Back after a couple of days off due to some personal items to take care of before a wedding in Minnesota this weekend, I'm looking to get back to winning ways. Nearly even over the past 7 days (-.5u), there's a massive slate I've got multiple angles to attack from. Let's get into it!
Cleveland Guardians @ Minnesota Twins (8:10 ET)
Favorite: Twins -112
Pitchers: Cal Quantrill (3.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) vs. Dylan Bundy (4.34 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Never this season did I think I'd say the following statement: Not many pitchers have performed better than Cal Quantrill and Dylan Bundy over the past month. Posting a 2.13 and a 2.63 ERA respectively across 5+ appearances each in August, these two are absolutely dealing and are heading into a gargantuan series that will go a long way in deciding the division this weekend. Neither team is in great form offensively, but the Guardians have been particularly terrible. 29th in OPS over the last 2 weeks for Cleveland is not a way they'd like to give such a fantastic pitching staff support, and they'll need to pick it up and get hot to have any chance in the postseason. The Twins aren't much better at 19th, but have been hampered by injuries to Buxton and others.
Given the importance of this game, how well these two are pitching, and how poor the offenses have performed, I expect a low-scoring contest in what should be a rainy Minneapolis. Expect this game to have playoff-like intensity and for it to end somewhere in the realm of 3-2 or 4-3.
Pick: u8 -120 (1u)
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies (8:40 ET)
Favorite: Rockies -115
Pitchers: Zach Davies (3.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) vs. German Marquez (4.86 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
You might not believe me if I said this, but both of these pitchers have been brilliant as of late. Marquez has allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits over his last 14 innings pitched, and Zach Davies has been on a consistent tear over the past few months. One of the best pitchers at creating soft contact in the league, Davies excels through his sinker and changeup together to create groundballs and avoid the barrel. Being in Colorado though drastically affects the drop and effectiveness of both those pitches, but that didn't show in his last outing against them. Through 2 games against the Rockies this season he's allowed just 3 runs on 6 hits over 11 innings.
Moving to the offenses of both teams, the Rockies are in the worst stint of their season. 27th in OPS over the last two weeks, striking out at an abysmal 26.3%, and batting only .210, they're in for a long month ahead if they keep these types of performances up. The Diamondbacks are excelling behind call-ups of Corbin Carroll and Stone Garrett. With these two joining some already steady bats in Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and others they're getting it done with great baserunning and batting .260 to boot. Expect them to only improve on their 6th best OPS ranking in Colorado and be backed by another solid performance by Zach Davies.
Pick: Diamondbacks ML -105
Chicago White Sox @ Oakland A's (9:40 ET)
Favorite: White Sox -155
Pitchers: Lucas Giolito (5.21 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) vs. James Kaprielian (4.79 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
James Kaprielian looked as though he made the adjustments to his game in July to correct whatever was crippling him through the next few months. With a 5.88 ERA going into July, he ended the month with just a 4.50 after posting a 1.93 ERA across his performances. Since then, however he's been horrid, allowing a 1.79 WHIP - walking an average of 2.83 batters a game in the process. Facing a motivated and performing White Sox team won't be welcome for him, even though the White Sox offense can be a black hole at times.
For as bad as Kaprielian has been over the past month, somehow Giolito has been worse. Touted as one of the best pitchers coming into this season and someone I placed a wager on to log the most wins - don't want to talk about it - Giolito has been nothing short of terrible. Luckily he's not Keuchel terrible, he's just terrible enough to still keep his spot. Still, he walks multiple batters each game and allows at least a hit per inning on average. While the A's offense is poor, they have been able to score some runs as of late (17 over last 3). 7.5 runs is far too low considering both of these pitchers, and I'll take the over.
Pick: o7.5 -103 (1.5u)