Braves and Rangers are favored in Wild Card playoff games

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I’d never recommend using betting lines for actual betting, but the Las Vegas odds do provide a clear picture of which teams are the favorites and which teams are the underdogs. And that can be valuable come playoff time, when every player on every team loves to say stuff like “no one thought we would win” and “we shocked the world” and all that.

For tonight’s Wild Card playoff games both home teams are favored, and by sizable margins.

Kris Medlen and the Braves are -170 favorites over Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals, which means you’d have to risk $170 to win $100 and Atlanta must win at least 63 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.

Yu Darvish and the Rangers are -190 favorites over Joe Saunders and the Orioles, which means you’d have to risk $190 to win $100 and Texas must win at least 66 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.

Now, those aren’t huge favorites because during the regular season there are regularly teams with -250 or even -275 lines and sometimes it goes as high as -300, but the Braves and Rangers are definitely expected to win tonight.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.