Angelo's Past Picks
The Rays have literally nothing to play for and roll with a bullpen game here in Toronto. Wouldn't surprise me to see them sit some of their bats as well, with only a couple of days left until playoffs start. Toronto on the other hand put up 17 runs in the last two games since being shutout by Gerrit Cole for nine innings and they are only one game up on Houston in the Wild Card race. A lineup that is hitting well is certainly one I want to back at this point in the year. Taking the more motivated team with a well rested bullpen, playing at home at a decent price.
Bryce Miller is 2-0 this year vs Houston but the third time around should be tougher. The lineup looks a bit different than the last one he faced and I think it's tough to throw a heavy mix of fastballs and continue being this effective (12.1 innings, no runs vs Houston). Framber Valdez is on the mound for Houston, coming off a blowup outing vs the Royals. I'm betting he bounces back and finishes the season on a high note, against a Mariners team with just a .661 OPS vs lefties this month. Plus, backing Valdez up is a well-rested bullpen, while the Mariners had to use multiple top relievers last night.
We backed the Mariners in Joey Estes' MLB debut and he gave up five earned runs with three home runs allowed in that game. In his second start in the big leagues, I don't expect a whole lot to change. A struggling A's bullpen (without Mason Miller available) should also do him no favors after he exits the game. Pablo Lopez pitches for the Twins and says "All systems are go as normal" with this being his final start before the playoffs and I expect a full workload here. Lopez has been great in the second half of the season, posting a 3.20 ERA through 13 starts.
Joey Estes, making his MLB debut, might be outclassed here by a hungry Mariners team going for the sweep. Estes has struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark at Triple A, allowing 10 home runs in just under 33 innings, with an ERA north of five. George Kirby starts for the Mariners and he should handle this Oakland team as he did earlier this season. Seattle plays the Rangers in Texas after this, so tacking on another win vs the A's is crucial before that huge series. I expect them to keep their foot on the gas pedal here.
San Diego scored 10+ runs in back to back games and Xander Bogaerts has led the charge, hitting .458 this month with a 1.288 OPS! Ryan Feltner returns from injury for Colorado, and he threw only 66 pitches in his last rehab start without finishing five innings. The putrid Rockies bullpen (MLB worst 7.04 ERA last 30 days) should be in a spot to cover multiple innings here. Blake Snell has been stellar at not allowing runs and the Rockies have struggled vs lefties, so the Padres offense will need to pick up the slack. San Diego won Snell's last start 6-1, just missing this total, and that game featured the Dodgers bullpen (2.17 ERA last 30 days).
While the Astros went with regular starters today, the Padres will run with a depleted lineup that's missing Tatis and Machado. Matt Waldron pitches for San Diego and while he's found success with his knuckleball, his other pitches have been rocked. Waldron's ERA was 8.44 at Triple A last year and 7.31 this year. Expect Houston's bats to follow the trend, as they have been MLB's best offense for a few weeks now. JP France has been good overall for the Astros this season (3.72 ERA) but could use a bounce back performance after allowing five runs last time. Houston's bullpen worked a lot last night but basically had the two prior days off, so they should be good to go behind France.
The Astros just got swept at home by the Yankees, and this came after winning five in a row on the road! When Houston came home to face New York, I'm sure a sweep in three games was certainly not what they expected. Having to regroup and face Andrew Heaney and the Rangers now, I think this sets up for a bounce back for Houston. Heaney has not lasted long in recent outings, giving little confidence that the Rangers won't have to use a good bit of bullpen here. The bullpen has been abysmal, with an ERA over five in the last few weeks. Aside from a blowup in Boston, JP France has been possibly Houston's best starter.
The Dodgers were 24-4 in August before entering this series with the Braves, but after losing the first three games, LA needs to win tonight to avoid being swept for only the second time this year! We know how great this Atlanta team has been, but sweeping the Dodgers in a four-game series on the road is certainly a tall task for any team. I expect the Dodgers' bullpen to be nearly fully available, and Charlie Morton, while pitching well of late, gave up six runs to this team earlier this year. At even money, I like the odds for LA to win.
Alex Cobb lasted the complete game in his last start, throwing over 130 pitches, so I'm iffy on how much gas he'll have in the tank here. Before that nine inning outing, Cobb had completed six innings only once in his past five starts, while allowing four or more runs three times. The Padres offense has tallied 10+ hits in four of their last six games and will look to back up Seth Lugo with their bats. After an eight run blowup vs the Dodgers to start August, Lugo held his next four opponents to two or less runs, with three quality starts in that time. The Giants rank dead last in OPS vs righties since the trade deadline as well.
The Yankees have produced vs lefties this season, and boast a near 1.000 OPS in the last month vs southpaws. Tarik Skubal has consistently pitched into the 6th inning in recent starts but even if he can stifle the Yankees, the Detroit bullpen is liable to blow the game, with a 5.24 ERA in August. Skubal has also given up four runs in two of his last three starts, so it's not like he's been great either. Michael King and the Yankees bullpen have been a bright spot so far, and King has looked serviceable in his time as a starter. Yankees have the bullpen edge and their big arms should all be available.
Since the All-Star break, Houston has lost only one series (Tampa Bay) but they will need to win tonight behind Justin Verlander to avoid a series loss in Miami. Verlander has been stellar recently, firing a Quality Start in six of his last eight and he's not allowed more than three earned runs since June 20th, when he faced the Astros! This Houston lineup, with a top-5 OPS vs lefties, is primed to tee-off vs Jesus Luzardo, who has given up 15 earned runs in just his last three starts. A startling number, these recent blowups have been aided by five home runs allowed, and I think we see more fireworks tonight.
Rhyne Nelson has been brutal at home this year with an ERA of 8.01 and is allowing nearly two walks and/or hits per inning! Tonight San Diego will roll with four lefties in the lineup, and Nelson has walked those batters a considerable amount more those that are right handed. If Nelson can get pulled early on, he'll have a bullpen with an ERA at 7.02 since the All Star break to back him up (worst in MLB). Blake Snell should be able to hold the Arizona offense in check, as they've achieved the sixth worst OPS vs LHP since the All Star Break, and Juan Soto's recent comments about the team quitting when down should hopefully jump some life into this club tonight. Taking a shot here as I think there is value at +100.
The Rangers roll into Oakland riding a six game win streak, after sweeping the White Sox and Marlins in Texas. Now facing Ken Waldichuk, Texas is guaranteed nine at bats and they feature an .806 OPS vs LHP since the All Star Break. Even without star rookie Josh Jung tonight, they should put up runs. Waldichuk has failed to last five innings in any start or relief appearance since May 19th and asking the A's bullpen to cover four or five innings isn't a recipe for success. Dane Dunning is coming off one of the best starts of his career, with 11 K's in 7.2 innings of one run ball, but he struggled in July with a 5.06 ERA. It looks like he's righted the ship and can lead the Rangers to victory with another strong start.
Looking to target Luke Weaver and Emmett Sheehan, two starting pitchers that have given up a bunch of runs of late. Getting in here at 10 on Caesars Sportsbook gives us the ability to push if this ends at 10, while we still need an 11th run to cash. Sheehan has given up 17 runs over his last three starts and Weaver has given up 12 runs over his last three. Expected stats also point to both pitchers struggling, so I'll ride the over 10.
Zach Eflin has enjoyed success in Tampa Bay this year. His home ERA is a stellar 2.10 through 11 starts and he boasts a 10-1 record. For contrast, Sandy Alcantara is 2-5 on the road and has allowed 10 HR's in 66 innings away from Miami. Even though the Rays are 3-7 in their last 10 games, Miami has been worse at 1-9. The Marlins are also 23-28 on the road vs 31-20 at home, while Tampa is a MLB best 37-18 at home. Miami's offense has struggled vs RHP too, producing the league's second worst OPS of .624 since returning from the All-Star break. Last night, they only recorded four total baserunners and one run vs Tampa's pitching. I don't think much changes here...