The Los Angeles Dodgers have fallen off a cliff. Going into their Sep. 11 game against the rival San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers have lost 10 straight. Their only win in their last 16 games was a 1 to 0 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Sep. 1. Clayton Kershaw pitched lights out in that game.
The reason I wanted to write about the Dodgers in my intro is because I didn’t choose a single game in my MLB Week 20 Weekend Preview and Picks that includes LAD. The Dodgers are still favored to win the World Series. LAD is at 11 and 4 while the hottest team in MLB, the Cleveland Indians, are at 9/2.
LAD sure looks like an awful bet to me. Cleveland? The Tribe has won 18 in a row going into Sep. 11. Cleveland battles the Royals in my Thursday, Sep. 14 game to play. I like Arizona at San Francisco this Friday. My Saturday game has the Rangers battling the Angels while I like a play in Seattle’s battle versus Houston on Sunday, Sep. 17.
2017 MLB Week 21 Weekend Preview and Picks
Thursday, Sep. 14
Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals listed starter Jake Junis has some talent. Junis has an okay 4.34 ERA. His WHIP is a decent 1.31. Junis has a 7 and 2 record. He’s only faced Cleveland batters 12 times. The fact that the Tribe has 5 hits off Junis doesn’t mean much.
Cleveland counters Junis with pitcher Jake Tomlin. Tomlin’s form has turned around in his last 4 starts. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs in any of his last 4 starts. In his last 6 starts, Tomlin is 5-0-1. Could Tomlin keep Cleveland on their hot streak?
Although Tomlin’s record has been great in his last 6 starts, he hasn’t pitched further than 5.2 innings in his last 3 starts. Tomlin’s inability to throw more than 5.2 innings has been countered by Cleveland’s excellent bullpen. Tribe relievers have a 2.84 ERA. Cleveland, again, has the best BP in MLB based on ERA.
Will the bullpen help Tomlin against Kansas City on Sep. 14? It definitely should. During Cleveland’s 18 game win streak, the Tribe pummeled KC in 3 straight. The BP, and Cleveland starters, didn’t allow a single Royal run in 27 innings. The beat down was bad from Game 1 on. Cleveland beat KC 4 to 0, 4 to 0, and 12 to 0.
With that being written, it’s hard to see Cleveland continuing the streak. They battle Detroit in a 3-game series before battling Kansas City in a 4-game series this Weekend. KC faces the tail end of Cleveland’s starters, Tomlin and Bauer, on Thursday and Friday.
I think KC beats Cleveland in this Thursday matchup. My hope is that Cleveland goes into this contest on a 21-game winning streak. The odds on the Royals should be overlaid if that’s the case.
Pick: Kansas City Royals money line
Friday, Sep. 15
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
The hot Arizona Diamondbacks travel to San Francisco to battle the Giants this weekend. AZ has won 14 out of their past 16 games as of Sep. 11. The D’Backs listed starting pitcher for Friday’s matchup against the Giants is awesome Robbie Ray.
Ray has a great 13 and 5 record. His ERA is 2.81. His WHIP is 1.15. San Francisco bats .247 against Ray. The Giants have 19 hits from 77 at-bats. They only have a single home run versus Ray while they’ve struck out 22 times.
San Francisco counters Ray with Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija’s ERA and WHIP aren’t terrible. His WHIP is only 1.16. His ERA is a decent 4.47. Samardzija’s record is a bad 9 and 13, though. Versus Arizona, Samardzija hasn’t thrown all that badly. He’s allowed 47 hits from 194 at-bats. That’s a .242 batting average.
Jeff Samardzija pitched lights out in 3 straight games before he imploded on Sep. 9. On Aug. 22, He pitched 6 innings versus the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed only a single earned run. In his very next start on Aug. 28 versus the San Diego Padres, Samardzija pitched 9 innings. He allowed 2 hits and 0 earned runs. Samardzija held the St. Louis Cardinals to 1 earned run off 2 hits in 7 innings on Sep. 2.
He also struck out 9 Cardinal batters in that game. Then, in his last start Samardzija imploded. He gave up 6 earned runs off 8 hits in 5.2 innings in a 1 to 13 San Francisco road loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Can Samardzija bounce back with a great game on Sep. 15? I don’t think so. The problem with the Giants facing Robbie Ray is that the man is deadly on the road. Rays got an unreal 1.34 road ERA. Ray loves pitching in an opposing team’s ballpark.
Even if Samardzija pitches well and leaves the game with a lead, it’s hard to see the Giants’ bullpen not giving up the lead. Giant relievers have a 4.60 ERA. The BP is 19 and 23 on the season while the batting average allowed is a healthy .263.
Arizona should beat the San Francisco Giants by at least 2 runs in this game. I believe AZ goes off the favorite. That makes them the run line play for this Friday’s MLB matchup.
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks run line
Saturday, Sep. 16
Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
At 73 and 70 as of September 10, the L.A. Angels are in a dog fight with the Minnesota Twins for the final AL Wildcard spot. Minnesota is at 74 and 69 as of Sep. 10. The Angels must keep winning to keep pace with the Twins, who are dead set on getting to the postseason.
On Saturday, LAA is listed as starting pitcher Parker Bridwell. Bridwell is one of the reasons the Angels have a shot to make it to the MLB Postseason. His ERA is 3.94 while his WHIP is 1.27. The Rangers have never faced Bridwell. That should give him the advantage in Saturday’s match up.
Texas counters Bridwell with starter Cole Hamels. Hamels has a 4.03 ERA to go along with a 1.18 WHIP. His 9 and 3 record is daunting. Hamels has faced Angel batters 347 times. The Halos bat .219 against Hamels. Cole’s struck out 73 Angel batters.
Cole Hamels hasn’t been on his game in his last few starts. On Aug. 26, he only lasted 4.1 innings when allowing 6 earned runs. Then, on Sep. 1, he only pitched 5 innings. He allowed 4 earned runs off 5 hits in those 5 innings. Hamels allowed 4 earned runs again in his last start on Sep. 6. He pitched 6 innings on that day.
It’s hard to believe Hamels gets the job done versus the Angels on Saturday. His form hasn’t been that great. Bridwell’s form hasn’t been unbelievable as well. But, the Halos have won 10 of Bridwell’s last 11 starts.
What it means is that even when Bridwell has an off day, the Angels find a way to bail him out. That’s an excellent sign that it’s wise to put a few bucks on the Angels to beat Texas on the money line in this battle. I’ll back the Halos to beat Texas on Saturday, Sep. 16.
Pick: L.A. Angels money line
Sunday, Sep. 17
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros
Seattle heads to Houston with the intention of starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez has a 4.24 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Neither are bad. The Stros bat .228 against Erasmo Ramirez. They’ve got 26 hits from 114 at-bats. Ramirez’s road ERA is 5.61.
Houston has scheduled ace Dallas Kuechel to start against the Mariners this Sunday. Kuechel’s form has been up and down in recent starts. Overall, Dallas’ ERA is 3.03. His WHIP is 1.12. His record is 12 and 4. Historically, Seattle’s batting average against Kuechel is .269. The Mariners have 50 hits, 8 were home runs, from 186 at-bats versus Dallas.
The Astros and Keuchel are going to be big favorites over the Seattle Mariners in this Sunday matchup. That’s why I’ve chosen this game as one of my top plays over the weekend. I love to go against big time pitchers that aren’t at the top of their games.
That’s Dallas Kuechel. He allowed 6 earned runs versus Texas on August 30. He gave up 4 earned runs to Oakland on Sep. 10. If we catch Kuechel on a bad day, we can cash on a nice money line wager.
That’s the way I’m playing it. I’m backing Erasmo Ramirez and the Seattle Mariners against the Houston Astros in this battle. My hope is that Dallas doesn’t have his best stuff on Sunday.
Pick: Seattle Mariners money line