September will be a very interesting month of baseball to consume as we’ve got some tremendous division races in numerous divisions. The bulk of those exist in the National League where no division leader enters Monday with more than a four-game lead, but we can’t forget about the AL West race either with Houston looking to do everything they can to hold off Oakland. All of the teams involved in these races are playing some great baseball right now, so who can stay hot the longest?
Over in the NL Central we’ve got the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers all fighting for that top spot, and the Cubs and Cardinals enter Monday on 7-3 SU runs respectively. Chicago and St Louis begin this week at home with very winnable series against the Mets and Pirates on tap, but for the division-leading Cubs, this also continues a long stretch of games without a day off.
Chicago had last Monday off, but after finishing the week with six straight games, they won’t see another day off until Thursday September 14th. That’s a stretch of 23 games in 23 days and outside of this series against the Mets, the rest of their contests come against some quality foes (Atlanta, Philly, Milwaukee (twice) and Washington) with the bulk of those games also being away from home. Fatigue could easily catch up with them at some point, so don’t be surprised to see the NL Central race get quite a bit tighter in the upcoming weeks.
Over in the NL West, we’ve got division leader Arizona on a 7-3 SU run as well to start the week, a run that is matched by 2nd place Colorado. The L.A Dodgers are just one game off that mark (6-4 SU) as they trail Arizona by 2.5 games for 1st, and you’d better believe that this race could easily come down to the final day.
All three teams begin this week on the road with two of them (Colorado and L.A) involved in interleague play. Arizona visits San Francisco which should have some intensity too it, but I’m not really willing to step in front of any of these three teams at the moment. We will see how it all plays out – especially since Arizona concludes the week with a four-game series against the Dodgers in L.A – however, all three should be good bets at certain prices in certain spots, and of the three, riding with Colorado during the next week to 10 days might be the healthiest way to treat your bankroll.
The Baltimore Orioles against the Toronto Blue Jays (0-10 SU last 10 vs Toronto, 1-12 SU in season series)
The Baltimore Orioles have been a disaster the entire year, but they tend to at least be competitive in a game or two in nearly every series. The exception to that has been when the Toronto Blue Jays are on the other side of the field as Toronto has swept the Orioles in three consecutive series’ and begin this week in Baltimore for a three-game set.
Now, the side note to this 0-10 SU run the Orioles are on against the Jays is that all 10 of those games were played north of the border, but in the lone series this year where Baltimore was the home team they were nearly swept as well. For whatever reason the Orioles just have no interest in even competing most nights against the Jays, but I do see this trend turning around somewhat this week. We’ve already seen a bit of reverse line movement in favor of Baltimore for tonight’s series opener, and you’ve got to believe that at home they’ll show a better form of themselves against the blue birds.
For Baltimore to turn this thing around, it’s got to start with their pitching though. Toronto has scored 5 or more runs in eight of those 10 consecutive wins over Baltimore and the Orioles simply don’t have the talent or depth in their lineup to consistently win games by putting up 6+. Yet, it’s not like the Jays are playoff bound either as they will be making some significant changes this winter, but I do believe Baltimore will get some measure of revenge against Toronto in the final six meetings with the Jays this year (all six are in Baltimore) and it begins tonight with the Orioles snapping an eight-game losing streak.