MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Our Bets Bets for Royals vs. Mariners & Giants vs. Braves (Saturday, Aug. 28)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Huascar Ynoa.
Down the stretch, there are as many 16 MLB teams — eight in each league — that feel they’re still in the postseason race.
Three of those 16 are involved in our best bets on Saturday, with the Royals serving as the only team that is pretty much “done” in 2021. They take on the Mariners, who are clinging to life in the American League wild-card race, while division leaders face off in Atlanta when the Braves host the Giants.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Royals vs. Mariners
Kenny Ducey: Don’t look now, but the Royals are red hot.
Sure, it doesn’t make an ounce of a difference in the American League Central race, but it’s been a rather nice run for a Kansas City team that hasn’t inspired much hope for its fans this season. Salvador Perez is still having a stellar season, Whit Merrifield remains ever-consistent and Nicky Lopez has emerged as a real offensive weapon.
All of that has equated to a 104 wRC+ over the last two weeks, making the Royals a firmly above-average team and the 11th-best offense in MLB over that time frame. With just an 18.9% strikeout rate, Kansas City has done a great job of just getting balls back in play and getting runners on base, scoring runs with small ball instead of the long ball (.143 ISO).
Tyler Anderson simply hasn’t been a fantastic pitcher this year. His 4.26 xERA puts him firmly in the back-end-of-the rotation conversation, though his season has turned around quite a bit after the trade to the Mariners with a 2.49 ERA in August. For all of that, though, Anderson has still allowed a homer in each of his last two starts and gave up a whopping eight hits in his last outing against the Astros.
Giants vs. Braves
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Matt Trebby: The Giants are doing all they can to stay afloat in the National League West, with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers entering play on Saturday.
San Francisco is 8-4 in its last 12 games, even though it has a .697 OPS against right-handed pitching in that span, which ranks 21st in MLB. The matchup on Saturday night in Atlanta isn’t great for the Giants, given that number.
Huascar Ynoa is back after punching the bench in frustration during a start back in May against the Brewers, and he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. Ynoa has allowed three runs over 11 1/3 innings against the Marlins and Yankees, and he struck out nine Bronx Bombers over six frames his last time out.
Ynoa’s 2.89 ERA is very impressive, and it’s backed up by a 3.15 xFIP. His 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings compared to just 2.09 walks indicate he can maintain this success to close the season.
On the other side, Logan Webb has been just as good for the Giants. He has a 2.84 ERA and 2.83 xFIP over 98 1/3 innings this season, providing a crucial boost to the San Francisco rotation.