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This Thursday begins an important battle in the NL Central as the Milwaukee Brewers (58-51) begin the start of a four-game series at home versus the Pittsburgh Pirates (48-59). The Brewers look to take back control of the division from the Cincinnati Reds while the Pirates are looking to salvage their 2023 MLB Season and potentially aim for a Wildcard spot.
Leftfielder Christian Yelich has been one of the brightest spots for the terrible batting team of the Brewers this season. He leads the team in runs accounted for (76), hits accounted for (115), RBIs accounted for (60), total bases accounted for (191), batting average (.286), on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.475).
The Brewers will need any amount of success from their star player as possible as the Pirates will start their ace pitcher in Mitch Keller (3.97 ERA in 133.2 innings pitched).
This Thursday, the Minnesota Twins (55-54) look to close out the series on the road versus the St. Louis Caridnals (48-61) with a win. This game is critical for the Twins as they are having to place a brutal schedule afterward.
In Thursday's matchup against the Cardinals, the Twins will be going with their best pitcher in Sonny Gray (3.22 ERA in 117.1 innings pitched). Gray has been consistent this season in limiting big play opportunities for the opposing team.
The Cardinals haven't been the most reliable team this season at the plate than they were last season. This season, St. Louis ranks sixth in the NL in runs accounted for (512), fourth in hits accounted for (955), third in home runs accounted for (151) and seventh in strikeouts encountered (910).
This will be for Gray to limit the Cardinals at the plate with solid strikeouts. 14 of his 21 games this season are games where he has accounted for five or more strikeouts.
The New York Yankees (56-52) are hoping the return of star outfielder Aaron Judge is enough to help propel the team into Wild Card contention in a tough AL and AL East Division.
On Thursday, the Yankees will host the Houston Astros (62-47) in the beginning of a four-game series with two games being nationally televised. Judge will be playing in his sixth game since missing over a month and a half of the 2023 MLB Season due to the torn ligaments in his toes. Since his return, Judge has accounted for a hit in three of the last five games played.
The Astros will be starting Cristian Javier (4.33 ERA in 108 innings pitched) in the first game against the Yankees. He has allowed 94 hits this season. With Judge recovering well, he should be healthy to back to solid form at the plate.
The Baltimore Orioles (66-42) look to take the four-game road series over AL East Divisional rivals in the Toronto Blue Jays (60-49). In a short-term effect, the Blue Jays will need this game to stay in the pack of the Wild Card teams in the AL. They are also not far from the Orioles or the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East Divisional title race.
On Thursday's game, the Blue Jays will be starting Kevin Gausman (3.10 ERA in 127.2 innings pitched) at the mound against the Orioles, who are among the most consistent batting team in the MLB this season. The Orioles are ranked fifth in the AL in runs accounted for (529), sixth in strikeouts encountered (902), seventh in batting average (.250), seventh in on-base percentage (.319) and fifth in slugging percentage (.420).
This final between the Orioles and the Blue Jays could be high-scoring, much like it was in game two of the series on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers (61-45) host their final game of a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics (30-79) in the biggest mis-matchups on Thursday, and perhaps, the entire week. In the two previous games in the series, the Dodgers have dominated the Athletics at the plate.
One of the best and easiest bets this place on Thursday in the entire MLB slate is the over of 0.5 hits from Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. The 2023 MLB All-Star leads the team in hits accounted for this season (143) and accounted for a hit in 10 of the last 11 games this season.
In the first game against the Athletics on Tuesday, Freeman accounted for four hits. On the following day, he accounted for three hits. There shouldn't have to be a second thought on the decision for the bet just on the Dodgers' side alone. It also helps that the Athletics are the worst team in the league.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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