• Rick

Rick's MLB Plays 8/13

Oakland A's @ Houston Astros (7:10 ET)

Favorite: Astros -270

Total: 9

Pitchers: Zach Logue 4.79 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (N/A)

The Houston Astros add a massive arm to their rotation Saturday in Lance McCullers who was sidelined for the first two-thirds of the season with a strained flexor tendon he suffered back in October of last year. He was one of the Astro's best arms last season with a 3.16 ERA and one of my favorite pitchers to watch because he utilizes his four pitches almost evenly across the board. He can throw any pitch in any count, now allowing batters to sit on a certain pitch and smash it. He's a career 3.57 ERA pitcher through 6 seasons and I expect him to pick up where he left off against the A's.

The A's offense is bad, but it has been better. Over the last two weeks they're 21st in OPS, which is sad that that's the improvement. Over their six game losing streak they haven't been able to match good pitching with scoring runs, either getting shoutout 1-0 or outscored 6-4. Zach Logue is one of the A's better prospects but it hasn't come together in his short time in the Majors. He's in the bottom 20% of pitchers in nearly every metric and batters are slamming his fastballs, which he throws 71% of the time.

Behind one of the best offenses with new toys in Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez and a 2021 Cy Young contender, the Astros should continue to win by multiple runs against one of the worst teams in baseball throwing a below average pitcher on the mound.

Pick: Astros -1.5 -129 (1.5u)

Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals (7:15 ET)

Favorite: Brewers -145

Total: 7

Pitchers: Corbin Burnes (2.45 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) vs. Adam Wainwright (3.42 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Adam Wainwright has been like Benjamin Button for the Cardinals, only getting better with age. With a 3.42 ERA he's solidified himself as one of the top pitchers in their rotation along with Mike Mikolas, but his kryptonite this year has been the Brewers. In his three games against Milwaukee he's pitched 14 innings allowing 11 runs on 25 hits. Milwaukee is hitting him to the tune of a .373 batting average and with how their bats have been swinging it lately I don't see that trend changing.

Corbin Burnes is much the opposite. He's only pitched twice against the Cardinals this year but in those outings he's allowed just 4 hits in 14 innings and 0 runs. St. Louis is hitting him at a .085 rate and if Burnes wants to try and catch Sandy Alcantara for what would be his second Cy Young award, he'll have to have another dominant performance. I'm backing both of these trends to continue and I'll isolate it to the first five to avoid bullpen interference.

Pick: Brewers F5 ML -145 (1u)

Stacy Revere - Getty Images

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