Best MLB Matchups Of The Week: August 26-September 1

Clayton KershawAs the season moves toward September, pitchers have to gather even more focus and concentration than ever before. They have to be able to fight through fatigue and distractions.

Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners

This is a rare specimen – and therefore a treat – in the world of Major League Baseball: a game being played in the final week of August in which two American League starting pitchers have ERAs under three runs. You just don’t see that scenario very often. Derek Holland of Texas has a 2.95 ERA, while Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma checks in at 2.98. Both men have been quite consistent, as you’d expect of A.L. pitchers who have sub-three ERAs this late in the season. It’s one thing to post a sub-three ERA in the National League, where pitchers have to hit. It’s quite another to pull off the feat in the American League, which has the designated hitter. Holland has thrown shutouts in two of his last four outings, giving up a total of five runs in his last four starts combined. Iwakuma has allowed no more than three runs in seven of his last eight starts. This should be a dandy on Tuesday night in Seattle.

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 Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Dodgers

This is a Tuesday night matchup in the sportsbook between a really good young pitcher and, on the other side of the divide, the best pitcher in the National League (and quite possibly, all of baseball). Travis Wood of the Chicago Cubs has posted a strong 3.22 ERA this season, giving the Cubbies hope for the future. Yet, his ERA is nowhere close to Clayton Kershaw’s. The shoo-in for the National League Cy Young Award this season has a 1.72 ERA, making this an historically legendary season. Very few pitchers over the past 45 years have been able to do what Kershaw is doing right now.

Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers

This Thursday matinee on the MLB odds features Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, with a 3.58 ERA, and A.L. Cy Young contender Max Scherzer, who is 19-1 with a 2.73 ERA. Parker has been dominant in his last three starts, allowing a total of three runs in 25 1/3 innings of work. He has allowed only one run in each of those three starts. Scherzer is actually getting better as the season goes along. He got a ton of run support in the first half of the season. He’s still getting a lot of help from his bats, but he is becoming more effective as a pitcher. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last seven starts.

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