The Boston Red Sox went into Houston and handed the defending World Series champion Houston Astros a 16-run defeat. Nobody making MLB predictions saw that coming.
Corbin Carroll, who is listed by the MLB picks as the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year award, hit a huge home run as the Arizona Diamondbacks moved into playoff position with a 3-2 win over Cincinnati.
Six of the 10 teams listed by the MLB spread as favorites won on Thursday. The Los Angeles Dodgers join the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs as the road teams favored to win on Friday.
Among the items making MLB news is that former World Series MVP Steven Strasburg plans to retire and American League MVP front-runner Shohei Ohtani plans to continue hitting for the Los Angeles Angels despite suffering an elbow injury that will keep him from pitching for the rest of the season.
Friday’s Best Prop Bets
Detroit Tigers outfielder Kerry Carpenter hit his 20th home run of the season in Wednesday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs to give him four home runs in the last five games. Keep that in mind when looking at the +680 odds for Carpenter to hit a home run against Houston as Carpenter is tied for the MLB lead with nine home runs in August. He also is priced at +140 to score a run, according to the sportsbook.
Speaking of home runs, Luis Robert Jr. hit his first HR in five games on Thursday. He will be facing Oakland pitcher Zach Neal. Neal is back in the majors for the first time in five years and he surrendered seven hits and five runs while recording just 10 outs in his last appearance. so roll with Robert at +340 to hit his 35th home run on Friday.
444 feet! 🚀
— MLB (@MLB) August 25, 2023
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Joan Adon is averaging a strikeout per inning in his first three appearances in August. The issue has been the length of his starts. He is facing a Miami Marlins team that is hitting just .232 in August so it might be worth going with Adon at +125 to go over 4½ strikeouts.
Bobby Witt Jr. has at least two hits in four of his last seven games for the Kansas City Royals. He has runs in eight of his last 10 outings so that makes the +125 odds for him to score a run rather tempting.
Star Power Hits Mound
There will be a matchup of National League Cy Young Award candidates in Friday’s game between Atlanta and San Francisco.
He will be opposed by San Francisco’s Logan Webb, who is priced at +1000 in the Cy Young odds.
AL Cy Young front-runner Gerrit Cole (-115 odds to win the Cy Young) looks to bounce back from his worst outing of the season when the fading Yankees face Tampa Bay.
Houston’s Framber Valdez (+4000 in the Cy Young odds), Minnesota’s Sonny Gray and Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee (+1800 in the American League Rookie of the Year odds) are other starting pitchers to watch on Friday.
Arizona’s Merrill Kelly was the starting pitcher who stole the show on Thursday. He allowed one hit (a leadoff double in the third inning by Ketel Marte) and struck out 12 in a 3-2 win over Cincinnati. It was the fifth win in a row for Arizona as the Diamondbacks moved into playoff position once again.
Working for the Weekend
Four of the 15 games scheduled for Friday feature a pair of teams with winning records.
The National League-leading Atlanta Braves hit the road to face a San Francisco Giants team very much in contention in the National League wild-card race.
Cincinnati and Arizona, two other National League playoff contenders, play the second in a four-game series.
The American League West-leading Texas Rangers look to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Minnesota Twins, the first-place team in the American League Central.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are nine games over .500 against the American League, begin a weekend series in Boston. The Las Vegas MLB odds list the Dodgers at -135 to win the series.
The Hits Keep Coming
On a day when former Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts went 5-for-5 for the Dodgers, his former team showed that it can hit a little bit as well.
The Nos. 5-9 hitters were 14-for-27 with 12 runs and 10 RBIs in Boston’s 17-1 win over the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.
Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong, who were both acquired in the trade that sent Betts to the Dodgers, both hit home runs, as did Wilyer Abreu. It was the first career home run for Abreu in his third game. He is hitting .500 with three runs, three extra-base hits and five RBIs since making his MLB debut.
ALEX VERDUGO LEADOFF BOMB pic.twitter.com/XsUNUfszSc
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) August 24, 2023
End of an Era
Former World Series Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Star pitcher Steven Strasburg’s career did not end the way he imagined.
The first overall pick in the MLB draft back in 2009 has pitched in eight games over the last four seasons.
That followed a magical 2019 season when he won a career-high 18 games during the regular season and added six more in the postseason to lead the Washington Nationals to the World Series title.
He was 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in the World Series.
The Washington Post was the first media outlet to report that Strasburg planned to retire at the end of the season.
Strasburg has already been ruled out for the remainder of the 2023 season so he will finish his career with a record of 113-62.
Here is a look at the injuries that could impact Friday’s games.
- St. Louis could get infielder Nolan Gorman back for Friday’s game with Philadelphia. Gorman, who hasn’t played since Aug. 12, is second on the Cardinals with 24 home runs.
- Washington catcher Keibert Ruiz is questionable for the matchup with Miami on Friday while outfielder Stone Garrett will miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.
- Miami relief pitcher Tommy Nance is available after coming off the 60-day injured list while recovering from a shoulder injury.
- Detroit shortstop Javier Baez has missed the last two games due to illness and he is questionable for the matchup with Houston on Friday.
- Baltimore’s bullpen could get Danny Coulombe back as he has been activated off the injured list after dealing with a biceps injury. However, catcher James McCann is questionable with a hand issue.
- Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen (hamstring) is questionable when Boston opens a series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Relief pitcher Angel Perdomo, who is 1-1 with three holds in August, will miss the rest of the season due to an elbow injury for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Sal Frelick is questionable for Friday’s series opener with San Diego with a tender hamstring.
- Cleveland catcher Cam Gallagher (concussion) should be available after coming off the injured list.
- The Minnesota Twins are expected to have starting pitcher Joe Ryan available for Saturday’s matchup with Texas.