MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, September 9th

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 9, 2023 11:37 AM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

It is a college football Saturday and the first NFL Sunday is tomorrow, but we’ve still got 15 MLB games on the board. It’s the type of day where the MLB card is going to get very little handle and a few things might sneak between the cracks. Also, most line moves are going to be sharp in nature when it comes to baseball, but any line move that you see here today will be sharp. The public is not having any say in these games with so many CFB games and when the big part of the day slows down, they’ll shift gears to the NFL.

I’ll make my way through the card and see what I can find.

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Here are some thoughts on the September 9 card (odds from DraftKings):

Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs (-142, 7)

Merrill Kelly and NL Cy Young hopeful Justin Steele are the listed hurlers for this day game on the North Side. Steele will have to have a pretty special performance after Blake Snell navigated six quality innings against the Astros yesterday. At this point, I’m not sure that the award is really up for grabs, but Steele can have his say today and has a few more starts to go.

Steele has a 2.55 ERA with a 3.39 xERA and a 2.98 FIP in 152 innings of work. He’s coming off of eight shutout innings with 12 strikeouts against the Giants and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 17.2 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 26. It will be another fine day for pitching at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing in and cool temps, so it could be another good day for Steele.

Kelly has a 3.22 ERA with a 4.03 xERA and a 3.76 FIP in 148.1 innings of work. After allowing seven runs on 12 hits over five innings to the Dodgers on August 29, he struck out 12 Rockies over seven innings with a big-time bounce back effort. The Diamondbacks need the good version of Kelly today to keep up with Steele. Even with that seven-run blow-up, he has a 3.21 ERA with a 3.64 FIP in his last nine starts since coming back from a blood clot in his calf.

Should be a good pitching matchup for sure. I don’t think the price is good enough on Arizona to fade Steele, but I could see Kelly doing his part.

St. Louis Cardinals (-135, 10.5) at Cincinnati Reds

Skipping over the Dodgers (Bobby Miller) as a big favorite against the Nationals (Jake Irvin) and the Marlins (Johnny Cueto) as a heavy home favorite against the Phillies (Aaron Nola)...

Zack Thompson and Carson Spiers are listed here, as the Reds look to bounce back from yesterday’s ugly loss to the Cardinals. St. Louis did not get a good effort from Drew Rom, but the bullpen was really solid in the 9-4 win. They’ll hope to get a little length from Thompson, who has a 3.91 ERA with a 4.47 xERA and a 3.61 FIP over 46 innings of work. He has allowed nine earned runs over his 21 innings of work as a starter over his last four starts.

Thompson has a 19/6 K/BB ratio and actually went seven innings last time out six days ago. Even though he has only made a few starts and 21 appearances, he’s more projectable than Spiers, who has one start at the MLB level. He allowed three runs on five hits over four innings in his first start, but he did strike out seven in that outing. 

The 25-year-old Spiers had a 3.69 ERA with a 3.72 FIP in 82 innings at Double-A and jumped right to the big leagues. He settled down after giving up three runs in the first two innings and struck out four of the last six batters he faced to finish the day on a high note.

Even though Spiers is fairly unproven, his stuff graded pretty well in his first start and he got a bit unlucky with balls in play. I think the Reds are at a decent price here in what likely becomes a bullpen game. The Reds have all their primary relievers ready to go and the Cardinals used all of their primary guys yesterday.

Pick: Reds +114

Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays (-166, 8.5)

No opinions on Pirates (Johan Oviedo) vs. Braves (Dylan Dodd), Rockies (Chase Anderson) vs. Giants (Logan Webb), or Royals (Jack McArthur/Zack Greinke) vs. Blue Jays (Gausman)...

We head to Tampa Bay for the Mariners and Rays, as Aaron Civale gets the start for the Rays and Seattle has made a change. The Mariners will skip Bryan Woo, as some of their young arms are really running on fumes. It will be a bullpen day for the M’s, but Luke Weaver will be the bulk guy in some capacity. No pitcher is listed, unfortunately, otherwise this line is probably cheap on Civale.

In six starts for Civale as a Ray, he’s got a 3.82 ERA, but a 2.28 FIP. He’s struck out 37 and walked five. He’s got a .372 BABIP against in 30.2 innings of work and that has put a few more baserunners than expected out there on the basepaths. He has only allowed a 34.1% Hard Hit%, so he should be in line for some positive regression. Last time out, he struck out 12 over 5.1 innings, but gave up three runs because two inherited runners scored in the sixth.

Trent Thornton is the starter for the Mariners. He has a 2.05 ERA with a 2.97 xERA and a 3.85 FIP over 22 innings this season, including an 0.87 ERA over his last 10.1 innings of work. Weaver will bulk and he’s allowed five runs on 12 hits in four appearances over nine innings for Seattle. He has a 6.71 ERA with a 5.81 FIP in 106 innings overall.

I’d see if Thornton can give a scoreless inning or two and maybe look to live bet Tampa at a better number if they fall behind.

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (-148, 10)

Jack Flaherty and Chris Sale are the listed starters in this one, as the Orioles rolled yesterday to a victory. It’s been a struggle lately for Flaherty, who had a start skipped and has allowed 17 runs on 23 hits over his last 18.1 innings of work. He has 21 strikeouts against eight walks, but he’s allowed five homers and has a .346 BABIP with a 61.5% LOB% in that span.

Sale will make his sixth start since returning on August 11. Sale has allowed 12 runs on 18 hits in 23.2 innings since coming back with a 4.18 ERA and a 3.64 FIP, as he has a 30/8 K/BB ratio and has only allowed three homers in those five starts. It is worth noting that Sale has only allowed a 28.8% Hard Hit% in those five starts, so he’s mostly doing well to stay off the barrel and he’s also faced Houston twice in that span, so he’s faced the best lineup in baseball against lefties in the second half.

Nothing from me here, but let’s see how Flaherty fares, as he’s had a lot of issues.

Cleveland Guardians (-120, 9.5) at Los Angeles Angels

Skipping over White Sox (Jose Urena) and Tigers (Tarik Skubal) - how the hell does Jose Urena keep finding teams to start him?! - and the A’s with no starter named against the Rangers (Nathan Eovaldi)...

Lucas Giolito and Tyler Anderson are the listed starters here . This start will mean the world to Giolito. The California kid failed in his brief tenure with the Angels and then was waived, only to be picked up by the Guardians, who got the worst start of Giolito’s career in the biggest game of the season. But, maybe Giolito just isn’t any good at this point. Since July 18, he has an 8.53 ERA with a 7.68 FIP over 44.1 innings. I couldn’t trust him today.

Anderson has allowed 25 runs over his last 23.2 innings of work over four starts and a bulk relief appearance. Cleveland hasn’t been able to hit lefties since the Obama Administration began, but this might be a lefty that they can get after a bit. Anderson is a pitch-to-contact southpaw with subpar command and he’s gone from being a big ground ball guy to being a fly ball guy.

This game could feature a ton of runs from two bad offenses, but I’m not going to be invested. I’m mad at myself for adding the Angels yesterday and I’m not doing anything here.

Milwaukee Brewers at New York Yankees (-142, 9)

Early start here in the Bronx with Wade Miley and Michael King. King has been a really good discovery for the Yankees. He may even be able to be stretched out as a starter heading into next season, which would help with the inflated cost of pitching and what the Yankees have already committed to guys like Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon.

Overall, King has a 2.88 ERA with a 3.34 xERA and a 3.25 FIP in 78 innings of work. He has made four starts and this will be his fourth in a, as he’s allowed one earned run (two total) over 11.2 innings of work with 12 strikeouts against two walks. I’m really impressed with what we’ve seen from him and he’s gone from a leverage relief weapon to a starter. He worked five innings last time out against Houston, so that would be the hope again today.

The Brewers will counter with Miley, who has a 3.90 ERA with a 6.08 FIP in his 32.1 innings of work since returning on August 2. He allowed two runs on five hits in his first 10 innings, but has allowed 13 runs on 20 hits in his last 22.1 innings. I’m not a huge fan of the profile today, but this is an early game with limited lead time and the Yankees are a decent-sized favorite. I could see a Yankees 1st 5 Run Line being a decent investment.

New York Mets at Minnesota Twins (-148, 8.5)

David Peterson and Kenta Maeda are the listed starters in this one for the Twins. Those who followed the Kodai Senga outs prop from the podcast were victorious, as he went six innings, even though it wasn’t his sharpest start with five strikeouts against four walks. The Mets did nothing against Dallas Keuchel and that’s my concern with them going forward. They just don’t always seem super invested.

Peterson has ramped back up to starting and has a 4.15 ERA, but a 5.76 FIP over his last six starts. He’s walked 16 guys and has allowed a 45.1% Hard Hit% and an 11.3% Barrel%, so there are a lot of regression signs in the profile. Those could come to the forefront today in this game.

Maeda has struggled a bit lately himself, as he’s allowed 15 runs over his last 18 innings of work. Maeda had been rolling along at a really high level, but he’s allowed five homers in his last four starts and hasn’t been able to work more than five innings in any of his starts. This is another early game, so I don’t really have much to add on it, but this could be a game with some runs if the Mets can jump on the struggling Maeda.

San Diego Padres at Houston Astros (-130, 9)

Seth Lugo and Cristian Javier play the lone night game of the interleague card. Lugo has a 3.49 ERA with a 4.09 xERA and a 3.68 FIP in 121.1 innings of work. He gave up eight runs to the Dodgers on August 7, but has only allowed four earned runs over his last five starts. As elite as Houston has been against lefties since the start of August, they are also fifth against righties with a .350 wOBA and a 124 wRC+. Those numbers aren’t in the same stratosphere as what they do against lefties, but still very strong.

Javier has had a really rough season. He has a 4.65 ERA with a 4.76 FIP in 137.1 innings of work. He has a 5.28 ERA with a 5.80 FIP in 46 innings in the second half and every start feels like a struggle. He did look a bit better last time out with eight strikeouts over six innings against the Yankees with three runs on four hits, but he’s allowed a lot of hard contact all second half.

I can’t really trust Javier here, but the Astros are clearly the better team, so it’s a tough one. It’s a light day on the diamond for me.

TL;DR Recap

Reds +114

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