MLB Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (3) vs. San Francisco Giants (9) - Date: 9/30/2016 Madison Bumgarner lined a key two-run double in the sixth and emphatically pumped his arms while yelling in celebration at second base, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-3 on Friday night to maintain their slim lead for the second NL wild card. Brandon Belt added a three-run homer in the seven-run inning and Bumgarner (15-9) beat the Dodgers for the first time in seven starts since May 21, 2015. It was win No. 100 of his career. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Mets stayed one game ahead of the Giants for the top wild card, while San Francisco remained a game up on St. Louis for the second spot. Angel Pagan might have made the play of the night - without his glove or bat. He body-slammed a male fan in the left field grass during the fourth inning after he ran onto the field. Buster Posey earlier shoved the man to the ground. Pagan, who held the man down until security reached him, received a roaring ovation from the sellout crowd when the half-inning ended and tipped his cap. Once Rich Hill left the game, San Francisco pounced against Brandon McCarthy (2-3). Pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie started things in the sixth with a go-ahead two-run double, and pinch-hitter Denard Span's RBI single chased McCarthy before he retired a batter. He had a walk followed by five straight hits. Bumgarner stopped a four-start winless stretch, allowing three runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. He had been 0-4 in his previous six starts against Los Angeles, 0-2 this season. Kike Hernandez hit a go-ahead single off Bumgarner in the sixth, but the Giants answered big with the bats. Hill allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. He pitched for the first time since Sept. 20 also against the Giants after the Dodgers skipped his las t turn as a precaution because he has dealt with blisters on his pitching hand this season. Manager Dave Roberts planned to monitor Hill and keep his outing short given he will draw Game 2 of the NL Division Series next week. Yasiel Puig's RBI double to left in the first scored Corey Seager, who made a headfirst slide into home to narrowly beat Pagan's throw. Carlos Ruiz followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Giants got it right back in the bottom half, on Posey's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Pagan. Bumgarner and Puig got into it on Sept. 19 at Dodger Stadium, causing both benches to clear. Puig was booed during pregame introductions, though neither manager expected any further issue. Sports Handicap. The Giants are 14-4 at home against the Dodgers since the start of the 2015 season. WILLIE MAC AWARDBrandon Crawford and Javier Lopez shared the honor named for Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. MLB Baseball Handicappers. They were presented the award in an on-field ceremony before the game for being most inspirational on the field and in the clubhouse as chosen by players, coaches and training staff.'' It's a huge honor for me winning this award, especially growing up a Giants fan,'' Crawford said. Inside Info. The Dodgers politely watched from their dugout. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMDodgers: Roberts said the Dodgers are considering four starters for the NLDS, giving themselves insurance if Clayton Kershaw or Hill were to have any health issues. ''It's a possibility,'' Roberts said. ''A lot depends on Game 1 and how it plays out. It doesn't make any sense to forecast what we're going to do.'' Giants: INF Eduardo Nunez, nursing a right hamstring strain, missed his fourth straight game and won't play Saturday. Sunday seems unlikely as well but manager Bruce Bochy is ''hopeful'' he could be ready for a wild-card game. Nunez was scheduled to play easy catch, swing off the tee and try to do some light running on a treadmill. UP NEXTDodgers: Kershaw (12-3, 1.65 ERA) is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list Sept. 9. He is 18-7 with a 1.58 ERA in 34 career starts against the Giants. Giants: TBA. Bochy planned to announce his pitcher after the game.
Friday, September 30, 2016
MLB Recap: Oakland Athletics (1) vs. Seattle Mariners (5) - Date: 9/30/2016 Robinson Cano hit two home runs, Taijuan Walker pitched six effective innings and the Seattle Mariners moved within one game of the second AL wild-card spot, beating the Oakland Athletics 5-1 Friday night. Seattle, which has won seven of nine, is one game behind Toronto for the second spot. Free Picks Against the Spread. The Mariners also trail Detroit by a half-game. Cano had a two-run homer in the first. He added his 38th home run in the third, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs for the season. Norichika Aoki and Nelson Cruz also homered off Raul Alcantara (1-3), who was tagged for five runs on seven hits in two-plus innings. Walker (8-11) allowed one run on two hits in six innings, but walked five in a 113-pitch outing. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The only run came on Ryon Healy's 13th homer to open the sixth. Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Cano drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center to give the Mariners to a 2-0 lead in the first after a leadoff infield single by Aoki. Aoki made it 3-0 in the second with his fourth homer just inside the right field foul pole. Cano opened the third with another home run to center and Cruz followed with his 42nd homer to make it 5-0. Profitable Sports Handicappers. The A's loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a two-out error by second baseman Cano, but Walker retired Stephen Vogt on a popout. Zach Neal came on for Alcantara with one aboard in the third and retired all 15 batters he faced. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER' S ROOMAthletics: RF Danny Valencia was originally in the lineup, but was a late scratch due to neck soreness. Matt Olson started in right. UPON FURTHER REVIEWThere was a crew chief review of Cruz's home run, which barely cleared the outstretched glove of center fielder Jake Smolinksi at the top of the wall, but then bounced back onto the field. Professional Handicappers. The call was upheld after a review estimated at 2 minutes and 21 seconds. MARINERS COMPLETE TRADESeattle sent minor league infielder Tim Lopes to Toronto to complete the Aug. 6 trade for reliever Pat Venditte. Lopes, 22, hit .284 with one home run and 49 RBIs with Double-A Jackson of the Southern League. Venditte, who pitches with either hand, is 0-0 with a 7.15 ERA in six appearances with Seattle. UP NEXTAthletics: Rookie RHP Jharel Cotton (2-0, 1.44 ERA) makes his fifth career start since being called up from Triple-A Nashville on Sept. 7. He has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his four starts, lasting at least 5 2/3 innings in each. Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 3.96 ERA) has been Seattle's most consistent pitcher over the course of the season. His 16 victories are a career high, but he is 2-5 in his last eight starts. Iwakuma is 4-0 against Oakland this season.
MLB Recap: Houston Astros (1) vs. Los Angeles Angels (7) - Date: 9/30/2016 Daniel Wright didn't think getting his first major league win would take quite as long as it did, but it was worth the wait. Jefry Marte homered and scored twice and Wright earned his first victory to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Houston Astros 7-1 on Friday night. In Wright's ninth big league appearance and his seventh start, he limited the Astros to one run and six hits while striking out five. It took two teams and a few stints in the minor leagues this season before Wright was finally able to earn a win and breathe a sigh of relief.'' I don't think it's really sunk in yet,'' Wright said. ''It's been a long time coming, it's been since May since I've been starting in the bigs. It's a weight off my shoulders and I'll go from here into the offseason.'' Wright (1-5), who w as claimed off waivers from Cincinnati on Sept. 4, became the 24th pitcher to get a win for the Angels this season, setting an American League record. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The Texas Rangers previously held the mark with 23 winning pitchers in 2014.'' Daniel has been on the verge of doing what he did tonight,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He had good fastball command, definitely brought his secondary pitches into the game and I thought he was a little more aggressive tonight than when he pitched in Houston against these guys (last weekend).'' Mike Trout set a club record with his 114th walk of the season, breaking Tony Phillips' previous Angels record set in 1995. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Trout stole two bases, bringing his season total to 29. Sports Bettors Email Leads. The Angels broke the game open with a four-run second inning. Brad Peacock (0-1) loaded the bases with no outs for Kaleb Cowart, who doubled to empty them. Kowart took third on the throw, allowing him to score while Ji-Man Choi was caught in a rundown two batters later. Marte led off the third inning with his 14th home run. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Angels scored twice in the fifth inning when Andrelton Simmons' two-run single chased Peacock.'' I don't think he executed quite as well,'' Astros manager A. J. Hinch said. ''His fastball command was a little off, his breaking ball was a little loose. Picks and Parlays. They won a couple critical at-bats. Free MLB Baseball Picks. There wa s a few walks in there, a few extra-base hits and hit night was over.'' Making just his fifth start this season, Peacock was charged with seven runs - five earned - and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.'' Unfortunately, it caps a September for him where he was pretty good where we needed him,'' Hinch said. ''It's going to leave a bad taste in his mouth at the end of the year.'' TRAINER'S ROOMAstros: 3B Alex Bregman has been shut down for the remaining three games. Astros manager A. J. Hinch said the team decided not to risk further irritation of his recent hamstring injury. Angels: RHP Jered Weaver is questionable for his Sunday start, which could be his final with the Angels. Weaver left his last start with tightness in his back and Jhoulys Chacin will likely start in his place. UP NEXTAstros: RHP Collin McHugh will try to remain undefeated in the month of September when he starts the second game of the series. McHugh is 3-0 this month but his September win streak dates to 2014, as he's gone 11-0 over the last three seasons, the longest active streak of any its kind for any major league pitcher. In three starts against Los Angeles this season, McHugh is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA. Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs will make his first start since Sept. 9, when he was removed from the rotation with a mild flexor pronator strain in his pitching arm. Skaggs will face the Astros for the first time since June 5, 2014. He's 3-3 with a 4.13 ERA in 10 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery this season.
MLB Recap: San Diego Padres (3) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (5) - Date: 9/30/2016 Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings each hit a two-run home run and the Arizona Diamondbacks opened their final series of a disappointing season with a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night. Ryan Schimpf hit a two-run home run for San Diego. Randall Delgado (5-2) pitched an inning of relief to get the victory. Patrick Corbin threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before Daniel Hudson came on to get Wil Myers to pop out to first for his fifth save. Edwin Jackson (5-7) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings to take the loss. Todays Free Sports Picks. The crowd for the matchup between the bottom two teams in the NL West was announced at 42,651, the second-largest of the season at home for the Diamondbacks. Only the season opener drew more. By handing t he Padres their 50th road loss, Arizona still has a chance to escape the division cellar. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Diamondbacks are a game behind San Diego with two to play. Goldschmidt put Arizona up 3-0 in the third inning when he hit Jackson's 2-0 pitch over the porch in right-center for his 24th home run, and 94th and 95th RBIs. But Diamondbacks starter Braden Shipley couldn't hold the lead. Best Sports Picks Today. The Padres tied it 3-3 in the fourth. Manuel Margot doubled in a run and scored on Schimpf's two-run home run. Arizona regained the lead in the sixth. With two outs, Brandon Drury doubled and scored when Owings homered on Jackson's 2-0 pitch. Owings' fifth home run of the season gave the Diamondbacks a 5-3 lead. SCHIMPF'S SHOTSSchimpf's 20 home runs are third-most by a Padres rookie behind Nate Col bert's 24 in 1969 and Jedd Gyorko's 23 in 2013. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. They are second-most by a Padres second baseman behind Gyorko's 23. GOLDY'S BLASTGoldschmidt's two-run homer gave him 14 RBIs against San Diego this season, his career-high against the Padres. With two games to go, Goldschmidt is batting .346 against the Padres with five home runs. Sports Handicapping Software. TRAINER'S ROOMDiamondbacks: OF A. J. Pollock ran on the grass on Friday but still felt tightness in his groin and has been shut down for the season. ... OF Yasmany Tomas was scratched from the lineup with stiffness in his upper back. UP NEXTPadres: LHP Clayton Richard (3-3, 2.98 ERA) makes his ninth start and 38th appearancc of the season. In eight starts, he is 3-2 with a 1.88 ERA. Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley (7 -9, 5.15 ERA) makes the final start of his rookie season. His 132 strikeouts are third-most by an Arizona rookie in franchise history.
NCAAF Recap: Stanford (6) vs. Washington (44) - Date: 9/30/2016 Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night. After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage. And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007. Sports Betting Profit. The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. Profitable NCAAF Coll ege Football Handicappers. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami - taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll. Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover. Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his s treak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game. It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries. Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J. J. Arcega-Whiteside. Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined. Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter. NCAAF College Football Handicappers. TAKEAWAYSStanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties aft er entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. Free Sports Picks. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team. Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. Free NCAAF College Football Picks. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns. UP NEXTStanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State. Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.
MLB Recap: Pittsburgh Pirates (0) vs. St Louis Cardinals (7) - Date: 9/30/2016 Carlos Martinez pitched seven sharp innings, Matt Holliday hit an emotional home run and the St. Louis Cardinals stayed in the middle of the NL wild-card race, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 Friday night. CBS Sports Picks. The Cardinals began the day trailing San Francisco by one game for the second NL wild-card spot. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Giants played host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martinez (16-9) gave up five singles, walked one and struck out nine. John Jaso led off the second with a single and was the only runner to reach third base against Martinez, who left with a 3.04 ERA. Holliday, out since Aug. 12 because of a thumb injury, was activated off the disabled list at his request Friday. Sports Handicapper Tracker. The club informed him earlier this week that it is not planning to pick up the $17 million option on his contract for 2017, and instead will pay him the $1 million buyout. Holliday was given a standing ovation before he pinch-hit in the seventh. He responded with his 20th home run, and came out for a curtain call. Holliday became the sixth Cardinals player to reach 20 homers this season, tying an NL record. It was the first pinch-hit homer of Holliday's career and was the 17th overall by St. Louis this year, extending its major league mark. Jedd Gyorko hit his 29th homer and Brandon Moss hit his 28th for the Cardinals. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Tyler Glasnow (0-2) finished his rookie season with his most effective start, working five innings and giving up Gyorko's homer. Glasnow did not allow another Cardinal past second. NBA Handicappers. The Cardinals took a 5-0 lead in the sixth with four runs off reliever Trevor Williams. Yadier Molina and Stephen Piscotty doubled in runs and Moss hit a two-run homer. Moss had been in a 7-for-97 skid. MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMPirates: LF Starling Marte (back) was not in the lineup and is not expected to play in the final two games. UP NEXTPirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (5-4, 4.25 ERA) lasted two innings in his only start against the Cardinals, a 12-6 loss on Sept. 5. Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (7-7, 4.93) has allowed 10 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings over three relief appearances since returning from the DL. He was picked to start Saturday's game against the Pirates instead of struggling LHP Jaime Garcia.
MLB Recap: Miami Marlins (7) vs. Washington Nationals (4) - Date: 9/30/2016 Christian Yelich homered and Dee Gordon's infield single in the sixth inning scored the go-ahead run as the Miami Marlins beat the NL East champion Washington Nationals 6-4 on Friday night. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The game began following a 1 hour, 43 minute rain delay. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The series opener came a day after a memorial service in Florida for Jose Fernandez. Track Handicappers. The Marlins ace died in a boating accident Sunday. Washington entered its final series of the season with a two-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers for home field advantage in the NL Division Series. Los Angeles played at San Francisco on Friday night. Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew hit back-to-back home runs for Washington in a four-run fourth after Miami scored twice in the top of the inning for a 4-0 lead. Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in his return to the Nationals lineup after sitting out the previous four days with a left thumb injury. Miami used five relievers including Mike Dunn (6-1). A. J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his 40th save. Sammy Solis (2-4) allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings for Washington. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Nationals honored Fernandez with a pregame video montage, by placing his No. 16 behind the pitcher's mound and his jersey in their dugout. A mutual tipping of the caps across the field between players from both teams occurred as well. Neither starting pitcher went beyond four innings and both allowed four runs. Free Predi ctions. Two runs off A. J. Cole, the first of eight pitchers for Washington, were unearned. Cole, who lasted three innings, is awaiting appeal of his five-game suspension for throwing behind Pittsburgh's Jung Ho Kang on Sunday. Miami's Andrew Cashner unraveled in the fourth, allowing five hits and one walk. Jose Loboton's RBI double and Trea Turner's run-scoring single in the fourth tied the game 4-4. Yelich drove in two runs. Justin Bour had a double and two RBI singles. He scored on the hustling Gordon's single off Oliver Perez. Rendon became the sixth National with at least 20 home runs this season. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The 1965 Milwaukee Braves, 2003 Atlanta Braves and 2016 St. Louis Cardinals, who reached the mark later Friday, are the only other NL teams in history with six 20-plus homers. TRAINER'S ROOMMarlins: Manager Don Mattingly said LHP Adam Conley, who cam e off the DL on Monday to throw three shutout innings, will be available the last two days of the season. Conley missed more than six weeks with a finger injury. Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (glute muscle), who last began a game on Sept. 17, isn't expected back in the starting lineup until Game 1 of the NLDS. UP NEXTMarlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.02) is set to face Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.86), who needs a win to set a career-high.
MLB Recap: Toronto Blue Jays (3) vs. Boston Red Sox (5) - Date: 9/30/2016 Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night. Handicappers Free Picks. The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth. With his image mowed into the grass in center for the final regular-season series of his career, Ortiz hit his 38th homer of the ye ar - and No. 541 of his career - to help Boston rally from a 3-1 deficit with four runs in the seventh. It was extra-base hit No. 1,192, tying Ken Griffey Jr. and Rafael Palmeiro for eighth on baseball's all-time list. Dustin Pedroia had three hits for Boston, and Brad Ziegler (2-3) picked up the win with one inning of scoreless relief. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 31st save. Devon Travis had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and Jose Batista homered for Toronto. Ortiz singled in the first to give Boston a 1-0 lead, but Toronto went ahead 3-1 in the fifth against Rick Porcello. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The major league wins leader failed in his attempt for his 23rd victory, but he avoided the loss when the Red Sox rallied against Joe Biagini (4-3). Andrew Benintendi led off the seventh with a double and Dustin Pedroia dribbled one to the third base side. Josh Donaldson came in on the ball but his throw went past first baseman Justin Smoak; the ball got trapped under the tarp down the right-field line and time was called. Benintendi took off for third, and Pedroia scrambled back to first. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Toronto manager John Gibbons came out to argue, but things got worse when the umpires awarded Pedroia second base; after some more arguing, Benintendi was pointed home. One out later, Mookie Betts singled to make it 3-3, and then Brett Cecil came in to face Ortiz. Sports Picking Services. The crowd, which sat through a 25-minute rain delay to see him honored before the game and play one of his last three regular-season games, rose to its feet chanting ''Papi!''After working the count to 2-1, Ortiz lined the ball past the Pesky Pole to send Fenway into one more frenzy. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The chants waned before Ortiz popped out of the dugout for a curtain call. Biagini allowed three runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. TRAINERS ROOMToronto: Starter Marco Estrada took an Ortiz liner off the leg in the third inning but fielded the ball and remained in the game. Boston: Manager John Farrell said knuckleballer Steven Wright would need two more bullpen sessions before facing live batters and thus was ruled out for at least the first round of the postseason. UP NEXTBlue Jays: Left-hander J. A. Happ (20-4) will start as Toronto tries to hold off Baltimore in the AL wild-card race. Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7) will make his last regular-season start.
MLB Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (1) vs. Colorado Rockies (4) - Date: 9/30/2016 Nolan Arenado hit his NL-leading 41st homer, Chad Bettis pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Colorado Rockies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 on Friday night. Bettis (14-8) allowed one run and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings while extending a career high in wins this season. He struck out five in Colorado's first win in four games against Milwaukee this season. Carlos Estevez got four outs before Adam Ottavino worked the ninth for his seventh save. Chris Carter connected in the fourth inning, becoming the sixth player in Brewers history to reach 40 home runs in a season. With D. J. LeMahieu aboard after a fielder's choice, Arenado drove a 2-1 offering from Brent Suter (2-2) over the center-field fence to make it 2-0 in the first inning. Best Sports Picks Today.&n bsp;The Rockies added to their lead with run-scoring singles by Charlie Blackmon in the second and Nick Hundley in the third. Carter led off the fourth with a drive to center that sailed into the Brewers' bullpen. He also had a leadoff double in the sixth, but was thrown out at the plate by left fielder David Dahl when he tried to score on Hernan Perez's single. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Bettis fanned pinch hitter Josmil Pinto to end the threat. Suter allowed four runs and 10 hits in five innings. HIT PARADECarter joined five others with 40-homer seasons for the Brewers. Richie Sexson and Prince Fielder each did it twice. Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, and Ryan Braun also reached the milestone. Basketball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMBrewers: OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who hasn't played since Sept. 16, has been diagnosed with a sports hernia and is expected to undergo surgery. Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson has been scratched from his scheduled start Saturday because of what manager Walt Weiss described as general arm soreness. He'll be replaced on the mound by RHP Jeff Hoffman. UP NEXTBrewers: RHP Wily Peralta (7-11) has gone 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts since being recalled Aug. 9 from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Rockies: Hoffman (0-4) returns to the rotation as the replacement for the injured Anderson. He has pitched well in a couple of relief appearances since being shifted to the bullpen after struggling in his first stint as a starter.
MLB Recap: Cleveland Indians (7) vs. Kansas City Royals (2) - Date: 9/30/2016 Ryan Merritt retired the final 13 batters he faced in five strong innings in his first big league start, Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-2 Friday night. Merritt (1-0) gave up a run on three hits in the first, but nothing after that. Merritt, who had made three relief appearances after being promoted Sept. 11 from Triple-A Columbus, threw 62 pitches, striking out four and walking none. Lindor, who snapped an 0-for-29 drought with a double in a four-run third, homered off the left-field foul pole with pinch runner Michael Martinez and Carlos Santana aboard in the seventh. Santana, who had three hits, tripled in two runs in the fourth and scored on Jason Kipnis' sacrifice fly. Jose Ramirez singled with two outs to score Lindor. Yordano Ventura (11-12) gave up four runs and six hits with three walks while striking out eight in six innings. Eric Hosmer singled in a run in the first, upping his RBI total to a career-high 104. Leading Handicappers. The Royals, who had three singles in the first, did not have another base runner until Hunter Dozier singled with one out in the eighth. He scored on Drew Butera's triple. GOMES ACTIVATEDIndians C Yan Gomes, who suffered a right shoulder separation in July and a fractured wrist on Sept. 14 when rehabbing in the minors, was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Gomes entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINERS ROOMIndians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (broken little finger on his pitching hand) was put on the 60-day DL to make roster space for Gomes. ... RHP Corey Kluber (strained quadriceps) threw in the outfield before the game, but there is no timetable when he will throw off the mound again. ... RHP Danny Santana (forearm tightness) could throw a simulated game Monday. Royals: DH Kendrys Morales had only two at-bats Thursday before leaving with a fever and feeling sick, but returned to the lineup Friday. UP NEXTIndians: RHP Trevor Bauer, who will likely start the postseason opener Thursday, will make his final regular season start. Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez, who had a 7.77 ERA in five September starts, makes his sixth start of the season against Cleveland.
MLB Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (1) vs. Texas Rangers (3) - Date: 9/30/2016 Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Sports Free Picks. The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game. Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Divisio n Series following Cole Hamels. Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4. Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor. Darvish went into the game averaging 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings this season, best in the league. In his final four starts of the season, he fanned 38 in 24 2/3 innings. Beltran homered just inside the right-field foul pole, his 29th of the season and seventh since joining Texas at the non-waiver trade deadline. Odor's homer was his 33rd, tying Adrian Beltre for the team lead this season. Winning Sports Gambling. The only Texas second baseman to hit more in a season is Alfonso Soriano, with 35 in 2005. Sam Dyson earned his 38th save. Four Texas relievers worked th ree scoreless innings, running the bullpen's streak to a club-record 29 2/3, and it allowed one hit and one walk. Evan Longoria had two doubles, one driving in the Rays' run, giving him career highs of 171 hits and 80 extra-base hits this season. SHORT HOPSTexas' 53rd home win set a club record. . Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Rays are 10-18 in September, the most losses in one month for the team since going 7-20 in July 2007. . Logan Forsythe, who has been the Rays' leadoff hitter in 123 games this season, appeared as a pinch-hitter and will return to the lineup on Saturday night. . Ian Desmond increased his majors-leading total of outfield errors to 12 with two dropped fly balls. UP NEXTTampa Bay: Jake Odorizzi (9-6) hasn't won since Aug. 30. Handicapping Sports. The Rays have lost in his last four start s, during which he has had a 5.40 ERA. MLB Baseball Handicappers. Texas: Colby Lewis (6-4), who figures to start Game 3 of the Division Series, is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three September starts after missing two months with a strained lat muscle. Lewis lasted only 1 1/3 innings in his previous start last Sunday at Oakland.
MLB Recap: Minnesota Twins (3) vs. Chicago White Sox (7) - Date: 9/30/2016 Carlos Rodon tied an AL record by striking out the first seven batters and Tim Anderson finished a double shy of the cycle to lead the Chicago White to a 7-3 win Friday night, handing the Twins their 103rd loss - the most since the franchise moved to Minnesota. Rodon (9-10) gave up three hits and three walks while striking out 10 over six innings, giving up three runs - two earned - in a 31-pitch sixth that ended his night. Anderson also drove in two runs in Chicago's sixth win in seven games. Leading Handicappers. Tyler Duffey (9-12) gave up five runs in two-plus innings to ensure Minnesota won't have a 10-game winner while reaching the most losses since the Washington Senators went 50-104 in 1949. Profitabl e MLB Baseball Handicappers. The 57-103 Twins have two games left. Rodon quickly set the tone for Minnesota's dubious night that topped the 102-loss Twins of 1982. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The 23-year-old lefty fanned Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Robbie Grossman on sliders in the first. He got Miguel Sano on a fastball, Kennys Vargas on a changeup and saw Eduardo Escobar chase a slider in the dirt in the third. When John Ryan Murphy was caught looking at a 97 mph fastball to lead off the third, Rodon tied the AL record for strikeouts to start a game set by Joe Cowley of the White Sox on May 28, 1986, at Texas. Logan Schafer's ensuing double left Rodon one strikeout shy of the major league record to start a game shared by the Astros' Jim Deshaies and the Mets' Jacob deGrom. Rodon's strikeout streak was 10 when figuring in the final three hitters he faced while fanning 11 in a victor y Sunday at Cleveland. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The last pitcher to strike out 10 in a row was Eric Gagne of the Dodgers over four games in May 2003. Duffey gave up six hits while getting six outs. Omar Narvaez hit his first career homer in the fourth off Pat Dean as the White Sox built a 7-0 lead. Sports Picks for Today. TRAINER'S ROOMTwins: 1B Joe Mauer (quadriceps) remained out. ... Manager Paul Molitor said veteran C Kurt Suzuki ''has taken a beating'' and won't catch again this season. Suzuki is in the last year of his contract. ''It's probably been as awkward a month for him as anybody in that clubhouse when you're potentially playing out into your free agency as a catcher in your early 30s,'' Molitor said. White Sox: Tests showed 2B Tyler Saladino has a herniated disk. He had an epidural Mon day and doesn't believe he'll need surgery. ''It was kind of crippling for a little bit,'' he said. DOZIER BACKReturning from his first off day since May 24, Dozier extended his slump to 1 for 32 before singling and scoring in the sixth. He remained at 42 homers and 99 RBIs. WARNINGSBoth benches were warned after Ryan O'Rourke nearly hit Anderson in the eighth. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Twins appeared to object to Anderson's home run celebration. Anderson then grounded to third to end his chances at the cycle. UP NEXTWhite Sox RHP James Shields (6-18, 5.82 ERA) closes a tough season Saturday night against Twins LHP Hector Santiago (12-10, 4.87).
MLB Recap: Detroit Tigers (6) vs. Atlanta Braves (2) - Date: 9/30/2016 Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night. Sport Handicapping. The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3. Expert Sports Picks. The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. Free MLB Baseball Picks. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff ch ances. Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings. Best Sports Picks of the Day. The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0. Detroit led 3-0 in the first on Kinsler's leadoff homer and Cabrera's two-run shot over the center-field wall. Cabrera launched his 38th homer to the same location in the third, putting Detroit up 4-0. Upton hit his 30th homer to make it 6-0 in the seventh. Closer Francisco Rodriguez, in a non-save situation, struck out the side in the ninth. Wisler gave up five runs, nine hits, two walks and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings. He ended the season with a 5.00 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance. Cabrera, a two-time AL MVP, has been a tough out over the last couple months, hitting .357 with 20 homers and 55 RBIs in his last 63 games. He has six multihomer games this season and 39 in his career. Norris escaped a jam with two runners on in the third when Matt Kemp flied out to the warning track. Norris pitched through pain after Adonis Garcia's liner glance off his right wrist below his glove in the fifth, striking out the next four batters he faced to end the sixth. Brandon Snyder hit his fourth pinch-hit homer of the season to cut the lead to 6-1 in the seventh and chase Norris. Kemp made it 6-2 in the eighth with his 35th homer. Upton is hitting .320 with 17 homers and 40 RBIs in his last 36 games. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMDetroit CF Cameron Maybin stayed in the game after getting hit on the left hand by Brandon Cunniff's pitch in the sixth. Maybin sustained a left thumb contusion on a head-first slide on Aug. 29 and had his left wrist broken by a pitch in spring training. EXCLUSIVE TERRITORYWith 446 homers, Cabrera moved into the 40th place on the career list. The 11-time All-Star began the game one homer behind Texas' Adrian Beltre. ... Kinsler's 28th homer tied Lou Whitaker in 1989 for the most homers by a Tigers second baseman in a single season. It was his eighth leadoff homer this year and 40th of his career. LOOKING AHEADTigers manager Brad Ausmus said RHP Michael Fulmer will start Monday if the Tigers play a makeup game against Cleveland. The rookie is 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in four career starts in the season series. UP NEXTTigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA in five career starts at Turner Field, 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 16 career starts against Atlanta. Injuries have caused problems in his first year with Detroit. Since June 24, Zimmermann is 0-3 with a 16.78 ERA in four starts, a span of 12 1/3 innings. ... Braves rookie RHP Aaron Blair is 1-7 w ith an 8.02 ERA in 14 career starts.
MLB Recap: Chicago Cubs (7) vs. Cincinnati Reds (3) - Date: 9/30/2016 Ben Zobrist homered twice and drove in three runs, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-3 on Friday night. Jake Buchanan (1-0) pitched five shutout innings as Chicago improved to 14-3 against Cincinnati this season with two games to play. NFL Handicappers. The right-hander allowed two hits in his first start since 2014 with Houston. Anthony Rizzo also drove in two runs for the NL Central champions, who were coming off a rare tie in Pittsburgh due to rain. Joey Votto hit a two-run homer in the ninth for last-place Cincinnati, which announced before the game that manager Bryan Price would return next season. Josh Smith (3-3) was charged with two runs and three hits in five-plus innings. Price and the Reds agreed to a one-year contract with a team option. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The entire coaching staff also has been offered contracts for 2017.'' There is a mutual desire to stay connected,'' Price said. ''For me, it's an unbelievable opportunity. It is a storied franchise. I have really enjoyed my coaches and my team.'' The Cubs, headed for the playoffs for the second straight year, announced contract extensions for general manager Jed Hoyer and player development director Jason McLeod. Soccer Picks. Their new deals run through the 2021 season, mirroring president of baseball operations Theo Epstein's contract announced on Wednesday. Smith retired his first 12 batters before Zobrist led off the fifth with a drive to right for his first homer since Sept. 12. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The All-Star also connected for a two-run shot in Chicago's four-run eighth, No. 17 on the year. Chicago's first three batters reached in the sixth, chasing Smith, and Addison Russell's RBI double made it 3-1. Best Sports Picks Service. TRAINER'S ROOMCubs: OF Jorge Soler (discomfort on his right side) will be re-evaluated on Saturday, manager Joe Maddon said. Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips, sidelined by soreness in his left wrist and hand, was being examined Friday by members of the Reds medical staff, Price said. UP NEXTCubs: LHP Jon Lester (19-4) seeks his first career 20-win season in his last start. He is 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati this season. Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (3-4), who set a career high with seven innings in his last start on Monday, will try to close out his season with back-to-back wins.
MLB Recap: Baltimore Orioles (8) vs. New York Yankees (1) - Date: 9/30/2016 Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead. Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game. Hockey Predictions. Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective. Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos - Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season. Yovani Gallar do (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings. Eliminated on Thursday, New York rested two regulars and pulled four others by the sixth inning. Free MLB Baseball Picks. There were maybe 1,000 people in the seats among the announced crowd of 33,955 when the game began, and there was standing water on the warning track. Only about 200 stayed in the seats for the final out. Yankees second baseman Ronald Torreyes, center fielder Eric Young Jr. and first baseman Tyler Austin slipped to the turf while attempting to field balls. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. Third baseman Chase Headley splashed into a puddle in front of Baltimore's dugout chasing a foul popup and Torreyes, having moved to shortstop, snagged Chris Davis 39; wind-blown seventh-inning pop about 10 feet from home plate. Jones' 29th homer and Trumbo's shot both landed in the left field second deck. Schoop doubled high off the right field wall and into the first deck in left. He also had five RBIs on May 14 against Detroit. Pineda allowed five runs, six hits, two homers and three walks in 4 1/3 innings, finishing with a 4.82 ERA. As Trumbo circled the bases, Pineda took off his cap and scratched his head. Pineda leads in the AL with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings but his ERA is 68th among 76 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues.'' It's mind-boggling,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. ''It just doesn't make sense. And you look for reasons, and believe me, we'll look, and I'm sure we'll look a long time this winter.'' ROCKIN'Dee Snider of Twisted Sister presented a signed guitar to Teixeira during a pregame ceremony. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Teixeira, who is retiring Sunday, uses the band's ''I Wanna Rock'' as his walkup music. ROLLIN'Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher's interference for the 12th time - the 39th among all big league batters this year. ... Matt Wieters' first-inning strikeout was the team-record 1,371st for Yankees pitchers. IN THE DEEP OF THE NIGHTBaltimore didn't arrive at its hotel until 4 a.m. following its flight from Toronto. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team was delayed for 2 hours at the airport before departing.'' We really don't have any idea why. Couldn't seem to get the luggage and the equipment on the plane. Documented Handicappers. They held our equipment people at the gate forever.'' The Blue Jays headed to Boston to finish their schedule.'' N o conspiracies. I'm sure the Toronto Blue Jays had the same issue,'' Showalter said. ''Mostly American stuff coming back in on the USA side. But it was a mess. I didn't think we'd ever get here.'' FARM REPORTYankees: RHP James Kaprielian allowed an unearned run, struck out four, walked two and hit a batter over two innings in an instructional league game against Toronto, the first game for the 2015 first-round draft pick since April 21 with Class A Tampa. He was sidelined by an elbow flexor strain. Jorge Mateo started in center. He played shortstop and second for Tampa during the season. MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: 2B Starlin Castro sat on the wet night because of his tender hamstring and LF Brett Gardner was kept out. UP NEXTLHP Wade Miley (9-13) is scheduled to start for Baltimore on Saturday, when rain again is forecast. RHP Luis Severino 0;3-8) is slated to start for New York in place of Masahiro Tanaka (14-4), who missed his previous turn with a right forearm strain. Tanaka finished with 199 2/3 innings.
MLB Recap: New York Mets (5) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1) - Date: 9/30/2016 Jay Bruce and Robert Gsellman made scoreboard-watching irrelevant for the New York Mets. Bruce homered for the third straight game and drove in three runs, Gsellman threw six sharp innings and the Mets moved closer to securing a wild-card berth with a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. The defending NL champions reduced their magic number to one with two games remaining. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Mets began the night atop the wild-card race, with San Francisco one game back and St. Louis two behind. Manager Terry Collins and players in the clubhouse didn't pay any attention to televisions airing the Pirates-Cardinals game. Collins said the t eam had no plans to celebrate regardless of the outcome in St. Louis.'' We had to take care of our own business and we've done that and we have to keep doing that,'' Collins said. Gsellman (4-2) scattered seven hits and struck out seven in another strong performance. Track Handicappers. The rookie right-hander has allowed only three earned runs in his last four starts.'' I think I've done a good job blocking it out,'' Gsellman said of pitching in a playoff race. ''I'm focusing on having fun and doing what I do.'' More Mets fans were inside a half-empty ballpark on a wet, chilly night when Ryan Howard began his final series in front of the home crowd. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The blue-and-orange faithful screamed ''Let's Go Mets'' and their ''Bru uuuuce'' chants drowned out boos from Phillies fans. Stuck in a slump for nearly two months since being acquired from Cincinnati, Bruce extended his hitting streak to six games. He finished 3 for 4.'' I have confidence in myself and I have confidence in my team,'' Bruce said. ''I want to contribute and help the team get to the World Series. It's come at the right time.'' Philadelphia starter Alec Asher (2-1) retired the first 11 batters before he ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth when Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson hit consecutive singles. Bruce and T. J. Rivera followed with back-to-back RBI singles for a 2-1 lead.'' I've pitched like I know I should,'' Asher said. ''I just want to carry on next year.'' Bruce connected in the seventh, sending his 33rd homer the opposite-way to left field. NBC Sports Picks. T he Mets added two runs, including another RBI single by Bruce.'' He changes our whole lineup,'' Collins said. ''It's nice to have him swinging the bat well. Hopefully he stays hot.'' Earlier in the inning, Howard let Cespedes' infield pop fall untouched near the first-base bag, allowing a runner to score from third. Howard hit a double to deep center his first time up and was 1 for 4. Cameron Rupp's sacrifice fly followed Howard's double and put the Phillies ahead 1-0. Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, is the last player remaining from the 2008 World Series championship team. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Phillies plan to pay him a $10 million buyout rather than exercise a $25 million option for 2017. STATSBruce is 10 for 20 with four homers and eight RBIS in his last six games. ... Mets are 15-2 after an off day. ... Mets tied a franchise record with 106 ho mers on the road. They already have a franchise-best 217 homers. TOSSEDPhillies manager Pete Mackanin was ejected for the first time this season in the eighth inning by first baseman umpire Will Little. Mackanin perhaps thought Cespedes swung at an inside pitch from Michael Mariot and was tossed once he walked onto the field. TRAINER'S ROOMPhillies: SS Freddy Galvis left the game because of tightness in his right hamstring. LOOKING AHEADMackanin emerged from a long meeting with coaches and front-office executives hopeful the team will add a veteran hitter in the offseason. ''I would like to get a good solid proven hitter somewhere on the field,'' he said. ''Where that is right now will be determined by who is available and what kind of a deal, if any, they could make.'' UP NEXTRHP Bartolo Colon (14-8, 3.42 ERA) starts for the Mets against RHP Phil Klein (0-1, 8.22) for the Phillies. Colon is 10-5 vs. Philadelphia.
NFL Preview: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots - Date: 10/2/2016 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Rex Ryan didn't wait long before turning his attention directly from his team's first win towards Buffalo's next opponent." Hey, you know, I can sit back and say I don't care who plays quarterback because I know (Tom) Brady ain't," Ryan said Monday, looking ahead at Sunday's road game against the New England Patriots." I don't care who plays quarterback. (Former Patriot) Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If (Bill) Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him. I promise you that." And asked on a conference call with the Buffalo media what he thinks of Ryan's antics regarding him, Belichick said, "We're really focused on Buffalo's football team and their coaching staff and what we're going to have to play against and prep are for on Sunday." If you haven't been keeping up with the Patriots, you don't know Brady is serving his four-game Deflategate suspension. Jimmy Garoppolo took over as the starter and was almost six quarters into that new role when he hurt his right shoulder. Enter rookie Jacoby Brissett, who finished the second game of the season and then won his starting debut in Week 3, a shutout against the Houston Texans. But Brissett hurt his thumb in the game. Garoppolo and Brissett both played well, and the Patriots have gone 3-0 heading into this game against the 1-2 Bills. While all this was going on, slot receiver Julian Edelman, a quarterback in college, was the emergency guy -- and was seen as the starter this week if neither young player could make it. But Garoppolo and Brissett were back at practice Tuesday. Both were listed as having "limited participation" on Wednesday's injury report. As far as facing the possibility of Edelman playing, Ryan said , "I know how difficult it is to defend against a running quarterback. We have to be ready in case Edelman is at quarterback, right? I have a funny feeling he isn't going to be Brady back there." Garoppolo and Brissett might not be Brady, either. But clever game plans by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels made it seems like Brady, who returns for Game 5 at Cleveland, wasn't even missing." I think the process we've gone through is really the same," McDaniels said Monday. "I know the variables change, but I don't think anybody here ever considers anything adversity." Last week against the Houston Texans, McDaniels took some of the pressure off Brissett by calling an option (13 yards) and a bootleg (a 27-yard touchdown run) for the rookie. Sports Betting Profit. The Patriots also called three handoffs to Edelman and a tight end reverse by Martellus Be nnett. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The Bills lost to the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets before, with new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, surprising the Cardinals 33-18." I think the Arizona game really highlights how good they are, how tough it's going to be and how much work we have ahead of us," said Belichick. Ryan and his defensive coordinator brother, Rob, changed up their defense, bringing more pressure on Carson Palmer than they had brought on Ryan Fitzpatrick the previous game. It worked well - and you have to think they'll bring it again this week. Football Handicappers. The Patriots have won 28 of the last 32 games against the Bills and are 72-21 against other AFC East teams in the regular season since 2001. Buffalo has won only once at Gillette Stadium, and that was the final game of the 2014 regular season, with the Patriots resting players for the playoffs. LeGarrette Blount has been dynamic running the ball for the Patriots, who have also had to survive with a rebuilt offensive line. On the other side of the ball, they've been without Chandler Jones (traded), Rob Ninkovich (suspended, one more game) and Dont'a Hightower (knee). Hightower was listed as having limited participation Wednesday. Blount has run for 298 yards and four touchdowns (at least one in each game), turning in the team's first back-to-back 100-yard games since 2012. NFL Football Handicappers. The Patriots, lit up for almost 400 yards over the last three quarters by Ryan Tannehill, was near perfect against Houston, and the special teams produced two fumbles that led to touchdowns. New England has seven takeaways in the last two games. Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor, dangerous with his legs, is 47 of 77 for 527 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions but also ripped off a 49-yard run and another for 20 and a touchdown last week. LeSean McCoy has run for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who missed the Arizona game with a foot injury, was still not back at practice Wednesday. But the Bills might get massive left tackle Cordy Glenn back. He was limited Wednesday.
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MLB Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 10:05 P.M. EST Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim ANAHEIM, Calif. --While the Los Angeles Angels have long since been eliminated from playoff contention, the Houston Astros visit Anaheim on Friday with the sting of elimination still fresh. Baltimore's 4-0 victory over Toronto on Thursday night made it official, making the Astros' final three regular-season games against the Angels this weekend meaningless. It's a disappointing way to end the 2016 season for the Astros, especially after breaking through last season and reaching the American League wild-crd game, where they beat the Yankees before losing in the AL Division Series to eventual World Series champion Kansas City. However, the Astros and Angels offer something attractive to the fans -- Jose Altuve and Mike Trout. Altuve seems to have his second career AL batting championship locked u p, taking a .337 average into the series, well ahead of Boston's Mookie Betts, who ranks second at .320." I don't know if I'm going to win it," Altuve told MLB.com. "We still have three games left, and I've got to hit." That shouldn't be a problem considering how he's hit against the Angels this season. He's hitting .446 with four home runs, 12 RBIs, a .479 on-base percentage and .692 slugging percentage against them, and he's been even better at Angel Stadium -- hitting .560. Altuve is an MVP candidate along with Trout, who is expected to be in the lineup despite a scary moment in Wednesday's game against Oakland. freepick. Trout was hit on left shoulder blade by a 96-mph fastball thrown by Oakland reliever John Axford. Free MLB Baseball Picks. Trout left the game but was confident he wou ld be OK." It's sore, hit me right on the bone," Trout said. "But we've got three games left, so I'm going to grind it out." Precautionary X-rays taken Thursday were negative, and Trout still has a chance to reach a couple of key statistical milestones. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. Trout enters the series with 29 homers, 99 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. He also leads the majors in runs (123), walks (113), and on-base percentage (.441). Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols, however, could be done for the season. Pujols has been bothered for the past month with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He had the same injury in his left foot in 2013, and he played in a career-low 99 games. Even if he is done for this season, Pujols had a solid season at age 36, hitting .268 with 31 homers and 119 RBIs in 152 games, showing he still can be a force in the heart of the lineup." You couldn't have asked for more than he did this year for us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com. "There's no doubt that the talent is there, and it's real. He had an incredible season for us." I think if you look at his bat speed, his exit velocity, all the analytics, you look at his swing path, it's all there."
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MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 07:10 P.M. EST Venue: Great American Ball Park With three meaningless games left before the Chicago Cubs kick off what they -- and their championship-starved -- fan base hope is a historic playoff run, manager Joe Maddon had to assess some in-house drama as the team prepared to play the Reds in Cincinnati during the final series of the regular season. Chicago locked down its playoff berth on Sept. 16, and since then, Maddon has been liberal with his rest and substitution patterns. Best Bets of the Day. The changes rankled some of his regulars, most recently Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero, who made their feelings known after an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday night. Maddon opted to pull Montero in the fifth inning and replaced with him rookie Willson Contreras. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Pirates scored three runs in the inning, chasing Arrieta." It felt like a spring training game from the get-go," said Arrieta, who allowed seven runs on 10 hits, both career highs, in five innings. Despite the gripes, Maddon plans to employ similar methods this weekend against the Reds, limiting pitches for his starters, pulling position players after a few at-bats but keeping relievers on their usual schedule." In regards to feeling that competitive moment, it's almost impossible to replicate that unless you actually are playing to get into the playoffs," Maddon said. "And you're playing against a team that is not playing for anything, either. So these are all mind games you have to play with yourself in order to replicate what you want." Right-hander Jake Buchanan will make his first Cubs start Friday in the series opener. He has made just one appearance for Chicago s ince being called up Sept. 1, allowing one run in one inning at Milwaukee on Sept. 5. He had a 4.35 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 130 1/3 innings in 22 starts for Triple-A Iowa this season. Buchanan will face the Cubs for the first time in a career that included major league time with the Houston Astros in 2014 and 2015. Cincinnati, playing out the string on a last-place season, will hand the ball to right-hander Josh Smith, who gets his second start of the season, both against the Cubs. Smith (3-2, 4.77 ERA) allowed just a run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts over three innings during a Sept. 20 loss. In all, he has faced Chicago three times this year, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Heading into the final weekend of the season, Cincinnati manager Bryan Price is unsure if will return to the bench in 2017." I'm trying to stay in the present, however, I understand that we're building toward the future," said Price, who has a 172-241 record since taking the helm before the 2014 season. "I keep my eye on the future as well. Best Sports Picks Service. This stuff, it's not a huge, bothersome concern. I know that eventually, it's going to be settled. I'll be back or I won't." I don't mind talking about the future at all, I really don't. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The future of the players. I really don't want to talk about my future until I have a pretty good grasp on what's going to happen."
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MLB Preview: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 08:10 P.M. EST Venue: U. S. Cellular Field CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon hopes to wrap up his second big league season no worse than his first as the Chicago White Sox open a season-ending series with the Minnesota Twins on Friday. If the 23-year-old left-hander earns his ninth victory in his 28th and final start of 2016, it would match the win total from his rookie season. It would also complete a successful late-summer rebound from the 2-8 record he owned on July 31 after giving up five runs on eight hits in a 6 1/3-inning outing during Chicago's 6-4 loss to the Twins. Entering Friday, Rodon is 8-10 with a 4.08 ERA. He went 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in five August starts, and he is 3-2 with a 4.80 ERA over five starts in September. NBC Sports Picks. The White Sox (77-82) have won seven of his past 10 starts. In his most recent start, Rodon delayed the Cleveland Indians' American League Central clincher with a superlative outing Sunday. He threw eight scoreless innings and struck out a career-best 11 in the White Sox's 3-0 victory. He gave up two hits and walked three." That was the best I've seen him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Strike one was the biggest thing, and it was with authority. It was placed well. After that, it just seems like he got better as the game moved along. A couple of guys get on, he seems to turn it up in key situations in the middle of the game, late in the game. He just had it all." Rodon is 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Twins, including 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts against them this season. Minnesota (57-102) snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday with a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Twins, who come into the series with 10 losses in their last 12 games, will send out right-hander Tyler Duffey (9-11, 6.18 ERA) for the 26th and final start of his second big league season. Duffey beat the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts over seven innings." I finally found a good rhythm to keep me composed, to keep from pulling off the ball," Duffey said after the game. "I located a lot better today. Got behind a couple times, but defense bailed me out, had some good plays in the outfield and scored enough to win." He is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox. In his lone appearance against them this season, he took the loss on May 8 after allowing three runs in seven innings. Duffey spent most of the season in the Twins' rotation before being sent down to Triple-A Rochester in late Aug ust. He rejoined Minnesota when rosters expanded earlier this month. Hot Sports Handicappers. The series continues Saturday afternoon as Minnesota left-hander Hector Santiago (12-10, 4.87) meets White Sox righty James Shields (6-18, 5.82 ERA). Shields has the second-most losses in the American League behind Tampa Bay's Chris Archer, who beat the White Sox on Thursday go close his season at 9-19. Ventura said Thursday that ace left-hander Chris Sale (17-9, 3.21) would start the season finale Sunday against Twins lefty Jose Berrios (2-7, 8.61). Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The White Sox have outscored the Twins 88-71 through 16 matchups this year. Hockey Handicappers. The teams have split the past 10 games after Chicago won the first six .
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MLB Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 09:40 P.M. EST Venue: Chase Field PHOENIX -- Arizona and San Diego enter the final series of the regular season in search of smaller victories, unfortunately about all that is left to accomplish in a down year for each. Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura, whose credentials as a leadoff man were questioned following his offseason acquisition, enters the three-game series with a career-high 201 hits. Segura has a commanding nine-hit lead over Colorado's DJ LeMahieu and the Dodgers' Corey Seager in an attempt to lead the league in that category, and he is five hits from tying Luis Gonzalez's franchise record of 206 hits set in 1999. Sports Picks. The only way the D-backs (66-93) can avoid a disappointing last-place finish in the NL West is with a sweep. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Padres (68-91) have won nine of the first 16 meetings while outscoring the D-backs, 92-69. San Diego rookie right fielder Hunter Renfroe looks to continue his final-week binge in his first appearance at Chase Field, one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. Renfroe, who was promoted when the minor league season ended in the third week of September, has home runs in three of his last four starts, and his work in the first two games of the recently completed Los Angeles series was particularly memorable. Renfroe had two homers and seven RBIs in a 7-1 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday, book-ending his night with a three-run homer in the first inning and a grand slam in the eighth. Best Sports Picks Today. The most impressive line in that night's box scores:Two-out RBIs: Renfroe 7. He had four RBIs the next night on a two-run single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third in the Padres' 7-6 victory. He had a single in the final game of the series and is hitting .360." I love Hunter Renfroe's even-keel demeanor," said Padres manager Andy Green, who was Arizona's third base coach in 2015. Arizona rookie right-hander Braden Shipley, 4-5 with a 5.26 ERA, will make his 11th major league start Friday, his third against the Padres this season and his first against them at Chase Field. He has given up nine runs in 9 2/3 innings in the previous two starts. San Diego is expected to start right-hander Edwin Jackson, whose 14-year, 11-team trek through the majors includes a brief stop with the Diamondbacks. He threw a 149-pitch no-hitter for Arizona at Tampa Bay on June 2, 2010. Jackson, 5-6 with a 5.77 ERA, will be remembered as part of the package the D-backs received in a three-team trade in the winter of 2009 that sent eventual Cy Young winner Max Sc herzer to the Tigers. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The D-backs also landed Ian Kennedy from the Yankees, who received Curtis Granderson as their major piece. Jackson beat San Francisco in his last outing, and seven of his 12 starts for the Padres have been quality starts. Segura has been a bright light in his first season with the Diamondbacks, out-shining bigger-name offseason acquisitions Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, neither of whom will take a turn in the final series. With three singles in a rain-shortened 3-0 victory at Washington on Wednesday, Segura reached 200 hits and became the 14th player in major league history to have 200 hits, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in the regular season. Others on that list include Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Larry Walker and Vladimir Guerrero. Jacoby Ellsbury was the most recent addition, when he had 212 hits, 29 homers and 51 s tolen bases with Boston in 2011. Segura singled in three plate appearances Thursday before leaving in the seventh inning with cramping in his rib cage." We're hoping it's OK so he can continue his quest for Gonzo's record," Arizona manager Chip Hale told reporters.
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MLB Preview: New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 07:05 P.M. EST Venue: Citizens Bank Park PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets are in the position every team would like to be in when on the playoff bubble come the end of September. Winning Sports Handicappers. They control their own destiny with three games to play. Win at least one of three in Philadelphia, and their season will continue beyond the weekend. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Mets (85-74) sit atop the wild-card standings, one game ahead of the San Francisco Giants (84-75) and two ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (83-76). NBC Sports Picks. The Mets entered Thursday -- an off-day for them -- with their playoff chances at 98.6 percent, according to FanGraphs." If we win, we'll be fine," outfielder Jay Bruce said, according to NJ.com. "We can't worry about what everyone else is doing." The Giants host the Dodgers over the weekend while St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh. In a perfect world, the Mets will have clinched a playoff spot before Sunday and will be able to save rotation stud Noah Syndergaard for the wild-card game." We want to go as far as we can," manager Terry Collins said, according to the New York Daily News. "If it means saving him to get us to the next round, we certainly got to consider it." Home-field advantage in the wild-card game could also make Sunday's game not a must-win to get into the playoffs, but a must-win to play at Citi Field. Collins would then need to make a decision on what to do with Syndergaard." When you play in front of our fans, it's an advantage," Collins said. "They are excited. Free MLB Baseball Picks. They are loud, they get after it in the stands. (I) think it would be great to play at home. When that decision comes, it's going to be a tough decision to make." The Mets come to Philadelphia winners in five of seven, including three of four over the Phillies last weekend. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. They just took two of three from Miami during an emotional three-game series following the death of Jose Fernandez. Friday's game in Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST) features Alec Asher (2-0, 1.66 ERA) on the mound for the home team against Robert Gsellman (3-2, 2.56) and the Mets. After a players only meeting Wednesday, the Phillies lost their sixth in seven games Thursday in Atlanta. As another losing, rebuilding campaign winds down to its end, the theme of the weekend will be saying good bye to Ryan Howard. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The longtime Phillies slugger is playing in what are very likely his final games in a Phillies uniform. Manager Pete Mackanin earlier in the month said he would play Howard -- who has spent a lot of the season coming off the bench -- all weekend to give him a proper exit. Howard hit a grand slam in Atlanta earlier in the week, his 24th home run of the season, one behind team leader Maikel Franco." I want him to go out gangbusters," Mackanin said in an interview earlier in the week on SportsRadio 94.1 WIP in Philadelphia. "He hit that grand slam last night, which got us up to a good lead, and he's been swinging the bat well, much better the second half of the season. I certainly want him to shine the last three days of the season and hopefully the fans will get to see a good performance from him." A few good performances coul d potentially help the Phillies spoil their rivals' playoff hopes. Or, at least make them play their play-in game away from Citi Field.
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MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 10:15 P.M. EST Venue: AT&T Park SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants hoped the home-field advantage in the final three games of the regular season would work to their benefit in the race with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West crown. Winning Sports Handicappers. Turns out, it won't. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. That said, the Giants are still glad to be at AT&T Park this weekend. San Francisco needs a series win -- perhaps even a sweep -- against Los Angeles in the three-game set that begins Friday night. But it is not the Dodgers that San Francisco is battling. Handicapping Sports. The Giants (84-75) are san dwiched between the New York Mets (85-74) and St. Louis Cardinals (83-76) in the three-team battle for the two NL wild cards. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Mets lead the Giants by one game, with the Cardinals currently on the outside looking in, one game back of San Francisco." It's exciting," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after his team retained its lead over the Cardinals with a 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night. "We wish we were in a better position, but you don't stop fighting." The Dodgers, meanwhile, clinched the NL West last Sunday, and they have little to play for as the series begins. Los Angeles is locked into a first-round playoff matchup with the Washington Nationals, champs of the NL East. Football Picks. That series will open in Washington unless the Dodgers (9 1-68) can catch the Nationals (93-66) in the overall standings. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Dodgers won the season series from the Nationals 5-1, so they would get home-field advantage in the best-of-five should the teams finish the regular season in a tie. San Francisco staff ace Madison Bumgarner will duel Los Angeles newcomer Rich Hill in the Giants-Dodgers series opener. Bumgarner (14-9, 2.71 ERA) will get a rematch with the Dodgers after he wasn't involved in the decision Sept. 19 at Los Angeles in a thriller the Dodgers won 2-1 by scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth. The left-hander shut out Los Angeles on one hit over seven innings that night before getting into a scuffle with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig near first base at the end of the seventh. Bochy chose to pull his standout at that point. The loss was costly for the Giants. They fell six games off the pace in the division and never seriously challenged the Dodgers again. The Giants now find themselves needing to beat their rivals just to join them in the postseason. Bumgarner is 13-9 with a 2.66 ERA in 26 career outings (25 starts) against the Dodgers. The Dodgers initially slotted their ace, Clayton Kershaw, in the Friday game, but they pushed him back to Saturday as a precaution. Kershaw hasn't allowed an earned run in his past three starts, covering 18 innings, as he works his way back into form following a 10-week absence caused by a back injury. He hasn't thrown more than 91 pitches in any of those starts. Getting Kershaw back on top of his game is critical for the Dodgers because, if fully healthy, he would be a possibility to start a potential Game 4 against the Nationals on three days' rest. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts already has announced that his ace will go in Game 1." It's definitely an issue," Roberts said recently of Kershaw 's conditioning after the long layoff. "(Pitching him on short rest) would be an honest conversation depending on where we're at. I'm not prepared to have that yet." While Kershaw enjoys his extra day of rest, Hill will get the call Friday. The lefty is 3-2 with a 1.53 ERA in five starts since joining Los Angeles in a trade-deadline deal with the Oakland A's. Overall, he is 12-5 with a 2.05 ERA in 19 starts this year. In two starts against the Giants this year, Hill is 1-1 with a 0.82 ERA, improving his career mark against San Francisco to 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven starts.
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MLB Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 10:10 P.M. EST Venue: Safeco Field SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners' slim chances of reaching the postseason took a hit Thursday night, despite their win over Oakland, but they head into a Friday game against the A's with a remaining shred of hope. Baltimore's win over Toronto gave Seattle (85-74) even less room for error as the Mariners prepare to play their third-to-the-last game of the season trailing the Orioles and Blue Jays by two games in the American League wild-card race." We know we have to win," Seattle catcher Mike Zunino said Thursday night. "That's the thing. Winning Picks. There's only three left, and if we don't win our games now, nothing else matters." Seattle did its part Friday night, beating the A's 3-2 despite a sh aky ninth inning that saw Mariners closer Edwin Diaz give up three hits and a run before striking out the final two batters to wriggle out of it." It's tough," Diaz said of his ninth inning. "I need to control my emotions and give the team a chance to make the playoffs. We're so close." The A's (67-92) nearly staged a ninth-inning comeback even though they're not playing for anything other than pride." It came down to situational at-bats," manager Bob Melvin said after the latest loss. Oakland will try to regroup behind Friday starter Raul Alcantara, while the Mariners will turn to 24-year-old Taijuan Walker in what could be their final meaningful game of the season. Seattle needs Toronto and/or Baltimore to lose Friday to still have a chance to win an outright wild-card berth, and the Mariners could be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose and both the Blue Jays and Orioles win. Further complicating things is a Detroit team that had a rainout Thursday and sits between Seattle and the co-leaders in the wild-card standings." The way we look at it, we'll play tomorrow's game, and we'll try to win it and pray for a little help," Seattle manager Scott Servais said late Thursday night. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Mariners have their rotation lined up so that veterans Hisashi Iwakuma (Saturday) and Felix Hernandez (Sunday) will close out the season and could be on the mound for the biggest games of the season. But those two won't be a factor if Walker can't deliver on Friday night. Make Money Betting Sports. The 24-year-old right-hander, having opened the season as the No. 2 starter in the rotation before struggling all the way to a stint in Triple-A, has pitched well over his past four starts after changi ng his mechanics. He's 3-1 since getting shelled in a Sept. 3 loss to the Angels and will be on the mound for the biggest start of his young career Friday. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Mariners are also looking for more offense, particularly from the middle of their lineup. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager went a combined 2-for-11 Thursday after carrying the team for most of the season. Football Handicappers. That group also has a chance to become Seattle's first trio since Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez in 1998 to record 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in the same season. Cano is three RBIs shy of 100, while Seager needs to drive in one more run to hit that mark.
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MLB Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 08:15 P.M. EST Venue: Kauffman Stadium KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Cleveland Indians are in a strange predicament after their game Thursday at Detroit was rained out. While the Indians have already clinched the American League Central, they are still contending for the best AL record and home-field advantage. Fox Sports Picks. The Tigers are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. But after a four-hour plus delay with more than six inches of rain pouring on the field, the game was called. It will be made up Monday in Detroit if necessary for postseason ramifications. While the Indians close out the regular season (maybe) with three games this weekend in Kansas City, they could wind up playing Monday." I think we'd like to talk to everybody Monday," Indian s manager Terry Francona said about picking the 25-man playoff roster. "We're supposed to have an optional workout but we might be here playing. We'll try, for the players' sake we'll try to have decisions made so we can tell everybody what's going on." The revised rotation has left-hander Ryan Merritt making his first major league start Friday at Kansas City. He was slated to start Thursday. Right-handers Trevor Bauer, Saturday, and Josh Tomlin, Sunday, will remain in their slots. Right-hander Adam Plutko was originally scheduled to start Friday, but Merritt will replace him." If we were to play Monday, that would actually be a better day for Tomlin to pitch, because it gets more closer, less time in between (starts)," Francona said. "But if we don't know, we're not going to gamble on it. We'll see. Unless we knew we'd probably have a bullpen day. If they went into their game Sunday and they weren't sure there was going to be a game, we're not going to hold Tomlin out. We've got to worry about ourselves." While the Indians know they are in the postseason, the 2015 World Series champion Royals are aware they will not be in the playoffs for the first time in three years. Free MLB Baseball Picks. They were mathematically eliminated on Wednesday. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. The Royals have been riddled by injuries to key players this season, including All-Stars Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Wade Davis and Lorenzo Cain missing significant time. If they were healthy all season, the Royals might be back in the postseason." There is really no playing the what-if game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It doesn't do you any good." The Royals will start right-hander Yordano Ventura for the series ope ner Friday. Ventura has won three of his past four decisions at Kauffman Stadium, where he is 7-4 with a 4.31 ERA and opponents batting .248 off him. Ventura gave up 10 hits, matching a season high, in four innings in a no-decision against Detroit in his previous start. Ventura is 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA since Aug. 1. Prior to that, he was 6-9 with a 4.88 ERA. Merritt went 11-8 with a 3.70 ERA in 24 starts with Triple-A Columbus. He has made three relief appearances with the Indians, allowing one run and three hits over six innings. Merritt, 24, was a 16th-round draft pick in 2011 out of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, where he was a junior college All-American.
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MLB Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St Louis Cardinals - Date: 9/30/2016 Time: 08:15 P.M. EST Venue: Busch Stadium ST. LOUIS -- Back in April when the season started, it was easy to expect the Pirates' season-ending trip to Busch Stadium meaning something for both Pittsburgh and the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead, all Pittsburgh can do when it closes the season is play the role of spoiler against a Cardinals team trying to make its sixth consecutive National League playoff appearance. St. Louis starts the Friday night series opener fresh off the year's most controversial win, a 4-3 decision Thursday night over the Cincinnati Reds that was decided by Yadier Molina's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning. Molina's one-hop liner shouldn't have scored Matt Carpenter, though, because the ball hit off signage beyond the left field wall. It should have been a ground-rule double, but third base umpire Scott Barry ruled the ball in play and the Reds didn't challenge fast enough after the fact." Biggest win of the year," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, "and tomorrow night's the biggest game of the year. Can't wait." St. Louis (83-76) is two games behind the New York Mets (85-74) for the NL's top wild-card spot and a game in arrears of the San Francisco Giants (84-75) for the second spot. MLB Handicappers. The Giants close the season with a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the Mets finish with three at Philadelphia. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Cardinals will have the matchup advantage in the opener against the Pirates as St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez (15-9, 3.15 ERA) will face raw but talented Pittsburgh right-hander Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 4 .91). Martinez is coming off a 3-1 loss Sunday night at the Chicago Cubs that saw him work six innings and give up two runs on six hits and four walks while fanning six. Martinez is 3-5 with a 4.01 career ERA against the Pirates, and 1-2 this season in three starts. Glasnow will make his fourth career start. His first occurred July 7 in St. Louis, where he pitched decently for 5 1/3 innings but lost 5-1 as Adam Wainwright stifled Pittsburgh for seven innings. Free Picks and Parlays. The hard-throwing Glasnow can touch the mid to upper 90s with his fastball but has experienced command issues at times. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Pirates (78-81) reached the playoffs the past three seasons, but they fell victim to injuries and inconsistent pitching this year. Sports Handicappers Ra nkings. They will have to sweep the series to avoid their 21st losing season in 24 years. Pittsburgh will be without left fielder Starling Marte (back) for the weekend and might be without shortstop Jordy Mercer (forearm) as well." We're going to play all the men that are capable of playing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Marte has been unplugged. Mercer might not be able to go. You saw a couple of throws he made across the diamond (Thursday). ... Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. That's basically all he's got." Pittsburgh leads the season series 9-7, having won five of the seven games in St. Louis. The Cardinals are 35-43 at Busch Stadium, clinching their first losing mark at home since 1999. The Saturday game will match Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl (5-4, 4.25) against a pitcher to be determined. St. Louis will u se Wainwright (13-9, 4.67) in Sunday's regular-season finale opposite Ryan Vogelsong (3-7, 5.00).
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