Free MLB Picks Friday 9/4/2020 and Opening Line Report
Friday’s MLB slate is full of double-headers. Many handicappers, including myself, will automatically fade double-headers and look for angles between two teams playing just one game, especially with double-header games being just seven innings. For the first time in a long time, it looks like we’ll have a full MLB slate with the Oakland Athletics returning to action. Here are some MLB leans for Friday’s slate.
Marlins vs Rays 9/4/20 (-145, 8)
The Marlins have been offensively challenged recently but still find ways to win. That’s because of their pitchers, like Pablo Lopez, who will get the call for this one.
Lopez is 3-2 on the season with a 2.1 ERA and a 2.26 FIP on the season. His strikeouts are high enough and his walks are low while not allowing balls over the fence. What’s really stood out is his ground ball rate, which is above 60 percent on the season.
The Rays are sitting in first place and figure to be much better than the Marlins on paper. They’ll pitch Josh Fleming who has two starts under his belt and has also won both. Fleming is also walking very few and has an ERA of 1.74 with a 3.23 FIP in two starts.
Both of these pitchers have been consistently good in small sample sizes. I expect a low scoring game in this one.
Key trends: Rays are 5-0 in their last 5 interleague home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Early Lean: Rays, Under
Brewers vs Indians 9/4/20 (-145, 8.5)
The Brewers and Indians came into this season expecting lots of offense. It just hasn’t happened for either team. But what has happened has been solid pitching. We’ll get two effective starters in this one.
Corbin Burnes will get the start for the Brewers. He’s just 1-0 in seven starts and is averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. However, he’s also walking 4.73 batters per nine innings on the season. His home run rate is extremely low, and that’s helped his FIP to be 2.45 on the season, which is very good.
Carlos Carrasco has also struggled with walks himself this season. He’s averaging 4.25 walks per nine innings and allowing 1.5 home runs per nine innings on the season. While his strikeouts are up, his FIP is still 4.3 which is quite high for a pitcher of his caliber.
The Indians offense is beginning to find some rhythm, but they’ll have trouble against Burnes, who has been on point this season. The Brewers have a better chance at scoring a run or two.
Key trends: Brewers are 5-2 in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
Early lean: Brewers, Under
Phillies vs Mets 9/4/20 (-120, 9.5)
The Phillies and Mets could be in for a long game in this one. Both starters have had their hiccups this season. Rick Porcello will take the mound for the Mets. He has a 6.00 ERA but a 3.1 FIP. Sure, he’s been a bit unlucky, but that’s because he can’t hold runners on base. He blows up trying to pitch with runners on base and has a .389 BABIP.
Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta will start on the road with a 6.49 ERA and a 4.88 FIP. His strikeouts are low, and his walks are high. He’s also allowing a high batting average of balls in play. The one difference is that he’s getting a much higher rate of ground balls this season. However, the home runs have been a little problem this season.
Key trends: Mets are 12-5 in their last 17 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
Early lean: Phillies, Over
Cardinals vs Cubs 9/4/20 (-126, TBD)
The Cardinals and Cubs figure to have a low scoring game on Friday. Jack Flaherty and Yu Darvish will take the mound for their respective teams. Both pitchers have ERA’s below two and have performed well this season.
Flaherty is getting a high amount of ground balls and walking under two batters per nine innings. His FIP is 3.67 due to allowing one home run per nine innings in four starts.
On the other hand, Yu Darviish is 6-1 on the season in seven games with a 1.47 ERA and a 2.01 FIP. He’s averaging 10.88 strikeouts and 1.67 walks per nine innings and also isn’t allowing many walks. While his ground ball rate is a bit lower, he’s made up for it with more strikeouts and few home runs.
The Cardinals destroyed Sonny Gray off the mound on the road not too long ago. I’m not sure they have enough to take Darvish off the mound, though.
Key trends: Cubs are 9-2 in their last 11 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5.
Early lean: Cubs, Under
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