Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. While the Blue Jays remain improbably close to the second Wild Card (at least in terms of games behind), the team continues the tenuous balancing act of having some of its most dependable and relied upon talent excel and flounder simultaneously. In a season where the entire roster has yet to get on an upswing at the same time, one of the few truly consistent positive presences was Marco Estrada, until this year, of course. Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler (Dumb and Dumber) will start the show tonight by suggesting to you that Estrada has found his groove again after three consecutive seven inning outings in which he allowed just four runs over 21 innings, including a 7-inning, five-hit shutout over the Yanks in his last start. Well, once again, we’re here to tell you that he hasn’t found his groove; instead, his good fortune has momentarily reappeared. In that “gem” against the Yanks, Estrada’s swing and miss rate was 6%. Over his last three starts, his ERA/xERA split was 1.71/5.52. Over his last three starts, Estrada’s groundball/fly-ball split was 27%/57% with 14 groundball outs and 45 fly-ball outs. Estrada is throwing 89 MPH and he’s at the mercy of where hard hit balls land. It’s now just a matter of whether or not those balls hit to the outfield find the gaps/get hit over the fence or are run down by the fielders. We can live with the result by knowing we’re going with the best of it here.
Then there’s Blake Snell, the best winless pitcher in the majors over the past decade perhaps. In 15 starts, remarkably, Snell is 0-6 but we are the beneficiaries of his poor fortune in the betting line. Blake Snell’s only problem is that his relationship with the strike zone isn’t very good. However, it’s getting better, as he’s walked just nine batters over his last five starts covering 27 frames. Snell has a diverse arsenal that features a 95 MPH fastball along with a change, slider curve and cutter. His line drive rate is elite at 14%. His groundball rate is strong at 46%. Snell’s been bit by a trifecta of bad luck with a low 69% strand rate, a high hr/f rate and a high BABIP. While his xERA of 4.39 isn’t elite, it’s an extremely serviceable number with a win expectation that is larger than expected losses. Blake Snell is simply too good to be winless but the fact that he’s lost just six times in 15 games shows the fine line between winning and losing. If all things are equal, Snell figures to pick up his first win in his last 17 starts dating back to last year. This has nothing to do with the “due to win” angle, as that’s something we do not adhere to one bit. It’s simply backing the superior pitcher at a price.
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Tampa Bay +107 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.14)