With the roster expanding to 40 players on September 1 we’ll have to reassess our strategy with a lot of teams going forward. For now, we’ll stay with a couple of tried and true concepts in a pair of plays for Monday.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (COLE HAMELS) AT CINCINNATI REDS (HOMER BAILEY)

The Philadelphia Phillies head to Cincinnati after having their weekend schedule disrupted by Hurricane Irene and are starting to see the Atlanta Braves creep into their ‘rear view mirror’ just 6 games back. The Braves play three games against the Washington Nationals this week so Philadelphia will need to keep pace. Fortunately, their opponents are the bumbling and erratic Cincinnati Reds. Homer Bailey isn’t a bad pitcher, but Cole Hamels may be one of the most underrated—and undervalued—starters in baseball. Hamels is very consistent with a 2.62 ERA on the year, a 2.82 ERA on the road and a 2.70 ERA in his last three games. Philadelphia is 16-5 +10.2 units against the Reds since 2009.

Bet Philadelphia Phillies (Hamels) -145 over Cincinnati Reds (Bailey)

PITTSBURGH PIRATES (ROSS OHLENDORF) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (WANDY RODRIGUEZ)

The Pirates could be a solid investment down the stretch despite the fact that they’ve fallen well off the pace in the NL Central. We generally like their nucleus of young talent and will be looking to use them in the right situations. We may also play on the Astros after the September 1 callups but not now—this looks like a good chance for the Pirates to put some victories in the bank. Wandy Rodriguez has much better numbers than Ross Ohlendorf but the Astros have a way of making even mediocre righthanders look good. Houston is 27-67 -31.3 units against right handers this year. We’ll take the Pirates as dogs.

Bet Pittsburgh Pirates (Ohlendorf) +120 over Houston Astros (Rodriguez)

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