Saturday Baseball Picks of the Day Highlight Strong Pitching

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:49 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 2:49 PM UTC

Three out of the four pitchers in the games that our MLB handicapper likes this Saturday have been excellent all season long. That fact leads him to two valuable Saturday MLB Picks of the Day.

Two winning pitchers meet on Saturday in Minnesota with great trends towards Unders on the season. Our MLB handicapper sees no reason to buck conventional wisdom in this case.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Minnesota Twins

Zack Greinke is having a great comeback season, and is pairing one of his highest career strikeout rates with one of his lowest walk rates. Combined he is putting up his best K-BB% of his career by far at 23%! He’s also tied for wins on the year with Chris Sale with 14 and is ranked 10th in the MLB in FIP at 3.21 on the season. Any way you slice it, Greinke is pitching like an absolute ace right now. He’s got a slightly less effective split on the road than at home, but his road FIP would still rank him 12th in the MLB.

Greinke will face Jose Berrios of the Twins, who will face the Diamondbacks after getting this start pushed back from Thursday. He’s now reaching the maximum innings he’s pitched in any season, which could be a red flag going forward. Berrios has given up 11 earned runs in his last 8.1 innings, but also just 12 hits on that time. I’m chalking up this string of bad starts to some bad luck, as his velocity is still intact as well as his ‘stuff’. Combined with Greinke’s good season and these pitchers’ combined 14-23 O-U record I will take the Under of 9 as one of my MLB Picks of the Day.

MLB Picks: Under 9 Runs Best Line Offered at YouWager

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Oft-injured Stephen Strasburg gets the start off of the DL on Saturday, and as long as his elbow is intact our MLB handicapper looks to back him against the lowly Padres.

Washington Nationals vs San Diego Padres  

Stephen Strasburg has only pitched 121.2 innings this year yet has already accrued 3.2 WAR on the season, which would be his 6th season in a row with more than 3 WAR. He’s faced the Padres once already this season and absolutely dominated them with a 15-strikeout shutout performance over seven innings. I’m not as nervous backing Strasburg coming off of the DL here because in that first game at San Diego he only had a fastball averaging 95.3 mph. That was nearly his lowest velocity of the year, but he still racked up 15 K’s.

Strasburg will face Travis Wood, who is due some positive regression as his 6.46 ERA is much worse than his 4.86 FIP. He still allows a .307 BAA at home though, a mark that can’t be trusted even with the Nationals coming in with a light-handed lineup. Wood has been in the bullpen much of the year with Kansas City, and since starting has had issues with the long ball as well. I don’t trust Wood, and as long as we get Strasburg at 80% or better I’ll play the Nationals at -1.5 on the run line as one of my Saturday picks.

MLB Pick: Washington Nationals +1.5 RL Best Line Offered at Bookmaker (-103)

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2017 MLB Record, 170-152-9, +6.05 Units

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