Updated: Sep 12
Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Guardians (1:10 ET, Game 1)
Favorite: Twins -110 / Guardians -110
Pitchers: Devin Smeltzer (3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) vs. Zach Plesac (4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
Game 2 of this series takes off after a shellacking by way of a Twins 11-1 victory. Plesac now takes the mound as one of the largest over-performers In terms of xERA (6.12) In fact, he’s in the bottom 5 percent of pitchers in most categories, including barrel %, xBA, and xwOBA. He’s shown well lately, but in all he’s been poor. His last game agains the Twins he was exceptional, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits over 6+ innings. I doubt this Twins team who is seeing the ball well and has seen him recently will allow such success, and expect them to get to Plesac with regularity today.
Smeltzer has been up and down but was excellent in his last outing against this Guardians team. I would say something similar like I did with Plesac if it weren’t for how poor the Guardians were against lefties. They’re 29th on the season and Smeltzer pitches to soft contact. The Guardians have lost 4 in a row and their bats have been largely anemic in the process. Expect these two teams trending in different directions to continue today.
Pick: Twins ML -110
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Washington Nationals (7:05 ET)
Favorite: Nationals -125
Pitchers: Jose Quintana (3.60 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) vs. Patrick Corbin (6.60 ERA, 1.78 WHIP)
Jose Quintana has really fallen off since his brilliant start to the season. Allowing 2 or more runs in each of his last 6 games, he’s been nothing if not consistent. He’s not getting hit out of games, allowing only a maximum of 4 runs in these games. His offense hasn’t been great as advertised but they are gritty. They took the Rays deep into games and were able to put up runs against that top-notch pitching staff, and are looking better as the season goes on.
Luckily for Quintana he has the luxury to allow a few runs and be okay because he’s up against Patrick Corbin. A pitcher that was expected to be a solid starter in the middle of the rotation has turned sour and the Nationals have that brutal contract. He’s not getting any better and their offense has been middle of the road at best. Expect the underdogs in Pittsburgh to run riot on Corbin and outscore the Nationals in this one
Pick: Pirates ML +105 (1u) & o8.5 -115 (1u)
Boston Red Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays (7:07 ET)
Favorite: Blue Jays -140
Pitchers: Michael Wacha (2.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. Ross Stripling (3.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Yes, another Red Sox play. I know there are a load of them but you know what? I’m 12-3-2 on them up almost 7 units so I’ve got a good feel for how this team plays and where to go on their games. Michael Wacha has been an utter godsend for the Sox, brilliant all year and even better recently. His advanced metrics will tell you he doesn’t strike people out often and he gives up solid contact, but he’s been gritty all year and turns it up when in trouble. The Red Sox got smoked last night behind their impromptu call-up starter Seabold, and are looking to bounce back and continue their trend towards a wildcard birth. I’m not predicting the Sox win, but I do think Wacha keeps it close if nothing else.
Pick: Red Sox F5 +0.5 -120 (1u)
Detroit Tigers @ San Francisco Giants (9:45 ET)
Favorite: Giants -200
Pitchers: Tarik Skubal (3.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) vs. Carlos Rodon (2.70 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
We all know just how hot of a prospect Skubal is, and how good he has been for the majority of the year. Lately he has been abysmal though, allowing 15 runs in his last 3 starts, ballooning his June ERA to a 5.86. I believe in his stuff and while he can be hit hard when people do make good contact, he does everything else exceptionally well. He keeps people swinging and missing, doesn’t put extra baserunners on, and has kept his Tigers team somewhat afloat.
Rodon on the other side has been phenomenal lately, posting a 1.20 ERA in June to lower his season ERA down into the 2s. He’s been exceptional all-around and is becoming what the Giants were hoping he’d be when they acquired him from the White Sox. My hangup is that the Tigers have been better against lefties (still poor) and the Giants bats have struggled mightily over the past month. I think Skubal could bounce back against a reeling Giants team and keep this game close through 5 innings.
Pick: Tigers F5 +1 -145 (1u)
Rick Osentoski - USA Today