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Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
8:15 PM EST. Over their last 15 games, the Rays are dead last in MLB with a combined batting average of .217 and it’s not like they faced a string of aces. Au contraire my friends, as they faced a lot of pitchers like Nick Tepesch, Yovani Gallardo, Ariel Miranda, Marco Estrada and Brandon Woodruff among others. They are also dead last in runs scored over that span with 45 in 15 games. The Rays are dead last in just about every offensive category since the All-Star break but they rank first in striking out and they’ll now face a strikeout pitcher that they’ve never seen before in Michael Wacha.
Wacha has 119 K’s in 126 innings. He also has an elite batted ball profile of 54% grounders, 19% line-drives, 27% fly-balls (incidentally, infield flies are categorized as groundballs). Wacha was once considered a can’t miss prospect but a recurrence of a 2014 shoulder issue cost him much of the 2nd half last year and put 2017 in limbo. That was then and this is now in which Wacha is finishing the season with a flourish. He has posted some excellent skills in the second half with 8.4 K’s/9, 2.0 BB’s/9 and an xERA of 3,27. His top-flight command sub-indicators of 12% swings and misses and 68% first-pitch strike rate say his resurgence is not a mirage. These are legit skills.
Jake Odorizzi is another prime example of why we don’t buy surface stats and why they’re so misleading. Odorizzi brings his 4.04 road ERA into this start but his skills are among the worst in MLB. Odorizzi has a weak BB/K split of 45/90 over 108 frames. His 30%/23%/47% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile is repulsive. Over his last 14 innings over three starts since returning from the 10-day DL, Odorizzi has walked 10 batters and struck out eight. In summarizing, Jake Odorizzi’s fly-ball % ticked up again. HR’s allowed remain persistent and the damage inflicted by RHBs is on the upswing. This is a starter with an xERA of 6.18 that pitches half his games in a pitcher’s park. Odorizzi’s WHIP since returning from injury is 1.83. Stay clear of Jake Odorizzi unless of course you want to get behind a pitcher that throws a flat 90 MPH fastball right down the middle of the plate.
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ST. LOUIS -1½ +129 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.58)