Free MLB Picks Friday 9/18/2020 and Opening Line Report
We’re heading into the weekend with new matchups to look at. The playoffs are also right around the corner. Some people aren’t going to like the 16-team playoffs, but having multiple teams fighting later in the season is definitely a benefit for baseball fans and the MLB as a whole. Here are the leans for the MLB for September 18.
Indians vs Tigers 9/18/20 (+170, 9)
The pitching match-up in this game will be Zach Plesac of the Indians against Michael Fulmer of the Tigers. This is ultimately a huge mismatch.
Plesac has a 2.2 ERA with a 3.81 FIP. He’s allowing a BABIP of .214 and holding 99 percent of runners on base this season. Plesac also had a very low walk rate and solid strikeout rate and will face a Tigers offense that doesn’t match-up well against Plesac.
On the flip side, Michael Fulmer has a 9.27 ERA and a 7.28 FIP on the season. He’s walking 4.43 batters per nine innings and allowing almost three home runs per nine innings this season while getting minimal ground balls and allowing plenty of runners on base to score.
The Indians offense hasn’t been good this season, but they’ll scrape out runs against Fulmer.
Key trends: Indians are 4-0 in their last 4 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5.
Early Lean: Indians, Over
Rays vs Orioles 9/17/20 (+175, 9)
Are the Orioles getting back to life? Probably. Alex Cobb will take the mound against the Rays with a 5.03 ERA and a 5.44 FIP. He’s limited walks but home runs are high. Cobb is consistently getting ground balls but isn’t getting a high amount of strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Tyler Glasnow is set to take the mound for the Rays in this one. He’s got a 4.47 ERA but a 3.53 FIP along with a very high strikeout rate of 14.18 per nine innings this season. Walks are also getting high, but he’s been blowing away hitters and has been a bit unlucky.
I’ll take Glasnow over Cobb any day.
Key trends: Rays are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road favorite.
Early Lean: Rays, Over
Diamondbacks vs Astros 9/17/20 (-161, 8)
If you like pitching, this is the match-up for you. It’ll be Zac Gallen for the Diamondbacks against Zack Greinke of the Astros. This is to see who spells “Zach” the best way.
Gallen has a 3.15 ERA and a 3.93 FIP while leaving 82.8 percent of batters on base and getting ground balls at 44 percent of the time. However, in 10 games, he has just one win, proving how inept the D-Backs have been offensively.
It’ll be tough to score runs for the Diamondbacks with Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke has an ERA of 3.77 but an FIP of 2.96, which is one of the best in the league. Greinke has struggled with keeping runners on base as he’s slightly below average, but he’s limiting walks and home runs, which has been fun to watch.
Gallen is starting to come back to life and the D-Backs just don’t score enough.
Key trends: Astros are 4-1 in their last 5 interleague games as a favorite.
Early lean: Astros, Under
Royals vs Brewers 9/18/20 (+145, 9)
The Royals and Brewers are two offenses that haven’t performed too well this season. However, the Brewers have solid numbers against lefties this season and will face Danny Duffy of the Royals.
Duffy has an ERA of 4.24 and an FIP of 4.77. He’s getting a high amount of strikeouts but also walking 3.66 batters per nine innings and allowing 1.54 home runs per nine innings.
Adrian Houser will take the hill for the Brewers. While he gets a very high ground ball rate, he’s been lacking strikeouts and allowing a solid walk rate this season with a BABIP of .329. Houser has a 5.40 ERA and a 4.70 FIP but could perform well against a Royals lineup that has been struggling recently.
Key trends: Brewers are 4-0 in their last 4 interleague games vs. a left-handed starter.
Early lean: Brewers, Over
Padres vs Mariners 9/18/20 (-155, 8.5)
You’d think the better pitcher this season would be on the Padres when Chris Paddack is on the mound. While Paddack has been okay, the Mariners have really received some quality pitching out of Yusei Kikuchi.
Kikuchi has an ERA of 5.35 but has an FIP of 2.69. He’s keeping walks low and home runs even lower but struggling to get outs with runners on base this season, even with a high strikeout rate.
On the other hand, Paddack has a 4.74 ER and a 4.66 FIP on the season. His strikeout numbers are also high but he’s allowing 2.01 home runs per nine innings this year, which is concerning.
Obviously, the Mariners don’t have that much power in their lineup, and Paddack should fare well and potentially get back on track against the Mariners here.
Key trends: Padres are 6-0 in their last 6 games as a favorite.
Early lean: Padres, Under
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