The sports world might have turned its eye to the first NFL Sunday of the season, but the Major League Baseball world keeps trucking along and we’ve got our eyes on a pair of West Coast games this afternoon.
MLB editor Collin Whitchurch has picks on a pair of games from today’s slate: Rangers vs. Athletics and Diamondbacks vs. Mariners.
Here are his two best bets from Sunday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Rangers vs. Athletics||4:07 p.m. ET|
|Diamondbacks vs. Mariners||4:10 p.m. ET|
Rangers vs. Athletics
|Pitchers||Taylor Hearn vs. James Kaprielian|
|First Pitch||4:07 p.m. ET|
Collin Whitchurch: Anytime I bet the Rangers I have to do it with my eyes closed, as this is a team that can look among the worst in baseball any time it takes the field.
But I think there’s value with them today as heavy underdogs. James Kaprielian is unlikely to go more than four or five innings and he’s struggled for the most part, including giving up four runs in four innings to the Tigers two starts ago and six in five innings to the Yankees three starts ago.
The Rangers have actually hit right-handed pitching pretty well of late, at least relative to their offense as a whole this season. Their wRC+ against righties this month is 103, the 13th-best mark in baseball.
Oakland has been on a free-fall lately, including Saturday’s demoralizing loss where it led 6-2 in the eighth inning only to give up six runs in the final two innings for an 8-2 loss. Taylor Hearn has flashed some good stuff since joining the rotation full-time and not having to worry about the “swing-man” role he played for most of the season, and against an A’s offense that hasn’t shown much life of late, should be able to keep Texas in the game.
Diamondbacks vs. Mariners
|Pick||First Five Innings Under 4.5 (-115)|
|Pitchers||Tyler Gilbert vs. Yusei Kikuchi|
|First Pitch||4:10 p.m. ET|
Collin Whitchurch: Tyler Gilbert shocked the world last month by throwing a no-hitter in his first career start. In the four starts since then, he’s obviously not pitched to that level, but has been effective, including a quality start against this same Mariners team last time out seven days ago.
Yusei Kikuchi has had an up-and-down season. One easy example is the fact that he got throttled by the Astros last time out, allowing four runs with four walks and zero strikeouts in just 1 2/3 innings … and the start bfore that shut down that same Astros team with seven shutout innings.
I think we get the latter today against an Arizona team that is below-average against lefties with a 98 wRC+. Similarly, Seattle is hitting southpaws at just a 93 wRC+, the sixth-worst mark in baseball.
All of that sets us up for a low-scoring first half today in Seattle. Neither lineup can hit lefties and we’ve got a pair of lefties on the mound. I’ll bet the first five innings under 4.5 at -115, but wouldn’t hit it at any number worse than that.