MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Saturday, June 8, 2024

Bobby Witt Jr
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 9: Bobby Witt Jr. #7 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium on April 9, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

Thursday was a disaster. We went 0-3. We took the Nationals as a big underdog, and Mitchell Parker threw a five-inning no-hitter, but it wasn’t enough. We took the Cubs as the underdog, and they got out to an early lead, but it wasn’t enough. We also took Yusei Kikuchi under 17.5 pitching outs at +110, and he finished with 18. It was a terrible day.

The damage wasn’t that bad because they were all half-unit plays. It’s still terrible, but it’s easier to swallow. Today, I’m back with one pick, and it’s an underdog again.

I’m going to keep grinding to find us winners. I have one for you today. I’ll also be back with the daily TikTok lives. Feel free to follow here; we’ll start it up at 12:30 pm EST.

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

2024 Record: 57-71 (-14.80 U)

Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals @ 4:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Luis Castillo vs. Alex Marsh

I was already looking to back the Royals, but this trend put it over the top for me.

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Ralph is awesome. He always has plenty of trends in all sports; he’s worth following. Since 2004, only six times has a team scored 7+ runs in the first inning and lost. The previous five teams are 0-5 in their next game, with an average score of 7.2-2.6.

Some trends feel wonky, and maybe this one does to you, but it makes sense to me. Seattle has to feel demoralized after blowing such a huge lead, and with a day game on deck, that energy is likely to carry over into this one.

Beyond that, this game is much closer to 50/50 than the line indicates. The Royals have the better offense and have been so good at home (23-10). The Royals bullpen is also in a better rest spot, and Andres Munoz will likely not pitch with his lower back strain. The Mariners are not a good road team, going 15-18 this season. The Mariners are decent road favorites out of respect for Luis Castillo.

Luis Castillo is an ace, but he’s not impenetrable. I highly doubt he will post an ERA under three this year as he is now; every underlying metric points to an ERA closer to 3.60. A bit of line reading is also involved; he’s -115 to go over 2.5 earned runs, even though he hasn’t been over that in ten straight starts.

I think he goes over today because the Royal’s offense at home is elite. The Royals have the fifth-best offense in that split, putting up a 118 wRC+. To put that in perspective, the Mariners have a 95 wRC+ against righties on the road and a 94 wRC+ at home. The Royals have an 82 wRC+ against righties on the road; there is something about Kauffman Stadium for this young Royals offense. The Royals hold a clear offensive advantage.

They also match up well against pitchers with a similar arsenal. The Royals have the eighth-highest xwOBA against four-seamers 95+ MPH. They also have the seventh-highest xwOBA against right-handed sliders. They rank 11th against change-ups, but they have the lowest whiff rate in the league against them. His slider and changeup are the out pitches, and the Royals have had those covered this season.

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Castillo’s numbers against the Royals are fantastic: a .266 xwOBA and a 25.8% strikeout rate. Marsh’s numbers aren’t much worse: .326 xwOBA with a 29.4% strikeout rate. Castillo hasn’t faced them yet this year, and this Royals offense has never been better.

Marsh threw against these Mariners already, allowing one earned run over five innings with seven strikeouts. If he allows two runs, we are in a great spot. His underlying metrics point to a 4.20 ERA at the end of the year, so this version of Marsh is what we will get—five to six innings allowing 2 to 3 earned runs. If he allows three, we still should be in this game.

Beyond the starters, the Royals’ rest advantage closes the gap in the bullpens. The Mariners will not have their best reliever in Munoz or one of their better lefties in Gabe Speier. Matt Brash and Gregory Santos are still in IL. The only reliever on a good rest schedule is Austin Voth.

Angel Zerpa (2.19 ERA), Sam Long (0.00 ERA), John Schreiber (2.77 ERA), and James McArthur (4.91 ERA) all didn’t pitch yesterday and are ready to go.

The Royals have the better offense, home-field advantage, and a minimal bullpen edge on either side. If the Royals can keep up with Castillo, we should get a win here. The trend is also too good not to notice, and as an underdog, it’s worth the play for me. Take them to +105.

The Pick: Royals ML (+115) Risk 0.5 Units