MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Friday, June 21, 2024

José Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians poses for a photo during the Cleveland Guardians Photo Day at Goodyear Ballpark.
GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: José Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Guardians poses for a photo during the Cleveland Guardians Photo Day at Goodyear Ballpark on Thursday, February 22, 2024 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Pretty disappointed in the Giants. Keaton Winn got blasted early, but the Giants bullpen settled down. The Giants left eight runners on to the Cardinals at three, which was the difference. The Cardinals scored when they needed to, and the Giants did not.

Today, we are back to the well with another money line pick. We have a short favorite at home that should be a larger one.

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500

2024 Record: 64-76 (-14.72 U)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Guardians @ 7:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Yariel Rodriguez vs. Carlos Carrasco

While Carlos Carrasco certainly isn’t my favorite pitcher to back, I usually side with the veteran to adjust his last outing against the current opponent. You factor in the Guardian’s home field, offense, and bullpen advantages, and as long as Carrasco doesn’t get destroyed, we should see a Guardians win.

Will Carrasco get pummeled today? He should give up a few runs but not much more. I’m not scared of the Blue Jays’ offense one bit. Since June 1, the Blue Jays have an 89 wRC+ and a .657 OPS against righties. That places them 22nd and 25th, respectively, among all MLB teams.

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Against righties on the road this season, they rank 17th in OPS and 16th in wRC+. Against Carrasco in particular, the numbers are okay, could be better. Through 72 PA against the Blue Jays’ current roster, they are hitting .242 with a .350 xwOBA. Vladdy, Varsho, Jansen, Springer, Kiermaier, and Turner are a combined 13-60 (.216 AVG) in their careers against Carrasco. Carrasco should be able to make the proper adjustment and give us a decent outing.

All I’m asking for is a decent outing from Carrasco. Five innings, three runs. If he can give us that, the Guardians should roll here.

This season, the Guardians have a 109 wRC+ and a .718 OPS against right-handed pitching at home, much higher than the Jays. This offense is also heating up, and it did it against tough competition in the Mariners.

Since June began, the Guardians have a .794 OPS and 127 wRC+ against right-handers. That’s right in line with the Dodgers production in that time. This is a hot offense at home getting another crack at a Blue Jays bullpen game started by Yariel Rodriguez.

At first, I was intrigued by Rodriguez. We bet him over on strikeouts against the Padres, and it hit with ease. I looked to back him against the Royals, but thankfully, I didn’t; he got crushed quickly and hit the IL. His advanced numbers are terrible, rocking a 5.84 xERA, worse than Carrasco’s metrics this year. He’s returning from thoracic spine inflammation and hasn’t pitched since April 29th. I’m no doctor, but that sounds scary.

In his last rehab start, he threw 79 pitches but allowed two runs in three innings. He did strike out seven but allowed three walks. The Guardians don’t strike out; good luck.

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If he’s 100% healthy and back to normal, I still think the Guardians can crush him. He’s a fastball/slider-dominant pitcher; not ideal against Cleveland. They have the 11th-highest wOBA in the league against that combination. He’s also shown to be a walk-machine, registering a walk rate of over 11%. If you let these Guardians on the basepaths, you’re in for a rough game.

The Blue Jays’ bullpen is still without their best reliever, Yimi Garcia, and their closer Jordan Romano. This season, the Jays bullpen ranks 26th in ERA and dead last in FIP. In the previous 30 days, they rank 19th in ERA and 27th in FIP.

Yes, Carrasco could be a better pitcher. But I’ll take him. The best bullpen in baseball is behind him, which ranks first in ERA at 2.36; the next closest is the Dodgers at 3.15. They are also first in WHIP, xFIP, and FIP.

I have the better offense, better bullpen, and home-field advantage. Rodriguez’s xERA is worse than Carrasco’s, and he’s coming off a lengthy trip on the IL. As short favorites, give me Cleveland to stay hot (up to -130).

The Pick: Guardians ML (-120) Risk 0.6 Units