MLB Playoff Picks, Projections, Odds for Guardians vs. Yankees, Braves vs. Phillies, Padres vs. Dodgers on Friday, October 14
Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman (5).
- Friday's MLB postseason slate is loaded with action as three games are on tap.
- Between Guardians-Yankees, Braves-Phillies and Padres-Dodgers, there's plenty of value to be found.
- Continue reading for our expert's projections and how he's betting all three games tonight.
We've reached Game 3 of the NLDS with both series tied at one as we head to other venue. Game 3 is usually the most pivotal in deciding who advances to the NLCS, so buckle up.
Oh, and don't forget that we also have Game 2 between the Guardians and Yankees after that contest was rained out on Thursday.
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Guardians vs. Yankees; 1:07 p.m. ET
Shane Bieber vs. Nestor Cortes
Shane Bieber had a great first start of the postseason as he shut down the Rays. Bieber held Tampa Bay to just one run on three hits as he struck out eight over 7 2/3 innings. With that being said, Bieber has had some questionable metrics this season.
Bieber is in the bottom 20th percentile in MLB in both hard-hit rate allowed and average exit velocity allowed. He uses a four pitch mix of a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, but his fastball hasn't been very effective. Opposing hitters have a .315 xBA and a .381 xwOBA against his heater this season and that is the pitch the Yankees have been hitting the best this year with a +48.6 run value.
Bieber has been very effective with his curveball and slider this season, as both are producing a whiff rate over 35% and opposing hitters have under a .200 xBA against it. However, the Yankees are top five in baseball against both sliders and curveballs with a combined +35.1 run value.
Nestor Cortes has been the Yankees best starting pitcher this season. He has a 2.70 xERA, which is top five in MLB among pitchers who have thrown over 150 innings. The reason Cortes has been so good is not because of velocity — his fastball is only averaging 91.8 mph — but because he's accurate and keeps the ball off the barrel of the bat:
image via baseball savant
Cortes has a three-pitch combination of a fastball, cutter and slider with all three pitches being extremely effective. The lefty is giving up a xwOBA under .300 and has produced a whiff rate over 20%.
Nestor Cortes, Nasty drop down 77mph Slider. 😨 pic.twitter.com/qreKYtQhb9
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 15, 2022
Cortes will have a fantastic matchup against the Guardians because Cleveland has a .285 wOBA (27th in MLB) and 84 wRC+ (27th in MLB) against left-handed pitching and also has a -28.3 run value, .223 xBA and a .279 xwOBA against left-handed fastballs, cutters and sliders.
I have the Yankees projected at -199 for the first five innings, so I love the value on them at -139, which is available at BetRivers.
Pick: Yankees First Five Innings -136
Braves vs. Phillies; 4:07pm ET
Spencer Strider vs. Aaron Nola
This is a fantastic pitching matchup for a pivotal Game 3.
Spencer Strider is pitching for the first time in 21 days and the rumor is that he's only going to pitch two or three innings.
Either way Strider has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, posting a 2.39 xERA, 13.81 K/9 rate, and opposing hitters only have a .242 xwOBA against him.
He's doing all of that by basically only throwing a fastball and a slider, but both of them are crazy good. His fastball is averaging 98.4 mph and opposing hitters only have a .208 xBA against it this season. Then his slider is producing a gaudy 52.2% whiff rate and is allowing a .164 xwOBA to opposing hitters.
Spencer Strider, Back-to-Back Wicked Sliders. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/aogbjhQisc
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 13, 2022
He faced the Phillies four times this season going a combined 21 an 1/3rds innings allowing just seven hits, three runs, and had a whopping 34 strikeouts.
He'll be facing Aaron Nola, who is no slouch himself, in fact, Nola has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. Nola has a 2.74 xERA, a 10.32 K/9 rate, and a very low 1.35 BB/9 rate. He also has one of the lowest hard hit rate allowed in the league at 31.6%, which is why his xwOBA allowed is only .259.
Nola mainly uses a four pitch arsenal of curveball, fastball, changeup, and sinker. His changeup, which he throws only 17% of the time is the only pitch that is allowing an xBA over .200 and all four pitches are allowing a xwOBA under .300.
Now, with the uncertainty of how long Strider is going to pitch, I think there is a specific way to play this game. If Strider didn't have any limitations, I would only have 5.98 runs projected for this game. So, in the off chance that he doesn't have any limitations I am betting Under 7 runs at -120 (BetMGM).
It looks like Jake Odorizzi will be coming in after Strider, who is almost two full runs worse, as his xERA is at 4.11 on the season. If this game is still 0-0 when Odorizzi enters the game, I am going to hop in and play the live over to try and middle the pregame bet of Under 7 runs.
You also have to factor in that these teams are going to potentially be playing three games in three days, so they may want to rest some of their better bullpen arms if they have the opportunity to do so and Citizens Bank Park is hitter friendly park.
Pick: Under 7 runs (-120), look to play live over if Odorizzi comes in after Strider.
Dodgers vs. Padres; 4:07pm ET
Tony Gonsolin vs. Blake Snell
Tony Gonsolin was a pretty big over performer this season, but a 3.12 xERA is nothing to snuff at. Gonsolin does a great job of keeping the ball low in the zone and underneath the barrel of opposing hitters. He had a 43.8% ground-ball rate, which is the highest of his career. He has an incredibly nasty split finger that opposing hitters have not been able to figure out this season. Gonsolin throws his splitter 27.5% of the time and opposing hitters have just a .187 xBA, .205 xBA and seven extra-base hits against it this year.
Tony Gonsolin, Sick Splitters. 😼 pic.twitter.com/MbZa71KjoE
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 2, 2022
Gonsolin faced the Padres twice this season and yielded just one run on seven hits. He also struck out 14 over 12 2/3 innings.
The Padres do not hit right handers well at all. Even after trade deadline — when San Diego acquired Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury — the Padres still only have a .222 xBA and .291 xwOBA against right-handed pitching.
Blake Snell got torched by the Mets in his first postseason start as he gave up four hits, two runs and issued six guys in 3 1/3 innings. With that being said, Snell was a big time positive regression candidate in the first half and got a lot of it over the second half of the season.
After the All-Star break, Snell put up the best numbers of any Padres starter: 12.12 K/9 rate, 2.18 BB/9 rate, 0.69 HR/9 rate and a 2.73 xFIP. So, seeing him walk six guys and struggle against the Mets was quite surprising.
Snell mainly relies on a three-pitch combination of a fastball, slider and curveball. While his fastball has been average, his curveball and slider have been elite, producing a whiff rate over 40% and holding opposing hitters to under a .185 xBA. In fact, he's thrown his curveball or slider almost 900 times this season and allowed a total of just 39 hits.
Blake Snell, Nasty 82mph Curveball. 😨 pic.twitter.com/mML7C1Ftzz
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2022
The Dodgers do not hit left-handed pitching as well as they do righties. Specifically against left-handed fastballs, sliders and curveballs the Dodgers only have a .226 xBA and a .315 xwOBA.
Snell also just faced the Dodgers on September 27th and held them scoreless with just one hit over five innings.
I only have 6.63 runs projected for this game, so I like the value on Under 7.5 runs at -120, which is available at BetMGM.
Pick: Under 7.5 runs (-120)