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The Yankees are growing desperate for a win, as they’ve lost three in a row and sit at the bottom of the AL East standings. But even with the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, the Bronx Bombers have a chance to get a win with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Tampa isn’t the dominant force it was early in the season, so with their ace on the mound, the Yankees will find a way to get a much-needed win on Wednesday.
Of course, Tampa ace Shane McClanahan will take the mound for the Rays on Wednesday. However, McClanahan isn’t the same pitcher he was early in the year when he was the Cy Young frontrunner. Over his last five starts, his ERA has increased from 2.12 to 3.00. The lefty posted a 6.00 ERA over his three starts in July and is no longer dominating opposing lineups. He’s also struggled a little more away from home. While the Yankees have been a disaster offensively lately, Aaron Judge is back in the lineup, giving the Yankees a chance to get going against McClanahan, who is also struggling to find himself.
On the other side, Cole is making a statement to prove that he should beat out McClanahan and others to win the Cy Young for the first time. He posted a 2.40 ERA in June and was even better in July with a 2.20 ERA. In fact, Cole is fresh off seven scoreless innings against the first-place Orioles, allowing just three hits. In other words, he's locked in right now and knows he needs to deliver a win for his team. Even if the Yankees don’t do much offensively, Cole is more than capable of out-pitching McClanahan, positioning the Yankees to win on Wednesday.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
The Cubs are the hottest team in baseball right now, pulling within 3.5 games of the first-place Reds in the NL Central. Chicago has been so hot lately that the Cubs are favorites on Wednesday with Drew Smyly on the mound. However, the Reds have the fourth-best road record in the majors this season and haven’t exactly been struggling lately. With Brandon Williamson on the mound, the Reds hold a ton of value as an underdog in Wednesday's game.
Williamson has had some mixed results this year, but the lefty has allowed two earned runs or less in five straight starts. As a result, he posted a 2.45 ERA during the month of July. The Reds are also 9-4 in games that he’s started this season, including a game against the Cubs in late May. Obviously, the Cubs are feeling good about themselves after scoring 20 runs against Cincinnati on Tuesday. But games like that tend to be aberrations, even in the middle of a hot streak. Chicago also has a modest 19-15 record against left-handed starters this year, so Williamson has a chance to cool off the Cubs and give the Reds a chance.
Fellow lefty Smyly will start for the Cubs, doing so against a Cincinnati team that’s 20-12 against lefties this year. That’s the fourth-best record in baseball against left-handed starters, so not only are the Reds good on the road, they are good against lefties. Smyly has also been erratic lately, pitching to a 6.65 ERA in July. He’s failed to pitch five full innings in five of his last six starts and has conceded at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts. In fact, the Reds have beaten him twice already this season with Smyly allowing 11 earned runs on 16 hits over 9.1 innings against Cincinnati. Despite losing on Tuesday, the Reds hammered out nine runs, helping them average 6.4 runs per game over their last five games. Even though the Cubs are the hotter team right now, a lot of trends are pointing to the Reds winning on Wednesday.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Needless to say, the Mets are not the same team they were a few days ago after unloading several players at the trade deadline. Their woes are likely to continue, although not necessarily against the lowly Royals. While Kansas City earned a walk-off win over the Mets on Tuesday for the team’s fourth straight victory, the Royals still have the worst record in baseball coming off a win at 9-23 (.281). Kansas City’s winning streak can’t last much longer, especially with Kodai Senga starting for the Mets.
Senga is officially New York’s ace after Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were traded. But even before those trades, he was making an argument to be the team’s top starter. He’s 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA on the season but pitched to a 1.93 ERA in July with the Mets going 3-1 in those games. He’s held opposing teams to two earned runs or less in six consecutive starts and appears to have settled in nicely. Despite their winning streak, the Royals have scored two runs or less in six of their last 12 games, so they can be vulnerable against good pitching, setting up Senga to quiet the Kansas City lineup.
Meanwhile, the Royals are calling up 25-year-old lefty Cole Ragans to start on Wednesday. He’s pitched mostly out of the bullpen this year and owns a 5.22 ERA in the big leagues. Alec Marsh was originally scheduled to start and is a candidate to piggyback Ragans if he doesn’t go too deep into the game. Marsh is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA this season, so he’s struggled. While the Mets have their issues, they’ve scored at least five runs in four straight games. They also have the likes of Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, and others in their lineup. That should be enough to provide Senga with the run support he needs to end Kansas City’s winning streak with a comfortable win.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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