There is something special going on in Seattle right now. The Mariners have played some quality baseball in the second half of the season and are absolutely in the playoff hunt in the American League West Division. So, when I saw that I could get them as major underdogs yesterday against the Oakland A’s, with their ace, Marco Gonzalez on the mound, I jumped all over it.
Gonzalez was having a career year, and the Mariners had won his previous three starts. While I didn’t think he was going to go out and completely shut the A’s down, it seemed like his recent results more than justified a play at +150. And when I looked at Oakland, they have been sputtering to the finish line a bit recently, as they were just 7-7 in their last fourteen games before yesterday’s doubleheader. It had all the makings of a big upset, and I fired hard on Seattle.
Yesterday in my pick, I mentioned that Marco Gonzalez was carrying this Seattle team in the last month. But last night, the M’s paid him back and picked him up. Gonzalez struggled as he allowed five runs, all earned, and heading into the bottom of the fourth inning of a seven-inning game, Seattle was down 5-0. But these refuse to lose Mariners just wouldn’t quit.
Are you not entertained?! pic.twitter.com/rh4sbSSG7w
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 14, 2020
Seattle rallied behind their budding young superstar Kyle Lewis. Lewis cut the lead to 5-4 in the 5th, on a two-run homer, and gave the Mariners the lead, with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 6th. Yoshihisa Hirano pitched a scoreless seventh, and the Mariners picked up the huge come from behind victory to keep their playoff dreams alive and cash our underdog ticket.
Oakland took game two of the double-dip, but Seattle is now just a game and a half back of the Houston Astros for the final AL West playoff spot. Those two teams match up next week in Seattle, with second place in the division, and the playoff spot that goes with it, on the line. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the Big Apple, where the Yankees host the Blue Jays.
Toronto Blue Jays (26-20) at New York Yankees (26-21)
The New York Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays tonight in game one of a three-game series that has major playoff implications for both teams. Just a half of a game separates these two teams in the American League East Division, and whichever team wins this series will leave with second place in the division in tow. The Yankees have won five straight games entering play tonight.
For Toronto, the Blue Jays went all-in at the trade deadline, and it has paid off, as Toronto has won five out of their last seven games and managed to leap the Yankees in the AL East standings along the way. These two teams will play six times in the last two weeks of the season and played a three-game series last week that saw the Blue Jays take two out of three games.
Starting for the Blue Jays is Taijuan Walker (3-2 2.95 ERA), and for the Yankees, it is Deivi Garcia (1-1 3.06 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Yankees are -165 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays loaded up at the trade deadline, and they have made it clear that they are ready to make a run in the postseason. The Jays have been winning, as they have won eight out of their last twelve games. But for the most part, those newly acquired players aren’t driving the success, as they just aren’t playing all that well.
Johnathan Villar is hitting just .220, Robbie Ray has an ERA of over four runs, and Ross Stripling has been getting lit up. One guy that the Blue Jays are going to be glad to have on the field, though, is Bo Bichette. He was leading the team in basically every offensive category and rejoined the team this week after missing the last month with an injury. If Toronto can get all of these guys on the field and playing well, they can absolutely make a deep postseason run.
Taijuan Walker (3-2 2.95 ERA)
While many of the Blue Jay’s new players aren’t playing well right now, that is not the case for Taijuan Walker. Walker had made three starts for the Blue Jays since being brought over in a trade from the Seattle Mariners. Walker was having a solid season for Seattle and has been excellent for the Blue Jays.
In his three starts for Toronto, Walker is 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA, and the Blue Jays have won all three games. He has struggled with his command, as he has walked nine hitters in 15.2 innings pitched, but the extra base runners haven’t hurt him as he has given up just two earned runs. His last start came against these very same Yankees, and he pitched four shutout innings, allowing just two hits.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees were in free fall before their recent four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. They had lost seven out of their previous eight games, and fifteen of their last twenty-three. That nasty slump took them from first place in the AL East Division to third, and they went from being a playoff lock, to being in a battle just to stay in the postseason conversation.
But that series with the Orioles was just what the doctor ordered for New York, as they swept the Orioles in all four games, holding the O’s to just three total runs, and are right back in the thick of the playoff race in the AL. Getting Gleyber Torres back from the IL has been big for New York, as he had hit safely in seven out of his nine games since returning, and has five extra-base hits and seven RBI.
Deivi Garcia (1-1 3.06 ERA)
With so much of their starting rotation banged up, the Yankees turned to 23-year old Deivi Garcia to help eat up some innings late last month. Since joining the Yankees rotation, Garcia has impressed as he is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA. His last start came against these Blue Jays, and he had his best outing of the season when he worked seven innings and allowed just two earned runs on only five hits and no walks.
Who Do I Like?
Does this recent five-game winning streak tell us that the Yankees are back? Well, I am not so sure. The Yankee’s recent run of success was powered mostly by their starting pitching, which has been a weakness all season long. I’m going to need to see a lot more from guys like JA Happ and Jordan Montgomery before I am going to start relying on them to be effective starters.
The bats for New York are still badly depleted, and while they did explode for a ten-spot last week against Baltimore, they are still playing without the core of their lineup and combined for just five total runs in their last two games. LeMahieu and Torres are both back, and that certainly helps, but they are still playing without Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gio Urshela.
I think this game is dead even. I like what I have seen out of New York in the last week, but I am not sure that success is going to be sustainable against a quality team like the Blue Jays. Will New York be able to score runs off of Taijuan Walker tonight? They couldn’t last week, and I am not sure they are going to be able to tonight.
Deivi Garcia has looked solid, but he still has just seventeen innings of big-league experience under his belt, and I am not ready to say that he can handle a pressure cooker situation like the one he is going to be in tonight. With Bo Bichette back in the lineup, this Blue Jays team is going to be a lot stronger, and I think they find a way to rough up Garcia.
I would expect Walker to be solid and get us five or six innings of quality work, and for Garcia to show flashes, but struggle if things get tough. Both of these teams welcomed back one of their best hitters in the last week, and this game could be a bit higher scoring than some people expect. In a game that rates out as very even, I am going to jump on the underdog and hope the variance breaks my way. Give me the Toronto Blue Jays as big road underdogs tonight in New York, at +145!