• Rick

Rick's MLB Plays 9/13

Tampa Bay Rays @ Toronto Blue Jays (1:07 ET)

Favorite: Blue Jays -160

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Jeffrey Springs (2.54 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) vs. Alek Manoah (2.42 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)

With pitchers this dominant, you can probably guess where I'm going. The Rays offense has cooled since their surge after the return of Wander Franco and have now scored just 14 runs over their last 5 games, or 2.8 runs a game. Batting .272 over the past two weeks is exceptional, but their slugging being just .397 shows it's mainly singles. Given how dominant Manoah has been against the Rays in his short career (1.47 ERA in 30.1 innings), I doubt they take him deep with consistency.

The Blue Jays on the other hand have been going yard on everyone lately. Hitting their stride at the right time winning 9 of 11, the Blue Jays offense has been exceptional across the board. Walking 10.3% of the time is 4th in the league and striking out only 16.3% is 2nd. I doubt they're able to keep up such dominant numbers against Jeffrey Springs, but the numbers indicate they should be superior to the Rays offense. Springs has a 2.23 ERA since the beginning of August, and if it weren't for one bad outing against the Red Sox it might be below 1. Expect both pitchers to throw a fine game through five innings and for this game to have a nervy, playoff feel. Give me the under

Pick: F5 u4 -109 (1u)

Houston Astros @ Detroit Tigers (6:40 ET)

Favorite: Astros -210

Total: 8

Pitchers: Hunter Brown (0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP) vs. Drew Hutchison (4.08 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

Hunter Brown is one of the top pitching prospects across the league. The 71st ranked prospect in all of baseball and the Astros top prospect, he's finally broken into the lineup due to an injury to Justin Verlander. In his one appearance he was brilliant allowing 0 runs over 6 innings against the Rangers. Coming up against an even worse offense on Tuesday, Brown should continue to strut his high-90s fastball complimented with a filthy low-80s curveball that drops off a cliff. If he can continue to blend in a slider with those two, he'll be in the league for a long time.

Drew Hutchison has been decent lately, but never tends to go more than 5 innings and will allow a few runs on the process. He's prone to allowing walks, something the Astros will take advantage of with their league leading walk rate of the past two weeks. While they've struggled to swing the bat recently, the Astros are still as dangerous as ever and will be looking to lock in that #1 AL seed and put the pressure on the Dodgers for the #1 overall seed. Give me the Astros to be leading after 5 innings and win the game by multiple runs.

Pick: Astros F5 -1 -102 (1u) & Astros -1.5 -128 (1u)

Elizabeth Conley - Houston Chronicle

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