Rick's MLB Plays 8/8

Updated: Sep 12

Toronto Blue Jays @ Baltimore Orioles (7:05 ET)

Favorite: Blue Jays -153

Total: 9

Pitchers: Yusei Kikuchi (4.87 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) vs. Jordan Lyles (4.40 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)

The Orioles might have traded away some of their best assets in Trey Mancini and closer Jorge Lopez but that hasn't stopped their run. Winning 5 of their last 6 after dropping a game to the Pirates Sunday, they get a massive chance to continue their push to the playoff with the Blue Jays coming to town. Having picked up Whit Merrifield at the trade deadline, the Blue Jays boast one of the deepest offensive lineups in baseball. Their pitching staff is normally good but tonight they're throwing Kikuchi. While he's been better since he's come back from his latest injury (3.00 ERA in 9 IP), he faced the Tigers and banged up Rays. He's in the bottom 1% of all pitchers in average exit velocity, hard hit percentage, and barrel % so expect a fired up Orioles team to tee off on him.

Jordan Lyles has only gotten better as the season progresses (6.28 ERA in June, 3.58 in July, 1.42 so far in August). He also is one of the few pitcher's whose difference between home and away is so stark it's worth valuing. On the road he has a 5.70 ERA with 15 home runs but at home he's logged a 2.68 with only 1 home run allowed. I give the pitching advantage confidently to Lyles and considering the intangibles of this Orioles team I'll back them to go into the later stages of this game tied or leading.

Pick: Orioles F5 +.5 -125 (1u)

Jim McIsaac - Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds @ New York Mets (7:10 ET)

Favorite: Mets -280

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Justin Dunn (N/A) vs. Chris Bassitt (3.62 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Justin Dunn comes back to face the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2016. Having struggled throughout the extent of his professional baseball career, the Reds are willing to give him a try considering they've traded away most of their valuable assets and are dealing with some injuries to starters. Dunn has a 6.75 ERA in his 8 minor league starts, so I don't expect him to have much success in the majors.

There's no worse way to welcome him than against the Mets considering they've won 12 of their last 14 and are the hottest offensive team in baseball. Bassitt has been better at home and considering the Reds traded away Brendan Drury and Tommy Pham I expect him to have another dominant performance just like he did against the Nationals. This play is all chalk but I expect domination from the Mets who are on a roll and looking to pull away from the Braves.

Pick: Mets -1.5 -133 (2u)


San Francisco Giants @ San Diego Padres (9:40 ET)

Favorite: Padres -180

Total: 8

Pitchers: Alex Wood (4.42 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs. Blake Snell (4.16 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Juan Soto and Josh Bell or not, the Padres simply cannot beat the Dodgers. Coming home after being swept, they look to get back on track against the ever-struggling Giants. Now only 2 games below .500 after winning both outings in a shortened weekend series in Oakland, the Giants throw an improving Alex Wood Monday. Brilliant in July (1.65 ERA) but smacked around in his last outing, Wood has a 3-pitch arsenal with no real dominant go-to pitch. He mixes in the Slider and Changeup well but every pitch is getting hit at a .250 or better rate.

Snell has two glaring issues in his game - walks (11.8%) and average exit velocity (90.6 MPH) - everything else is brilliant. He has above a 30% strikeout rate yet again, but often tries to paint the corners so much that he walks batters. With that said though, he's allowed more than 1 run just once in his last 6 outings. Given how bad the Giants offense is this year (13th in OPS) and especially over the past 2 weeks (26th), give me a massive outing for Snell at home to get them back on track. I'll isolate Snell to the first five innings and take the Padres be leading after 5 innings.

Pick: Padres F5 -.5 -115 (1u)

Denis Poroy - Getty Images

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