MLB Picks: Can The Mets Gain Ground on the Nationals? (Betting For The Cycle)

With the trade deadline now in the rearview mirror, pennant chases have started to heat up all around Major League Baseball. While a few teams have separated themselves from the pack in their respective divisions, the Wild Card races in both leagues look as though they may well go down to the wire. There are still a handful of teams in both leagues still duking it out for postseason positioning, so the final couple of months of the regular season should offer no shortage of thrills.

A couple of new acquisitions will square off in the desert on Wednesday night. Jason Vargas will make his second start for the Phillies after coming over from the Mets prior to the deadline, while Zac Gallen is set to make his Diamondbacks debut after being acquired from the Marlins. Both the Phillies and Diamondbacks are squarely in the mix for a Wild Card spot, so which team will pick up the win in the series finale?

The coming weekend will bring a couple of series with plenty of playoff implications. We get started with the National League East, which still has four teams in the thick of the playoff chase. The New York Mets have been the hottest team in baseball over the past few weeks, and Mickey Callaway’s crew is suddenly looking like a legitimate postseason threat. The Mets will host the Wild Card-leading Washington Nationals for three games in Queens this weekend. Will the Mets’ hot streak continue? Or will the Nationals prove that they’re the team to beat in the Wild Card race?

There is also plenty of intrigue in the American League Central. The Minnesota Twins have been the class of the division all year long, but the Cleveland Indians have mounted a serious charge over the last month or so. Both teams will throw their respective aces to the mound over the course of the four-game weekend set. Shane Bieber is set to take the ball for the Tribe on Friday night, while Jose Berrios will climb the mound in Sunday’s finale for the Twins. Which pitcher will accrue the most fantasy points?

Not every series has playoff implications, of course. The weekend also brings a couple of major on-paper mismatches. The New York Yankees will head north of the border to face the rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays, while the Atlanta Braves will head to South Beach for a weekend set with the Miami Marlins. Which playoff-bound club will win their series by a wider margin? If both teams win the series by the same margin, run differential will break the tie.

Drew Goldfarb, Jim Beviglia, and Taylor Smith will also check in on their World Series matchup picks. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have become heavy favorites in their respective leagues. Will any of the guys stray from the value bets they locked in weeks ago? Or will they hop on the bandwagon of a potential sleeper?

Join the guys for the latest installment of “Betting for the Cycle,” which you can find at the top of this page. And be sure to come back next week for the next edition of the show featuring fresh Major League Baseball betting picks!

Drew Goldfarb: @DrewGoldfarbDrew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also been active in Fantasy Sports since 2002.