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Happy Friday! We've got a big slate on the diamond for our viewing pleasure, and I'm ready to sweat out quite a few bets. With that said, I've picked out two that I really like, and without further ado let's get to 'em.
Washington Nationals (+170) vs. New York Mets (-216) Total: 9
The Nationals may be out of the playoff race, and the losers of four games in their last five, but I've got a good feeling about them heading into Citi Field on Friday night.
For starters, Washington has absolutely mashed lefties this year, with the third-best wRC+ in that category. That's a number that's come up over the last month as the team's grown in its ability to do damage against southpaws. Second of all, the Nationals just saw Rich Hill in June, and torched him for three homers and eight hits, leading to four earned for the veteran.
Hill has been super underwhelming this year, seeing a dip in the strikeout numbers which made him such an enticing pitcher just a couple years ago and seeing his hard-hit numbers on the rise. Even with slightly better numbers than Paolo Espino, he should still be the worse pitcher here. Espino has done a decent job of limiting the damage, but has fallen victim to big batted ball events with a 12% barrel rate. The Mets have lacked in the power department and have the league's second-worst wRC+ over the last two weeks, and I couldn't be any less fearful of this team at the moment. I think the Nats are a fantastic value play.
Edge: Nationals +170
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New York Yankees (-160) vs. Oakland Athletics (+140) Total: 8
Thursday night may have been a high-wire act by the Yankees, but that was all thanks to a couple of terrible innings from Jameson Taillon. Stripping away that start, New York's bats were as hot as ever, even getting Gio Urshela back in the mix. Heading into another good matchup with an Oakland starter, this time with their ace on the mound, I think the Yankees are once again the play.
Ever since returning from a COVID-induced absence, Gerrit Cole has been lights out. He has a microscopic 0.77 ERA in two August starts and his strikeout numbers continue to soar. Given the fact that the A's have an offense that sits in the bottom half of the league over the last two weeks with plenty of strikeouts, the time is right for Cole to shove.
On the other side of the coin, the Yankees now stand as the second-best team in the league against left-handed pitching and will feast their eyes on Sean Manaea, who has allowed 17 earned runs and five homers in 15 2/3 innings this month. The Yankees' power bats are very much alive with an ISO that's now risen well above .220 over the last couple of weeks and more damage should be done. I'd make the Yankees much heavier favorites here.
Edge: Yankees -160
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