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AL West Picks: July 30, 2013


With the Oakland A’s maintaining a steady winning clip, there isn’t much room for error for the Texas Rangers as they try to chase down Oakland in the American League West race. Today, they’ll take on the slumping Los Angeles Angels, while the A’s have a date with the similarly struggling Toronto Blue Jays. For a closer look at each of the four match-ups involving AL West teams today, check out our analysis and picks below!

Houston Astros +1.5 at Baltimore Orioles -1.5

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Bud Norris (6-9, 3.93 ERA) may not be with the Houston Astros for long, so they’ll hope to get the most out of him today in what could be his last start in an Astros uniform.

Norris will be taking on not only the hard-hitting Orioles lineup, but also starter Wei-Yin Chen (5-3, 2.78 ERA), who has been solid in his last three starts, going 2-0 with an ERA of 2.18. While Chen has been strong lately, the usually-productive O’s lineup has struggled; even home run leader Chris Davis, who is homerless in his last 10 games.

Considering Norris has been one of Houston’s better hurlers this year and considering the Orioles aren’t swinging the bats well at the moment, I like the Astros to cover +1.5 in a close one.

Seattle Mariners +1.5 at Boston Red Sox -1.5

The Seattle Mariners have certainly picked up the pace lately as winners seven of their last 10 games, but the Red Sox haven’t slowed down much at any point this year and enter today’s contest with the second best record in the American League.

However, the M’s should have a decent shot to earn a win today against Boston starter Brandon Workman (0-1, 4.40 ERA), who is making just his third career start. Seattle will send Joe Saunders (9-9, 4.48 ERA) to the mound. Saunders is coming off a rough outing, but has been reliable for Seattle most of the season.

With an advantage in the pitching match-up, the Mariners should at least keep things close and cover +1.5.

Los Angeles Angels +1.5 at Texas Rangers -1.5

It may be too late for the Angels to save their season, but they can at least try to finish strong and build something positive for next year.

Meanwhile, the Rangers still have a playoff berth to play for, but will also need to sprint to the finish to pass the A’s. Derek Holland (8-6, 3.06 ERA) could help them get started today, but the Rangers’ bats will also need to come up big against C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.18 ERA).

Considering Wilson has been one of the few bright points for the Halos this year and that he knows the Rangers well – as he played for them for seven seasons – the Angels should make this a tight one and could easily earn the win. Take the Angels to cover +1.5 here.

Toronto Blue Jays +1.5 at Oakland A’s -1.5

The A’s just keep on winning and the Blue Jays keep on losing, so this one should be an easily call, right?

Normally it would be, but Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (6-7, 4.50 ERA) may finally be finding a groove, whereas Oakland starter Dan Straily (6-4, 4.43 ERA) may be losing his mojo.

This is a rare case where each team’s trajectory doesn’t mirror their starters’ recent trends. Buehrle is coming off his finest start of the year – a complete-game shutout of the Astros – while Straily has lost his last two outings and has given up seven earned runs in his last 11 innings.

Toronto may not win the series, but it should win today. Take the Blue Jays to cover +1.5 in a victory.

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