Just three days remain of the regular season! There are still playoff spots to be played for and the action is heating up. We have made our best MLB picks for the top five games scheduled for Friday, October 1st.
Look below to find our free MLB Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
Boston Red Sox @ Washington Nationals – 7.05PM EDT
While this is a game that means nothing to the Washington Nationals, the Boston Red Sox have everything on the line here. They are now tied for the final American League Wild Card slot with just three games remaining in the season.
Are the Red Sox costing themselves a shot in the playoffs? They dropped two of three games to the lowly Orioles and now have to turn things around on the road, against Washington. While the Nationals are on the bottom of the NL East and the Red Sox are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, this game may not seem as straightforward as it seems.
Boston is starting Eduardo Rodriguez and that presents an opportunity for Washington to steal this game. Rodriguez has given up 19 runs over his last seven games and has a 4.79 ERA because of it. On the other hand, the Nationals are starting Josh Rogers for just his sixth appearance of the season. Through his first five games he has only given up nine runs across 29.2 innings and has an ERA of 2.73. Boston definitely has the superior batting lineup but the pitching decisions and Boston’s recent form have me thinking the Nationals may be able to keep this close.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Washing Nationals +1.5 (+105)
🚨 CURRENT AL WILD CARD STANDINGS 🚨
New York 91-68
Three games left for each. Yanks at Rays, Red Sox at Nats, Mariners vs. Angels, Blue Jays vs. Orioles.
If things ended today, Mariners at Fenway in Game 163, winner faces Yankees.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 1, 2021
It’s the last test of the Red Sox to cling on to the final Wild Card spot, but I have to say that they aren’t looking too good at the moment, after dropping two of their three games against the Orioles. Those were games that they should have, and really needed to win to help put some pressure on the other teams that are chasing them for the final Wild Card spot. The Nationals are just playing for fun, and have been for a while, so there is absolutely no pressure on them, unlike the Red Sox. The Red Sox have won 25 of their previous 35 games against a team with a winning record, and they have won 40 of their previous 52 interleague games on the road.
On the flip side, the Nationals have won just 16 of their previous 54 games in total and have won only eight of their previous 30 games when playing a left handed starter. I’m going to pick the Red Sox here, but without a lot of confidence, considering they are under enormous pressure and they couldn’t even get the job done against the Orioles. I’m banking on a solid performance from Rodriguez to get the Red Sox over the line.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox (-188)
In another shock loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox have looked completely out of sorts. This loss has put them neck and neck with the Seattle Mariners for the final Wild Card Spot. This is a disastrous turn of events as the Red Sox held a 2 game lead for the first Wild Card spot just last week, and now are at risk of falling completely out of the playoffs. The Red Sox have been playing poorly despite facing weak opponents with 5 wins in their last 10 games, despite what is at stake. The Red Sox will be playing a Nationals team that has won just 65 games and is well out of the playoff race.
That being said, the Red Sox did drop 2 out of 3 games against the league’s 2nd worst team, the Orioles. The Nationals will be Josh Rogers who has just 13 career games played. Rogers has been great this season with a 2.73 ERa but this is only over a 29 inning sample size. The Red Sox hypothetically should be able to dispose of Rogers with their high powered batting lineup. However,their performance against the Orioles has made me lose confidence. Despite my reservations, I still think the Red Sox should win this with ease to try to put themselves over the Mariners and into the playoffs.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox -1.5 (-126)
Tampa Bay Rays @ New York Yankees – 7.05PM EDT
Given the good recent form of the New York Yankees, this is now a matchup between the top two teams in the AL East and likely a matchup between two postseason bound teams. The Rays are locked in to the top seed in the American League while the Yankees have a two game advantage in the Wild Card race.
I’m more excited to watch this game unfold rather than pick a winner, so I will cautiously take the under. Both starting pitchers are keeping runs low for their time on the mound and given the postseason situation, both teams may not be at their full potential for this clash. While New York still needs to win to secure their spot, they essentially only need one win from their last three games to get in. Meanwhile, Tampa has secured top of the American League and has homefield throughout the playoffs.
Looking at the pitchers, both Shane McClanahan and Nestor Cortes have been doing exceptionally well of late. McClanahan has allowed just 11 runs in 36.1 innings of work over his last seven games, with an ERA of 2.72. Cortes has also been on point, especially against teams in postseason contention. In his last four games against teams that are likely to feature in the playoffs, Cortes has given up just seven runs across 21.1 innings of work. That shows he turns it on when he needs to and given McClanahan’s recent form, the under looks good here.
The Yankees won last time out, which puts them two games ahead in the race for an AL Wild Card spot, but they have to be careful, as they are coming up against one of the best teams in the league for their final series of the regular season. The Rays, however, didn’t do so well against the Astros in their previous series, so this might open the door for the Yankees to get a win or two (or three) and really cement their Wild Card spot. The Rays have won five of their previous seven games overall, and have won 46 of their previous 78 games on the road. The Yankees have won seven of their previous eight games overall, and have won five of their previous seven games at home.
I’m going to go with the Yankees for this one. My thinking is that the Rays, who don’t want to risk injuries or the like, will rest some key players who will star when the playoffs commence. The Yankees, who need to keep winning will feature all their key players and this will hopefully turn the tide around from the Rays who seem to love playing and winning at the Yankee Stadium. Cortes and the Yankees will get the job done tonight.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees (TBA)
The Yankees have a comfortable 2 game lead over the Red Sox and Mariners for the first Wild Card spot, with just 3 games remaining this season. The Yankees will be facing the Rays who have locked in the number 1 seed and have little to play for at this point of the season. Both teams may rest their big guns to save them for the playoffs so the result of this one is a toss up. The Yankees will be starting Nestor Cortes who has a great 2.85 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 88 innings this season. Cortes has been ok recently with a 4 strikeout and 2 runs allowed effort in his last game.
The Rays will be going with Shane McClanahan who has a good 3.44 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. McClanahan has been great recently with 3 strikeouts and 1 run allowed in his last game against the league’s 2nd best batting unit. Overall, I think the Yankees may play this one to win to guarantee the first WIld Card spot and put it entirely out of reach. This game will also be a good litmus test for them and will help build confidence going into the playoffs.
Mike’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees (TBA)
Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays – 7.07PM EDT
The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a series where they may have cost the Red Sox a postseason berth and now they have another opportunity to do the same to the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is half a game back from the last American League Wild Card as it stands heading into today’s play, meaning they will want to perform better against the lowly Orioles.
There are four teams fighting for two spots and Toronto finds themselves fourth in that group. They are one game behind both Boston and Seattle, with those three chasing the last American League Wild Card slot. The positive is they stay at home and host a Baltimore side that is 25-53 on the road this season and 30-75 against teams with winning records. In saying that, they did just win two of three games against the Red Sox, hurting their postseason chances and they will be looking to do the same against the Blue Jays tonight, and in this series.
Baltimore is yet to name their starter for the clash but Toronto has named theirs and I like what Steven Matz has to offer. He has a 13-7 record for the season but is 3-0 over his last seven games, giving up just 14 runs across 37.2 innings of work over that stretch. That is more than good enough to keep Baltimore in check while giving his top three batting lineup a crack at winning this comfortably.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 (TBA)
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 1, 2021
The Orioles actually won their previous series against the Red Sox, 2-1, and will look to continue this rare form into this last series and end their season on a happy note. The Blue Jays started off September really strongly, but faltered more often as the month drew to a close. The Blue Jays are one game behind in the race for the last AL Wild Card spot and really need all three wins here against the Orioles if they want any chance of getting into the playoffs. The Orioles have won seven of their previous 24 when playing against a left handed starter, and they have won just 44 of their previous 155 when it comes to the first game of a series.
The Blue Jay on the other hand, have won 17 of their previous 24 when playing a team in the AL East, but have won only one of their previous seven games played on a Friday. I’m picking the Blue Jays for this one, but the odds aren’t really that enticing, and I’m not sure if the Blue Jays will be able to cover the spread either, considering the last minute resurgence of performance for the Orioles. But the Orioles aren’t good enough to risk putting your hard earned money on.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays (TBA)
The Blue Jays have found themselves on the outside looking in with their latest loss to the Yankees. The Blue Jays are 1 game out of the final Wild Card spot but are competing with both the Red Sox and Mariners who both are ahead of them. The Blue Jays need to win out for the rest of the season and hope both the Red Sox and Mariners drop at least 2 games. If that doesn’t happen, the Blue Jays will be out of the playoffs despite their late season winning streak. In this do or die series against one of the league’s worst teams, the Blue Jays need to dominate.
In the first game of the series, the Blue Jays are starting Steven Matz. Matz has been strong this year with a 3.88 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 13-7 record. Matz has been a consistent force over his 143 innings played this season. Despite his good play throughout the season, Matz hasn’t been great against the Orioles with 5 runs allowed in 6 innings in his last game against them, in fact when Matz starts against the Orioles, the Blue Jays have allowed an average of 6 runs per game. The Blue Jays will need a strong batting performance to counteract Matz shortcomings to win this game. I think they will be able to do that and get the job done.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 (TBA)
Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners – 10.10PM EDT
The Seattle Mariners’ play over the last three weeks means they have their postseason fate in their own hands. They host the Los Angeles Angels for a three game series and they simply need to pick up more wins than Boston does in their series.
Given what is at stake and the fact that they are at home, it is hard to look past the Mariners in this clash. They have won 10 of their last 11 games, although the one loss did come to the Angels in LA last week. That was a bad day at the office and I’m happy to forgive them for that loss and expect a win tonight. While Marco Gonzales is 10-5 with a 4.00 ERA for the season, he is 5-0 over his last seven games and has pitched a massive 43 innings in those games, giving up just 18 runs over that time. That is less than one run for every two innings pitched and should be enough to hold out a lacklustre, inconsistent Angels batting lineup.
LA are 35-42 on the road, 37-61 against teams with a winning record and their season is over, so what are they playing for? Seattle needs to win this game and they will play like it, pulling out the win.
The Angels and the Mariners faced off against each other not too long ago, in late September, and it was the Mariners who were victorious, 2-1. The Mariners are also now sitting level with the Red Sox for the final AL Wild Card spot, so things could get very interesting. The Angels are just playing for pride, with no pressure on their shoulders at all, will this work in their advantage? The Angels have won none of their previous six when it comes to the first game of a series, and they have won just 15 of their previous 55 games played on a Friday.
On the flip side, the Mariners have won all four of their previous games played on a Friday and they have won 20 of their previous 26 games against a team in the AL West. I’m going to stick with the Mariners and I think Gonzales will have a great night out playing against the Angels. He had one earned on three hits and three walks in seven innings against the Angels back in late September.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners (-172)
Shohei Ohtani has had an historic season this year and is the first player ever with 45+ home runs, 100+ runs and 25 stolen bases in MLB history. Ohtani has been an offensive weapon and he now faces the Angels’ division rivals, the Mariners in a 3 game series that will decide if the Mariners head to the playoffs or not. The Mariners will be starting Marco Gonzales who has an average 4.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 10-5 record. In Marco’s last game against the Angels he played well and had 5 strikeouts and allowed just 1 run. This will likely continue as every game is now crucial for the Mariners.
The Mariners will be facing the Angels’ starting pitcher Jose Suarez. Suarez has been decent as well with a 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 7-8 record. Pitching wise, I’d say both teams are quite even. The edge for batting does go to the Angels, but with so much to play for I don’t think the Mariners will lose. However, I think this will be close.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners (-172)
Milwaukee Brewers @ Los Angeles Dodgers – 10.10PM EDT
While the Milwaukee Brewers were able to end the Cardinals’ streak, they weren’t able to beat them again last night and travel to LA to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers having lost seven of their last 11 games. Meanwhile the Dodgers have won nine of their last 11 and still have a tiny chance of sneaking up to the top spot of the NL West.
The Brewers are in some terrible form at the moment and I think it may continue against the Dodgers tonight. Milwaukee can’t seem to find a way to win at the moment and LA needs wins. They are starting Clayton Kershaw for the clash and while that is typically a good thing, he was tagged with the loss in his last start after giving up four runs on six hits in just 4.1 innings of work. However, in the two games prior to that, since returning from injury, Kershaw had given up just two runs in 9.1 innings and looked very good. Given the Brewers batting lineup has been inconsistent at the best of times lately, it should give LA a way to get ahead in this game and then hold on down the stretch.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-205)
SWEEP. 🧹 pic.twitter.com/4ClSy1hFRH
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 1, 2021
The Brewers faced the red hot Cardinals in their previous series, and managed to steal one win off them, which broke the mammoth winning streak of the Cardinals. Now the Brewers’ attention focuses on the Dodgers. Both teams are confirmed playoff teams, but the Dodgers want to steal top spot off the Giants so they don’t have to play the Wild Card game. The Dodgers keep doing what they need to by winning, but so do the Giants, who maintain the space between the two teams. With only three games left, is there enough time for the Dodgers to overtake the Giants? I’m not convinced.
The Dodgers have won 41 of their previous 54 games overall and have won 38 of their previous 52 games played at home. The Brewers on the other hand, have won just one of their previous six games against a team with a winning record, and they have won only two of their previous seven games against a starter that has a WHIP under 1.15. It has to be the Dodgers for me here, playing at home and considering the recent form of the Brewers, I’m expecting a big statement win to the Dodgers. Even something as simple as the run differential for games in September paints a clear picture, with the Dodgers at +38 and the Brewers at +5.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-102)
The Dodgers are likely out of the running for the first seed in the National League as they trail the Giants by 2 games with just 3 games remaining. The Dodgers still have a chance but their odds look slim. I expect the Dodgers to try to win out and at least give themselves a chance if the Giants falter. They will be facing tough competition with a 3 game series to close the season against the Brewers who sit on 95 wins.
Both teams look like they will be bringing it with the Dodgers starting Clayton Kershaw at pitcher. Kershaw has been great throughout his entire career as well as this season. Kershaw has a 3.38 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 143 strikeouts in 120 innings. The Dodgers will want to get Kershaw back in rhythm going into the playoffs. The BRewers will be starting Eric Lauer who has been great this season with a 2.93 ERA and 1.12 WHIP this season. He will be facing the formidable Dodgers batting unit so he may struggle more than usual. I think the Dodgers pull out a definitive win here and try to hold up their chances at a playoff berth.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-102)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.