MLB weekly best bets: Fade Nats' Josiah Gray amid rough rookie year

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

How's that for another sweep? We finished the week with a 6-0 record on our MLB picks and have our sights set on another perfect week as the season winds down. Here are our favorite plays:

Blue Jays-Rays under 8 (-110)
Sept. 20, 7:10 p.m.

The anchor for this bet is none other than Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray, who is priced as the current AL Cy Young favorite.

Since the start of July, Ray boasts a 1.83 ERA with 120 strikeouts over 90 2/3 innings (11.9 K/9), and he's lasted at least six innings with two or fewer runs allowed in 12 of those 14 starts. He's faced the Rays three times in that stretch and allowed a combined three runs with 30 strikeouts through 21 innings - highlighted by a one-run, 13-strikeout gem through seven innings on Wednesday.

The wild card in this bet is Shane Baz - a top-20 prospect and Tampa Bay's top pitching prospect - who will make his MLB debut on Monday. He carries a 1.76 ERA through Triple-A ahead of this week's call-up and should be able to suppress Toronto's bats enough to support Ray's work on the other side.

Pirates under (TBD) @ Reds
Sept. 21, 6:40 p.m.

We've said this before, and we'll say it again: when in doubt, fade the Pirates' offense. Pittsburgh's bats have performed above expectation as of late, but they've still plated three or fewer runs in 83 of their 149 games (55.7%) and have unsurprisingly struggled against high-level starters.

Tyler Mahle qualifies, especially when pitching against this group. The Reds starter threw six shutout innings in Thursday's 1-0 win over the Pirates, who have scored a combined three runs in Mahle's three starts against them this season. Expect a similar result in their fourth meeting on Tuesday.

Marlins over (TBD) vs. Nationals
Sept. 22, 6:40 p.m.

What's going on with Josiah Gray? The former top pitching prospect for the Dodgers was among the centerpieces in the Max Scherzer and Trea Turner deal, but Gray has struggled to live up to expectations in his rookie season.

In 10 major-league starts, Gray owns a 6.02 ERA with a brutal 6.73 FIP and a 50-26 K:BB ratio through 49 1/3 innings. He's also allowed a whopping 15 home runs in those 10 starts, and he's surrendered at least five earned runs in each of his last four trips to the mound.

The Marlins won't be confused with a juggernaut anytime soon, but they scored six runs on Sunday and tagged the Nats' bullpen with eight runs in an 8-6 win on Wednesday. They'll make Gray pay for any mistakes in this one.

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at

MLB weekly best bets: Fade Nats' Josiah Gray amid rough rookie year
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