• Rick

Rick's MLB Plays 8/31

San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants (3:45 ET)

Favorite: Padres -136

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Joe Musgrove (2.97 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) vs. Alex Wood (5.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Going back to the well for the third time in this series, I'm going to continue to fade this Giants team. As of now they've scored 0 runs through 7 innings, so that 29th ranking in OPS over the last two weeks just continues to get worse. Assuming they don't pull any runs back, they've now scored just 11 runs over their last 6 games - good for 1.83 a game. Musgrove has slipped a bit lately allowing 7 runs over his last 22.2 innings (still just a 2.77 ERA), but that's nothing compared to Alex Wood. With an 8.53 ERA in August allowing 6 or more runs in 3 of his 5 starts, Wood is getting blasted deep far too consistently. With deep ball threats like Soto, Machado, Bell, and Drury on this Padres team I favor them heavily to outperform the Giants bats. Give me the Padres to secure the sweep in the Bay.

Pick: Padres ML -136 (1.5u)

St Louis Cardinals @ Cincinnati Reds (6:40 ET)

Favorite: Cardinals -230

Total: 9.5

Pitchers: Jose Quintana (3.45 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) vs. Mike Minor (6.10 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)

Jose Quintana has been a mirror image of consistency lately, allowing at least 2 walks and 2 runs in each of his four starts. Luckily, it ends at just 2 earned runs in each of those starts. The issue runs a bit deeper, as he's allowing hits to go along with those walks, 25 in his last 18 innings to be precise. Luckily, the Reds offense has been one of the worst in the league since losing their major players and rank 24th in OPS this month, but Quintana will need to regain the form he had in Pittsburgh if he wants to keep his spot in the Cardinals' rotation.

Quintana should have some wiggle room on Wednesday evening as Mike Minor has been one of the easiest fades of the season. The former 1st round pick has allowed at least 2 runs in each of his last 7 starts, and is averaging 3.57 runs per start in that span. Given that the Cardinals have been the best offensive team in baseball this past month (.888 OPS) and are the best team this season hitting lefties (.808 OPS), I expect them to get to Minor early and often. To add fuel to the fire, the Cardinals lost the matchup on Tuesday and won't be keen to lose their streak of 5 series victories in this finale to the Cubs. Give me the Cardinals to win by multiple runs behind an offensive explosion before taking a day off.

Pick: Cardinals -1.5 -135 (1u)

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