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Division Series On The Brink


Boston, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh will all look to advance on Monday.

It’s do-or-die time in Major League Baseball.

Three teams will look to stave off elimination in Monday’s full slate of divisional series games. The Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Rays all need to win to keep any hope of competing for the World Series alive.

On the flip side, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Boston Red Sox will all be looking to advance to the league championship round, securing some valuable rest time in the process.

BettingSports.com now brings you a rundown of Monday’s four divisional games, beginning with the sole matchup that cannot be decided Monday.

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

Comerica Park, Detroit, MI, 1:07 p.m. ET (matchup)

Series tied 1-1

After the Detroit Tigers earned a 3-2 win behind Max Scherzer in the series opener Friday, the Oakland Athletics outlasted their fellow division champions to take a 1-0 victory Saturday night, leveling the series at 1-1.

The A’s actually took the victory on a ninth-inning, walk-off single from catcher Stephen Vogt, who spent most of the night guiding rookie pitcher Sonny Gray threw his first ever playoff game. Gray threw eight innings of shutout ball, giving up just four hits as he matched Detroit veteran Justin Verlander pitch-for-pitch. Verlander yielded just four hits in seven innings.

Vogt’s game-winning hit came off Al Alburquerque and handed the right handed reliever his first loss since August 9. The series now switches to the Motor City where the Tigers will look to at the very least split a pair.

Jim Leyland will send Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57 ERA) to the mound for the first time this postseason. Sanchez was 1-0 in two starts against the A’s during the regular season, allowing a total of five runs on eight hits while walking seven and striking out 14. His 2.57 ERA was the lowest among American League starters during the regular season.

Oakland will counter with Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.97 ERA). The right-hander lost two of his last three starts to close out the season. He also lost in his only start against Detroit this season, allowing eight runs on nine hits back on April 14.

The Tigers are likely to add Jhonny Peralta to the lineup. Peralta was suspended for 50 games as part of the Biogenesis scandal but returned to the team with three games left in the regular season. He’ll likely start in shortstop in place of Jose Iglesias, who is just 1 for 6 with a pair of strikeouts this postseason.

Detroit (-152) is favored at home over Oakland (+142) on the moneyline.

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA, 3:07 p.m. ET (matchup)

Pittsburgh leads series 2-1

The Pittsburgh Pirates made it two wins on the bounce Sunday, handing the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-3 defeat at a sold-out PNC Park.

In the first NLDS game played at the park, and the first in the city for 21 years, the Pirates broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning on a Pedro Alvarez RBI single. Russell Martin immediately followed up with an RBI single of his own to give the Pirates an insurance run and put the side in the driving seat in the series.

Looking to survive, Mike Matheny will send rookie Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) to the mound Monday afternoon. The 22-year-old went 1-0 in two appearances against the Pirates during the regular season, allowing just two hits and no runs in a combined nine innings of action.

Wacha will be up against Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.26 ERA) who has had a nightmare time against the Cardinals in recent years, losing his last seven starts against the Red Birds. In three starts this season, Morton went 0-2 allowing 12 runs on 23 hits. His poorest outing came on September 8 when yielded six hits and five runs in 1 2/3 innings. He, and the Pirates team, will be hoping for a better day in Game 4.

Morton’s inability to be beat the Cardinals sees the Pirates (+111) open as underdogs on the moneyline, despite playing at home in Game 4. The Pirates proved in Game 2 they have the bats to beat the Cards, but Morton is going to be the deciding factor in this one. Now would be a good time for the six-year pro to snap a trend.

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL, 6:07 p.m. ET (matchup)

Boston leads series 2-0

After being crushed 12-2 in the series opener, the Tampa Bay Rays made a fight of it in Saturday’s Game 2 but ultimately couldn’t get the better of Boston, losing the game 7-4. Joe Maddon’s side now finds itself in familiar territory; facing elimination.

The Rays won three straight elimination games just to get into the ALDS; first winning on the last day of the regular season to force a tie-breaker game against the Texas Rangers, which they won, and then defeating the Cleveland Indians in the American League Wild Card game. The Rays play well with their backs against the wall, but winning on Monday will be a tough challenge.

Boston will send Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) to the mound for the pivotal game. Buchholz is 3-1 since returning from injury in September and only lost two games all season. He was 2-0 against the Rays, allowing five hits and no runs over 13 innings.

The Rays will see Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA) toe the rubber in the most important game of the season, so far. Cobb won his last four starts to close out the season and led the team to victory in last Wednesday’s Wild Card game. However, the right-hander struggled against the Red Sox this season. He went 0-1 in four starts, while the Sox lost all four games. He yielded 24 hits and 14 runs across the four-game span, numbers that Tampa Bay fans will gulp at ahead of this one.

Boston (-108) opened as a very narrow favorite over Tampa Bay (-102) on the moneyline, which is a clear indication of how close this one is expected to be.

Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA, 9:37 p.m. ET (matchup)

Los Angeles leads series 2-1

After allowing the Atlanta Braves to even the series at Turner Field, the Los Angeles Dodgers returned home and set about reminding the baseball world why the team is favorites to win the National League.

The Dodgers trounced the Braves in Sunday’s Game 3 at Chavez Ravine, scoring a 13-6 victory on a 14-hit performance that saw Hanley Ramirez go 3 for 4 and Yasiel Puig go 3 for 5, while Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford hit the ball out of the park. Both starters were bumped from the game early, with Julio Teheran (8H, 6R) lasting just 2 2/3 innings and Hyun Jin Ryu (6H, 4R) going three innings.

Leading 2-1, the Dodgers will hope for another offensive onslaught to wrap up the series Monday night. They’ll have Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70 ERA), making his postseason debut, on the mound. Nolasco went 8-3 for Los Angeles after being acquired from the Miami Marlins. He failed to pick up a win in his last four starts of the regular season though. The right-hander was a winner in his only start against Atlanta this season, allowing six hits and two runs while pitching for the Marlins.

The Braves will send Freddy Garcia to the mound as they attempt to stave off elimination. Garcia was 1-2 with Atlanta after arriving from the Baltimore Orioles. He picked up just two wins over his last 11 games (split between the two sides) but crucially has 10 games of postseason experience, going 6-3 during those starts.

The Dodgers (-143) open as the favorite over Atlanta (+133) on the moneyline.


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