There’s only 2 weeks left in the 2017 MLB Regular Season. That gives us 2 weeks for my Weekend Preview and Picks. This weekend, I choose 2 games on Saturday, and 2 games on Sunday.
On Saturday, I preview Cleveland versus Seattle. I also analyze the San Francisco Giants at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sunday’s games are the New York Yankees at Toronto, and the Miami Marlins at the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2017 MLB Week 22 Weekend Preview and Picks
Saturday, Sep. 23
Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners
Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to take the mound on Saturday. Based on Carrasco’s overall stats, the matchup favors him: 3.48 ERA, 16 and 6 record, and 1.10 WHIP. Carrasco has had success against the Mariners. He’s allowed 25 hits from 105 at-bats. Seattle’s batting average is only .238. He’s walked 2 while striking out 28.
Seattle has listed Marco Gonzalez as their starting pitcher for Saturday. Gonzalez has a 6.62 ERA. His record is 1 and 1. His WHIP is 1.79. Gonzalez previously pitched in the National League for the St. Louis Cardinals. Since arriving to Seattle, Gonzalez hasn’t lasted more than 5 innings in any start.
His form appears to have come around, though. Versus Texas on September 12, Gonzalez pitched 5 innings, yielded 8 hits, and allowed 3 earned runs. He struck out 6 Texas batters, and pitched an inning of relief versus Houston on September 17. He allowed 2 hits, also didn’t give up a run while he struck out 1 and walked 1.
Gonzalez has never faced Cleveland batters. That could give him an edge in this matchup.
Since Cleveland’s 22-game winning streak ended with a 3 to 4 loss to the rival Kansas City Royals, the Tribe has started a new winning streak. Cleveland is 4 and 0 since the loss to the Royals. That makes it 26 wins in their last 27 games. Carlos Carrasco has 4 of the 26 wins.
It sure appears as if the Tribe might pummel the Mariners in this game on Saturday. With Carrasco on the mound, and the best bullpen in MLB, Cleveland might not lose another game until the World Series. Even then, they could sweep the NL squad, right?
Maybe, not. The ballpark OPS in Seattle is only .252. As great as Cleveland’s bullpen is, it might not be able to bailout Carlos Carrasco should he get the Tribe behind before exiting the game. Don’t get me wrong. Carrasco is a fantastic pitcher. He’s an “A” starter. There have been moments when he’s lost his concentration, though.
Carrasco had one of those moments versus the Royals on September 16. He allowed 4 earned runs off 8 hits in only 6.2 innings pitched. Cleveland beat KC 8 to 4. The Tribe scored 4 runs in the 6th inning.
I’ll plan on a comeback not happening versus Seattle on Sep. 23. Mariners starter Marco Gonzalez has the edge since Tribe batters aren’t familiar with him. Seattle’s ballpark is conducive to Gonzalez having a great start.
I’m calling the upset.
Pick: Seattle Mariners money line
San Francisco Giants at L.A. Dodgers
The San Francisco Giants would like nothing more than to batter the Dodgers with losses before the National League Playoffs. Although the Giants have no shot at a postseason berth, Giants vs Dodgers should still be one of the most competitive MLB Series over the weekend.
San Francisco sends Madison Bumgarner to the mound in Saturday’s battle versus LAD. MadBum has a 3.48 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Both those stats are decent. What isn’t decent is MadBum’s 3 and 9 record. The Dodgers have never had great success versus Bumgarner, though. LAD bats .222 against MadBum. They have 36 hits from 306 at-bats. Bumgarner has struck out 84 batters. He’s given up only 8 home runs. He’s yielded only 28 RBIs.
The Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu is listed as starting on Sep. 23. Ryu’s record is 5 and 7. His ERA is 3.46. His WHIP is 1.33. Ryu has faced San Francisco batters 133 times. The Giants have 38 hits off Ryu. SF bats .286 against Hyun-Jin.
This is a challenging game for baseball handicappers. Madison Bumgarner’s stats versus the L.A. Dodgers are much better than Hyun-Jin Ryu’s stats versus the San Francisco Giants. At first glance, MadBum should dominate the Dodgers while Ryu should struggle.
That might not be the case on Saturday, though. The San Francisco Giants went 1 and 2 versus the Dodgers the last time the 2 rivals battled. Bumgarner didn’t lose one of those games. He didn’t even start one of those games. That should give the Giants an edge.
I don’t believe it will. The Dodgers beat San Francisco because San Francisco’s bullpen is downright awful. LAD’s bullpen is just better than SF’s. Since Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy is only allowing MadBum to go 5, 6, or 7 innings, L.A. could be down by a run or 2 in the later innings and still win.
My big hope is that the Giants are favored. The Dodgers are having issues winning any game (the Phillies swept LAD in a recent 3-game series). That should lead to LAD offering odds on the money line to just beat Bumgarner and the Giants this Saturday.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers money line
Sunday, Sep. 24
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
The New York Yankees are listed as sending Jordan Montgomery to the mound to battle the Blue Jays on Sunday, Sep. 24. Montgomery’s overall stats aren’t terrible. His ERA is 4.06. His WHIP is 1.26. Montgomery’s got a winning record. He’s won 8. He’s lost 7.
Toronto counters Montgomery with their ace, Marcus Stroman. This season, Stroman has proven he’s one of the top starters in the American League. Stroman’s ERA is 3.01. His WHIP is 1.29. What’s truly excellent is Marcus’ winning record of 12 and 8. As of Sep. 20, Toronto’s win-loss record is 71 and 81. It’s almost remarkable that any starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays has a winning record.
As of Sep. 20, the Yankees are only 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. That’s close to remarkable because I thought the Yankees were done for only 3 weeks ago. To possibly win the division, which would keep NYY out of the AL Wildcard Game, the Yankees must beat teams like Toronto.
Can they on Sep. 24? I think so. Look, Marcus Stroman is great. He’s held Yankee batters to a .234 batting average. He’s struck out 30 Yankees from 145 at-bats. But, Marcus should have a much tougher time battling the Yankees on Sunday than Montgomery is going to have battling the Blue Jays.
Montgomery has faced Toronto batters 21 times. That’s not enough to get a feel for how well he’s going to pitch against the Jays on Sunday. No worries. Versus Baltimore in his last, Montgomery threw 6 innings. He allowed only 4 hits. He didn’t give up an earned run. Yes, Jordan’s away ERA is a less than great 4.38.
That should be countered by the Yankees desire to keep pace with Boston. I like the Yankees all around in this matchup on Sunday. NYY is the team to back at slightly underdog odds.
Pick: New York Yankees money line
Miami Marlins at Arizona Diamondbacks
Pitcher Dillon Peters is scheduled to start for the Miami Marlins in their game versus Arizona on Sunday. Peters is 0 and 2. His ERA is 5.40. His WHIP is 1.66. He’s only pitched 21.2 innings this season. Peters has never faced the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The D’Backs have listed Patrick Corbin as their starter for Sep. 24. Corbin’s ERA is 4.14. His WHIP is 1.42. His record is 14 and 13. The Marlins bat .279 against Pat Corbin. Miami has 24 hits from 86 at-bats. 5 of the 24 hits went for home runs.
This is a total money line odds play. My guess is that Miami and Peters go into this matchup as heavy underdogs. The Arizona Diamondbacks are a legitimate challenger to the Cubs, Nationals, and Dodgers for the NL Pennant. The D’backs have the third best record in the National League at 88 and 65.
Miami should offer excellent odds to upset Arizona this Sunday. There is a method to my madness, however. Although Corbin has a great 3.18 ERA at home, he has floundered at Chase Field in a few starts this season. On Sep. 8, Corbin was horrible against the San Diego Padres. He allowed 8 earned runs off 7 hits in only 4.1 innings pitched.
It could be that Corbin is just bad against the Friars. He did give up 4 earned runs again to the Padres on Sep. 18. I’m willing to take the chance, and the excellent odds, that Corbin’s form is about to turn south again.
I’ll back Dillon Peters and the Miami Marlins against Patrick Corbin and the Arizona D’Backs in this Sunday MLB contest.
Pick: Miami Marlins money line