• Rick

Rick's MLB Plays 8/23

Atlanta Braves @ Pittsburgh Pirates (7:05 ET)

Favorite: Braves -280

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Max Fried (2.60 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. JT Brubaker (4.19 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)

JT Brubaker has one of the worst records in the majors and it's absolutely nothing to do with his performance. He's 3-10 on the year but has been solid and consistent since May and aside from one blow-up outing against the Phillies he has a 2.65 ERA since the end of June. It's a shame that his offense is so bad because his performances should provide him with much more recognition than he receives, but the Ohio native is looking to end the season on a strong note to continue boosting his value. He's faced the Braves once this year, turning in a quality start with 3 ER over 7 innings on just 6 hits. Look for much of the same today against the Braves, who haven't been pounding runs in their last few games. I fully expect Max Fried to continue his dominance on the mound with another long outing allowing 2 runs or less against this struggling offense. Give me the first five innings under, as we should see it tightly contested through five.

Pick: F5 u4 -115 (1u)

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets @ New York Yankees (7:05 ET)

Favorite: Yankees -130

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Taijuan Walker (3.37 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) vs. Frankie Montas (3.87 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

Taijuan Walker has only pitched 9 innings in August after getting blown up in one inning against the Braves and then injuring his back in his second outing against Atlanta. He's had to take a little time off but he's back and ready to go against the Yankees. While they secured the 4-2 win on Monday, the Yankees bats are still struggling to notch runs with any consistency and against a solid starter like Walker I doubt they'll score more than 4. I don't think that'll be enough against the Mets (6th in OPS in August) considering they're facing a heavily slumping Frankie Montas. Over his 3 starts in August, Montas has pitched 14 innings allowing 14 runs on 18 hits. Factor in an average of 2 walks a game in that period and he's easily having the worst period of his season. Why is that though? He's finally facing better offenses. When he was on the west coast with Oakland he faced the Angels 2x (26th in OPS), Detroit 2x (30th), Texas 2x (20th), Tampa 2x (24th), and more but in these last few outings he's faced the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. The Mets are much in the same vein and I don't expect much to change. Don't expect him to allow 6 runs necessarily, but expect the advantage to be in Walker's hands.

Pick: Mets F5 ML +110 (1u)

Al Bello/Getty Images

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