It’s sort of crazy to think that in exactly one week, we could have as many as four Wild Card series being decided by a winner takes all Game 3. That’s not to suggest there aren’t huge stakes for tonight’s slate of matchups, though. In fact, four of the five contests taking place past 7:00 p.m. ET have massive playoff implications. It’s a fun time of year on the sports calendar, folks.
Here are some bets to consider on the diamond as we’re watching all the drama play out.
This game feels like a sneaky barnburner. Let’s start with the obvious source of runs: The Marlins. Led primarily by Jake Burger, Jorge Soler and Jon Berti, Miami leads all of baseball in average (.289), wOBA (.365) and wRC+ (129) across the past 14 days. To say the team is hitting its stride at the exact right time would be an understatement, yet this isn’t completely a new trend. The Marlins have been a capable offense all season, but it’s been most obvious when the team has faced a left-handed opponent. Only Atlanta owns a higher batting average within the split than Miami (.281), while the club’s 105 wRC+ against southpaws dwarfs its 91 wRC+ versus RHPs.
Wouldn’t you know it? David Peterson is left-handed, and though the 28-year-old has been better in the second half of 2023, he’s still struggled to a 5.17 ERA in his last six starts due to inconsistent command and an inability to keep the ball in the park. I’d expect the Marlins to put up a couple crooked numbers.
As for the Mets, they’ve been perfectly fine scoring runs in September, combining the league’s sixth-best ISO (.198) with its ninth-best wRC+ (110). Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo didn’t go anywhere at the trade deadline. This lineup can still mash when it wants to, especially when a couple of the young bats have a good night. It’s also important to note that Jesus Luzardo has had a majority of his blow-ups on the road this season, where he’s pitched to an inflated 4.86 ERA and surrendered 1.57 opponent home runs per nine.
I know. Luke Weaver and his 6.47 ERA are taking the mound for the Yankees this evening. How will this game possibly stay under 8.5 runs? Well, have you seen Toronto hit recently? After not scoring a single run on Tuesday or Wednesday, the Blue Jays now lead baseball with 11 shutouts dating back to June 19. In the last two weeks, Toronto is hitting .197 as a team with a lowly 71 wRC+. It’s been pretty bleak. Weaver, who actually tossed 5.1 scoreless innings in his last outing, should be able to keep this struggling lineup somewhat in check.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t get to be 81-67-10 to the under with just an inconsistent lineup. You need pitching, too. The Blue Jays own the American League’s lowest staff ERA at 3.75 and Chris Bassitt has been a huge part of the success. Only Gerrit Cole, Logan Webb and Zack Wheeler can claim to have more quality starts this season than Bassitt (20), who has posted a sterling 3.08 ERA and 1.01 WHIP when pitching at the Rogers Centre in 2023. Add in a New York roster that owns baseball’s lowest team batting average since the All-Star break (.219), and you’ve got all the elements needed for a low-scoring affair.
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