We have a fascinating set of Saturday games on tap, with a number of key, intra-division matchups with playoff implications, plus some extreme high and low game totals.
Below are my MLB predictions and best bets, with Game Simulations powered by our friends at Ballpark Pal.
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Let’s get after it.
MLB Predictions: Saturday, 8/13
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies
Key Stats and Matchups
RHP Jose Urena (4.63 ERA, 5.20 FIP, 4.43 K/9, 51.6% GB%) will make his sixth start at Coors Field this season. The right-hander is extremely reliant on his sinker, throwing the pitch 56.2% of the time.
On one hand, there’s no better way to neutralize the hitter-friendly environment at Coors than keeping the ball on the ground. On the other hand, Urena simply does not miss bats – his 7.0% SwStr% would be the lowest in all of baseball among qualified pitchers – and his margin for error is miniscule. His 5.59 SIERA, 5.17 xFIP and 66.2% LOB% all suggest further regression likely lies ahead.
Worse yet, Urena has extreme platoon splits. He has a bloated .384 wOBA vs. LHBs this season, with a gaudy .310/.420/.500 slash-line served up to southpaws at home – albeit in a sample size of 50 total batters faced. For his career, Urena has allowed a .285/.356/.477 slash line (.353 wOBA) to LHBs. These numbers are all the more shocking when you consider that he played his first 7 seasons with the Marlins and Tigers, who have two of the absolute most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball.
The Diamondbacks are projected to have seven (7!) left-handed bats in their lineup tonight. Yikes.
Opposing Urena is RHP Zac Gallen (3.12 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 8.67 K/9, 47.6% GB%). Arguably Arizona’s staff ace, Gallen’s three-pitch mix has translated well to the Coors Field environment. In 4 career starts, he has a 2.63 ERA and 1.125 WHIP across 24.0 IPs. While I’m rarely one to bet on the “Pitcher to get a win” markets, Gallen should have every opportunity to rack up a “W” tonight.
- Daulton Varsho 2+ TBs (-120)
- Christian Walker 2+ TBs (-110)
- ARI (-148)
- ARI -1.5 (+100)
- Josh Rojas 2+ TBs (-125)
Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels
Key Stats and Matchups
RHP Dylan Bundy (5.01 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 7.14 K/9, 37.0% GB%) has lived and died by the long ball throughout his career. He has a career 1.60 HR/9, including a 1.45 HR/9 this season. For comparison, in his sparkling 2020 season – which continues to look more and more like an outlier – he rode a 0.69 HR/9 to a career-best 3.29 ERA (2.95 FIP). This trend has continued this season.
So why am I backing a pitcher with an extreme case of homeritis? Because he’s facing one of the most homer-phobic team’s in MLB.
Since June 1, as a team vs. RHPs, the Angels have a 0.635 OPS and 0.278 wOBA vs. RHPs, both second-worst in all of baseball. They strike out against right-handers at a ridiculous rate (28.4% K%) and don’t hit the ball especially hard when they do manage to make contact (30.2% Hard%). To boot, they’re likely only going to face Bundy twice. The Twins have been limiting the 29-year-old’s pitch count and number of times through the order. Minnesota’s bullpen has a 4.41 ERA collectively since the All-Star Break, but a 3.79 FIP and 68.1% LOB% suggests they’ve been as unlucky as they have mediocre.
Angels LHP Reid Detmers (3.44 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 8.29 K%, 37.0% GB%) has begun to flash his first-round pedigree. The 23-year-old has turned it on since June 1, putting together a 2.42 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 during this stretch. I’d stop short of saying he’s due for regression – his 86.5% LOB% and .274 BABIP are a bit unsustainable, which is reflected in his 3.74 xFIP – but he won’t escape unblemished tonight. As a team against LHPs on the road, the Twins have a .734 OPS and 108 wRC+, which both rank 7th-best in MLB. Their 20.1% K% is 5th-lowest as well, meaning Detmers will be relying on his defense for support as much as his offense.
This likely will be a low-scoring affair, which again favors the Twins. The visitors are 16-16 in 1-run games, while the Angels are 9-19 in the same situations.
Minnesota is the deeper, more talented team. They’re fighting for a playoff spot and projections suggest they should be favored more heavily than the current pick’em odds. There’s enough here for me to back the Twins with confidence.
- MIN (-110)
- Byron Buxton 2+ TBs (+100)
- Carlos Correa 2+ TBs (+110)
- Shohei Ohtani 2+ TBs (-120)
- SEA (+100)
- SF -1.5 (-118)
- BAL (+160)
- BOS tt o3.5 (-140)
- CWS -1.5 (+102)