Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/19/2020 and Opening Line Report
With the expanded 16-team playoffs, we’re starting to see teams clinch playoff spots for the postseason. It’s an exciting time for MLB fans as we’re seeing more teams fight for a playoff spot deeper into the season, with just 10 games left. Usually the remaining 10 games are pointless in 75 percent of games. Not this year. It’s like the playoffs have started earlier. Here are the leans for September 19 in the MLB.
Indians vs Tigers 9/19/20 (+150, 8.5)
The Indians traded away Mike Clevinger and still have a ridiculous starting rotation. Triston McKenzie was the main reason the Indians were fine with letting go of Clevinger. He’s performed.
In five starts in his rookie season, McKenzie is 2-1 in five starts with a 3.91 ERA and a 4.50 FIP. His strikeouts are high and his walks are low but he’s still allowing 2.13 home runs per nine innings. McKenzie has struggled to get a high volume of ground balls this season but should fare well against the Tigers offense.
Meanwhile, Spencer Turnbull will get the start with the Tigers. Turnbull has an ERA of 3.94 and an FIP of 3.97 but he’s walking 5.32 batters per nine innings. Although his strikeout total is a little low, he’s getting 52 percent of ground balls on the season. However, his BABIP is .390, which is extremely high. He’s getting hit hard.
It looks like the Indians bats are coming alive. It’s the perfect time to look at the Indians.
Key trends: Indians are 5-1 in their last 6 Saturday games.
Early lean: Indians, Over
Diamondbacks vs Astros 9/19/20 (-169, 8.5)
The Diamondbacks and Astros have really struggled hitting the ball this season. The Astros aren’t able to cheat while the Diamondbacks just have a lineup that isn’t producing.
The Diamondbacks will send out Luke Weaver who also hasn’t produced this season. He’s 1-7 in 10 starts with a 6.70 ERA and a 5.19 FIP. Weaver struggles to get ground balls and is also below average when runners are on base.
The Astros will send out Cristian Javier who is 4-2 in 10 starts with the Astros. He’s got an average strikeout rate but tends to allow hard contact in the air. He’s not a ground ball pitcher and has a 3.22 ERA but a 5.08 FIP.
You have two pitchers with FIP’s above 5 with two offenses that struggle. I’d ride the offenses in this one. The over should be the play.
Key trends: Over is 4-0-1 in Diamondbacks last 5 overall.
Early Lean: Astros, Over
Dodgers vs Rockies 9/19/20 (+240, 11.5)
Here’s the pitching mismatch of the night. I don’t recommend parlays but if there’s a college football team you like on the moneyline, maybe pairing the Dodgers is the move.
Clayton Kershaw will take the hill with a 5-2 record and a 2.28 ERA along with a 3.18 FIP. He’s got a high strikeout rate and a low walk rate. Kershaw is also getting plenty of ground balls and performs well in jams. He’s Clayton Kershaw and he’s performing like his usual self.
For the Rockies, they’ll pitch Chi Chi Gonzalez who is 0-1 in two starts and four games. He’s walking an average of 6.75 batters per nine innings and has a BABIP of .333 with a ground ball rate of 38.5 percent. His ERAA is extremely high at 8.68 and his FIP is 7.06.
The Dodgers should run over the Rockies in this one.
Key trends: Dodgers are 5-1 in their last 6 road games with the total set at 11.0 or higher.
Early Lean: Dodgers, Over
Padres vs Mariners 9/19/20 (+165, 8)
There are some people out there losing hope for Mike Clevinger. He hasn’t been dominant for the Padres since coming over to San Diego but still has a 3.10 ERA and a 4.28 FIP on the season. He’s done well holding runners on but the ground balls aren’t coming at a high rate and his strikeouts are lower than expected.
The Mariners, who are still fighting for a playoff spot, will pitch Justus Sheffield who has 4.06 ERA but a 3.11 FIP due to his low home run rate and solid ground ball rate. Sheffield still has a BABIP of .307 and is below average in holding runners on base.
Sheffield gives the Mariners a chance to win games. That’s all you can ask for at a +165 underdog.
Key trends: Mariners are 8-1 in their last 9 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5.
Early lean: Mariners, Under
Rangers vs Angels 9/19/20 (-161, 7.5)
If you enjoy late night pitching match-ups, this one could be for you.
The Rangers will pitch Lance Lynn who is 6-2 in 11 starts this season with a 2.40 ERA and a 3.85 FIP. Lynn has a high strikeout rate and has limited walks. There have been times where he’s been tagged with the long ball but he’s done well limited damage with runners on base.
On the other hand, Andrew Heaney will take the mound with a 4.02 ERA but a 2.93 FIP, which is one of the best FIP numbers in baseball for qualified starters. He’s really been able to limit walks and home runs this season but isn’t getting a high amount of grounders and struggles with runners on base this season.
Still, there haven’t been many runners on base against Heaney this season and the Rangers offense doesn’t match-up against the Angels offense.
Key trends: Angels are 5-0 in their last 5 Saturday games.
Early lean: Angels, Under
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