Over the last week, I sit at 12-11-1. The last few days have been tough, capped off with an 0-2 yesterday because the Cubs and Nationals scored a combined two runs. Sometimes the universe doesn't want us to win money. The overall record currently sits at 130-108-1 (54.6%), so we will make do and bet another set of games today. Here are my bets to kick off the last regular-season weekend of baseball.
Rays vs. Phillies
Charlie Morton pairs with Vince Velasquez at The Trop (Tropicana Field). Yes, the Rays clinched the American League Easy earlier this week, but that will not stop them from maintaining the top spot in the American League for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The thing is, the Rays need to prepare for a quick turnaround for the playoffs next week. After an off day, I believe they will come prepared, even if they start a couple of bench guys. The Rays have one of the best bullpens in the MLB with a combined 3.69 FIP and a top-ten lineup (109 WRC+).
The Phillies, on the other hand, have arguably the worst bullpen in the MLB (7.71 ERA), although they have been unlucky (4.71 xFIP). Morton has faced the Phillie clubhouse in 240 plate appearances and yields a .240 xwOBA, while Vince Velasquez ranks in the 22nd percentile in Barrel Percentage. He also brings along a 1.52 WHIP, while the Rays have posted the third most walks in the MLB (231). Patience will more than likely hinder Velasquez's pitch count, so if the Rays get to a terrible bullpen early with a slight lead, it will get even worse for the Phillies.
Pick: Rays -150
Giants vs. Padres (Game 1)
Tyler Anderson competes with Dinelson Lamet for the final series of the regular season in the first leg of a doubleheader. Tyler Anderson does not have the propensity to let up hard hit balls (ranks in the 81st percentile in Exit Velocity and 86th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage), but he will allow a couple runs to a potent Padre offense (116 WRC+). Lamet averages 97.1 MPH on his four-seamer with a 48.6% whiff rate on his wipe-away slider. Good luck to the Giants on hitting him. Lamet has allowed five runs in 27 innings this September. If the Giants can't hit him, he may go the complete seven-inning game, which in turn, erases any deficiencies in the Padre bullpen. Take the Dads.
Pick: Padres -143
Twins vs. Reds
The Reds are going all out in pursuit of the National League Central title because the Chicago Cubs are sliding. The red-hot Reds are 8-2 in their last ten games. The Twins are 6-4, but they also got to play the Tigers. Tyler Mahle throws against José Berríos. Shockingly, Mahle has been the better pitcher between the two (ranking in the 59th percentile in Barrel Percentage, the 47th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage, and the 74th percentile in Exit Velocity). Respectively, Berríos ranks in the 69th, 31st, and 41st percentiles in those categories. Mahle also sports a 1.10 WHIP versus Berríos' 1.31. The Twins have the elite offense here, but over the last week, the Reds and Twins offenses have both been almost exactly league average. Give the Reds a slight advantage with starting pitching. If Mahle goes long in this game, you have to take advantage of getting plus money.
Pick: Reds +126
That does it for today’s picks, folks. As always, follow me on Twitter @cwsdjt. I give out picks daily in addition to these articles. There could even be a couple more picks later today. I also plan to put out a video on some MLB futures for the playoffs on Sunday or Monday, so stay tuned and good luck!