It was a pretty quiet slate of games on Thursday. Ryan Pepiot made some MLB news by taking a perfect game into the seventh inning for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak while the Detroit Tigers defied the MLB predictions by ending the five-game winning streak of the New York Yankees.
Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a pair of home runs as did former No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson.
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels and Adolis Garcia of the Texas Rangers are among the stars dealing with injuries heading into Friday’s action.
When making MLB picks, keep in mind that the road favorites went 2-1 on Thursday. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are road favorites on Friday.
According to our MLB playoff odds, the Atlanta Braves (+300) have the best odds to win the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+425), Houston Astros (+550), Baltimore Orioles (+800) and Tampa Bay Rays (+1000) aren’t far behind.
Friday’s Best Prop Bets
Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals delivered as top prop bets on Thursday so here are some options for Friday’s games.
Kyle Bradish of the Baltimore Orioles has allowed two runs or less in each of his last four starts and has at least six strikeouts in each of those appearances so that makes the +220 odds for Bradish to have at least six strikeouts in a win over the Boston Red Sox a smart bet.
Cincinnati rookie Andrew Abbott allowed just four hits and one run with five strikeouts in his last start. While the Cardinals are clicking on offense right now, it feels like Abbott is due to deliver again, so take a look at the +120 odds set by the sportsbook for Abbott to have at least five strikeouts in a Cincinnati win.
Mark Canha of the Milwaukee Brewers is hitting .450 with three extra-base hits in his last six games. That makes the +150 odds for Canha to go over 1.5 total bases worth taking a chance on.
Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto, who began his MLB career with Miami, has five runs in his last five games heading into a series with his former team. He has even odds to score a run on Friday and we like that action.
Cy Young Candidates Ready to Go
The teams haven’t done this on purpose, but it is a treat to have Blake Snell of the San Diego Padres and Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitch on the same day once again. This will be the third time in their last four outings that Snell and Gallen pitch on the same day.
Snell and Gallen are listed by the MLB lines as the contenders in the National League Cy Young Award race, with Snell leading the way at -180.
Most strikeouts this season:
250 — Spencer Strider
207 — Kevin Gausman
201 — Blake Snell
The only players with over 200. pic.twitter.com/ZG144JhVsW
— StatMuse MLB (@statmusemlb) September 8, 2023
Snell, who is 12-9 and leads all qualified pitchers with a 2.50 ERA, has allowed five hits and no runs with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings in his last two starts.
Gallen, 14-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 186 strikeouts, looks to bounce back after allowing 17 hits and 11 runs in 10.2 innings over his last two starts.
Snell and the visiting Padres are priced at +125 in Friday’s game at Houston while Arizona and Gallen are favored at -114 on the road against the Chicago Cubs.
Playoff Races Continue to Heat Up
The race for the National League wild-card spots could get more interesting this weekend thanks to the Miami-Philadelphia and Arizona-Chicago Cubs series.
Philadelphia is comfortably holding down the top spot among non-division leaders with a 77-62 record followed by the Cubs at 76-65.
Arizona is 73-68 and is currently in playoff position. Miami and Cincinnati are just a half-game in back of the Diamondbacks while a six-game losing streak has dropped the San Francisco Giants to 70-70 and 2.5 games out of the playoffs.
The Giants do face the NL West cellar-dwelling Colorado Rockies this weekend so perhaps they can get back to their winning ways.
The Cubs, priced at -800 by the Las Vegas odds to reach the playoffs, are just two games in back of Milwaukee in the race for the National League Central Division title.
Arizona comes in at +135 to qualify for the playoffs followed by Miami (+175), Cincinnati (+195) and San Francisco (+400). In the American League,
Houston and Seattle are tied with 61 losses but the Astros hold the slim lead in the AL West due to one more victory.
Flirting With Perfection
Facing a Miami Marlins team that had won six straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, expectations were rather low when Ryan Pepiot prepared for his second start of the season and ninth since breaking in with the Dodgers last year.
However, Pepiot set down the first 20 batters he faced before Josh Bell broke up his perfect game with a two-out single in the seventh inning. That was the only hit Pepiot allowed in his seven innings.
Caleb Ferguson and Evan Phillips each pitched a scoreless inning as the Dodgers rolled to a 10-0 win.
It was not all good news as outfielder Mookie Betts, listed by the MLB odds as one of the front-runners in the National League Most Valuable Player race, left the game after fouling a pitch off his foot. There was a report that Betts was seen leaving the stadium on crutches.
Another winning streak also came to an end when the New York Yankees bid for a sixth win in a row came to an end with a 10-3 loss to Detroit as Spencer Torkelson hit a pair of home runs.
Eyes on a 40-40 Season
The list of players with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same season is currently limited to Jose Canseco (1988 with Oakland), Barry Bonds (1996, San Francisco), Alex Rodriguez (1998, Seattle) and Alfonso Soriano (2006, Washington).
With two more home runs on Thursday in a win over St. Louis, Acuna is now at 34 home runs to go with 63 stolen bases.
Atlanta has 23 games left so Acuna is well within reach of joining the 40-40 club.
Here’s a look at some of the injured players heading into Friday’s games.
- Miami pitcher Sandy Alcantara, the 2022 National League Cy Young Award winner, was placed on the injured list with a forearm issue that could prevent him from making his next three starts. Miami’s top power hitter, Jorge Soler (35 home runs), is already on the injured list.
- Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner is expected to be activated off the paternity list following the birth of his child and could play against Miami on Friday.
- Texas outfielder Adolis Garcia landed on the injured list with a knee injury.
- Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mickey Moniak (back) is questionable after missing the most recent contest. Shohei Ohtani and Luis Rengifo are also questionable.
- San Diego catcher Gary Sanchez will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury while there are reports that New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes will not pitch again in 2023.
- St. Louis catcher Willson Contreras might return to the lineup after sitting out the last game.
- Cincinnati outfielder Hunter Renfroe is dealing with a tender hamstring and he is questionable for Friday’s game with St. Louis.
- Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has missed the last three games as a result of a hamstring issue and he is questionable to face Baltimore on Friday.
- Washington outfielder Lane Thomas (back) and catcher Riley Adams (hand) are questionable to face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
- Atlanta catcher Sean Murphy and infielder Austin Riley missed the last game and it is uncertain if they will play on Friday.
- Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson missed the last game due to a neck issue and he is questionable for the series opener with Detroit on Friday. Outfielder Matt Vierling and infielder Zach Short are both questionable for the Tigers.
- Arizona pitcher Merrill Kelly left his previous start due to a hamstring issue and he is questionable for his scheduled start on Saturday.
- Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene could be activated off the COVID-19 list in time to make his start on Saturday.