The Minnesota Twins might clinch the American League Central Division title without taking the field on Thursday while Cy Young front-runner Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees could be one of the MLB best bets during Thursday’s nine-game slate.
The Milwaukee Brewers continue to inch closer to the National League Central title with the Arizona Diamondbacks putting themselves in a good position to make it into the NL playoffs.
Vlad Guerrero of the Toronto Blue Jays is among the prominent players dealing with injury concerns heading into Thursday’s action.
Keep in mind that the road favorites went 3-3 on Wednesday. The Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers are road favorites on Wednesday.
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.
Thursday’s Best Prop Bets
When looking at the MLB odds on Sept. 21, here are some to consider.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is batting .417 with three home runs in 29 career at-bats against Jose Berrios of the Toronto Blue Jays. Go with the +120 odds for Judge to go over 1½ total bases. The +225 odds for Judge to hit a home run is worth considering as well when it comes to the as a possible MLB bet of the day.
While it can be risky rolling with somebody who missed their last start, we like Atlanta’s Max Fried to record at least five strikeouts in a win over Washington. That carries a moneyline of +120.
Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays is batting just .225 in the month of September. Still, it is hard to pass on the +150 odds for Arozarena to go over 1½ total bases against the Angels.
Is there anybody left to take the field for the St. Louis Cardinals? With all the injuries to the St. Louis’ hitters, jump all over Milwaukee’s Wade Miley at +220 to have at least four strikeouts in a Milwaukee win.
Aaron Judge hit a Grammy a few days ago. It looked so easy for him. 😲 Does anyone know that Judge is 6’8? Sheez, pitchers don’t want to go down the middle on him but have to. pic.twitter.com/R0mXbyWVH6
— Blades of Jake (@JakeBlade14) September 17, 2023
Yankee Stadium Swan Song For Cole?
With the possible exception of getting some young players a chance to play in the majors and manager Aaron Boone trying his best to get thrown out of every game, there hasn’t been much to celebrate for New York Yankees fans in 2023.
The Yankees have won the last five games started by Cole and are 21-10 in games he has started.
Cole will be back on the mound on Thursday to face the Toronto Blue Jays. He has not allowed a run in two games against Toronto this season.
The sportsbook lists the Yankees at -131 to win the series opener largely because Cole is pitching. With the way the schedule plays out, this should be the final start of the season for Cole at Yankee Stadium. He has been rather non-committal regarding his future in New York so it is not out of the realm of possibility that it will also be the last time he pitches for the Yankees at home.
Costly Loss for Steele, Cubs
Speaking of Cy Young candidates, Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs picked an inopportune time to deliver one of his worst starts of the season. It was not expected when it comes to the MLB betting lines.
Facing a Pittsburgh Pirates team that the Cubs have dominated, Steele surrendered eight hits and six runs in three innings in a 13-7 loss to Pittsburgh.
That loss and the 8-2 win by the Milwaukee Brewers versus St. Louis gives Milwaukee a seven-game lead on the Cubs in the National League Central Division with 10 games left to play.
The Cubs currently hold down the final playoff spot in the National League with Miami a half-game behind and Cincinnati just a game off the pace. The San Francisco Giants are now three games back with San Diego 4½ games behind thanks to a seven-game winning streak.
There could be a division champion crowned on Thursday with the first-place team not even slated to play.
Minnesota leads Cleveland by nine games in the American League Central with nine games left for both teams. If Cleveland loses to Baltimore on Thursday, the Twins will be division champions.
In the American League, Toronto is the No. 2 wild card right now. Texas and Seattle are both just a game behind. Only two of those three games will make the playoffs.
Making Some History
The list of players with 25 home runs and 50 stolen bases in their rookie season is a rather short one. Actually, there was no list until Arizona’s Corbin Carroll hit his 25th home run and stole bases No. 49 and 50 in Wednesday’s win over the San Francisco Giants.
Carroll had some struggles in the middle of the season, but he is back to swinging a hot bat at the perfect time.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) September 20, 2023
During Arizona’s five-game winning streak, Carroll is 10-for-26 with six runs scored.
Josh Jung of the Texas Rangers was very much in the conversation for the American League Rookie of the Year before an injury forced him to miss more than a month of action.
Jung hit his first home run since returning to action on Wednesday. Jung is batting.357 in the three games since coming off the injured list and he is returning just in time for the Rangers to make their final push for the playoffs.
Mitch Garver, Jonah Heim and Evan Carter also homered in the 15-5 win over Boston.
Texas has won back-to-back games. However, Toronto has won five consecutive games and Seattle matched Texas with back-to-back victories so this is going to be one entertaining playoff race.
Houston is just a half-game ahead of both the Rangers and Mariners in the AL West race so buckle up for the final few series in the regular season.
Here’s a look at some of the injuries that could impact Thursday’s games.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. missed the last game for the Toronto Blue Jays with knee discomfort and he is questionable to play against the Yankees on Thursday.
After missing his last turn in the rotation with a finger injury, Atlanta pitcher Max Fried is expected to make his scheduled start against Washington on Thursday.
San Francisco Giants infielder Brandon Crawford’s status is up in the air heading into Thursday’s game with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a result of a tender hamstring.
Baltimore Orioles closer Felix Bautista threw a bullpen session on Sunday with no reported setbacks so perhaps he will return soon.
Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich has missed the last five games with back stiffness and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. It is a similar scenario for Detroit infielder Javier Baez.
Add outfielder Alec Burleson to the long list of St. Louis Cardinals players who will not return this season. Catcher Willson Contreras is questionable with a wrist injury heading into Thursday’s matchup with Milwaukee.
New York Mets outfielder DJ Stewart is questionable for the series opener with Philadelphia due to a wrist injury.
Randal Grichuk of the Los Angeles Angels missed the last game with a head injury and it is not known if he will be in the lineup against Tampa Bay.
A blister on his finger will prevent pitcher MacKenzie Gore from making another start this season for Washington.