With five games on Friday between teams with winning records, people making MLB predictions have some tantalizing options to pick from, especially with the Tampa Bay Rays having a chance to move into a tie for first place in the American League East and the Texas Rangers possibly regaining the American League West Division lead.
When it comes to making MLB picks, keep an eye on the matchup between the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays as the teams with the best records in the American League get ready for Game 2 of a pivotal four-game series.
When making MLB predictions, keep in mind that the road favorites went 2-1 on Thursday. They are road favorites on Thursday.
When looking at the MLB news, the Boston Red Sox made a change in the front office with the firing of Chaim Bloom.
According to our MLB playoff odds, the Atlanta Braves (+275) have the best odds to win the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+450), Houston Astros (+550), Baltimore Orioles (+850) and Tampa Bay Rays (+950) aren’t far behind.
Friday’s Best Prop Bets
Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves is hitting .350 with four home runs and eight extra-base hits in 10 games against Miami this season so roll with the +105 odds for Olson to go over 1½ total bases.
Cody Bellinger has hits in all but one of the games he has played in September. He is hitting .316 with five home runs in the month so keep that in mind when looking at the +115 moneyline for him to go over 1½ total bases.
Milwaukee’s Wade Miley is coming off his second shortest start of the season. He followed up his shortest outing by pitching into the sixth inning five times in the next 11 starts and we like him at +125 to go over 15½ outs recorded against the Washington Nationals.
Nathaniel Lowe of the Texas Rangers is hitting .357 in his career against Cleveland starter Lucas Giolito, so why not take the +140 odds for Lowe to go over 1½ total bases?
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 14, 2023
Rays Strike First
Things are getting rather interesting in the American League East race.
Luke Raley hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to lift the visiting Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-3 over the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
The win pulled Tampa Bay within a game of the Orioles in the AL East standings. Randy Arozarena had a two-run triple for Tampa Bay while four relief pitchers combined to throw four perfect innings.
There are three more games left in the series beginning on Friday when Zach Eflin goes after his 15th win for Tampa Bay. Trade deadline acquisition Jack Flaherty is set to make his seventh start for the Orioles.
Barring an epic collapse, the winner of the AL East will also be the top seed in the American League during the playoffs.
Seven of those 10 games between the teams this season have been decided by two runs or less with the road team winning six times.
Visiting Tampa Bay is priced at -140 by the MLB betting lines to win Friday’s game.
Good morning, good afternoon, and GOOD NIGHT pic.twitter.com/mrASnj3mtG
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 15, 2023
Cy of Relief
While it has been a disappointing season for a New York Yankees team that played in the American League Championship Series in 2022, it is hard to blame ace pitcher Gerrit Cole for the struggles.
Cole has moved to -1400 according to the sportsbook in the odds to win the American League Cy Young Award race. He has a chance to further cement himself as the clear favorite to win the award when the Yankees open a weekend series against Cole’s former Pittsburgh Pirates team
This will be the first time Cole will pitch in Pittsburgh since leaving the Pirates after the 2017 season.
Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs will look to close the gap on National League Cy Young front-runner Blake Snell of the San Diego Padres when the Cubs play at Arizona to begin a series between two teams vying for National League wild-card spots.
Keep an eye on a couple of former Cy Young Award winners. Corbin Burnes left his previous start with an ankle injury. He is slated to make his scheduled start on Saturday.
Clayton Kershaw is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts since coming off the injured list. He missed his last turn in the rotation with a shoulder injury. He is expected to start on Saturday against Seattle.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 14, 2023
Down the Stretch They Come
Game 2 of the Orioles-Rays series is just one of five games on Friday between teams with winning records and this weekend could help celebrate the contenders from the pretenders.
The Dodgers play a weekend series against a Seattle team that is fighting for not just a wild-card spot in the American League, but also the American League West title.
The Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks are right in the thick of the National League wild-card race heading into their series.
The Braves have already clinched the National League East title and they head to Miami to face a slumping Marlins team in a series that is much more important to Miami.
Toronto just got swept by Texas in a four-game series so perhaps a home series with Boston will get the Blue Jays going again.
If the playoffs began today, Baltimore, Houston and Minnesota would be the division champions in the American League. Tampa Bay, Texas and Seattle would be the wild-card representatives with Toronto 1½ games in back of Seattle.
In the National League, the division champs would be Atlanta, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers. Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs hold down the top two wild-card spots with San Francisco (75-71), Arizona (76-72) and Miami (75-72) battling for the final playoff berth.
The Las Vegas mlb odds list the Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers and Rays as favorites on Friday.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 14, 2023
Honoring a Legend
There are few baseball players as revered as the late, great Roberto Clemente.
Clemente won 12 Gold Glove awards, had 3,000 career hits and led the Pirates to a pair of World Series titles.
He died at the age of 38 when flying to Nicaragua to deliver aid to earthquake victims.
When the Pirates play host to the New York Yankees, it will be the 22nd annual Roberto Clemente Day.
The Pirates will be giving away No. 21 hats on Friday and on Sunday there will be a kids’ jersey giveaway promotion.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 14, 2023
Here’s a look at some of the injuries that could impact Friday’s games.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts of the San Diego Padres is questionable to face Oakland on Friday because of a tender calf.
Miami outfielder Jazz Chisholm missed the last game with a knee issue and he is questionable to face Atlanta on Friday.
Third baseman Matt Chapman returned for Toronto in Thursday’s loss to Texas.
Seattle got back outfielder Jarred Kelenic on Monday, but he has not played since due to a foot injury.
Infielder Mike Moustakas of the Los Angeles Angels is questionable with a wrist injury. The Angels are already without designated hitter and American League Most Valuable Player front-runner Shohei Ohtani as well as outfielders Mike Trout and Mickey Moniak.
Texas catcher Mitch Garver is day-to-day with a foot injury. The Rangers are already without outfielder Adolis Garcia and infielder Josh Jung.
Atlanta pitcher Dylan Lee is on the injured list with a shoulder injury.
Milwaukee outfielder Mark Canha is questionable for the start of the series with Washington with a wrist injury. Outfielder Christian Yelich is expected to return to the lineup on Friday.
Baltimore first baseman Ryan Mountcastle missed the series opener with Tampa Bay due to a shoulder issue and is uncertain to return on Friday.
St. Louis catcher Willson Contreras (hand contusion) is questionable for the matchup with Philadelphia.
San Francisco outfielder Michael Conforto is expected to be back in the lineup against Colorado.
Cincinnati relief pitcher Tejay Antone landed on the injured list with an elbow injury.