Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/2/2020 and Opening Line Report
After the trade deadline, we can now assess the contenders and pretenders. The teams that have depleted their teams will more than likely lose their fair shares of games in September, before the season ends. There are a couple spots and angles between contenders and pretenders. Here are the leans for September 2 in the MLB.
Cubs vs Pirates 9/2/20 (+185, 9.5)
Kyle Hendricks threw a complete game shutout in his first start. Since then, he’s 2-4 on the season. Hendricks has an ERA of 4.09 and 3.64 and will make his 8th start of the season. He’s getting ground balls at 45.7 percent but allowing 1.23 home runs per nine innings. This number isn’t terrible and could decrease against the Pirates.
On the other hand, the Pirates will send out Derek Holland who is getting rocked this season with a 7.62 ERA and a 7.23 FIP. He’s getting a high volume of strikeouts but the walks are high at 4.13 per nine innings. He’s also getting just 33.3 percent of ground balls and allowing 3.18 home runs per nine innings.
The Cubs lineup hasn’t been loud as of late, but any team hitting against Holland has been loud. Expect the same in this game.
Key trends: Cubs are 6-1 in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
Early Lean: Cubs, Over
Nationals vs Phillies 9/2/20 (-102, 8.5)
The Nationals and Phillies will continue dueling their ace pitchers. Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals, while Zack Wheeler will get his start with the Phillies. Scherzer hasn’t had the best season of his career, but he’s still averaging 13.26 strikeouts per nine innings. His walks are starting to get higher, but his FIP is just 3.06, meaning he’s limited the long ball and has a 3.86 ERA.
Wheeler is 3-0 in six starts this season. And while he’s not getting high strikeouts, he’s getting 53.8 percent of ground balls and has induced plenty of double plays. Wheeler has an ERA of 2.58 and an FIP of 3.32.
Also, don’t forget that the Phillies added to their bullpen over the trade deadline. Wheeler’s solid starts won’t be blown anymore, or at least the Phillies hope so.
Key trends: Phillies are 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Early lean: Phillies, Under
Tigers vs Brewers 9/2/20 (-150, 9)
The Tigers and Brewers will pitch two starters that have been pleasantly surprising to start the season. The Tigers will pitch Spencer Turnbull, who is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA, while the Brewers will send out Adrian Houser, who is 1-3 with a 4.36 ERA.
Turnbull has an FIP of 3.4 and is getting ground balls at nearly 50 percent on the season. The only thing that’s keeping Turnbull from being an ace is his walk rate. He’s walking 5.34 batters per nine innings and has an exit velocity of 91 miles per hour when balls are hit off his pitches.
Meanwhile, Houser will take the mound for the Brewers. He has just one win in six starts but has a ground ball rate of nearly 65 percent. Houser won’t get high strikeouts and can get high on walks occasionally. That’s why he has a 5.23 FIP on the season compared to Turnbull’s 3.4. However, his xFIP is much lower at 3.75, which is less concerning.
Key trends: Brewers are 12-2 in their last 14 Wednesday games.
Early lean: Brewers, Under
Indians vs Royals 9/2/20 (+150, 9)
The Indians have had plenty of success with young pitching. After watching Tristian McKenzie dominate in his first two starts of the season, the Indians didn’t mind shipping Mike Clevinger out to San Diego at the trade deadline.
McKenzie has two career starts under his belt and has a 2.7 ERA with high strikeout totals. He’s also a bit high on the walks to start the season, but contact off the bat hasn’t been hard, which makes up for the walks.
He’ll go head-to-head with Jakob Junis, who has started three games and has an ERA of 4.26 and an FIP of 5.27. Junis also has high walks and doesn’t record strikeouts too often. His BABIP is currently .342 but he’s getting 50 percent of grounders.
The Indians offense has been silent throughout the season, but you’d expect a couple runs against Junis.
Key trends: Indians are 10-2 in their last 12 road games.
Early lean: Indians, Under
White Sox vs Twins 9/2/20 (-145, 9)
The White Sox and Twins are still fighting for the top spot in the AL Central. The Twins will send Jose Berrios to the mound, and he has looked a lot better as of late after a slow start to the season.
Meanwhile, the White Sox will pitch Reynaldo Lopez, who has struggled every season. Lopez has a 9 ERA and a 7.01 FIP in three starts. He has a ground ball rate below 40 and is walking 6.75 batters per nine innings along with allowing 2.25 home runs per nine innings.
Berrios, on the other hand, was expected to be the Twins ace this season. After a poor start, he’s starting to get things under control. While he has a 4.75 ERA, he has an FIP of 4.36 and is striking out almost 10 batters per nine innings. Berrios also has high walks on the season but is allowing less home runs and getting more ground balls compared to Lopez.
Both offenses have been impressive all season. But there’s only one pitcher who can actually get outs in this game. That’s Jose Berrios.
Key trends: Twins are 8-1 in their last 9 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Early lean: Twins, Over
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