Welcome back to MORE or LESS! The daily Pick ‘Em MLB preview.
As we enter ‘Week 20’ of the baseball season, the clock ticks faster for playoff-hopeful teams on the bubble. Can their star players push them into the postseason before it’s too late?
Check out my analysis of Randy Arozarena, Triston Casas, Aaron Nola, and Ty Blach to get a leg up on today’s MLB props!
St. Louis Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Rays (6:40 ET)
Matthew Liberatore (1-4, 6.93) vs. Zack Littell (2-2, 4.04)
Despite Tampa’s success in the standings, it’s been a tedious season for Randy Arozarena. The left-fielder is batting a meager .160 post-All-Star break with only 1 multi-hit game this month. His struggles at the plate have led him toward the bottom of the league in Whiff% (23rd percentile) and K% (24.4%). Most of Arozarena’s success this season has come against left-handed pitching (.253 AVG .835 OPS). With injuries piling up, can the Rays’ star wake up and keep his team in the mix for a division title?
Kansas City Royals @ Boston Red Sox (7:10 ET)
Austin Cox (0-1, 3.58) vs. James Paxton (6-3, 3.60)
The Red Sox will very likely miss the playoffs again this season. But they have a future to look forward to with the emergence of Triston Casas. Since the All-Star break, the rookie is batting .348 with a 1.192 OPS. Casas’ K% isn’t great, but he hasn’t struck out more than once per game at any point this month. The concern, however, is that the first baseman has struggled this year against left handed pitching (.194 AVG .356 OPS). Can he demonstrate some discipline at the plate tonight against a very average strikeout pitcher (Austin Cook)?
Washington Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies (6:40 ET)
Patrick Corbin (7-11, 5.03) vs. Aaron Nola (9-8, 4.58)
HOT TAKE: The Nationals will get at least one hit tonight. They might even get a lot with the way Aaron Nola is pitching as of late. The Phillies starter faced struggling offenses in his last two starts (Royals + Pirates) and still allowed 17 hits over 10 innings. Nola’s opponent batting average continues to climb while his ground-ball percentage drops below the league average (43%). His strikeout rate and endurance are tremendous, but the right-hander tends to blowup against middling teams. Which Nola are we going to see tonight?
Colorado Rockies @ Los Angeles Dodgers (10:10 ET)
Ty Blach (1-1, 4.85) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (4-5, 4.07)
Ty Blach doesn’t get many batters out. As a starter, the Colorado rookie hasn’t pitched more than 5 innings or thrown more than 2 strikeouts in any game. Blach will have his hands full tonight against a dangerous Dodgers lineup that holds the league’s 3rd best team offense. The left-hander gave up more than 6 hits in his last outing against a so-so Cardinals team. Rookies always tend to find their footing later in the year, but it’s difficult to see Blach fairing much better tonight.