Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 9:30 AM EST and are subject to change.
Seattle +115 over Houston
2:10 PM EST. George Kirby (RHP - SEA) doesn't own the same sexy stats as rotation-mate Logan Gilbert, but Kirby's better skills could give him a higher ceiling: 23% K%, 3% BB%, 19% K-BB%, 44% grounders and a 3.11 xERA over his last 10 starts. He attacks hitters at a really high clip (66% first-pitch strike rate) while pounding the strike zone (10 K’s issued in 66 frames).
Then of course, there is one of our favorite fade targets in Jake (The Mistake) Odorizzi. He’s made 11 starts this year, covering 53 innings and has 35 K’s with a weak 8.6% swing & miss rate. In his last start against Oakland, he struck out 2 batters in five innings and took the loss as a -190 road favorite. His career year a couple seasons back seems like a distant memory. He hasn't fooled many hitters since, as that K-BB% sticks out like a sore thumb now. Burgeoning xERA speaks the truth: as a flyball pitcher with shaky skills coming off an ugly 2nd half last year, an ugly first half this year, his risk/reward proposition is siding firmly on the former.
Seattle has to be feeling pretty good this morning too. It had been a quiet deadline season up to this point, almost certainly because of the status of Juan Soto, to whom the Nationals are reportedly throwing out one more figure before embracing trade offers. The return for Soto will probably be simultaneously the greatest prospect haul in modern baseball, and also an underpay; there is no overpaying for that kind of generational talent. But Seattle will not be landing Soto. Rather than play the lottery (as they did, and failed, once before), Jerry Dipoto opted to make a play for a known, and needed, ace in Luis Castillo.
35 years after a bust move at the deadline (they traded for a 36-year-old DH in Gary Matthews. Not only did he slash .235/.319/.319 on his way to retirement, he actually blocked a younger and better player, Ivan Calderon, that manager Dick Williams hated. It was their only trade. The team went 34-43 the rest of the way) the Mariners have never really been buyers. It’s not their way, no matter how many times the “they” changes with the ownership groups. Castillo is by far the biggest deadline acquisition the team has ever made, after years of nibbling, and subsequently falling short, in past playoff runs. After a surprising 2021 and a sobering start to 2022, the team’s recent 14-game win streak put the team in a position to right those old wrongs, and commit to ending the longest playoff drought in the top four professional American sports.
This is a team that never really bought or sold; they just made random, six-player swaps every once in a while just so everyone knew that they were showing up at their offices, giving the marketing people new faces to put on the magnetic schedules. But this time, it’s real: they’re going for it and we’re going to trust that they'll respond positively in this very winnable game.
Seattle +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)