We have another interesting Major League Baseball card on tap Wednesday, with several matchups having potential postseason implications.
Analysts Tanner McGrath and D.J. James have uncovered two picks they like on the schedule, with the Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners kicking off their best bets. The other showdown pits Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians.
Check out where they’ve found betting value when it comes to their choices.
MLB Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Red Sox vs. Mariners||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Twins vs. Indians||7:40 p.m. ET|
Red Sox vs. Mariners
|Pick||Red Sox ML (-125) | Houck Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+105)|
|Pitchers||Tanner Houck vs. Marco Gonzales|
|First Pitch||4:10 p.m. ET|
Tanner McGrath: Tanner Houck is a Chris Sale clone:
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) July 23, 2021
As such, I expect him to pitch like Sale. While he has’t been quite as dominant, Houck’s been largely effective, posting a 3.54 ERA and FIP under 3.00 this season. His expected and batted-ball statistics fall roughly in line with those numbers.
However, Houck doesn’t have to pitch like Sale. He just has to out-duel is opponent. Luckily, Marco Gonzales is a bad starting pitcher, recording an xERA and a xFIP both above 5.00. Gonzales has been more effective lately, but he’s staring down a Boston lineup that has posted a .754 OPS vs. LHPs on the year.
After putting up eight runs in Tuesday’s victory, I’m expecting the Red Sox bats to come out hot in this game. On the other side, look for Houck to record a lot of strikeouts — Seattle has struck out at the seventh highest rate vs. RHPs over the past month (24.9%) — while our Action Labs Player Props tool has Houck projected for 6.7 strikeouts.
So, I’m going to make two small plays on this game: Houck finishing with more than 5.5 strikeouts at +120 and one on the Red Sox ML at -125 odds. Both numbers can be found on DraftKings.
Twins vs. Indians
|Pick||Indians ML (-108)|
|Pitchers||Cal Quantrill vs. Griffin Jax|
|First Pitch||7:40 p.m. ET|
DJ James: Cal Quantrill has recently been a very reliable arm for the Cleveland Indians. He faces Griffin Jax of the Minnesota Twins in this meeting. Cleveland has been a relatively top-heavy ball club in the month of September, but look for that to change with the 26-year-old right-hander on the hill for the Twins.
Jax ranks in the seventh percentile when it comes to average exit velocity, so this plays into the hands of guys like Framil Reyes and José Ramírez. They have been Cleveland’s most powerful bats lately against righties. Amed Rosario and Myles Straw also pass up the 100 wRC+ mark since Aug. 1, so they have a little bit of a supporting cast for a team who just was no hit last week.
The Indians also have a .342 xwOBA on four-seam fastballs in that same time period. And because Jax throws this pitch so often (more than 40%), they should be able to feast for once.
Finally, Quantrill is the antithesis of Jax. He only allows an average exit velocity of 87.5 miles per hour and Hard-Hit Percentage of 34.6 percent. Minnesota has been about league average versus right-handers since the beginning of August, so take Cleveland -108 and play to -125 odds.