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Coach Fletcher’s Thursday Scouting Edge

Cubs Creeping Up on Bucs

9:35 am Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cubs have snagged 2 of the first 3 in this 4 game set and can creep right up on the Bucs with a win today. The Cubs go with Kyle Kendricks who is 7-6 with a 4.08 era. The Bucs send Chuckie Morton to the mound at 9-7 with a 4.02 era. Kendricks is a subpar 4.52 era on the road but has gone 5-4. Kendricks has an era of 3.78 in his last three starts where he is 1-0. Morton is 6-2 at home with a 3.00 era. In his last three he’s gone 1-2 with a 3.00 era. Kendricks is 0-1 against the Bucs with a 5.63 era. In his last start against the Pirates, Kendricks was torched for 5 runs and 8 hits in 5 2/3. Morton is 3-5 against the Cubbies with a 4.71 era. He has not faced the Cubs this year. However, in 2 of his last 3 starts against the Cubs in 2014 he was knocked around for 5 runs in 6 innings and 6 runs in 6 innings. The Pirates are currently -130 favorites.

Too Little, Too Late for the Nationals

4:05 pm Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

Last weekend the Marlins took 2 of 3 from the Nats and pretty much wiped out their chances for post season play. If the Nationals have any chance to succeed, they need to win them all. This has created pressure and the linesmakers have responded by making Washington huge favorites. Tanner Roark goes for the Nats today. He’s 4-5 with a 4.38 era. In his last start, he pitched well but allowing 2 runs on 8 hits in 4 2/3 innings was too much against these same Fish who won 2-0. Jarred Cosart is 1-4 with a 4.58 era. Since he has returned from an ear disorder, Cosart has been great. Cosart has allowed just 1 run in 9 2/3 innings in his return while fanning 8 and walking 4. Cosart is 15-16 in his career with a 3.50 era so he may be a force to be reckoned with tonight. 8 Marlins are hitting .300 or better against Roark. 4 Nats are getting to Cosart for .300 or better. The Nationals opened at -185 and have gone up into the -190’s.

Lackey Goes to Hill for Cards

5:10 pm St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

After experiencing a mild slump, the Cards have come back against the Brewers and Reds to win 4 of their last 5. John Lackey will do his best to make it 5 of 6. Lackey is 11-9 with a 2.89 era. Jimmy Nelson goes for the Brew Crew and he’s 11-12 with a 4.00 era. Considering the Brewers are 62-83, going 11-12 isn’t too shabby. He is especially effective at Miller Park where he is 5-3 with a 3.16 era in 13 starts this season. But the Cards have feasted on Nelson over the last 5 years. Nine Cards are hitting better than .300 against Nelson. Four Brewers are topping .300 against Lackey. Big John has made 17 straight starts of at least 6 innings. He’s allowed 2 runs or fewer in 13 of those 17 starts. Lackey is 4-1 against Milwaukee with a 3.95 era. Nelson is 0-3 against the Cards with an 8.44 era. In 2 starts against St. Louis this year, Nelson has been battered for 15 hits and 10 runs in 12 innings. St. Louis is only -145 for this one.

Angels and Twins Still Have Faint Hopes for Playoffs

5:10 pm Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins

The Angels send Hector Santiago out after the Twins as the Angels’ playoff hopes are dwindling with every loss. August was a horrible month for Hector who gave up 14 runs in a 10 2/3 inning stretch. But he has recovered to allow just 2 runs in 13 innings against division rivals the Rangers and Astros. He has a 3.25 era against the Twins in 27 2/3 innings of work. 9 different Twins are hitting .300 or better against Santiago. He has given up 2 home runs each to Eduardo Nunez and Aaron Hicks. 9 Angels have roasted Tommy Milone for a .300 or better average. Oddly, Trout is hitting only .238 against Milone but has taken him deep. Pujols, Murphy, Joyce, Cowgill and Calhoun are all hitting .400 or better against Milone. In his last 7 performances Milone’s era is 3.67 but he was roughed up in his last start. Milone surrendered 7 runs on 8 hits in 3 2/3 innings Saturday against the Pale Hose. The Twins are sitting at about -115 for this game.

The Rangers Aim to Gun Down Astros For Sweep

5:05 pm Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

Houston came into Texas in first place and no matter what happens today, they will be leaving in 2nd. The Rangers have won the first three in the series and lambasted the struggling Astros 14-3 on Wednesday. The Astros send out Lance McCullers to stop the bleeding and the Rangers send out Colby Lewis to try to finish off the Astros once and for all. McCullers is 5-5 with a 3.10 era while Lewis is 15-8 with a 4.45 era. McCullers is one of the league’s top rookie pitchers. But he hasn’t won a game since July 29 and he’s got a 4.97 era in his last 5 starts. McCullers is hit happy, allowing 10.3 hits every 9 innings in his last 5 starts. The Astros are 1-4 in those starts. The Rangers have tagged McCullers with 7 home runs. Meanwhile, Lewis has surrendered just 2 round trippers to the homer hungry Astros whose power has seemingly gone on vacation. Lewis is coming off a 2 hit shutout against Oakland where he entered the 7th with a perfect game. The Rangers opened at -107.