Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/17/2020 and Opening Line Report
Thursday’s MLB slate is small as teams travel to their weekend series destinations. There are still some matchups with value, and some intriguing ones to say the least. We’re two weeks away from the MLB postseason. Teams are fighting for their chance at the expanded playoffs. We hope you’re entertained! Here are the leans for Thursday’s MLB slate for September 17.
Blue Jays vs Yankees 9/17/20 (-210, 9.5)
The Yankees offense is starting to click and should have a solid day against Blue Jays pitcher Chase Anderson.
Anderson is 0-1 in seven games this season with a 5.81 ERA and a 5.29 FIP on the season. He’s allowing 2.05 home runs per nine innings, and that can’t be a good sign in Yankee Stadium. He also has a .346 BABIP, which is way below the league average.
Masahiro Tanaka will take the hill for the Yankees at home. Tanaka is 2-2 in eight starts this season with a 3.16 ERA and a 4.04 FIP. He’s limited walks very well but is struggling to get grounders.
The Yankees bats should be able to score enough for Tanaka, who has looked much better than Anderson this season.
Key trends: Yankees are 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Early Lean: Yankees, Over
Mets vs Phillies 9/17/20 (-141, 8)
The Mets won’t be pitching deGrom as he pitched on Wednesday, but they’ll pitch their other ace, Seth Lugo, against the Phillies and Aaron Nola.
Lugo is 2-3 on the season but has a 2.63 ERA and a 2.76 FIP on the season. He’s getting a very high amount of strikeouts and limiting walks well. Lugo has plenty of relief experience, which means he’s had experience with runners on base. He’s been able to leave more than 85 percent of runners on base this season.
Nola will take the ball for the Phillies. Nola is 5-3 with a 2.4 ERA and a 3.11 FIP. Like Lugo, he has a very high strikeout rate and low walk rate. He also has a .248 BABIP and is getting ground balls at over 52 percent of the time.
Forget picking a winner. With both teams struggling offensively, there’s only one way to look at this game. That’s the under.
Key trends: Under is 7-3 in Mets last 10 games as a road underdog.
Early Lean: Mets, Under
Rangers vs Astros 9/17/20 (-235, 9.5)
Jordan Lyles will actually get the start for the Rangers after being a piggy-back in his last start. Lyles hasn’t been good this season and will face Framber Valdez and the Astros.
Lyles is 1-4 in nine games with a 7.80 ERA and a 6.15 FIP on the season. He’s not getting many ground balls and is struggling leaving runners on base. For Lyles, walks have been a problem all season long as he is walking 4.22 batters per nine innings and striking out only 5.7 batters per nine innings.
For the Astros, Valdez is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERAA and a 3.34 FIP. He’s striking out nearly nine batters per nine innings and is getting a high ground ball rate while limiting home runs.
The Rangers bats don’t match-up well here. I’ll side with the Astros to win this by a solid margin.
Key trends: Astros are 54-19 in their last 73 games as a home favorite.
Early lean: Astros, Over
Dodgers vs Rockies 9/17/20 (+147, 11.5)
The Dodgers will pitch Julio Urias while the Rockies will send out Kyle Freeland for this game.
Urias is 3-0 in nine starts with a 3.53 ERA and a 4.06 FIP on the season. His strikeouts aren’t very high, and his walk rate can get high at times. He’s also struggling to get ground balls and has a BABIP of .287.
Meanwhile, Kyle Freeland of the Rockies has actually impressed this season. He’s 2-1 in 10 starts with a 3.54 ERA and a 4.2 FIP. It’s the bullpen that is ruining his starts this season. Freeland doesn’t get a high amount of strikeouts. He pitches to ground ball contact, and he's been good at it this season.
But can you really trust the Rockies bullpen against the Dodgers lineup? I can’t.
Key trends: Dodgers are 43-17 in their last 60 games as a favorite.
Early lean: Dodgers, Over
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