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Shohei Ohtani won’t get a chance to experience the playoffs in his first major league season Matt Harvey Jersey , but he’s putting himself into solid contention for a big-time postseason award.has been stacking up exceptional numbers at the plate over the past six weeks and making a case for American League rookie of the year honors.He’ll try to maintain his hot hand Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium.Article continues below ...Ohtani earned his second AL player of the week honor on Monday after going 9-for-19 with four home runs, a double, a triple and 10 RBIs in five games last week.“I feel like I’m progressing as a hitter right now, so I’m trying to gain as many experiences as I can while the games count,” Ohtani told the Orange County Register on Friday.He extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single and double in the series opener on Monday night, scoring a run and driving in another in the 5-2 loss to the Rangers, which snapped a four-game winning streak for the Angels (71-73).Ohtani is hitting .373 in his past 29 games with 10 home runs, five doubles, 29 RBIs and 23 runs scored Scott Schebler Jersey , raising his average from .267 to .294 in that span.Overall, the Japanese star has 19 homers and 54 RBIs in 86 games.The Rangers (62-82) meanwhile have been receiving solid play from rookie first baseman Ronald Guzman.He came into Monday’s game with one hit in his past 12 at-bats, then hit a two-run homer in the second inning that gave the Rangers a 4-0 lead. It was Guzman’s 15th home run of the season.Last month, Guzman became the first Texas rookie to hit three home runs in a game, and he’s also hit a grand slam this summer.The Rangers are 10-3 when Guzman homers.Rangers left-fielder Joey Gallo delivered a two-run double in the second inning on Monday and a run-scoring single in the eighth to raise his RBI total to a career-high 85. Already, he’s the first Texas player with at least 35 home runs in back-to-back seasons since Mark Teixeira in 2004-05.Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced after Monday’s game that veteran relief pitcher Jim Johnson would make the start Tuesday, his first since his major league debut on July 26, 2006. Johnson (5-3, 3.81 ERA) has since made 666 relief appearances.Rangers veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was recently moved to the bullpen, opening the door for Adrian Sampson to move into the starting spot on Tuesday.Sampson (0-0, 54.00) made his Rangers debut on Friday http://www.redsfanproshop.com/authentic ... ton-jersey , allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits while retiring just one batter out of the bullpen in an 8-4 loss to the Oakland A’s.“We’re at a point right now where we have some players we’d like to take a look at that we haven’t seen at this level,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.Sampson, 26, made his only other major league start for the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 7, 2016, nearly getting through the fourth inning unscathed against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park before surrendering a two-out solo home run.The 2012 fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates ultimately left after allowing four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of the 6-2 loss. The National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs (69-50) begin a key divisional series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (61-60) on Thursday in what is listed as a pick'em matchup at sportsbooks. The Pirates will be trying to break a three-game losing streak to stay in the playoff race at home, where they have a 33-29 record this season. MLB betting line: The Cubs opened as -114 favorites (wager $114 to win $100); the total is at 8.5 runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Line updates and matchup report.MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 6.8-4.0, Pirates.MLB picks on every game.Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week's top sports betting news.Why the Cubs Can Pay on the MLB LinesThe Cubs avoided seeing the Milwaukee Brewers pull to within one game of the division lead Wednesday George Foster Jersey , when they beat them 8-4 at Wrigley Field to earn a split of their two-game set. Now they have to guard against a letdown after facing the Brewers and Washington Nationals in their past five games.This will be a good test for Chicago ace Jon Lester (12-5, 3.89 ERA), who has struggled since the MLB All-Star break. Lester is winless over his previous five starts, with his ERA rising more than a run from 2.58. Fortunately, he is 2-1 versus Pittsburgh in four outings this season and owns a better record on the road at 7-2 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts. That bodes well here. Why the Pirates Can pay on the MLB linesThe Pirates have won two of their past three meetings with the Cubs, and they are 5-6 in the season series overall through the first 11, according to the OddsShark MLB Database. These teams still play four more times at Wrigley in late September, but now is the time for Pittsburgh to go on a positive run in an effort to snag one of the two NL wild-card spots.Ivan Nova (7-6, 4.42 ERA) will toe the rubber opposite Lester, and he has gone 3-0 in his past six outings, with the Pirates winning five times during that stretch. Nova is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts against Chicago this year Tom Seaver Jersey , and he has performed better at home in 2018, with a 2-3 mark and 3.55 ERA in 10 games.Smart Betting PickThis is a huge game for Lester and the Cubs, who are attempting to win the NL Central for the third season in a row. Milwaukee and the St. Louis Cardinals are squaring off in a three-game series, starting Friday, and both teams have a chance to catch Chicago down the stretch. The Cubs cannot afford to lose in this spot, so look for them to win.MLB Betting TrendsChicago is 4-2 in its past six games on the road.The total has gone under in six of Chicago's past eight games.Pittsburgh is 1-4 in its past five games. All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.
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