The month of October begins with 12 games, including four matinee matchups. The biggest series in baseball begins tonight as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Rangers battle for playoff berths. The Houston Astros have a day off before opening up their final series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s going to be a very hard weekend to bet on baseball because there are so many teams in action against other teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs. Playoff teams are setting up their players for the playoffs. I like to be honest and transparent with everybody out there. If I were you, I’d bet everything but baseball this weekend. But, if you still want some action or see some edges, there are three more editions of this article left for the season.
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With a late start to the morning thanks to a new edition of The Bettor’s Box, we’ll start with the 6:40 p.m. ET matchup between the Brewers and the Padres. This will be the final start of the season for Taylor Jungmann, who had an excellent rookie year. It will also be (probably) the last start with the San Diego Padres for Ian Kennedy, an impending free agent.
It’s safe to say that Jungmann is showing some signs of running out of gas. He’s given up six runs in three of his last four starts and gave up four in the other one. He’s going to cross the 180-inning mark for the first time in his career. He’s been at a new career high over his last few starts and the 25-year-old has very little left in the tank.
On the other side, there’s Kennedy, who is just about 40 innings below last season’s pace after missing some time in April. Kennedy was really good from May through August, but has hit some bumps in the road here in September. A .405 BABIP against will do that. The Padres are a terrible defensive team. There’s a lot to like about Kennedy’s second half with a 3.65 FIP and a 3.52 xFIP. He also has a K% over 26 percent. I think he finishes the season strong with a multi-year deal sitting out there from somebody.
Apparently the Rich Hill Experience is going to end. At least that’s what the oddsmakers think. I’m not sure I’d line CC Sabathia as a -145 favorite over anybody right now, especially a team playing as well as the Red Sox. Rich Hill’s game log at the MLB level this season is ridiculous. He has 30 strikeouts against two walks in 23 innings. He’s given up three runs on 10 hits against three pretty good lineups. He’s going to face his fourth and final AL East team in this start. It’s worth noting that along with his absurd K%, he’s also inducing ground balls on 50 percent of balls in play.
I don’t think what Rich Hill is doing is remotely sustainable. But, what CC Sabathia has done most of this season is exactly who he is now. He’s lacking command, his velocity is declining, and his control is starting to waver as well. Sabathia is a shell of the pitcher that he once was. The Red Sox are truly playing this thing out. They’ve scored 24 runs in the first three games of this series and that’s impressive to say the least.
I’d look at the Red Sox here. The line value is certainly on them and Sabathia is a mystery from start to start. Hill’s performance won’t continue, but maybe he has one more start left in him.
Minnesota at Cleveland (-110); Total: 8
This was one of a handful of podcast free picks for tonight. Take a listen here.
Like the above game, this was also included as a podcast free pick.
I thought this line was very surprising when it opened and I’m not surprised to see the line movement. That being said, I don’t agree with it. The Rangers opened -125 even after a string of awful starts from Derek Holland. Andrew Heaney has thrown the ball extremely well for Anaheim all season long. Texas opened such a clear favorite that I felt the oddsmakers were trying to tell us something. Whatever that something is, the market is coming in heavy on the other side.
I don’t actually have a pick on the game, because I don’t know if Derek Holland is worth trusting. From the context clues and the opening line, however, I feel like the books were asking for Angels money. They’re getting it. I like Heaney, but he’s kind of a fly ball pitcher and Angel Stadium is much nicer to pitchers than Globe Life Park. He’s got great control and command. Both of these teams have struggled with lefties. I think recency bias is playing a bit too much into the market and this number is getting a little bit out of control.
What does this total say about this game? Kris Medlen and John Danks with a total under 8? That says a lot to me. Medlen owns a 4.97 ERA in his 38 innings as a starter with a .276/.329/.457 slash against. Danks has a 4.53 ERA with a 4.51 FIP and a 4.64 xFIP. And this game has a total of 7.5?
Danks is the side that I like here. The White Sox don’t have anything to play for, but the Royals really don’t at this point either. They aren’t going to catch Toronto for home field and will be starting the ALDS at home against probably Texas. Nobody has really noticed, but Danks has actually been pretty good in the second half with a 3.67 ERA and a .240/.307/.403 slash against. His strikeout total is a little bit better and his walk rate is a little bit higher, but he’s sequencing better and his changeup has improved. Everything is about the changeup for Danks. It’s still a below average pitch for the season, but not nearly as bad as it was earlier. Don Cooper is one of the game’s top pitching coaches and it’s fair to say that he has had an impact on Danks.
Take the White Sox here. It’s an ugly game, but I think they prevail.
New York (NL) at Philadelphia