MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, September 14th

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MLB schedule today has 10 games

Ten games are on the MLB card because Mother Nature doesn’t want to see the Yankees and Red Sox play baseball games. They’ll try again to play a doubleheader today and it starts bright and early at Fenway Park as part of a day/night twin bill. We’ve got eight games not involving those teams and a handful of interesting matchups.

 

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Now that we’re into mid-September, it becomes a little trickier to know which teams still have some fight and which teams don’t. Also, teams will start clinching playoff spots and that can, in some cases, lead to a letdown spot as they party late into the night and veterans sit the next day. The Braves clinched yesterday, but they are off today, so that one doesn’t really count, though it wouldn’t be shocking to see some guys not in the lineup tomorrow.

That’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. Instead, let’s look at today’s slate.

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Here are some thoughts on the September 14 card (odds from DraftKings):

Miami Marlins (-115, 8) at Milwaukee Brewers

With no lead time for the Nationals and Pirates, it’s on to the Marlins and Brewers, who play at 1:10 p.m. local time. It will be Eury Perez and Adrian Houser in this one, as the Fish look to leave town with a split in this four-game set. Miami won 2-0 yesterday behind Braxton Garrett and we’ve seen a total of six runs in the last two games and only three runs worth of offense from Miami in the series after a 12-0 defeat in Game 1.

Perez owns a 3.86 ERA with a 4.94 FIP in his last six starts since getting recalled on August 7. He allowed four runs in each of his first two starts and has allowed a total of five earned runs over his last four starts. He only has nine strikeouts in his last two starts out of 44 batters faced and has allowed four homers, so I’m a little skeptical, especially since both outings have been on the road. As discussed with many other Marlins pitchers, a lot of them do have home/road splits.

Houser is coming off of the 15-day IL after spending a tad more than that on the shelf for elbow discomfort. He has a 4.58 ERA with a 4.24 FIP in 17 starts and one relief appearance over 90.1 innings. He has allowed 47.3% Hard Hit% and did not make any rehab starts. I’m not sure how sharp he’ll be today, but that offensive baseline is really low for the Marlins, so this is a nothing burger for me.

Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets (-120, 7)

A low-scoring affair is expected at Citi Field with Merrill Kelly and Kodai Senga squaring off. The Mets have scored seven runs in each of the last two games, but aren’t expected to do much against Kelly, who has a 3.16 ERA with a 4.09 xERA and a 3.76 FIP in his 154 innings of work. 

Since returning on July 25 from a blood clot in his calf, Kelly has a 3.05 ERA with a 3.65 FIP over 59 innings pitched. He allowed seven runs on 12 hits on August 29 against the Dodgers, but has allowed a total of 13 earned runs over his other nine starts, including one in each of his last two outings.

Senga has been phenomenal for a long time now and it isn’t getting enough run because the Mets stink. He’s got a 3.07 ERA with a 3.78 xERA and a 3.56 FIP in his 149.1 innings pitched. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start since June 4 and has also really cut down on the walks, while increasing his efficiency in a big way. Since July 5, Senga has worked at least six innings in nine of 11 starts, with one coming in at 5.2 innings.

In that span, Senga has a 2.53 ERA with a 3.05 FIP in 67.2 innings. His Over 17.5 Outs prop was something I advocated for in his last start against the Twins and he got there, despite four walks. It’s up to -150 today, as the books have noticed, but I do think he pitches well again.

The Diamondbacks bullpen is in a bit better shape if this is a close game late, so I could see taking a shot with them, but a better live price may come available.

San Francisco Giants (-258, 10.5) at Colorado Rockies

Chase Anderson faced the Giants five days ago at Oracle Park and allowed six runs on six hits in just 3.1 innings. He’ll face them again today, but do so at home, as the Giants head to Denver on the heels of taking two of three against the Guardians. Anderson has a 6.49 ERA with a 6.40 FIP for the season and just came back to the team on September 3. He’s allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings since his return.

Webb comes in with a 3.40 ERA, 3.70 xERA, and a 3.28 FIP during what has been a very solid 2023 campaign. He’s on track to set a new career-high in fWAR, but this start is one where I have some reservations.

First, Webb has had good numbers since the start of August with a 3.16 ERA and a 2.93 FIP, but he has only struck out 37 in 51.1 innings. Second, he has allowed a 46.8% Hard Hit% in that span. While he is an extreme ground ball guy and that has kept him out of trouble for the most part, especially since his only two below average starts have been against the Braves, he’s going on the road here.

Home: 102.2 IP, 2.37 ERA, 2.93 FIP, .227/.259/.337, .259 wOBA
Away: 90.1 IP, 4.58 ERA, 3.69 FIP, .267/.301/.432, .315 wOBA

There are some defined home/road splits here for Webb. The big K% decrease from 25.3% in the first half to 19.2% in the second half is a concern to me. His HR/FB% jumps from 13.6% at home to 19% on the road.

Unfortunately, the weather is not going to cooperate tonight and that’s one of the reasons why we see this total so low. This may be a rare rainout. Even if they play, temps are in the 50s with wind blowing in at a heavy clip.

Let’s hope this game does get postponed and see what Webb’s line looks like in a makeup game tomorrow.

Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays (-155, 7.5)

Nathan Eovaldi and Kevin Gausman are the slated starters here, as the Rangers look for a four-game sweep of the Jays. This series has been complete domination from Texas, as they’ve won the first three games by a combined score of 26-7. Jordan Montgomery sailed through seven innings yesterday, while the Rangers scored six off of Yusei Kikuchi.

Toronto needs a big start here out of Gausman. He has a 3.28 ERA with a 3.76 xERA and a 2.83 FIP in 167.1 innings of work. Since allowing seven runs on August 16 to the Phillies, he’s allowed a total of nine runs over his last four starts, but he’s faced the Orioles, Nationals, Rockies, and Royals in that span, so this is a big step up. Gausman has also had one blow-up per month. Literally.

He’s allowed 30 runs over five of his 28 starts, accounting for nearly half (61) of the earned runs he’s given up. He allowed eight on May 4, seven on April 17, six on June 11, five on August 16, and four on July 22. Those are his only five starts with more than three runs allowed. Is today the day for his September blow-up?

Even if it is, today is basically a bullpen day for the Rangers. Eovaldi has allowed four runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings since coming back. He didn’t make any rehab appearances, as he just came back as an opener of sorts for the Rangers on September 5. He’s thrown 35 and 47 pitches in those two appearances, so he’s likely around 55 or so today, which might get the Rangers through three innings.

Andrew Heaney could be a piggyback option, but I don’t think the Rangers would be excited to throw a lefty at the Jays. Recently-recalled Jonathan Hernandez may be the first out of the pen, but he has a 6.45 ERA with a 5.63 FIP in 22.1 MLB innings. Another option is lefty Cody Bradford, but, again, Toronto would be in a better spot against a southpaw.

So, while I think Gausman might be a few cents overpriced here, the Rangers could be dealing with a messy scenario in the middle innings.

Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles (-142, 8)

How good has Kyle Bradish been lately? Look at how big this line is for the Orioles and Rays. Bradish has allowed a total of eight earned runs over his last six starts and actually has a 2.57 ERA with a 3.13 FIP over his last 126 innings. Bradish was hit with a comebacker early in the season and it took a little time for him to get back into rhythm, but he has been stellar throughout the season for the O’s.

He has only allowed more than three runs twice in his last 21 starts, so the offensive baseline looks to be pretty low for the Rays in this one. The line certainly indicates that.

Since joining the Rays on August 5, Aaron Civale has a 4.29 ERA, but a 2.95 FIP. He’s got a .350 BABIP against and a 70.8% LOB%, even though he’s posted a 40/8 K/BB ratio in seven starts. He wasn’t terribly sharp last time out against Seattle with four runs on four hits in five innings of work. He also only had three strikeouts and allowed a good bit of hard contact. He allowed three runs in the first inning last time out, but then settled in over the next four frames. His first inning went BB, 1B, HBP, K, BB, 1B to account for three runs, so he really made his own mess.

It is a little striking to see the O’s this big of a favorite here, but Bradish deserves it and I think the price is probably pretty fair.

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (-118, 9) Game 1

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (-118, 9) Game 2

I’ve already said a lot about this series for nothing to really happen. At this point, it’s a crapshoot as to how it plays out. Monday was postponed into a Tuesday doubleheader. Wednesday was postponed into a Thursday doubleheader. The Yankees won a couple of low-scoring games on Tuesday by 3-2 and 4-1 counts.

Boston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2. Tanner Houck will start Game 1 against Michael King and the Yankees will send Clarke Schmidt out for Game 2. That’s as deep as I’m going to go here. This is a pretty rough handicap all the way around.

Minnesota Twins (-185, 9) at Chicago White Sox

Kenta Maeda and Jose Urena start for their respective ballclubs here as the Twins take on the White Sox. Maeda has a 4.65 ERA with a 4.20 xERA and FIP on the season, but he also has a start with 10 runs allowed on his ledger. He was immediately put on the IL after that start and spent nearly two months there.

Since coming back on June 23, Maeda has a 3.70 ERA with a 4.13 FIP over 14 starts and 73 innings. He’s got an 82/21 K/BB ratio in that span and has thrown the ball really well for the most part. He had a rough outing against the A’s on a 10-day layoff after the All-Star Break and allowed six runs to Cleveland on August 28. Other than that, complaints are few and far between about his work.

Maeda and the Twins draw a White Sox team playing out the string with a tired bullpen. Eight relievers were needed on Tuesday for the doubleheader against the Royals and three more were needed on Wednesday. With a bum like Urena on the mound, that seems like a suboptimal situation. Urena made his first White Sox start five days ago and allowed one run on four hits over four innings against the Tigers. He had been throwing the ball well in Triple-A for the White Sox and they needed arms, so they brought him up.

I do think the Twins should win this game, but they’re not exactly playing great baseball right now. I was looking for a parlay partner with Minnesota, but didn’t find one and I don’t want to do the double minus with -1.5 and -120. Nothing from me in this one.

Cincinnati Reds at Detroit Tigers (-122, 8.5)

This is an early one, so just a few brief thoughts. The Reds are starting Derek Law as the opener, but it looks like Ben Lively will be the bulk guy. Reese Olson gets the call for the Tigers.

Lively hasn’t pitched since August 26 and has made one MLB appearance since August 1. He allowed 13 runs on 13 hits in four innings on August 1 and then gave up 10 runs in 5.2 innings in the minors. He was just activated from the COVID list, so this could be an ugly one for the Reds pitcher.

Olson has allowed three runs over his last 18 innings of work, as he’s settled in nicely, but he has faced the Yankees and White Sox twice, and he gave up a lot of hard-hit contact to the Pale Hose. I’m not really sure how this one plays out today.

I really forced yesterday’s play on the Dodgers/Padres game and it was a lopsided 6-0 loser. I’m not forcing anything today. I don’t bet into doubleheaders often and we’ve got some day games, so it’s a day with no plays for me.

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