There are plenty of intriguing matchups for the AL Wild Card MLB slate. Find out where I see value below.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians
Weekend Series at Progressive Field
At the time of writing this article, we don’t have probable pitchers for the first three games of this series.
The Guardians will be the home team taking on the Rays in a best-of-three format. Aaron Civale is pitching Wednesday for the Guardians, while Cal Quantrill pitched on Tuesday.
McKenzie was before both and threw on Monday. Shane Bieber was Sunday’s pitcher. If I’m going to take a guess, I think we’ll see Bieber on Friday, McKenzie on Saturday, and Quantrill on Sunday, if necessary.
The Guardians have a .158 ISO and wOBA of .326 against righties in their last 30 days as a projected lineup. Cleveland has done well limiting strikeouts and has hit over 20% of line drives against righties.
They’ll face a lefty in McClanahan at some point. Cleveland’s regulars aren’t excellent against lefties, hitting a .100 ISO in the last 30 days.
Tampa Bay Rays
On the other hand, the Rays will be much more of a mystery. Corey Kluber pitched Sunday, Tyler Glasnow took the mound on Monday, Jeffrey Springs threw on Tuesday, and now Josh Fleming will pitch on Wednesday.
Drew Rasmussen and Shane McClanahan look like the first two starters. Then the Rays can decide between Tyler Glasnow and Corey Kluber for Game 3 of the Wild Card if needed. That’s how I see it.
The Rays are hitting a .108 ISO and wOBA of .276 against righties over the last 30 0days. Only Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco have made respectable numbers in the previous month.
Still, the Rays have hit 22.4% of line drives against righties, with only Diaz and Jose Siri hitting a low amount of line drives.
Tampa Bay might also face a lefty out of the Cleveland bullpen, but they’re going to hit against most right-handed pitchers, which is an area they’ve struggled in.
The Rays are way better against lefties, hitting a .394 wOBA over the last 30 days. So that’s something to consider heading into this series.
McClanahan should be able to put together a solid start against Cleveland. However, I still like Cleveland as my MLB pick to win the series.
MLB Pick: AL Wild Card Series Total Games Over 2.5 (-110) at BetOnline
Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Weekend Series at Rogers Centre
The Mariners will have to travel to Toronto for this three-game series. The Blue Jays might have more intriguing young bats, but the Seattle Mariners quickly have more depth this season.
We don’t know the exact rosters yet, but I’m predicting the starting rotation for both teams through the first three games. The Mariners will start Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, and Logan Gilbert for their first three games.
However, there is an argument for George Kirby to get some look in the playoffs. He could come out of the bullpen and do a terrific job for this Mariners team.
The Seattle Mariners will take on three right-handed pitchers in this Wild Card Series if it comes down to it. Julio Rodriguez has been on fire against righties Eugenio Suarez and Carlos Santana.
The bullpen has also been shaky at times this season. Nevertheless, the Mariners have so many more reliable arms and will have George Kirby as their fourth starter, who I’d feel very comfortable using if I were the Mariners.
Toronto Blue Jays
I believe Kevin Gausman, Alek Manoah, and Jose Berrios will be the first three starters for the Blue Jays.
They are getting solid production against righties from Whit Merrifield, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel, Bo Bichette, and many more players.
They’ve done well limiting strikeouts and have so much power potential heading into this weekend.
Against lefties, Teoscar Hernandez has been on a tear along with Bo Bichette and George Springer. Plus, Merrifield and Jackie Bradley Jr. are potential sluggers against lefties.
The Blue Jays will likely face Robbie Ray in the second game of the series. So that’s critical.
As I said before, the Blue Jays easily have the better lineup, but the Mariners have more depth, especially when it comes to pitching.
The Blue Jays won’t be interested in pitching Ross Stripling or Mitch White in this playoffs.
In the postseason, pitching matters, but I’m afraid that the Mariners won’t be able to score enough offensively to help out there pitching. With that said, I’ve got the Blue Jays advancing at home.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays to Win AL Wild Card Series (-170) at BetOnline
MLB Pick: AL Wild Card Series Total Games Under 2.5 (-110) at BetOnline
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