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MLB · 3 months ago

SportsGrid MLB Model Picks for Saturday, September 23

Grant White

Grant White

SportsGrid MLB Model Picks for Saturday, September 23

The dog days of summer are upon us, and MLB action is the only sport to keep us going. As such, we’re breaking down Saturday’s action, highlighting several picks from the SportsGrid projections. We use a star rating to gauge each play’s success probability. These are some of our favorite selections from today’s MLB Game Picks.

AL Wild Card: Rangers, Mariners, Blue Jays Eyeing Playoffs

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Over 7 (-122): 5-Star Rating

Two of the top-hitting teams from the past couple of weeks go toe-to-toe in the City of Brotherly Love. With a spot in the playoffs already secured, the Philadelphia Phillies host the New York Mets in an NL East clash. An intriguing pitching matchup forced sportsbooks to open this total at 7, but that’s not stopping us from taking the over. 

Both the Mets and Phillies have been clubbing the ball of late. Since September 8, the Phillies have compiled the most home runs in the bigs, resulting in the tenth-best OPS and 5.4 runs per game. That’s comparable to what we’ve seen from the Mets, who sit ninth in OPS over the same time frame, with the sixth-most homers and 4.9 runs per game. 

Moreover, the Phillies have been one of the best-hitting teams versus southpaws. The defending NL Champions have the third-most long fly balls off lefties and the seventh-best slugging percentage. As good as Jose Quintana has looked recently, he doesn’t possess an arsenal to hog-tie the entire lineup. 

Likewise, the Mets should have no problem getting to Zack Wheeler, who has struggled at home. Wheeler’s ERA inflates to 4.25 at Citizens Bank Park, leaving little doubt that this one sails over the modest total.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Rays Moneyline (-122): 5-Star Rating

A crucial AL East battle highlights the early slate as the Toronto Blue Jays look to make it two in a row against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Jays send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound for Saturday’s matinee, which is a substantial advantage for the home team.

The Rays have clobbered lefties all season. So far this season, Tampa has put together the ninth-best slugging percentage and second-best RBI rate in the majors. That advantage has been even more pronounced at Tropicana Field, where lefty starters are 2-8 against them this season, with an ERA north of 6.00.

Additionally, we’ve highlighted Zack Littell as a progression candidate to end the campaign. The righty has been a tough-luck loser over the past few weeks, posting a 3.33 ERA and 0.99 WHIP but going 0-2 since the start of the month. Wins should start to pile up for Littell as outcomes reflect his elite pitching. 

Toronto’s .665 OPS this week is seventh-worst in the MLB and incompatible with the 5.0 runs per game they are averaging. According to our projections, the Rays should pull even in the series before Sunday’s decisive finale.

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
Athletics Moneyline (+114): 5-Star Rating

One of the least compelling games on the docket offers one of the most robust edges. The Oakland Athletics welcome the Detroit Tigers to the Coliseum for the third of four contests. These teams have split the series’ first two games, but the hosts have a definitive advantage on Saturday. 

Most notably, the Tigers’ pitching staff is gassed. As of Saturday morning, Detroit has yet to announce a starter for this afternoon’s contest. Worse, they’ve exhausted their bullpen to get here. The Tigers went through five arms in Friday’s 8-2 loss and have another three relievers on the IL. Combined with their injuries among starters, there’s no quality pitcher left to tap into. 

Consequently, we’ve seen a deterioration in their pitching metrics. This week, Tigers pitchers have given up the second-most home runs and blown two saves while taking on two of the worst teams in the American League. 

Last night’s eight-run performance should be easily duplicated for the Athletics as they look to make it two in a row against the Tigers.

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