The annual Mid-Summer Classic has major league clubs on hiatus until Friday. The All-Star break is not only a window for players and managers to get some much-needed down time but also a perfect opportunity for clubs to plan ahead for the second half of the schedule.
Here are a couple clubs and their mlb baseball lines who pushed hard before the break and can continue to ride that momentum when action on the diamond picks up again this weekend:
Pittsburgh Pirates (53-35, +10.90 units)
The Pirates were left in the Cardinals’ dust earlier in the year but came on strong with a 10-2 record so far in July, including heading into the break on a massive win over St. Louis on Sunday Night Baseball. The Bucs offense was lacking for the first half of the schedule but the bats stepped up this month, scoring 17 total runs in the three wins over the Cardinals last week.
Pitching is Pittsburgh’s strength but the staff has some aging arms on the roster. Could age catch up with the likes of A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano after the break? Baseball bettors could get their answer with the Pirates opening a six-game road trip in Milwaukee and Kansas City after the break.
Oakland Athletics (41-50, -17.15 units)
The A’s have been one of the worst bets in baseball entering the break, thanks in large part to their hot-and-cold offense and a bullpen that has blown 12 saves and boasts an ugly 4.32 ERA. But we’ve seen this club make second-half pushes year after year. Oakland is 120-90 after the break over the last three seasons, even after going just 29-38 in 2014.
The A’s starting pitching has been solid so far, posting a collective 3.01 ERA – second lowest in the majors. All they need is some stability from the bullpen and a couple extra runs here and there to turn the page. Oakland actually has a plus-44 run differential – seventh best in the bigs – but still sits below .500. The Athletics started to show some life before the break, winning two in a row, and play 17 of their next 22 games at home after the break.