MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, September 11th

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 11, 2023 12:18 PM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

This is the busiest Monday we’ve had in MLB in quite some time. There are 15 games on the board, as a doubleheader takes place between the Braves and Phillies from a June 21 rainout. That gives us seven games in the NL, six in the AL, and two interleague matchups, as only four teams enjoy a day off. 

Over the last seven days, the league collectively batted .251/.327/.433 with a .328 wOBA, .294 BABIP, 22% K%, 9.1% BB%, and a 14% HR/FB%. I speculated that offense may stay high because of tired pitchers and the lower strikeout rate and that has very much been the case. We’ve seen an uptick in homers, even as the weather has cooled off a little bit. The quality of pitcher has dropped around the league between fatigue and injury.

That has also led to an increase in walk rate. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d be careful betting Unders, especially with teams that aren’t really invested in whether or not they win or lose.

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Here are some thoughts on the September 11 card (odds from DraftKings):

Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates (-135, 8.5)

Patrick Corbin will go for the Nats here, but the Pirates don’t have a starter listed. I don’t understand why this keeps happening because they seem to have a five-man rotation for the most part right now. Andre Jackson’s turn is up and he’s extremely likely to start.

Jackson had been throwing the ball well, but he allowed six runs over 4.1 innings to the Brewers six days ago with five walks. He had walked seven batters over his previous four appearances, so it was an off night for him. He had allowed eight runs over his previous four appearances as well, so it really was a departure from what had been the norm for him.

Corbin has allowed 14 runs on 17 hits over his last two starts, so he’s back to being a punching bag. He gave up three homers last start against the Mets and got obliterated by the Blue Jays the start prior.

The Pirates only rank 20th in wOBA at .303 and have an 86 wRC+ against lefties since August 1. The Mets are 12th and the Blue Jays are seventh. It’s a better matchup for Corbin, but I’d lean towards him struggling again. For those in the prop markets, Ke’Bryan Hayes Hits + Runs + RBI Over 2.5 is +115. He’s batting .296/.317/.533 with a 121 wRC+ against lefties on the season and has a .328/.380/.630 slash with a .423 wOBA and a 167 wRC+ over his last 129 plate appearances overall.

I like some Hayes player props today, with the Over 2.5 H+R+RBI as one of them.

Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets (-130, 9)

Zach Davies and Jose Quintana fire up this weekday set at Citi Field. Davies had pitched well in his first two starts after returning from injury, but then allowed five runs on six hits over three innings to the Rockies. Davies has a 6.81 ERA on the season, but does have a 4.54 FIP in his 15 starts over 71.1 innings. There are some positive regression signs in the profile, but they are hard to back with a 56.3% LOB% and a low K% plus a .332 BABIP as a pitch-to-contact right-hander.

Quintana is a veteran in every sense of the word and he’ll still battle and try to set an example for the Mets the rest of the way. He allowed five runs on nine hits to the Braves on August 23, but has allowed one run on seven hits in his last 13 innings. He’s had one start with more than three runs allowed out of his nine tries. He’s got a 3.00 ERA with a 3.23 FIP. His K/BB numbers aren’t great, but he’s only allowed one home run and just a 32.5% Hard Hit%.

Arizona had a four-game winning streak snapped on Sunday with a 5-2 loss to the Cubs. This is the first time that they will play a second consecutive series on the road since August 17-19 against the Padres. They went to LA on August 28-30 and then returned right back home. 

It’s hard to lay a price like this with the Mets, but Quintana’s lone blow-up came against the best offense in baseball and the Diamondbacks are not that. They are 21st in wOBA against LHP with a .301 wOBA and have an 87 wRC+ since the start of August. I’ll lay it tonight.

Pick: Mets -130

Miami Marlins at Milwaukee Brewers (-142, 7)

A good pitching matchup is on tap here with the Marlins and Brewers, as Jesus Luzardo and Brandon Woodruff square off. Since I declared Luzardo’s season over, he’s allowed two runs on seven hits in 18 innings with 21 strikeouts against four walks. I was dead wrong on that one. Dead. Wrong.

Luzardo has also done a really good job of limiting hard contact in that span, so it looks like the Marlins corrected whatever mechanical issue was going on when he allowed 21 runs over his four starts prior to this stretch. What I will say is that Luzardo is back out on the road, where he has some pretty significant splits. 

Home: 97.1 IP, 3.14 ERA, 3.37 FIP, .220/.284/.382, .288 wOBA, 29.4% K%

Away: 58 IP, 4.34 ERA, 4.14 FIP, .273/.323/.476, .342 wOBA, 26.2% K%

We’ll see if those come into play against the Brewers here, as Milwaukee is just outside the top 10 against lefties since the start of August with a .341 wOBA and a 114 wRC+. 

Woodruff has allowed three runs over his last three starts with seven hits allowed in 19 innings of work. He’s struck out 25 and walked six. He’s faced the Padres, Cubs, and Pirates in that span and Miami grades right around San Diego and Chicago in performance against righties since the start of August. It should be a pretty good matchup for Woodruff.

Nothing here with the low total and a pretty good-sized favorite.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers (-170, 9.5)

Skipping over the Cubs (Jordan Wicks) as a huge favorite against the Rockies (Kyle Freeland) at Coors…

This is a pretty big line for Gavin Stone in his second appearance since July 4 and his first start since May 28. He went six innings in relief against Boston on August 27 and allowed four runs on five hits, including three homers. I realize that the Padres aren’t great, but Pedro Avila has thrown the ball well. The Dodgers are also playing their first game back after a long six-game trip to Miami and Washington, where they went just 3-3.

It was a long flight home for the Dodgers (5:26) and they got in around 10:30, so I do wonder if they look pretty sluggish here. I don’t trust Avila to keep doing this long-term, but he has a 2.19 ERA with a 3.85 xERA and a 3.34 FIP in 37 MLB innings to this point. Maybe the Dodgers deal some of that regression, but a hobbled Mookie Betts and a 13-game lead make me wonder if maybe they aren’t fully there in this game.

This could be like what we saw with the Cardinals where they really stepped up against the Braves. The Padres keep finding ways to lose and not live up to their potential, but this is the only other team in the division with a positive run differential.

I think San Diego’s worth a shot today. Stone has allowed 22 runs in 18 MLB innings this season and the Padres pen is in good shape, including the return of Robert Suarez from suspension.

Pick: Padres +142

Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays (-135, 8.5)

Dane Dunning and Chris Bassitt get the AL portion of the article started, as Texas is still trying to escape a prolonged funk. They did escape Oakland with a series win and won consecutive games for the first time since August 28-29. 

If you’ve been reading my article, you know my thoughts on Dunning, who has a 3.88 ERA with  a 4.60 xERA and a 4.47 FIP in 146 innings of work. The Regression Monster found him last time out, as he allowed nine runs on 11 hits over 5.1 innings against the Astros. He has allowed 19 runs over his last four starts with 18 strikeouts against 11 walks in 18.1 innings of work. He’s allowed seven home runs and a 45.2% Hard Hit% with a 12.9% Barrel%.

It’s been a weird season for Bassitt, who has a 3.69 ERA with a 4.24 xERA and a 4.42 FIP. His home numbers are spectacular, though, and his road numbers leave something to be desired.

Home: 90 IP, 2.80 ERA, 3.59 FIP, .185/.266/.293, .251 wOBA, 24% K%

Away: 83.1 IP, 4.64 ERA, 5.29 FIP, .281/.332/.516, .359 wOBA, 20% K%

Bassitt has allowed 18 of his 25 homers on the road. This start comes at Rogers Centre, so he’s in the friendly confines. With the way that Texas has been struggling, I think this will be an attractive play to a lot of people. I’m surprised it isn’t as attractive to me as I expected it to be. The Blue Jays are up to 15th in wOBA against RHP since August 1 after really starting slow in that department. 

The Rangers bullpen has also been awful for a long period of time. Maybe this ends up looking like a bad omission on the card, but there’s something about this game that I can’t get over, yet can’t put my finger on. The Jays have won three in a row and eight of 10, so they’re playing pretty well and this is a big series for the Wild Card chase.

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (-130, 9.5)

Clarke Schmidt and Kutter Crawford are the listed hurlers here, as the Yankees and Red Sox face off with not much to play for but pride. The Red Sox are six games out with 19 to play and the Yankees are eight games out with 19 to play, so I don’t think either team will even sniff a shot at the Wild Card. 

At least the pitching matchup is interesting, as both Schmidt and Crawford are working to become pieces for the future. Schmidt has a 4.54 ERA with a 4.14 FIP, as he’s had a tale of two seasons. He was terrible early and got better around midseason. He’s been able to keep the Yankees in the game way more often than not, as he has only allowed more than three runs once since mid-May. That start was against the Braves on August 14.

Crawford has had a couple of really rough outings lately, as he’s allowed 11 runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings of work against the Astros and Rays. Prior to that, he had allowed a total of nine runs in his previous six starts, but the level of competition has ramped up and his results have not.

He allowed one run on one hit over six innings against the Yankees back on August 19 and then pitched very well against the Dodgers before these last two rocky starts. I don’t really have a strong feeling one way or the other here, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora basically waved the white flag with some of his comments over the weekend, including a comment that ended with “with where we are in the standings” when talking about the pitching plans.

The Red Sox still beat the Orioles on Sunday and maybe they’ll step up against the Yankees here, but we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t have a bet in this one.

Tampa Bay Rays (-118, 7.5) at Minnesota Twins

Skipping over the Royals and White Sox, who have not named starters for today…

We’ve got an outstanding pitching matchup here between Tyler Glasnow and Sonny Gray. With Cleveland losing three of four over the weekend to the Angels, the division is basically wrapped up for Minnesota, as they lead by 7.5 games. The Rays are three back of the Orioles, but are inching towards clinching at least a Wild Card spot.

Since June 25, Glasnow has a 2.42 ERA with a 2.07 FIP in 74.1 innings of work. He’s allowed a total of 24 runs (20 earned) in 74.1 innings with a 101/15 K/BB ratio. He allowed seven of those runs in a weird, one-off start against the Angels on August 19. Otherwise, he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start and has only done that three times in 12 tries.

While Gray hasn’t been quite as dominant at times in the second half as he was in the first half, he has still only allowed seven homers this season with a 2.98 ERA and a 2.91 FIP. He has worked 163 innings with 160 strikeouts and has only allowed four runs in his last 20 innings. Of course, he’s faced Cleveland twice in that span, so I’m not sure I’d be terribly excited about that. But, he has a sub-3.00 ERA and FIP and it’s not like he’s faced Cleveland in every start.

I don’t see a big edge here. This probably becomes a bullpen game and those can be quite volatile, especially with some heavy usage for Tampa Bay. Pete Fairbanks and Colin Poche have worked four of the last six days and Robert Stephenson has worked back-to-back days. The Twins pen is in better shape, but I think Glasnow’s ceiling is higher than that of Gray.

Cleveland Guardians at San Francisco Giants (-148, 7.5)

Skipping over A’s (Mason Miller) at Astros (Framber Valdez), Angels (Reid Detmers) at Mariners (Logan Gilbert), and Cardinals (Dakota Hudson) at Orioles (Dean Kremer)

I was right about the Guardians heading out west for this trip. They dropped three of four to the Angels. Of course I managed to take the Angels in the only one of the games that they didn’t win, but this Guardians bunch seems pretty checked out. There are a lot of guys in the lineup that haven’t hit well for a while now and manager Terry Francona keeps running dudes like Myles Straw and Kole Calhoun out there.

Now the Guardians are in San Francisco, a place that they haven’t been to in quite a while. This one will be Alex Cobb and Gavin Williams, as the Giants are a sizable home favorite with something still to play for. Cobb nearly threw a no-hitter against the Reds on August 29, as he lost it in the ninth inning, but finished the complete game with 131 pitches.

He was held to 58 pitches and three innings against the Padres on September 3 with four runs allowed on six hits. He gave up a couple homers and hasn’t pitched since, as the Giants have given him some extra R&R in the meantime. He has a 3.74 ERA with a 3.94 FIP in 144.1 innings, but has a 5.55 ERA and a 5.54 FIP in 48.2 innings over his last nine starts, which does include that no-hit bid and six shutout innings against the A’s.

Williams checks in with a 3.34 ERA and a 4.01 FIP in his 70 innings of work. He only threw one inning against the Twins on August 29 when he came off the mound awkwardly. He came back seven days later and allowed one run on one hit over five innings with four strikeouts and four walks against Minnesota.

He’s a solid pitcher with good contact management numbers and some solid home run avoidance, so I think he has the chance to pitch well here. I’m not keen on Cleveland’s offense at all, but 7.5 is a low total, so I’ll shy away, but that’s the angle I’d lean towards in this one.

TL;DR Recap

Mets -130

Padres +142

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