MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Saturday, June 22, 2024

Julio Rodriguez
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 12: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on May 12, 2024 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

I love the Cleveland Guardians. We are heavily invested in their futures, and they won us an easy bet yesterday, winning on the ML by six runs. So much fun to watch them play.

Today, I’m breaking my rule of one play a day. I think both of these picks are bangers.

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

2024 Record: 65-76 (-14.22 U)

San Francisco Giants vs. St Louis Cardinals @ 2:15 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Jordan Hicks vs. Miles Mikolas

We have a sneaky really good pitching matchup today. You combine that with an off-day yesterday so both bullpens could get a breather, and two offenses that don’t impress me, we should see a low scoring game today.

Miles Mikolas has been impressive lately. He’s throwing the ball wherever he wants; his command within the strike zone is fantastic. He is number one in Location+ among all qualified pitchers at 108. For reference, George Kirby is sitting at 106.

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When you have command like Mikolas has right now, you don’t need elite stuff to be effective. He’s rattled off 19.1 innings in June while only allowing three runs. His ground-ball rate is above league average, and he rarely allows free passes. That’s why we see an xERA of 3.96 and a 4.03 SIERA; the quality of contact against him is quiet.

He’s facing a Giants offense that I still don’t like against righties. They hit up Pallante, who is a significant step back from Mikolas, and they were playing in a hitter’s ballpark. Over the entire season, the Giants are average against righties. They have a 99 wRC+ (14th) and a .683 OPS (20th). They have the 12th-highest GB rate and the 19th-highest Hard-Hit rate. Nothing special.

Since June began, they rank 19th in wRC+ and 22nd in OPS. I project Mikolas to throw six innings and allow three runs, a quality start.

On the flip side, we have Jordan Hicks making a revenge start. The Cardinals never gave him a genuine shot at being a starter, so he had to leave to get that opportunity. He’s been great this season, rocking a 2.82 ERA and a 3.93 xERA. Heavy ground-ball pitchers like Hicks often allow harder contact, but it’s hedged by being on the ground. That’s what Hicks does at an elite rate (90th percentile).

To compare, he has a lower xERA than ground-ball artists like Logan Webb and Framber Valdez. Hicks has only allowed seven earned runs in 36.2 IP (1.72 ERA) during the day. I project him at five innings while allowing two earned runs.

We should still be in a good spot if they score five runs after five innings (I think we see less). Both bullpens have key arms available that should shut the door. The Cardinals have Ryan Fernandez (2.59 ERA), JoJo Romero (2.41 ERA), Ryan Helsley (2.45 ERA), and Andrew Kittredge (3.18 ERA). They could quickly put up zeros against the Giants’ offense.

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On the Giants side, they have Camilo Doval (4.71 ERA), Ryan Walker (2.31 ERA), Tyler Rogers (3.03 ERA), and Luke Jackson (4.84 ERA). Jackson may give up one, but the rest of those arms are fantastic.

I don’t see more than five runs being scored against the starters, and I don’t see more than three runs against the bullpen. I got the worst of the number on this one because of the weather. It should be warm with 8 MPH winds blowing out. I don’t see that significantly affecting this game with two ground-ball pitchers.

The Pick: Under 8.5 (-105) Risk to win 0.75 Units

Seattle Mariners vs. Miami Marlins @ 2:15 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Logan Gilbert vs. Shaun Anderson

This is a straight fade of Shaun Anderson and his 8.99 xERA and 10.13 ERA. With Ryan Weathers and Sixto Sanchez going down, Anderson has filled the fifth starter role, but I don’t view him as a Major League talent.

He throws his slider 43% of the time. It’s his most used pitch, and opponents are hitting .462 and no hitter has yet to whiff. The pitch has a 0% whiff rate. He’s thrown 40 sliders and has yet to get a swing and miss. That’s mind-boggling.

His second most used pitch is his four-seam fastball at (35.2% usage). Opponents are hitting .545 against that pitch with a .490 xwOBA. That’s insane.

He’s not a top prospect off to a rough start; he’s a 29-year-old journeyman who missed all of 2023 in the major leagues. He used to average 94.1 MPH on his fastball but isn’t doing that now.

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I’m not surprised the Mariners didn’t perform against Trevor Rogers. They have been in the Botton ten against lefties since June began, and they rank 21st in wRC+ overall this season.

Against righties, it’s a different story. Since June began, they have had 113 wRC+ against righties, which is good for 11th in the league, right behind the Yankees. They have the 13th-ranked OPS and the fourth-highest Hard-Hit rate. Honestly, even if they were terrible against righties, I would still take them.

We get Logan Gilbert on our side. He’s arguably the Mariners best pitcher. He leads the team in xERA and ERA while also leading in innings. You rarely see a pitcher with an 18.5-out line juiced toward the over.

Gilbert has recorded 28 PA against the Marlins’ current roster, which went horribly for Miami. They have a .266 xwOBA, one of the lowest on the slate today.

Since June began, the Marlins have a 67 wRC+ against righties, placing them second to last in the league. They have the second-lowest OPS and the seventh-highest strikeout rate.

This is such a staunch difference in offenses and starters that I must take the bait with the Mariners. We aren’t laying significant juice; we are just fading Shaun Anderson. The Marlins have won on three straight walk-offs, which may continue late, but the Mariners have an incredible advantage early. It’s such a square play that I’ll be on it light, but I must bet it.

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The Pick: Mariners First 5 Innings -0.5 (-105) Risk to win 0.5 Units