining baseball season we are down to the final handful of games for each team, however there are still a few things to be settled before we can etch the playoff picture into stone. The AL Wildcard and the AL West are still very much up for grabs as entering play tonight the Houston Astros lead their AL West rival Anaheim Angels by just a half game for the second Wildcard spot and the Texas Rangers now lead the AL West by only 1.5 games after losing at home to the Tigers last night. The second Wildcard spot was implemented to add thrill and excitement to the final few weeks of the season and we continue to see this take effect as it has done just that once again this season. While we will still be posting daily MLB picks during the postseason but it would be really nice to end the regular season with a nice little run so let’s get it started with this evening’s pick.
Kansas City Royals @ Chicago White Sox
My Pick – UNDER 7.5 (-110)
While the Kansas City Royals have clinched the AL Central division title they enter tonight’s game against the White Sox with plenty to play for. The Royals and Blue Jays are trading punches to see who will earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and Kansas City hopes their biggest trade deadline acquisition can put them that much closer to doing so this evening. Johnny Cueto has been much better since sorting out issues with his catcher Salvador Perez as he has now thrown back-to-back quality starts and helped the Royals clinch the division with seven strong innings his last time out against the Mariners. It doesn’t appear that Cueto has Chicago’s number entering tonight’s game as the right-hander has produced a 7.15 ERA against the South siders this season, but in a small sample size of just two starts. He actually beat the White Sox earlier this season while pitching for the Reds so we are only looking at one subpar start against Chicago on the year. Cueto will be opposite Jeff Samardzija this evening who has had a poor season overall but is coming off of his best start of the campaign. It doesn’t get much better than throwing a one hitter while facing just one batter over the minimum his last time out against the Tigers who are a good offensive team. In fact, Samardzija never even reached a three-ball count in that outing and the lone hit was only a single. Like Cueto, Samardzija hasn’t shown promise against his opposition tonight as he has a 7.13 ERA in four career starts against the Royals, but perhaps the hard-throwing righty is facing them at the right time as KC managed just four hits over 11 innings in a 1-0 loss to the North-siders of Chicago, the Cubs last night. On the surface the OVER looks tempting but I have faith in both of these starters to pitch more like the aces we have seen in recent years. Take the UNDER this evening from U.S. Cellular Field where the White Sox will attempt to play spoiler against their division rivals.