We took the over 1.5 runs in Seattle vs. Tampa on September 7th. Oh, wait. We took over 7.5 runs. Regardless, both wouldn’t have hit since it ended 1-0. That was not my best pick.
We took the Royals on the first five money line on Sunday as Cole Ragans is entering mandatory tail mode. He did his part, shutting out the Blue Jays through five innings, and the Royals scored in the sixth inning against Berrios. Go figure. It was a push, and we move forward to today with my two favorite picks.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 153-161 (-8.55 U)
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Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies @ 1:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Charlie Morton vs. Taijuan Walker
I was doing my nightly, nerdy routine of going through FanGraphs to see which teams have been the best on offense lately. However I queued it up against right-handers, the same two teams kept popping up. The Phillies and the Braves. I looked into how Morton and Walker have done against these two teams. RUNS.
The only issue I can foresee is we should get some rain later in the game, around 3 p.m. Rain doesn’t have much effect on overall run-scoring, and it shouldn’t stop the game.
Charlie Morton has been pitching really well lately. He is coming off an incredible August, tossing 28.1 innings to a 1.91 ERA. However, its competition isn’t close to the Phillies level. He dismantled the Mets twice and destroyed the Yankees and Rockies, and his one rough start was against the Cubs. He was tested again on September 3 and allowed two runs over four innings against the Dodgers.
The Mets, Yankees, and Rockies rank towards the bottom, or the middle of the pack, against righties since August 1. The Cubs rank 11th, and he had a tough time. The Dodgers rank sixth (131 wRC+), and he didn’t get out of the fifth inning—the Phillies rank number one with a 147 wRC+ since August 1. The Phillies have also seen Morton plenty of times.
They saw him once this year, allowing seven hits in 5.2 innings while giving up two earned runs. Over 188 PA against the Phillies’ current roster, they are hitting .280 against him with a .317 xwOBA. I don’t expect him to get bombed, but I expect 2-3 runs over 5-ish innings, as the prop lines would indicate.
Taijuan Walker is on the other side; who has not fared well against the Braves. He allowed three runs over 6.2 innings in his last start, but it could have been so much worse. The Braves scattered ten hits but only scored three. On the second time around, I expect more runs. The Braves rank number third in wRC+ since August 1st against righties on the road with a 124 wRC+.
Capping the bullpens in divisional games is tough. These two teams know about every arm in the bullpen, so I don’t want to limit myself to the first five, even though I think it hits. The model is obsessed with this one. Take this up to 10.
The Pick: Phillies vs. Braves Over 9.5 (-110) 1.1 U to win 1 U
Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners @ 9:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Reid Detmers vs. Logan Gilbert.
The Angels offense is dead. The Mariners’ offense is bursting out the seam against lefties. I won’t overthink this one with the substantial starting pitching edge for the better team at home with something to play for.
In general, this is the spot to fade Reid Detmers. He’s rocking a 5.60 ERA on the road and a 5.09 ERA during night games. Home day-games? He’s been great, posting a 4.29 ERA at home and a 3.98 ERA during the day.
Detmers can’t seem to figure out the Mariners. In two starts against them this year, he’s allowed nine earned runs in 8.2 innings. Through 65 PA against the Mariners’ current roster, Detmers has surrendered a .316 opponent average with a .385 xwOBA and a .528 xSLG. We are approaching “the Mariners own Reid Detmers” territory.
He’s also facing a red-hot Mariners team against lefties. Since August 1st, Seattle is fifth in baseball in wRC+ at 138 against left-handers at T-Mobile Park. However, they get a little bit of a boost in wRC+ since it’s park-adjusted. They still rank ninth in OPS. If we look at the last three weeks, this Mariners offense has a 1.007 OPS and an 184 wRC+ against lefties at home, by far the best of any team.
This Angels offense stinks. Everyone is gone. They have a 77 wRC+ against righties on the road since August 1st. If we look at the last three weeks, they’ve been better, ranking tenth in the league in wRC+ and tenth in OPS. However, the books are telling us that Gilbert will dominate today.
His 1.5 ER run line is at -130 towards the over. That line is reserved for high-level aces against bad offenses. His strikeout line is at 7.5, and his outs are majorly juiced towards the over at 17.5. We should see a masterclass from Logan Gilbert today.
It’s even weirder when you consider the Angels destroyed Gilbert the last time they faced him. They scored six runs in three innings. The main contributors in that game were Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Zach Neto, and Taylor Ward. Neto returns from the IL today, Ohtani is still not 100%, and Trout and Ward are on the IL. This is a shell of that former offense.
I expect the Mariners to pile on against Detmers and for Gilbert to exact revenge against a division rival who beat him up last time. Take the Mariners on the run line through the first five up to -150 at one unit.