MLB Thursday best bets: Skubal to stay hot vs. Athletics
Let's take a look at three plays for Thursday's card as we look to piece together another winning night.
Philadelphia is a very potent offensive team that's been hitting for insane power of late. Led by a resurgent Trea Turner, the Phillies have hit 34 homers in September. Only a historically powerful Braves team has accumulated more.
Unsurprisingly, all the homers have led to plenty of runs. The Phillies rank in the top half of the league in runs per game this month and have plated at least five runs in five of the last six.
They're likely to cause a world of problems for David Peterson. His ERA sits at 5.22 for the season, and he gives up a lot of barrels. Suffice it to say, giving up premium contact to a team with as much pop as Philadelphia is unlikely to end well.
The offense shouldn't only be coming from the Phillies, though. The Mets are in a pretty good spot themselves.
They slot sixth in extra-base hits this month and have scored a healthy five runs per game. New York has also hit lefties well for a while, ranking in the top 10 in barrel rate since the beginning of August.
Both Ranger Suárez and Peterson rank in the bottom five among Thursday's projected starters in xwOBA the past month. They've thrown balls and allowed barrels at above-average rates.
There's every reason to believe both of these offenses will do some damage in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Bet: Over 8.5 (-120)
Grayson Rodriguez over 1.5 walks
Rodriguez has been a different pitcher since the Orioles brought him back into their rotation. He's pitching deeper into games, giving up less power, and consistently avoiding the blowup spots that plagued him earlier this season.
The one thing that hasn't really changed is his tendency to walk batters. Rodriguez has issued at least two free passes in nine of his past 12 showings.
Even with a very high strike rate, Rodriguez hasn't been able to avoid walks. I expect that will be an issue once again versus the Guardians.
Cleveland is very patient at the plate and has been a walk machine in recent weeks. In fact, the Guardians have walked at least twice against right-handed starters in eight of the last 11 games overall.
I expect a few instances where Rodriguez's control fails him. If he's making mistakes, the Guardians will be happy to keep the bat on their shoulder and capitalize.
Odds: -105 (playable to -120)
Tarik Skubal over 6.5 strikeouts
Skubal is in great form on the mound. He's registered at least seven punchouts in six consecutive games, including against the Guardians and Cubs - teams that normally don't strike out very frequently.
His pitching profile in that span is nothing short of sparkling. Skubal's strike rate is 6% higher than average, while his swinging strike rate of 17.9% is sky-high and well above anybody expected to start Thursday.
He should be chomping at the bit for a date with the Athletics. Opposing starters have gone over their strikeout line in seven of the last nine games against Oakland.
The Athletics' last three left opponents - Framber Valdez, Jordan Montgomery, and Hyun Jin Ryu - combined to register 21 strikeouts, good for an average of seven per start.
Oakland has struck out in more than 27% of its at-bats versus left-handed pitching the past couple of weeks. With the way Skubal is cruising, the punchouts should be plentiful Thursday night.
Odds: -140 (playable to -150)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.