MLB Tipsheet: Mariners to sink Astros
With the season moving in to August the playoff race hots up in the Major Leagues, with teams like Oakland, Washington and Pittsburgh looking for a strong finish to the season. Ben Steele picks out the best of the midweek action...
"LeBlanc (6-1) has been impressive this season, and faces off against Dallas Keuchel, the only Houston starter with a losing record this term."
Cobb to continue woeful season
Orioles @ Yankees
Wednesday, 18:05 BST
Only one team has won more games than the New York Yankees this season, unfortunately for them it is their division rival Boston Red Sox who look like they will wrap up the American League East. With a Wild Card spot looking the most likely outcome for their season the Bronx Bombers will be delighted to see the Baltimore Orioles roll in to town, particularly when tonight's starting pitcher, Alex Cobb, has a league worst 2-14 record.
Although big hitting sophomore Aaron Judge is out injured the Yankees have been in good form over the last week, winning an impressive four games by three runs or more and Cobb certainly doesn't look like the man to stop them adding to that total. Look for the Yankees to win, and win well as Baltimore slump to yet another defeat.
Mariners need key win in playoff chase
Astros @ Mariners
Live on BT Sport ESPN
Wednesday, 21:10 BST
Wade LeBlanc starts for Seattle tonight in a crucial matchup with the Houston Astros, a series that will be watched as keenly by fans of the Oakland Athletics as it will in Seattle. The Astros are in the driving seat in the American League West but Seattle and Oakland hold an almost identical record as they chase the final wild card spot.
Tonight's game, a series decider, gives Seattle the chance to pull away from Oakland while drawing Houston back in to the mix.
LeBlanc (6-1) has been impressive this season, and faces off against Dallas Keuchel, the only Houston starter with a losing record this term. Keuchel has struggled against the Mariners this season, going 0-2 with an ERA of 5.52 and with Nelson Cruz in the lineup and hitting well the 30-year-old could well drop to 0-3 tonight.
Pittsburgh the perfect spot for Hamels debut
Cubs @ Pirates
Thursday 00:05 BST
When Cole Hamels joined the Chicago Cubs earlier this week he'd have hoped to make a winning start, and if history tells us anything Pittsburgh is the place for him to do that. Hamels has had a patchy season (5-9) but four of those wins have come on the road but it is his record in Pittsburgh that will give him the most hope. In five career starts at PNC Park, Hamels has an ERA of just 1.22 and has lost only once. However, he will need to continue that form if he is to start his Cubs career with a win.
Chicago's offence, usually so high scoring, has been held to fewer than five runs in six of their last eight games as a number of star names battle to find their form again. Expect a low scoring affair, with Hamels leading his new teammates to a win.