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The Seattle Mariners have been red hot lately, but their dominance will be put to the test by the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers in interleague action. The Dodgers limped into Friday's game just 1-4 over their past five outings, but LHP Rich Hill could turn around their fortunes. The Dodgers are 4-1 over his past five starts, and 8-3 in his past 11 on the road against teams with a winning record. In addition, L.A. is 4-1 in his past five overall against winning teams, and 13-3 in his past 16 following a quality start last time out. The Dodgers are also 10-2 across his past 12 starts on a Saturday, for whatever that's worth. L.A. is also 11-5 in the past 16 interleague road games against a team with a winning overall record.
The M's will counter with RHP Erasmo Ramirez, but he has been mostly a disaster lately. Seattle is a dismal 3-14 across his past 17 starts against teams with a winning overall record, and 2-7 over his past nine outings overall. They're also 1-6 in his past seven at Safeco against teams with an overall winning mark. In addition, Seattle hasn't handled the NL West very well, winning just one of their past five heading into the series opener. They're also 1-4 in the past five at home against left-handed starting pitchers.
Total bettors might be pounding the 'under' on Saturday night. Heading into this series, the under was 4-0 in L.A.'s past four against right-handed starting pitchers, and 5-0-1 in their past six overall. The under has also cashed in eight of the past nine road outings, and 10 of their past 12 interleague battles. In addition, the under is 18-7-1 in L.A.'s past 26 against AL West opponents. However, the over is 11-5 in Hill's past 16 starts overall, and 7-3 in his past 10 against teams with a winning overall record. The under is also 4-0-1 in Seattle's past five interleague games at home against a left-handed starter, 4-0 in their past four against the NL West and 5-1 in their past six overall and against teams with a winning mark. The under is also 11-4 in their past 15 vs. LHP, and 3-0-1 in Ramirez's past four starts overall.
Saturday, Aug. 18
The A's will continue their crucial series against the visiting Astros, and they'll be up against LHP Dallas Keuchel. The Astros have won seven of Keuchel's past nine starts, and they're 20-8 over his past 28 on the road, while going 21-9 in his past 30 tries against AL West foes. The A's counter with RHP Trevor Cahill, who has been equally hot, as Oakland is 6-0 over his past six starts, and 8-2 in his past 10 games inside the division. The A's are also 6-2 in Cahill's past eight starts at home. In addition, Oakland has handled the bat well against southpaws, especially at the Coliseum, going 8-2 in their past 10 home games against a left-handed starter. The under is 26-9-4 in Cahill's past 39 starts at home, and 19-5-3 in his past 27 at home against winning teams. The under is 8-2-1 in Keuchel's past 11 on the road against winning sides, too.
After a righty-on-righty battle in Friday's game, the Marlins and Nationals turn to a pair of southpaws on Saturday. Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen has been horrific on the road, and he has the most stark contrast in splits in the majors. At home, he is 3-3 with a 2.05 ERA in 10 starts with a .194 opponent batting average. In nine road outings, he is 1-6 with an abysmal 10.27 ERA across 37 2/3 innings while the opposition is hitting .350 against him. It's no surprise 11 of his 16 homers allowed have come away from home, too.
Miami is 2-8 over Chen's past 10 on the road, and 1-8 in his past nine inside the division. In their past 19 tries against left-handed starting pitchers they have mustered just five wins, while going 1-7 in their past eight overall vs. LHP. Washington counters with LHP Tommy Milone, and the Nats are a respectable 7-2 across his past nine starts while going 6-1 in his past seven inside the division. They're also an impressive 6-0 over the past six against teams with a losing overall record. It's no surprise the Marlins are 1-4 in Chen's past five tries against the Nationals, either. The under is also 1-4 in his past five assignments vs. Washington.
The weather will move into the New York Metro area around the middle innings, so expect the Blue Jays and Yankees to dodge raindrops. There is a 45 percent or greater chance of thunderstorms from 2pm through the early-evening hours.
Winds will be the story in both Oakland and Cleveland, although the narrative will be the complete opposite. The Astros-A's game will feature winds blowing from 11-15 mph out to the right-center field power alley, while the O's-Indians will face a stuff 11-14 mph into the batter's face, coming in from right field.
In the Steel City, the Cubs-Pirates are likely to face a weather delay, and thunderstorms are forecasted through 10 pm ET. The Marlins-Nationals will see weather roll in around 8pm ET, but it's a 40 percent or less chance, so it's possible the tarpaulin never comes out.
The Rays and Red Sox will also be battling the weather, with thunderstorms forecast at 50 percent or great from first pitch through 10pm ET. The good news is that the weather seems to be confined to the east coast, as the Midwest and West Coast games look A-OK.
Sunday, Aug. 19
Reds RHP Luis Castillo will face the Giants, and the good news is he is at home. The Reds righty has posted a dismal 2-6 record and 6.18 ERA with a .290 opponent batting average in 13 starts away from Great American Ball Park over 62 2/3 innings, walking 23. At GBAP he is 4-4 with a 3.94 ERA over 64 innings, allowing just 17 walks while the opposition is hitting just .229. Giants LHP Andrew Suarez has posted a 2-4 record in both 10 starts at home, and a 2-4 record in 11 starts on the road. However, he has a 5.02 ERA in his 57 1/3 innings away from home, while posting a 3.79 ERA in 59 1/3 home frames.
Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw is starting to resemble his All-Star form after a trying and injury-marred first half. Since the break he is 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA across 33 2/3 innings with 30 strikeouts and just two walks across five outings. The pinpoint accuracy is there, and that's bad news for everyone else heading into the final six or seven weeks of the regular season. He'll also be making a daytime start in Seattle, and he is 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings across five outings under sunny skies.
In the Sunday evening game, Mets LHP Jason Vargas will square off against Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta. The under has cashed in Pivetta's past three outings, including three consecutive quality starts, and he has struck out six or more batters in each of his past six assignments. The under is also 3-1 in Pivetta's past four starts at Citizens Bank Park. Pivetta has held the opposition to a .239 batting average in 13 starts and one relief appearance at home, as opposed to a .282 average on the road across 52 1/3 innings in 11 starts. He has also had a higher strikeout rate at CBP, whiffing 93 over 73 1/3 innings at home, and just 60 punchouts on the road.
Vargas been terrible everywhere, regardless of venue. He is 2-8 with an 8.10 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in his 53 1/3 innings over 13 starts. It's a wonder he hasn't been designated for assignment yet, as most anyone can do better than these numbers. Until he is DFA'd, or at least bumped from the rotation, keep fading him. He is 1-4 with an 8.91 ERA over 33 1/3 innings across eight road starts, and the opposition is hitting a robust .331 against him with 16 walks, just 22 strikeouts and a whopping 10 homers allowed. Philly is going to tee off on him Sunday night in front of a national audience.
The Jays-Yankees and Rays-Red Sox games could be washed out with a steady chance of rain in the forecast for the entire afternoon. If the game in Boston does get underway, the winds will be blowing in from straightaway center field to home plate at a 13-16 mph clip, holding scores down.
The wind will also be blowing in at Progressive Field, anywhere from 10-13 mph into the face of the batters again.
In Atlanta, there is a 60 percent or great chance of thunderstorms from first pitch on through the early-evening hours, so it doesn't look good. The same holds true for the Marlins-Nationals game in D.C., with a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms early on, tailing off slightly to 50 percent by 6pm ET.
Winds will be the issue out west, the Angels and Rangers face a steady jetstream from 11-13 mph in from right field to home plate, while the winds will be blowing out for the Astros-A's, gusting 12-15 mph out to right field to aid left-handed hitting especially.
The Mets might be praying for rain based on Vargas' track record, but the weather is expected to pull out by mid-afternoon. There is still a 40 percent chance of rain for first pitch at 7pm ET, but it tails off as the evening progresses and this one should get in with minimal interruption. Sorry, Mets.
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