It is all about the race for the playoffs as the games dwindle down during the regular season. When it comes to the MLB game predictions, plenty of eyes will be on the matchup between American League division leaders Baltimore and Houston on Monday.
Veterans Zack Wheeler and Kyle Wright will be on the mound as National League playoff contenders Philadelphia and Atlanta get together yet again.
Keep in mind that the road favorites went 5-5 on Sunday. The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are road favorites on Monday.
There were plenty of items making MLB news over the weekend and that included American League Most Valuable Player front-runner Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels being shut down since the Angels have been eliminated from playoff contention.
According to our MLB 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.
Monday’s Best Prop Bets
When making MLB picks on Sept. 18, here are some to consider.
Rookie Bryan Woo pitched into the sixth inning in his last start with four hits and no runs allowed to go with eight strikeouts. Now he is facing a 103-loss Oakland Athletics team that has dropped four games in a row so go with Woo at +135 to have at least six strikeouts in a win by the Mariners.
Jazz Chisholm of the Miami Marlins is hitting .302 with 12 runs in 15 games in September so it might be worth taking the +110 odds set by the sportsbook for him to score a run against the New York Mets on Monday.
Matt Olson leads the majors with nine home runs in September. He comes in at +290 to add to his MLB-leading home run total when the Atlanta Braves take on the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers are 6-2 in games started by Lance Lynn. While the Detroit Tigers could be a team to be reckoned with in the future, they will miss the postseason once again, so it will be tempting to take the +155 odds for Lynn to have at least seven strikeouts in a win by the Dodgers.
In a Clinch
The Baltimore Orioles will be headed to the postseason for the first time since 2016 and their American League East Division rival Tampa Bay Rays will be joining them as they became the first two American League teams to clinch playoff spots.
They are still fighting it out for the AL East title with the Orioles taking the final two games of the series against Tampa Bay to go up by two games in the standings.
While the Rays aren’t in action on Monday, the Orioles begin a series with the American League West-leading Houston Astros.
Unless the Boston Red Sox climb back over .500, those will be Baltimore’s last games during the regular season against a team with a winning record.
Tampa Bay still has six games left against a Toronto team fighting for a playoff spot.
Houston has a little bit of breathing room with a 1½-game lead on Texas and it is up by 2½ games on Seattle in the AL West race.
Houston and Seattle still have three games left between them while the Mariners and Rangers will play seven more times.
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have already clinched the National League East and National League West titles. Which division will be wrapped up next?
Minnesota leads Cleveland by seven games in the American League Central and the Twins have 12 games left to play. The last nine games for the Twins come against teams with losing records.
In the National League Central, Milwaukee picked up five games in the standings on the Chicago Cubs in the last week and a half and now leads by 6½ games. So things probably will be decided before the Brewers and Cubs wrap up the regular season with a three-game series in Milwaukee.
Ohtani’s Season is Over
This was supposed to be the season when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout led the Los Angeles Angels into the postseason for the first time since the 2014 season.
It somehow seems fitting that the season will come to an end without either Ohtani or Trout on the field.
Ohtani continued to hit even after an elbow injury ended his season as a pitcher. However, a different ailment resulted in Ohtani being shut down, heading MLB news over the weekend.
Barring a late surge by Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers, Ohtani will lead the majors in OPS and slugging percentage while finishing third in on-base percentage.
Ohtani will lead the American League with 44 home runs as his next closest challenger is Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox with 35.
Trout played in just 82 games and he had 18 home runs and 44 RBIs, so imagine what might have happened if he played the entire season.
Things Continue to Be Wild
When a third wild-card team was added to the playoff format, it figured to give more squads a chance at reaching the playoffs late in the season.
Sure enough, only five teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.
In the American League, either Tampa Bay or Baltimore will be the top wild-card team. Just 1½ games separate Toronto. Texas and Seattle and just two of them will make the playoffs.
Toronto is currently holding down the No. 2 wild-card slot thanks to a three-game winning streak while the Rangers and Mariners have each lost three games in a row.
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Guardians and Detroit Tigers are still mathematically alive. Even if the Yankees go 10-2 over the final 12 games, if Toronto wins four more games and Texas goes 5-8, that would be enough to keep New York out of the playoffs.
Philadelphia has the best record among the non-division winners in the National League. There are five teams within 2½ games of each other in what could be quite the finish.
It is just a matter of time before San Diego, Pittsburgh, the New York Mets, St, Louis and Washington are eliminated.
It would be harder to find somebody pitching better right now than Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta.
Since the MLB All-Star Game, Peralta is 7-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 64⅔ innings over 11 starts.
Peralta will be back on the mound when the Brewers face St. Louis on Monday. He will be opposed by Adam Wainwright, who goes after his 200th career win.
Assuming the Cardinals don’t skip any of Wainwright’s spots in the rotation, this will be one of his final three starts of 2023. He could still have one more home start after Monday. With the way Wainwright has struggled this season, it is only fair to wonder if this will be his swan song with the Cardinals.
Former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who is now back with the Houston Astros, is among the other notable starting pitchers on Monday while the Eduardo Rodriguez-Lance Lynn matchup in the Detroit Tigers-Los Angeles Dodgers game could be fun to watch.
Here’s a look at some of the injuries that could impact Monday’s games.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., one of the front-runners in the National League Most Valuable Player race, missed the last two games with a calf issue and he is questionable for the series opener with Philadelphia.
Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich has missed the last two games as a result of back discomfort and it is uncertain if he will be in the lineup against St. Louis on Monday.
For the Cardinals, outfielder Tyler O’Neill landed on the injured list with a foot injury.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez missed the last game with a head injury and he is questionable to play against Cleveland.
San Diego infielder Ha-Seong Kim missed the last game with an abdominal issue and he is questionable for the game against Colorado.
Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas landed on the injured list with a shoulder issue and closer Kenley Jensen is not expected to be activated off the COVID-19 list until Wednesday at the earliest.
New York Mets infielder Brett Baty has missed the last four games with a groin injury and he is questionable for Monday’s matchup with Miami.
Miami just got back top power hitter Jorge Soler and now outfielder Bryan De la Cruz is questionable for an ankle issue.
Baltimore first baseman Ryan Mountcastle has been sidelined due to a shoulder issue and is uncertain for Monday’s matchup with Houston.