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Rick's MLB Plays 8/30

Baltimore Orioles @ Cleveland Guardians (6:10 ET)

Favorite: Guardians -160

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Spenser Watkins (3.96 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. Cal Quantrill (3.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Watkins and Quantrill are pitching their best ball of the season. Watkins has allowed just 17 runs over his last 49 innings, good for a 3.12 ERA. He's not allowing many hits and luckily for him the Guardians' bats have been cold throughout the month of May. 25th in OPS this month and 21st over the past two weeks, the Guardians have relied on their league leading bullpen and overperforming starting pitchers to get wins. One of those pitchers is Cal Quantrill, who has logged 0 runs allowed in 3 of his last 5 starts. The issue is that in the other two he's allowed 4 runs. The Orioles started off August hot, but have since cooled down and are just 16th over the last two weeks in OPS. Quantrill is much like Watkins in that neither pitcher registers many strikeouts. Given both of these offense's recent struggles and how good the starters have performed in front of two of the best bullpens in baseball, I'll take the under with a flier on the Orioles.

Pick: u8.5 -115 (1u) & Orioles ML +140 (.5u)

Bob Levey - Getty Images

Kansas City Royals @ Chicago White Sox (8:10 ET)

Favorite: White Sox -131

Total: 8

Pitchers: Brady Singer (3.15 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) vs. Lucas Giolito (5.14 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)

Brady Singer has quietly had one of the best seasons in the majors this year. Brilliant over the last two months, Singer has allowed just 15 runs in 63 innings (2.14 ERA). He almost exclusively throws his sinker and slider, but mixes in a changeup about 8% of the time. It's his slider that makes him though with an xBA of .213, but he sets it up beautifully with his sinker. Able to throw that sinker in every part of the zone and using it around 60% of the time, he sets batters up for his slider that drops more than it moves horizontally. Unfortunately for Singer, his offense has gone freezing cold on him. 28th in the league over the last two weeks in OPS (.608) batting just .217 in that period, he would love to have some run support to compliment his game.

Enter Lucas Giolito, who is good to blowup every few outings. Coming into the season I was high on Giolito (and the White Sox) after he posted three successive seasons with a mid-three ERA. His inconsistency has been brutal, allowing 4+ runs in 4 of his last 9 starts. It's hard to gauge whether he'll perform well or get smacked around, but he has been solid over two outings against the Royals this year. Allowing 4 runs over 10 innings is respectable and I think he does have another decent performance today as the Royals have all but mailed it in, while the White Sox are still in line for a playoff birth. The line is short for good reason, but give me the White Sox behind a solid 5 innings of Giolito to get it done.

Pick: White Sox ML -131 (1u)

Charles Rex Arbogast - AP

San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants (9:45 ET)

Favorite: Padres -121

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Blake Snell (4.24 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) vs. Logan Webb (3.33 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)

From a team in the Royals who has mailed it in offensively to a team in the Giants who is trying to make the playoffs and simply can't hit the ball, enter what should be the pitching matchup of the evening. Blake Snell is next in line to face the gift that keeps giving in the Giants offense, and is looking to bounce back after getting shelled by the Guardians in his worst performance of the year. Prior to that outing allowing 6 runs, he had allowed just 6 over his last 6 starts combined. He's also no stranger to the Giants, allowing just 2 runs over 11.2 innings this season and has a 3.08 ERA against them in his career. As I mentioned before, San Francisco's offense has been terrible. How terrible? They are 29th in OPS over the last two weeks and not much better if you include the rest of August.

Logan Webb is typically a staple of consistency for the Giants, but the 25-year-old has been anything but that over his last 6 starts. Allowing 21 runs over his last 35.2 innings (5.35 ERA), he's allowing more contact and walks than usual, and isn't seeming to get the easy soft contact outs he's used to. Still, Webb has dominated the Padres this season (albeit pre Soto and Bell), allowing just 2 runs over 16 innings. He'll have a tall task on his hands if he's to slow down the Padres who are now finding their offensive form we all expected. I think we see trends continue with the San Francisco's offense struggling and the Padres tacking on enough to get by. Give me the Padres as slight favorites.

Pick: Padres ML -121 (1u)

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