The Seattle Mariners rode the hot bat of reigning American League Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez into playoff position and now when it comes to the MLB predictions, the team has a chance to move by Houston in the hotly contested AL West race.
While Seattle’s six-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the majors, the New York Yankees are headed in the opposite direction with losses in eight straight games. The Yankees were listed by the MLB picks as the preseason favorite in the AL East. However, the Yankees are 17 games behind division-leading Baltimore.
Keep an eye on the availability of Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II and Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas, two players who have been making MLB news with their hot streaks in the second half of the season.
Five of the 12 teams listed by the MLB spreads as underdogs won on Sunday. Will it be more of the same on Monday with four of the 10 road teams listed as the underdogs?
Monday’s Best Bets
Spencer Torkelson of the Detroit Tigers is starting to resemble the player who was selected first overall in the 2020 MLB draft as he is hitting .333 with four home runs and two doubles in his last six games. That makes the +120 moneyline for Torkelson to go over 1½ total bases worth considering. There are +460 odds to hit a home run there for the most adventurous of those who bet online.
Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies has experienced plenty of highs and lows this season. He is known for pitching his best when the stakes are the highest, and with the series against San Francisco featuring two teams fighting it out for playoff position in the National League, he could be raring to go. The Giants are only hitting .220 in August so going with Nola at +115 to have at least six strikeouts in a win by the Phillies seems like a solid way to proceed.
Pete Alonso of the New York Mets might have generated news for throwing the ball into the stands after St. Louis rookie Masyn Winn recorded his first MLB hit. That should not obscure the fact that he has four home runs in his last five games so that makes the +115 odds set by the sportsbook for Alonso to go over 1.5 total bases in the series opener with Atlanta worth considering.
J-Rod Tearing It Up
Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez’s streak of four-hit games ended on Sunday. However, he still had a double and scored a run as Seattle swept a three-game series against the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros.
Rodriguez is 22-for-42 with seven runs scored, five doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs during his current eight-game hitting streak.
Rodriguez is batting .412 in August with a .659 slugging percentage. More importantly, Seattle is 14-4 over the last 18 games and currently holds down the final wild-card slot in the American League playoff race. Seattle also pulled within one-half game of second-place Houston and is just three games in back of Texas in the American League West race.
Seattle has picked up two games on Texas and four games on Houston since the start of August.
Bringing Up the Rear
The focus at this time of the season is understandably on the teams fighting for playoff spots. However, let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum.
Oakland is languishing in last place in the AL West with a 34-90 record and 18 home wins – the fewest in the majors. Kansas City is 40-86 with only 17 wins on the road.
Kansas City is 19th in team batting average while Oakland ranks last with a .223 average. The Royals are 27th and the A’s 30th in runs scored.
It is not only a lack of offense that has slowed these teams down as they are two of the three MLB squads with team ERA over 5.00.
There are 15 teams with more wins from starting pitchers than the 36 that Kansas City and Oakland have from their starters.
Moving on Up
Max Scherzer moved ahead of Phil Niekro and into 11th place in career strikeouts when he struck out four hitters in 3.2 innings in a loss to Milwaukee on Sunday.
Scherzer has 3,344 strikeouts in 2,813.1 innings and needs 28 strikeouts to move past Greg Maddux and into 10th place.
When Scherzer gets to the No. 10 spot, he will join Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers in the top 10 with more strikeouts than innings pitched.
There is a chance that Niekro could be passed by Scherzer’s former teammate as Justin Verlander is 50 strikeouts behind Niekro.
The Washington Nationals wrapped up a series win over their National League East rival Philadelphia Phillies while playing in front of some stars of the future. The series finale took place in the annual Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa.
Trevor Williams allowed two hits and no runs over six innings to lead Washington to a 4-3 win on Sunday. The bullpen made things interesting allowing three runs in the ninth inning before holding on.
This was the second-lowest scoring affair among the six Little League Classics.
Philadelphia still holds down the top wild-card spot in the National League heading into a series with San Francisco, another team currently in playoff position in the National League.
Here is a look at the injuries that could impact Monday’s action.
San Francisco shortstop Thairo Estrada is questionable for the series opener against Philadelphia with a hand injury while outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. is also questionable due to a back issue.
Outfielder Michael Harris could return to the lineup for the Atlanta Braves after missing the last game due to a foot injury.
Seattle infielder Jose Caballero is dealing with shin and hamstring issues and his status for the series opener with the Chicago White Sox is up in the air. Keep an eye on the availability of White Sox designated hitter Eloy Jimenez as he is dealing with a groin injury.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran left the last game with a toe injury while first baseman Triston Casas has missed the last two contests with a tooth infection, so keep tabs on the availability of two of Boston’s top hitters against Houston.
Oakland relief pitcher Austin Pruitt landed on the injured list with a forearm issue.
Cincinnati outfielder Stuart Fairchild left the last game as a result of a concussion and he is questionable to face the Angels on Monday. The Reds are already without infielders Jonathan India and Kevin Newman as well as outfielder Jake Fraley.