• Rick

Rick's MLB Plays 9/22

Seattle Mariners @ Oakland A's (3:37 ET)

Favorite: Mariners -227

Total: 7

Pitchers: George Kirby (2.98 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) vs. Adrian Martinez (5.77 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)

After a day off, I'm going back to the Mariners again. Two days ago they let me down allowing a 3-run HR in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs to not cover my first five inning spread, but I still believe in this offense to best the league's worst in September in Oakland. Yes, Oakland is 30th in OPS and strikeout percetange (29.4%) this month. Seattle ranks 12th in OPS and should only improve with the return of Julio Rodriguez from a short stint out.

Adrian Martinez has gotten pounded in his last two games to the tune of 11 ER on 18 hits over in 8.2 innings. Not to kick a guy while he's down, but he's walking batters consistently too. Given Seattle's 2nd best walk rate this month I expect they should be able to notch a handful of runs on Martinez and I don't expect the same from A's. George Kirby has been nothing short of brilliant lately, allowing just 4 runs over his last 27 innings (1.33 ERA). He might give up one run, but I doubt he gives up multiple. Take the Mariners to be leading through five innings.

Pick: Mariners F5 -.5 -144 (1u)

Steven Brashear - Getty Images

Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies (7:15 ET)

Favorite: Braves -144

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Max Fried (2.52 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs. Ranger Suarez (3.53 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

There's not much to seperate these two teams lately. They've both been stellar offensively and are throwing two of their best pitchers on Thursday. Over the course of this month, Atlanta and Philadelphia are tied for 4th in OPS at .780. Incredible really, but I'm not surprised that both of these teams are in the top tier of offensive teams during such a crucial stretch for both. The Braves are currently 1 game back of the Mets, while the Phillies are just two games ahead of the Brewers for the last playoff spot.

What I do see as a differentiator between these teams is the pitching. Ranger Suarez has been solid for the Phillies throughout this year, but he's been slacking as of late. He's allowed 13 runs over his last 26 innings (4.50 ERA) and has walked 12 batters in that span. Max Fried hasn't been at his best, but the worst performance he's had since the end of August is 2 runs allowed through 5 innings agianst the Rockies. What will be the difference is the bullpens. Philly's has let them down throughout this year and September has been no different. They're 20th in xFIP and will be a liability come playoff time. The Braves, on the other hand, have one of the best and September is a continuation of what has been expected. Give me the Braves as a short favorite to get it done and attempt to close the gap on the Mets.

Pick: Braves ML -144 (1u)

Mary Decicco - Getty Images

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