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AL Picks: Wild Card Leaders


With only a few games left in the MLB regular season, every inning, every pitch and every moment is becoming exponentially more meaningful, especially for the few teams that are still battling for the two wild card positions in the American League – the Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.

Fortunately for the Rays and the Indians, they currently hold those coveted playoff spots, but the Rangers and the Royals are nipping at their heels, specifically the Indians, who are just one game up on the Rangers and three up on the Royals entering play today. Their slim lead is even more concerning considering both Texas and Kansas City are playing sub-.500 teams today. Can the Rays and the Indians hold their ground today? Let’s take a look at their match-ups.

Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 at New York Yankees +1.5

After ruining the Orioles’ slim playoff hopes over the weekend with a four-game sweep, the Rays will look to do the same to the Yankees, except they only need a win or two to get the job done. Of course, they’d love to make things easy and earn that win today and they’ll have a great chance to do it with Matt Moore (15-4, 3.34 ERA) headed to the bump.

New York will counter with Hiroki Kuroda (11-12, 3.17 ERA), who has limped down the stretch with an 0-5 record and 6.37 ERA in his last seven starts. The Yankees righty has also struggled against the Rays, yielding a 7.23 ERA against Tampa in four career outings.

The Rays have the weapons and the momentum, so stick with them to defeat the Yankees and keep things rolling. Take Tampa Bay to cover -1.5.

Chicago White Sox +1.5 at Cleveland Indians -1.5

With the Rangers facing off against the MLB’s worst team – the 100-plus-loss Astros – there’s a high likelihood they will win today and put pressure on the Indians to keep pace. Can the Tribe rise to the occasion?

With Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.39 ERA) squaring off against the inconsistent White Sox lineup, they should. Jimenez has been downright dominant in his last 10 starts, posting an ERA of 1.65. And considering Cleveland has owned Chicago – winning 15 of 17 meetings – this season, there’s no reason it shouldn’t win again today at home.

Look for Cleveland to cover -1.5 in the win.

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