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Our first bet comes from one of the most critical matchups of the day. The Diamondbacks have secured an NL Wild Card spot, but the Astros still have work to do. They will need to win both of their remaining games to guarantee a playoff berth, starting with today. These two teams will have veteran pitchers on the mound, and they will keep things quiet early in this one as both offenses take time to adjust to the pressure of this game.
One of those veteran pitchers is the reigning Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander (12-8, 3.32 ERA). The 40-year-old has not repeated his success from 2022, but he has a lot of experience pitching in high-stakes games. We have seen that on display over his last two starts as he held the Orioles and Mariners to just four runs across 14 innings. We aren’t sure if he gets the win, but we think his remaining talent and experience are enough to keep Arizona’s bats quiet.
The D-backs will have a veteran of their own starting tonight, Merrill Kelly (12-7, 3.38). The 34-year-old has been fantastic for Arizona this season, becoming one of the most important parts of their rotation. While he did struggle in one of his starts in September, he allowed a combined five runs over his other four. Merrill has been at his best at home, where he owns a 2.70 ERA. Opponents are batting .190 against the righty the first time through the order, which suggests a quiet opening frame tonight.
This is our favorite NRFI bet of the weekend, featuring two bad offenses against talented pitchers. The White Sox offense came in with high expectations but has failed to consistently score runs all season, managing more than four just once since September 18. The Padres have performed similarly despite a massive payroll. While they have had success generating offense early, they won’t be able to do so tonight with Chicago’s ace on the mound.
Mike Clevinger (9-8, 3.40 ERA) will get the start for the Padres tonight. After a rough first two months of the season, the veteran has looked like his old self. He has been pitching well of late, allowing just five runs over 28 innings. While Clevinger has not faced the Padres yet this season, he did shut them down in 2022, allowing one run on three hits across six innings. He has allowed a first-inning run just once over his last nine starts, and we don’t see him adding to that total tonight.
While Michae Wacha (13-4, 3.39 ERA) has an ugly 5.54 ERA in September, that number is boosted by a brutal start against the Dodgers. He has allowed three or fewer runs in his other four starts this month, which better reflects how good the veteran has been in 2023. The Sox have not had much success against Wacha in the past, and we see that continuing tonight.
Even though the Braves have nothing left to play for, their offense is too good not to jump on a weak Nationals’ starter early. Their top spot in the NL playoffs is secured, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting up impressive offensive numbers. Before their series with Washington, the Braves had scored 27 runs over their previous four games. They are in playoff mode, and that will be bad news for Joan Adon and the Nationals tonight.
Speaking of Adon (2-4, 6.42 ERA), the 25-year-old has been bad since being called up in July. He has been especially bad in September, with a 0.3 record and 7.23 ERA. One of those starts came last week against the Braves, where he surrendered four runs on five hits and walked four across 4 ⅔ innings. While Adon kept Atlanta’s offense quiet for the first couple of innings, he had the advantage of facing most of these hitters for the first time. That advantage will be done this week, and it will lead to a painful first inning.
The Braves will have their ace on the mound, Spencer Strider (19-5, 3.81 ERA). As good as the young righty has been, September has been rough. He owns a 5.64 ERA over four starts this month, which includes rough outings against the Nationals last week. Strider allowed four runs on seven hits over 5 ⅔ innings. He has allowed a run to score in the first inning in three of his last five starts, signaling he could be set to add to that total tonight.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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