• Rick

Rick’s MLB Plays 7/22

Cleveland Guardians @ Chicago White Sox (1:10 ET)

Favorite: Pick ‘em

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Triston McKenzie (3.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) vs. Johnny Cueto (2.80 ERA,1.16WHIP)

Lines aren’t out at the time of writing this, but there’s a line I want to jump on as soon as this comes out. Both of these teams have been better offensively as of late, highlighted by both being in the top half of the league in July in OPS, but sit at 14 and 15. We know quality can vanish quickly with the Sox bats and the Guardians can largely be reliant on the top of their order. Where I want to focus is on our pitching matchup. The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a worse time for these two. In the month of July these two have combined for 41 innings allowing 3 runs on 26 hits. Both pitchers are dealing and showing no signs of slowing up. We’re looking at two Top-10 bullpens in the league to boot as well, so expect more quality once these two hop off of the mound after the 6th or 7thinning. If this line is 8 or greater, I’d play the under for 1u. Until that line comes up I’ll pencil in a line of 8.5 which is where I expect it.

Pick: u8.5 Even (1u)

Nick Cammett - Getty Images

Houston Astros @ Seattle Mariners (4:10 ET)

Favorite: Astros -130

Total: 7

Pitchers: Justin Verlander (1.89 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) vs. Logan Gilbert (2.76 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

Two of the best pitchers through the first half of the season meet up in a pivotal AL West matchup as the Mariners continue their surge towards the top of the division and into the playoffs. It’s unbelievable to think that even with the massive 14-game winning streak the Mariners are on (likely going to lose tonight down 4-0 in the 6th) they are still 10 games back from the Astros. Still, there is plenty of baseball to be played and these two will see each other many times down the stretch. Verlander has the second best betting odds to win the AL Cy Young behind Shane McClanahan but if he continues what he did in the first half of the season I doubt they could justify giving it away.

In 4 starts against the Mariners this season Verlander has a 2.93 ERA with most of the runs coming in his away appearance back in May. Gilbert has been no slouch agains the Astros either, allowing just 3 runs over 13 innings in his appearances. He’s no friend of advanced metrics, which place him in the bottom 10% of all pitchers in multiple categories, but that’s why we can’t look at metrics alone. Gilbert pitches to contact and utilizes a great curveball and change-up late in counts that compliments his fastball and slider well. Unfortunately for him he’s just not on the same level as Verlander and with Yordan Alvarez back in the lineup an offense that has already been tearing it up in July (5th in OPS) elevates to the next level. It’s rare to get this short of a line on Verlander, and I’ll take it and run.

Pick: Astros ML -130 (1.5u)

Kelvin Cuo

Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox (4:10 ET)

Favorite: Blue Jays -135

Total: 9

Pitchers: Alek Manoah (2.28 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) vs. Kutter Crawford (4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

The Red Sox look broken right now. The 28-5 loss at the hands of the Jays tonight will be talked about for years to come and oddly enough it’s not necessarily an anomaly. The Red Sox have now lost 7 of 8 and their last 3 by a combined 55-8. They’ve allowed 55 runs over their last 3 games, that’s not a typo. The bullpen is non-existent and the starters are getting blown up. The offense has looked average lately, not scoring more than 5 runs once in this 8 game run either. Kutter Crawford has been massive for the Red Sox given the position he was put in, having not been expected to contribute this year at all, but he’s still levels behind Alek Manoah. The Blue Jay has been brilliant this season and just as good against the Sox, allowing just 2 runs on 11 hits in 14 innings this season. Expect more of the same in a shockingly low line after a blowout in game one of the series.

Pick: Blue Jays -135 (2u)

Michael Dwyer - AP Photo

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