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AL West Picks: July 9, 2013

Hisashi Iwakuma

As the Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s have continued to jockey for position atop the AL West standings, the neck-and-neck race has become all the more exciting for fans and bettors, especially since its nearly a three-horse race now that the Los Angeles Angels have found a rhythm and begun their own ascent.

Of course, things get even more thrilling when all five teams from the division are in action and luckily for bettors, that is the case today. Here are our picks for all five games to help you out!

Texas Rangers +1.5 at Baltimore Orioles -1.5

While most teams would fear playing the Orioles on the road, the Rangers have showed they have no problem winning away from Arlington.

After winning game one of their current four-game set with the O’s last night, the Rangers are now 25-18 in opposing AL ballparks and with Martin Perez (2-1, 1.85 ERA) on the mound, that sterling record could get even better.

The Orioles are still swinging the bats well, but as a team they’ve cooled off slightly, winning just five of their last 10 ballgames. With Zach Britton (2-2, 4.03 ERA) headed to the hill for them today, they’ll have a decent, but not great chance and starting a new win streak.

With the advantage in the pitching match-up and a stellar track record on the road, I like the Rangers to cover +1.5 in this one.

Oakland A’s +1.5 at Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5

With a 12-4 interleague record, the A’s have proved they’re not afraid of seldom-faced foes and by edging the Pirates in game one of their three-game series last night, they also proved they can take on the league’s best teams too.

Dan Straily (5-2, 4.52) gets the ball for Oakland today and like his club, he too has enjoyed plenty of past success against the National League. However, today’s match-up won’t be easy, as he’ll be pitted against Pittsburgh’s formidable rookie hurler, Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.94).

With Cole, the Pirates have a good chance to end their three-game losing skid, but like last night’s 2-1 game, this one should be close and could go either way. That’s why I like the A’s to cover +1.5 here.

Los Angeles Angels -1.5 at Chicago Cubs +1.5

As one of the league’s hottest teams, the Angels are bringing a ton of confidence into their series with the Chicago Cubs, but the Cubbies have also started to turn things around as winners of three straight.

And with Travis Wood (5-6, 2.69 ERA) going against L.A.’s Joe Blanton (2-10, 5.14 ERA), it would seem the Cubs have a significant edge in the pitching match-up to go along with home field advantage.

Look for the Angels to cool off tonight as the Cubs cover +1.5 in the win.

Houston Astros +1.5 at St. Louis Cardinals -1.5

Houston Astros fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season, but Bud Norris’ performance through the first half (6-7, 3.22 ERA) has certainly been one of the highlights.

Of course, he’ll have a much tougher time improving those numbers against one of the league’s best teams and one of the league’s best starting pitchers in Adam Wainwright (11-5, 2.36 ERA).

I would normally like Norris in most situations, but this isn’t one of them. Take the Cards to cover -1.5 in the win.

Boston Red Sox +1.5 at Seattle Mariners -1.5

Red Sox starter Allen Webster (1-2, 7.88 ERA) is coming off his first career win, which is success he hopes to build on today against one of the league’s weakest hitting teams in the Seattle Mariners.

However, Seattle has swung the bats much better over their last 10 games, a stretch in which they’ve won six, including two in a row.

Considering Seattle is also sending out All-Star pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4, 2.60 ERA), it should actually have a decent sized edge against the AL East’s best team.

Go with the Mariners to cover -1.5 in this one.

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