Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/24/2020 and Opening Line Report
There are more teams clinching the expanded playoffs! It’s getting real. In a week, we’ll be watching eight MLB playoff games in a single day. That’s going to be extremely exciting and something we’ve never experienced before. Do they have an MLB Grand Slam like the NFL Redzone channel? I’m asking for a friend… Anyway, Thursday’s slate is a bit small, but there are still a couple games with leans I like for Thursday’s slate.
White Sox vs Indians 9/24/20 (-120, 8)
The White Sox and Indians will send out two quality pitchers for this match-up.
Dallas Keuchel will take the mound for the White Sox with a 6-2 record and a 2.04 ERA on the season. Keuchel has an FIP of 3.05 and is getting 53.70 percent of ground balls on the season while stranding 81.4 runners on base on the season. Keuchel doesn’t allow many walks and really limits home runs, which has helped him limit damage all season.
On the other hand, the Indians will pitch Zach Plesac, who is 4-2 in seven starts with a 1.85 ERA and a 3.3 FIP. He minimized walks even more than Keuchel and has a BABIP of just .227 in the season. Plesac has an LOB percentage of 99.3, which is just incredible through seven starts. However, his ground ball rate is low, and the White Sox have power when they get the ball in the air.
In a close game, I’d rather the White Sox as their bats have more potential to come through late.
Key trends: White Sox are 8-1 in their last 9 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
Early lean: White Sox, Under
Marlins vs Braves 9/24/20 (-175, 9.5)
Thursday should be “Pitching Day.” We’re getting some solid pitchers to finish off these weekday series.
Rookie Ian Anderson will get the call at home. He’s 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA and a 2.84 FIP on the season. Anderson is getting a high amount of strikeouts but has had his issues with walks this season. He’s also limited home runs and has a very high ground ball rate near 60 percent.
The Marlins will send out Pablo Lopez, who is 5-4 in 10 games with a 3.96 ERA but a 3.12 FIP. Lopez has a high amount of ground balls, too, and limits walks and home runs as well as Anderson does. He’s just had trouble with runners on base and struggles when looking to strand runners.
The Marlins are still fighting for a playoff spot and haven’t clinched anything just yet, but Anderson is looking to show the Braves that he’s capable of pitching in in the playoffs.
I like the Braves in this one.
Key trends: Braves are 7-0 in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
Early Lean: Braves, Under
Orioles vs Red Sox 9/24/20 (-145, 9.5)
Alright. Not all of the pitching match-ups are fantastic. In this one, we’ll feature two pitchers and FIP near 5 and two pitchers who have losing records on losing teams.
Alex Cobb is set to take the mound for the Orioles. He has a 1-5 record with a 4.76 ERA and a 5.1 FIP on the season. He’s getting a low amount of strikeouts but has been able to get 52.7 percent ground balls this season. Walks are a bit high, and he’s allowing 1.59 home runs per nine innings on the season as well.
For the Red Sox, Martin Perez will take the mound with a 3-4 record in 11 starts this season. He’s got a 3.88 ERA and a 4.78 FIP. His strikeouts are also low, and his walk rate is even higher at 4.19 per nine innings. Perez isn’t a ground ball pitcher but has a BABIP of .244, which is above average.
Instead of taking a side, why not just take the over on two pitchers that have struggled for most of the year?
Key trends: Red Sox are 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Early Lean: Red Sox, Over
Brewers vs Cardinals (+105, 7.5)
I promised more pitching on Thursday’s slate! Corbin Burnes will take the mound for the Brewers against Kwang-hyun Kim of the Cardinals.
Burnes is 4-0 in 11 games and eight starts with a 1.77 ERA and a 1.78 FIP. He’s become one of the most underappreciated starters this season with his 13.34 strikeouts per nine innings and his ability to limit homers.
On the other hand, former KBO star Kwang-hyun Kim has also been excellent. He doesn’t use strikeouts like Burnes does, but he relies on low, hard contact instead. Kim is getting nearly 50 percent of ground balls and limiting walks and home runs well. He has an ERA of 1.59 and an FIP of 3.97. Still, his BABIP is .202, which is excellent. It means fielders are able to field batted balls in play well.
Again, with two consistent pitchers on the mound, don’t worry about who wins. Roll with the under with two below average offenses in this one.
Key trends: Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Early lean: Brewers, Under
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