MLB Friday best bets: Dodgers to rebound vs. Mariners
We had a solid night on the diamond Thursday, going 2-1 with our best bets for the third time in four days.
Our weekly record sits at 7-5 heading into Friday night. Let's build on it with three more plays to close out the week.
George Kirby has looked quite vulnerable of late, which is far from ideal when heading into a game against the Dodgers.
Kirby has conceded at least three earned runs in four consecutive starts, and it's not a byproduct of stiff competition. While he did face the 90-win Rays, he also took on the Mets, White Sox, and Royals.
There are a lot of red flags beneath the surface with Kirby as well. He's giving up barrels at an above-average rate and owns a .364 xwOBA over the past month.
That puts him in the same company as Johnny Cueto, Chase Anderson, and David Peterson - not guys you want to be mentioned with in the same conversation.
If he's not drastically sharper against Los Angeles, he's in for a world of trouble. It feels like the Dodgers have stumbled over themselves of late, yet they still own a .287 batting average versus righties in September, good for third in the league.
Led by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, L.A. can score runs in the blink of an eye. It's only a matter of time before the Dodgers start firing on all cylinders again, and given Kirby's struggles of late, that could happen Friday night in Seattle.
While Bobby Miller has also struggled to limit runs over his last handful of starts, that's not necessarily deserved. He's thrown strikes at an above-average rate, conceded barrels at a below-average rate, and his xwOBA of .271 is nearly identical to that of Gerrit Cole over the past month.
Look for Miller and the Dodgers' offense to get back on track.
Bet: Dodgers -115 (playable to -125)
Jon Gray under 4.5 strikeouts
Gray hasn't been a consistent strikeout generator this season. Although we have seen a bit of a spike of late, he now finds himself in one of the worst possible matchups for punchouts.
The Guardians don't strike out. They may not string together many hits or runs, but they're not going to give their opponents easy outs. Of the past 12 right-handed starters they've faced, 11 have gone under their strikeout total.
Pablo López (twice), Sonny Gray (twice), Joe Ryan, and Tyler Glasnow are just a few of the notables who've failed to get the job done in that span.
Overall, nine of the past 10 opposing pitchers have registered four or fewer strikeouts. Sean Manaea was the only arm to hit five.
Gray has the splits working against him as well. He strikes out righties at a much higher rate than lefties, and the Guardians are overflowing with the latter. Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor, Andrés Giménez, and Will Brennan are all left-handed bats, while José Ramírez is a switch hitter.
Gray may be able to put together a quality start, but don't expect a handful of strikeouts.
Odds: -120 (playable to -140)
Gerrit Cole under 1.5 walks
Walks were an issue for Cole earlier in the year, but he really seems to have gotten things under control. He's gone under the number in 12 of his past 17 starts, a 70% hit rate.
Cole's underlying numbers are encouraging as well. He's thrown balls at a below-average rate over the past month, and his strikeout rate is on an upward trajectory.
He finds himself in a very good spot Friday night against a Pirates team that's not earning many free passes. Pittsburgh owns a walk rate below 5% versus right-handed pitching over the past 15 days, and opposing righty starters have walked two or more Pirates in only one of the last six.
Look for Cole to hammer the strike zone early and often in what should be a relatively clean performance against a pedestrian Pirates lineup.
Odds: +125 (playable to -120)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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