The closest things to playoff baseball that this weekend’s schedule offers are the AL-leading Orioles traveling to Seattle to face a red-hot Mariners team fighting for a Wild Card berth and the San Francisco Giants hosting the team with the best run differential in the bigs, the Texas Rangers.
The O’s took two of three from the M’s in June at Camden Yards, while this series represents the lone three meetings on the calendar for the Rangers and Giants in 2023.
Other noteworthy items for Friday’s schedule include Justin Verlander’s first home start since being re-acquired by the Astros and a critical matchup in the NL West between the Padres and Diamondbacks, where both teams are within five games of a playoff spot.
It was another perfect night for our baseball prop plays on Thursday. Bailey Falter and George Springer ensured we’d have a winning day when their wagers cashed before your local coffee shop closed in the late afternoon. Bobby Witt Jr. finished the sweep when he roped a double to Fenway’s right field off James Paxton in the 6th.
Six NFL preseason games are competing for our attention this evening, but we’re staying locked in on baseball with another prop card to start the weekend. Our best bets for tonight are highlighted next.
Blake Snell OVER 6.5 Strikeouts (-108 @ FanDuel)
Snell has had the number of several Diamondbacks hitters across multiple career matchups in the last few seasons. Christian Walker has been punched out 12 times by Snell in 19 plate appearances, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is 2-for-13 against him with eight strikeouts himself, and Ketel Marte has been struck out five times in 23 PAs lifetime against the Padres’ ace.
Other rotational players like Nick Ahmed (5 Ks in 11 PA), Carson Kelly (4 Ks, 17 PA), and Emmanuel Rivera (3 Ks, 5 PA) have had similar struggles.
The MLB leader in ERA has won four of his last five decisions and posted an ERA below 1.00 in June and July. Despite a pair of recent four-strikeout performances and a resilient Arizona lineup with the third-lowest strikeout-rate in baseball, we like Snell to get to at least seven on Friday night.
Kole Calhoun UNDER 0.5 Bases (+105 @ DraftKings)
The recently well-traveled outfielder has four hits in his first 19 plate appearances of the season after finding his way to a lineup spot for the Guardians.
Calhoun did post at least one hit in three of the five games he’s appeared in but has struck out in four. Cleveland travels to Tampa this weekend and faces former longtime Guardian Aaron Civale in tonight’s series opener.
Calhoun is 0-for-2 lifetime against Civale and has a dreadful .662 OPS in 24 career games and 96 plate appearances at Tropicana Field. We expect him to struggle in a stadium where he’s not had much success.
Nick Castellanos OVER 1.5 Total Bases (-115 @ Bet365)
One of the Phillies’ 2023 All-Stars has the pleasure of facing Minnesota’s Dallas Keuchel in the pitcher’s first road start since giving up seven earned runs at Fenway Park as a Ranger last September.
The former Cy Young winner was solid in his first 2023 appearance despite giving up eight hits, allowing one run, and walking two batters over five innings in a Twins’ victory that he wasn’t credited for.
This handicap rests on the career record of multiple Philadelphia hitters when facing Keuchel. Castellanos is one of three Phillies with an OPS of 1.000 or higher against Keuchel in 10+ plate appearances, and the outfielder is in the middle of an 11-game hit streak during which he’s belted six home runs. We’ll take Castellanos to win their matchup again and play his over tonight.