MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 4 Best Bets For Nationals vs. Rockies & Athletics vs. Mariners (Monday, September 27)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Flexen
Today marks the start of the final week of the Major League Baseball regular season, and while teams are geared up for the stretch run, the slate is relatively small, with a trio of afternoon makeup games followed by two under the lights.
Those two games feature the Nationals against the Rockies and a key battle between teams still in the playoff hunt: the Athletics vs. the Mariners.
Our analysts have their eyes on those two games, and we have a pair of picks on each. Here are our best bets for Monday night in Major League Baseball.
MLB Odds & Picks
|10:10 p.m. ET|
Nationals vs. Rockies
Sean Zerillo: Josiah Gray has a 5.92 ERA through his first 12 major league appearances, but that number undercuts his true potential.
Gray owns a 4.47 xERA, alongside a 4.59 SIERA and a 5.09 xFIP, despite a low BABIP (.255), which should eventually regress towards league average. The issue for the youngster has been the long ball (18 HR allowed in 59 1/3 innings) which could spell doom in his first trip to Coors Field.
Moreover, Gray has a 54% flyball rate at the MLB level, and he posted a 58% flyball rate in Triple-A this season before his trade to Washington. That said, his HR/FB percentage (20.7%) is very high and should eventually regress toward league average (13.6%) too, and his outings should improve moving forward.
In my model weighted projections, Germán Márquez still projects as roughly an entire run better in terms of run prevention, per nine innings, than Gray, and I give a slight defensive advantage to the Rockies too.
However, I project the Nationals’ offense as the more potent unit by 0.35 runs per game. And I see their bullpen with more than a half-run advantage in terms of run prevention, particularly since I have multiple key relievers for the Rockies marked as tired based upon recent usage.
I projected the Nationals’ moneyline around 43%, both for the first five innings (F5) and the full game in this contest, and I would place those two bets down to +145 and +142, respectively.
Nationals vs. Rockies
DJ James: Germán Márquez has been the better pitcher of the two this season, but both have struggled immensely in the month of September. Josiah Gray owns a 8.38 ERA in 19 1/3 innings and Márquez’s September ERA sits at 6.16 in 19 innings.
That said, the Washington Nationals do have one major edge here, and it is how they have performed against right-handed pitching this month. They collectively have the fifth-best wRC+ facing righties in September. Much of this can be attributed to Juan Soto, who you could argue should get the National League MVP. He has put up Barry Bonds-like numbers in the second half.
But he is not the only source of offense in this Washington lineup lately. Josh Bell has turned it around a bit with his 1.031 OPS in September. Keibert Ruiz (part of the deadline deal along with Gray for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner) has been phenomenal at catcher. Alcides Escobar and Lane Thomas have above 100 wRC+ this month, and Andrew Stevenson has a .333 OBP, as well.
Colorado has only a team 79 wRC+ and .305 OBP this month. With Márquez’s poor performances as of late, taking the Nats with plus money here is the move. Play Washington at +150 and take them to +115.
Athletics vs. Mariners
Kenny Ducey: It’s hard to call this run by the Mariners’ impressive, given the team has only eclipsed five runs a few times and has left a lot to be desired at the plate. They’ve walked in just 5.3% of plate appearances over the last week and have struck out in 21.4%. With that being said, Seattle still ranks 13th in wRC+ in that timeframe thanks to plenty of power, posting a .183 ISO and going deep eight times.
It just so happens that Cole Irvin has had a bit of an issue with gopher balls in the second half of the season, surrendering 10 homers in 12 starts. As a result, hitters have an .816 OPS against him.
While Irvin is left-handed, which seems to be the Kryptonite of the Seattle Mariners, that hasn’t mattered one bit this year. He has pitched to a 7.56 ERA in four starts against the M’s, allowing 37 combined hits and free passes in 16 ⅔ innings. Seattle’s recent power surge should really put a scare into anyone thinking of backing the A’s given the way Irvin has allowed traffic on the base paths.
On the other hand, the A’s have not had much of that power lately, posting a lowly .128 ISO and striking out in 23.3% of plate appearances. While in a vacuum that number isn’t so bad, it’s a huge drop-off from where this team was just a few weeks ago.
I couldn’t be any less impressed with this offense, even coming off a sweep of Houston, and think Chris Flexen should repeat his solid seven-inning outing he had in a win over the A’s last week. With that, I think the choice is clear.
Athletics vs. Mariners
|10:10 p.m. ET|
Tanner McGrath: There are two Seattle players I love in this matchup: Chris Flexen and Kyle Seager. So, I’m going to pair both their performances together for a bigger payout.
On the season, the Mariners are a whopping 17-10-2 on the F5 ML with Flexen starting:
Moreover, they’re 7-2-1 to the F5 ML in Flexen’s last 10 starts. That includes two winning starts against these A’s, where Flexen combined to allow just two earned runs over 13 2/3 innings while striking out 13.
Meanwhile, Seager has been nails against Oakland starter Cole Irvin. In 10 lifetime ABs, Seager is 5-for-10 with two extra base hits and a 99.7 mph average exit velocity.
Seager’s also been hot recently, recording a 1.057 OPS over his past seven games while knocking at least one hit in seven of his past 10. On the season, Seager has recorded at least one hit in 10 of his 16 games vs. Oakland, including four of the past five.
So, look for the Flexen-Seager combo to bash the A’s early and often tonight. You can get this via the FanDuel single-game parlay at +175.
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