Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 10:45 AM EST and are subject to change.
Seattle +129 over Houston
4:10 PM EST. We know the market, media and public love to salivate over Justin Verlander (RHP - HOU) but here’s a marquee name playing for a marquee team that is almost always a 2-1 favorite when he pitches and today, the books made him and the Astronauts an enticing -145. Interesting. While we take nothing away from Verlander, he’s not as good as his 1.89 ERA suggests he is. Whether hitters are in awe when facing him or he’s just plain lucky, he is in no way as good as that ridiculous ERA suggests. For starters, he’s a fly-ball pitcher with a groundball/fly-ball split of 39%/40%. In his last start, Verlander (12-3) earned the win against Oakland, 5-0, allowing six hits while recording 10 strikeouts in six shutout innings. His line drive rate last game was 46%, which was the highest line-drive rate of any starter in any game this year. His league average swing and miss rate of 12% does not support 108 K’s in 109 innings. His 56% first-pitch strike rate over his last five games also does not support anything he’s doing. Justin Verlander is killing it on the surface this year but underneath, aside from his pinpoint control, he’s a league average starter with an unsustainable 82% strand rate, that gets the hype of being the best pitcher in baseball when he’s not.
We’ll take our chances with the Mariners taking back a price with Logan Gilbert (RHP - SEA). Gilbert posted some of the best primary stats of any starter during the first half, thus confirming the upper-rotation pedigree he carried coming into the year. He has an elite BB/K split of 29/104 in 111 innings. He comes in with an ERA/xERA split of 2.76/3.58. The M’s chances of winning when Gilbert starts are great.
If there’s one thing to say about the Mariners, it’s that, already, they’ve got one of the best young hitters in MLB in Julio Rodríguez. There isn’t a Mariners player who’s been nearly as valuable by WARP as Rodríguez, who, after a slow start, has looked like the superstar we’ve been hearing about for half a decade. There have been a collection of surprises that have helped them prop their window to the playoffs open. First is Cal Raleigh, who, since his brief demotion and subsequent call-up, has been one of the best hitting catchers in MLB. That Eugenio Suárez has recovered after two down years as a (superior) Kyle Seager replacement has been a boon for the Mariners, and the offensive improvements of J.P. Crawford and Ty France weren’t expected, but are certainly welcome. And even when it seemed like the Mariners were about to skid, Carlos Santana provided them with a shot in the arm since joining the team. Saturday. Big crowd, lots of atmosphere and a very live underdog.
Seattle +129 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.58)