Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Wednesday's Tip Sheet

Opening note: As of 11:00 A.M. EST, the Westgate Superbook Las Vegas has listed the Astros as a -550 favorite against the Tigers tonight.

Phillies at Red Sox (-163, 12) – 7:10 PM EST

Philadelphia (65-60) jumped out to a fast start in the opener of a two-game interleague series at Fenway Park, as the Phillies posted three runs in the first inning. The Phillies didn’t score a run in the final eight innings, but they held off the Red Sox (67-60) to end a two-game losing skid, 3-2. Boston had an opportunity to tie the game in the ninth inning following a lead-off double by Xander Bogaerts, but he was erased on a fielder’s choice at third base, then Andrew Benintendi lined into a double play to end the game.

The Phillies received another solid outing from ace Aaron Nola, who tossed seven innings for his 12th victory of the season, while Philadelphia gained a game on Washington in the Wild Card race to sit two games out of the final playoff spot. Meanwhile, Boston slipped to six games behind Oakland and Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card position in the American League, while falling to 2-4 at home in interleague play.

Left-hander Drew Smyly (2-6, 7.09 ERA) strung together a pair of solid outings after getting acquired by the Phillies in July by allowing one run in a pair of wins over the Pirates and Giants. However, Smyly has gone backwards recently by giving up 16 runs in his past three starts, but Philadelphia has won his last two outings, including the dramatic comeback victory over Chicago last Thursday on Bryce Harper’s walk-off grand slam.

Rick Porcello (11-9, 5.49 ERA) counters for Boston as the 2016 Cy Young winner makes his sixth consecutive home start. Porcello defeated the hapless Orioles in his past trip to the mound last Friday by tossing six innings and allowing one run in six innings of a 9-1 blowout as a -275 favorite. Boston has won six of Porcello’s last eight outings, but he has been the beneficiary of tremendous run support, as the Red Sox have plated at least seven runs in seven of his past nine starts.

Indians at Mets (-154, 9) – 7:10 PM EST

New York (65-60) remained on fire at Citi Field by improving to 12-2 since the All-Star break by pulling away from Cleveland, 9-2 on Tuesday. The Mets were aided by home runs from Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis, while Steven Matz moved to 6-0 at home by tossing 6.1 innings and yielding two runs. New York and Philadelphia own the same record, as the Mets remain two games behind the Cubs for the final Wild Card spot in the National League.

The Indians (74-52) are still the top Wild Card team in the American League as the Athletics and Rays also lost on Tuesday, but Cleveland slipped three games behind Minnesota for the top spot in the American League Central race. Since the Indians grabbed three of four from the Twins earlier this month at Target Field, Cleveland has lost five of eight games, including three of five on its current trip through New York.

The Mets have yet to lose with Marcus Stroman (7-11, 3.21 ERA) on the mound, as the former Blue Jays’ hurler is coming off his best start since getting traded to New York. Stroman scattered four hits and yielded three runs in 5.1 innings of a 10-8 triumph at Atlanta as a +110 underdog as the Mets jumped out to a commanding 7-0 lead. Stroman’s final start in Toronto was a 4-0 defeat to Cleveland on July 24 as the right-hander allowed only one run in seven innings, but Indians’ ace Shane Bieber tossed a complete-game one-hitter.

Adam Plutko (5-3, 4.67 ERA) was aided by a seven-run first inning in his previous start as the Indians dominated the Yankees, 19-5 as a +140 underdog last Thursday. The Indians have won three of Plutko’s past four outings, while owning a solid 4-1 mark in his five starts away from Progressive Field this season. Plutko has seen the UNDER cash in four of his last five appearances, but tonight’s total of nine is the lowest in this stretch as his last five totals closed at 10 or higher.

Brewers at Cardinals (-108, 8 ½) – 7:45 PM EST

The merry-go-round for the top spot in the National League Central continues as the Cardinals (67-57) are currently the leader in the division after winning their third straight game on Tuesday. St. Louis blew out Milwaukee (64-62) at Busch Stadium, 9-4 as the Cardinals scored eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Cardinals have defeated the Brewers in five consecutive matchups dating back to April, while the home team has captured 10 of 12 meetings this season.

The Brewers are not only losing their grip in the division race, but Milwaukee is 3 ½ games behind Chicago for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Milwaukee has lost six of its past seven games, with the only two wins in this span coming in last Saturday’s wild 15-14 extra-innings triumph at Washington and a 6-5 comeback victory over Minnesota last Wednesday.

Milwaukee owns a 2-4 record when trying to avoid a road sweep as the Brewers turn to Adrian Houser (5-5, 3.76 ERA) in the series finale. Houser has pitched well since returning to the rotation in late July although Milwaukee has posted a 1-3 mark in his past four starts. The right-hander has allowed one earned run in three of four starts, including yielding only two hits in seven innings of a 2-1 setback at Washington last Friday. Houser’s biggest issue has been run support as the Brewers have scored two runs or less in five of his past six starts.

The Cardinals have won four of five times when seeking a home sweep this season, as Adam Wainwright (9-8, 4.33 ERA) takes the hill. Wainwright has excelled since a slow start, as St. Louis has posted a strong 7-1 record in his last eight trips to the mound. The Cardinals are 3-0 in the right-hander’s last three home starts, while the veteran dominated the Brewers in his previous outing against them on April 24 in a 5-2 victory as he yielded four hits and one run in six innings.

Yankees at Athletics (-114, 9 ½) – 10:05 PM EST

Before Tuesday, the last time these two teams hooked up came in the Wild Card round in the Bronx last October as New York ripped Oakland, 7-2 to advance to the American League Divisional Series. The Athletics (72-53) picked up a bit of revenge in last night’s 6-2 victory over the Yankees (83-44) to cash as +115 underdogs. Oakland plated three runs in the first inning off Domingo German, highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Matt Olson and Mark Canha.

The A’s remain in the second Wild Card position in the American League as they barely lead the Rays by a single percentage point. Oakland improved to 10-2 in its last 12 games at RingCentral Coliseum, while New York fell to 2-3 in its past five road series openers. The Yankees are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since late July when New York dropped three in a row at Boston.

Mike Fiers (11-3, 3.46 ERA) likely won’t take home the American League Cy Young award this season, but the right-hander has found his place in Oakland after being acquired from Detroit last July. Fiers is unbeaten in his past five outings, while coming off his worst outing since April in a 7-6 victory over Houston his last time out. The veteran received a no-decision as he was tagged for four home runs in six innings, but the A’s improved to 6-1 in his last seven home outings. Fiers defeated the Yankees twice last season, including as a +138 home underdog in an 8-2 blowout last September as he scattered three hits in six innings.

J.A. Happ (10-7, 5.40 ERA) has been wildly inconsistent of late as the Yankees have alternated wins and losses in his previous five starts. Happ defeated the Orioles in his last outing, 6-5 as a hefty -235 favorite, but the Yankees have won consecutive starts made by the southpaw once since early June. New York owns a solid 8-2 record in Happ’s 10 road starts this season, while the Yankees beat the A’s with the left-hander on the mound last September in a 5-1 comeback win as they scored all five runs in the final three innings.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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