We have another interesting Major League Baseball card in print on Wednesday, with several matchups having potential consequences after the season.
Analysts Tanner McGrath and DJ James have uncovered two picks they like on the schedule where the Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners kick their best game off. The second showdown pits the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians.
Check where they have found betting value when it comes to their choices.
Odds and choices in MLB
Red Sox vs. Mariners
|Tanner Houck vs. Marco Gonzales|
Tanner McGrath: Tanner Houck is a Chris Sale clone:
As such, I expect him to pitch as Sale. Although he has not been quite as dominant, Houck has largely been effective, putting a 3.54 ERA and FIP below 3.00 this season. His expected and baled statistics fall roughly in line with these numbers.
Houck, however, does not have to play as Sale. He just needs out-duel is opponent. Fortunately, Marco Gonzales is a bad starting pitcher who records a xERA and an xFIP both over 5.00. Gonzales has been more efficient lately, but he’s staring down at a Boston series that has put up a .754 OPS vs. LHPs of the year.
After putting up eight races in Tuesday’s win, I expect the Red Sox bats to come out hot in this game. On the other hand, look for Houck to record a lot of strikeouts – Seattle has struck out at the seventh highest rate compared to RHPs in the last month (24.9%) – while our Action Labs Player Props tool, Houck has expected 6.7 strikeouts.
So I have to make two small bets on this game: Houck finishes with more than 5.5 strikeouts at +120 and one at the Red Sox ML with -125 odds. Both tracks are available at DraftKings.
Twins vs. Indians
|Cal Quantrill Vs. Griffin Jax|
DJ James: Cal Quantrill has recently been a very reliable arm for the Cleveland Indians. He meets Griffin Jax of the Minnesota Twins in this meeting. Cleveland has been a relatively top-heavy ball club in the month of September, but watch for that to change with the 26-year-old right-hander on the hill for the twins.
Jax ranks in the seventh percentile when it comes to average starting speed, so this plays into the hands of guys like Framil Reyes and José Ramírez. They have been Cleveland’s most powerful bats lately against righties. Amed Rosario and Myles Straw have also passed the 100 wRC + mark since August 1, so they have suffered a supportive cast for a team that just wasn’t a hit last week.
The Indians also have a .342 xwOBA on four-stitch fastballs in the same time period. And because Jax throws this pitch so often (more than 40%), they should be able to party for once.
Finally, Quantrill is the opposite of Jax. He only allows an average exit speed of 87.5 miles per hour and a hard-hitting percentage of 34.6 percent. Minnesota has been around league average versus right-handed since early August, so take Cleveland -108 and bet at -125 odds.
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