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Look below to find our free MLB Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
Texas Rangers @ New York Yankees – 7.05PM ET
After getting spanked by Cleveland over the weekend, the New York Yankees continue their current six-game home-stand against the Texas Rangers. Tonight is the first of a three-game series and will see the Yankees want to start this week better than they ended the last, given they are now 1.5 games back from a Wild Card slot in the American League.
It is hard to see the Yankees losing this game. While they are out of form at the moment and just got pounded by Cleveland over the weekend, there is too wide of a gap in talent between these sides. A.J. Alexy is starting for the Rangers and his majors career is just three games long, with only two of those being starts. While he has performed extremely well in both starts, not allowing any runs from 11 innings of work, Alexy is coming off a game where he gave up six runs in just 3.2 innings.
While they don’t always show it, New York has an explosive hitting lineup that is comparable to the Houston one that sent Alexy flying and they should be able to recapture some form in this game. Add in the fact that Texas are just 22-52 away from home this season and have the sixth worst ATS record in the majors, I like New York to get the job done here.
Tim’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees -1.5 (-140)
Adolis continues to amaze! 😱 pic.twitter.com/GdF2wDD23i
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 19, 2021
This will be the first game of this series between the Rangers and the Yankees. The Rangers are coming off a 1-2 series loss to the White Sox, and the Yankees are also coming off a 1-2 series loss to the Indians. The two games the Yankees lost, they lost badly, losing 3-11 in one of the games, and 1-11 in the other. Digging into some of the key stats for this clash now. The Rangers have won just one of their previous seven games against a team in the AL East, and have won only four of their previous 10 games overall.
Looking at the Yankees now, they have won five of their previous 16 games in total, and they have won only two of their previous 10 games at home. The Yankees are the better team here, and they have more incentive compared to the Rangers. Cortes has been good for the Yankees as well, in seven of his previous nine games, he has given up two earned runs or less. I’ll be on the Yankees today.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees (-290)
After back to back losses, the Yankees are in a dire position in the American League Wild Card standings. The Yankees are 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot. They desperately need a win here to keep their hopes alive. A further slide would be devastating for their chances. In this matchup, the Yankees are starting Nestor Cortes Jr at pitcher. Cortes Jr has been awesome in limited playing time with a 2.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 79 innings.
Cortes Jr will be facing a Rangers unit that ranks 29th in the MLB in runs per game. This bodes very well for the Yankees who will likely shut out the Rangers. The Rangers will be starting A.J. Alexy, who has a 3.68 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Alexy has been good in extremely limited time and hasn’t lost a game he has started this season. He may very well give the Yankees’ bottom half batting unit some trouble. However, I trust Cortes Jr and the Yankees batting unit, led by Aaron Judge, to pull out a win.
Mike’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees (-290)
Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays – 7.10PM ET
We have an intriguing AL East showdown as the first-placed Tampa Bay Rays host the third-placed Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays lost their last two to Detroit over the weekend while the Blue Jays picked up two straight over the Twins, meaning Toronto takes momentum into this clash, which is the first of three in Tropicana Field.
While pitchers aren’t everything, this game is extremely lopsided. Robbie Ray is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball while Tampa is giving Shane Baz his majors debut. Ray hasn’t registered a loss in over two months and has extremely tidy figures of a 12-5 record and 2.64 ERA. He puts Toronto in the best position to win games, especially considering how good their batting lineup is.
That has to be worrying for Tampa Bay, given Toronto have a top three batting lineup and will be facing a debutant. However, Baz looks like he will be able to hold his own and the Rays wouldn’t promote him for this game if they didn’t think he could hack it. In 17 appearances in the minors this season, Baz has a 2.06 ERA and allowed just 19 runs from 78.2 innings of work.
This is a completely different game and the Blue Jays will be unlike anyone that he will have faced before. I don’t think it will get ugly, but Toronto should take care of business.
After winning the first two games against the Tigers, the Rays uncharacteristically crumbled, and lost the final two games of the series, which ultimately ended up as a tie. On the other hand, the Blue Jays have consistently put in great performances and won their last series against the Twins, 2-1. When it comes to some of the key stats for this game, the Blue Jays have won all four of their previous games played on a Monday and they have won 16 of their previous 21 games against a team in the AL East.
Looking at the Rays now, they have won just one of their previous five games when facing off against a left handed starter, and they have won just four of their previous 10 games in total. The Blue Jays need to win to stay in the fight for an AL Wild Card spot. Ray (for the Blue Jays) had a great performance against the Rays last time, and I’m expecting more of the same again here tonight.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays (-132)
The Blue Jays play a crucial inter-division game against the defending champion Rays. The Blue Jays are in the midst of a four horse race between the Red Sox, Yankees and Athletics for the two Wild Card spots in the American League. The Blue Jays are currently in the final Wild Card spot but need a win as the Yankees are just 1.5 games behind and start a 3 game series against the lowly Rangers. The Blue Jays will be facing a formidable opponent which is 2nd in the league in runs per game and 9th in runs allowed.
The Blue Jays will be starting Robbie Ray who has been a gun this year with a 2.64 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, which are both top 5 figures. More importantly, Ray is first in the MLB in strikeouts and could be a big wild card in this game. In Ray’s last matchup against the Rays’ 2nd ranked batting unit, he put on a master class with 13 strikeouts and just 1 run allowed in 7 innings. I’m looking for Ray to repeat that effort again here. Although Tampa are the defending champions, the Blue Jays have the edge in every team statistic beside runs per game. Even with runs per game, the Blue Jays only trail the Rays by 0.039 runs per game. I think the Blue Jays win big here.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 (+130)
St Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers – 7.40PM ET
We have a top of the table four-game series between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals to start the week. Sitting first and second in the NL Central respectively, both sides are currently in the playoff picture and will want to get the edge over their division-rivals as the postseason nears.
One team has won eight games in a row. The other team went 2-3 last week. St Louis comes into this series with the best form in baseball and has the confidence of knowing that their last series opener they played in Milwaukee, they won 15-4. The worry is, they have gone just 2-2 in series openers since then, with the Brewers also going 2-2.
If we break down season stats even further, Milwaukee slowly begins to gain an edge, given they are 42-32 at home while St Louis are 37-36 on the road. The Cardinals are also just 29-38 against teams above 0.500 this season, which doesn’t bode well against Milwaukee, who have the fourth best record in all of baseball. Freddy Peralta also looks to be a much better starting option than Jake Woodford, giving another advantage to Milwaukee in this clash.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Milwaukee Brewers (-230)
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 19, 2021
The Brewers are coming off a series win against the Cubs, 2-1, and the Cardinals are also coming off a series win against the Padres, 3-0. It is the Cardinals that have been the hot team as of late, and they have won eight games in a row. This is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cardinals as it puts them in prime position for a Wild Card spot. Let’s take a look at some of the key stats for this matchup now. The Cardinals have won all four of their previous games when they are the underdog, and they have won 14 of their previous 19 games on the road.
Over to the Brewers now, they have won 47 of their previous 68 games as the favorite, and have won four of their previous five games at home. But where I’m looking for this match is the over. The over has hit in four of the Cardinals previous five games overall, the over has hit in six of the Brewers previous seven games at home, and it has hit in four of the previous five clashes between these two teams.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Over 8 (-115)
The Cardinals have been red-hot lately and sit on an 8 game winning streak, as they try to power their way into the final Wild Card spot in the National League playoffs. The Cardinals have swept the Padres and the Mets on their current run. However, all good things must come to an end. The Cardinals will be facing a Brewers team that has won 7 of their last 10 games. The 91-win Brewers are the toughest competition the Cardinals have faced in 2 weeks and could shock them.
The Brewers will be starting Freddy Peralta, who has been one of the league’s best this year in somewhat restricted playing time. In 133 innings, Peralta has a 2.57 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with a staggering 181 strikeouts in that time. I think Peralta and the Brewers will shock the Cardinals in this game and win big.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 (-110)
Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels – 9.38PM ET
We have another in-division rivalry matchup as the NL West-leading Houston Astros get on the road to take on the Los Angeles Angels. There is a 16-game difference between the two sides and they now face off in four massive games to start the second last week of the season.
This is another clash where the outcome looks like an obvious one. Houston did show signs of weakness against the Diamondbacks over the weekend, tying for total runs with the 48-win team across their three game series. The Angels are a step up from Arizona, but did also just lose to the A’s despite Ohtani pitching for eight innings. Neither side brings in a whole lot of form to this clash, but Houston have the backing of an extremely solid season and are one of just two teams with a run differential that exceeds +200.
What is helping me lean into playing the Astros even more is the fact that LA is starting Jaime Barria, who has gone 0-3 with a 5.46 ERA in his seven games since the start of August. He has given up 18 runs over that stretch and now has to pitch to a top three batting lineup. Houston should take advantage of this matchup and continue their push towards the World Series.
Two teams in very different positions at the moment, the Astros are top of the AL West and a lot of things would need to go wrong for them not to play in the postseason. Whereas the Angels are out of contention for a playoff position, and are playing for pride in their last games in September / early October. The Astros have won 91 of their previous 127 when it comes to the first game of the series, and they have won six of their previous eight games on the road when playing a team that has a losing record.
Looking at the Angels now, they have won just one of their previous seven games when playing a team in the AL West, and they have won none of their previous four games played at home. Out of all the teams the Astros are still left to face before the end of the regular season, the Angels are by far the easiest team. They will need to capitalize on this, especially considering they play six games against the Atheltics, the only team that could potentially steal top spot from them in the AL West. I’m expecting the Astros to make a statement from the get-go and hold on to an early and easy victory on Monday.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Houston Astros -1.5 (-126)
The Angels have slid recently as they struggle through a 3 game losing streak while Shohei Ohtani has lost his home run lead. The Angels season continues to sour down the stretch with just 3 wins in their last 10 games. They will be playing an Astros team that is in the running for the best record in the American League, which has implications for the playoffs. The Angels will be starting the below average Jaime Barria who has a 4.93 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in limited playing time this season. Barria does not inspire much confidence and faces an Astros unit that is 1st in the league for runs per game and statistically the best batting unit in the league.
On the other side, the Astros will start Framber Valdez at pitcher who has been great this year with a 3.26 ERA and 1.27 WHIP leading to a 10-5 record. Valdez will be playing a Angels team that has slid to 18th in the league in runs per game, despite holding the enigmatic Shohei Ohtani. I think we see the Astros absolutely destroy the Angels with a strong batting performance.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Houston Astros -1.5 (-126)
Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics – 9.40PM ET
In what is a very intense matchup, the Oakland Athletics host the Seattle Mariners in the first of four games to start the week. The two sides sit two and four games back from a Wild Card slot, respectively, and need wins now more than ever if they want to feature in the postseason this year.
The last time these sides met, the Mariners took both games in Oakland. That was a month ago now though and Oakland comes into this series on the back of a five-game winning streak, while Seattle has gone just 5-5 over their last 10 games overall. That is a big difference in current form and should hold the A’s in good stead for this series, especially when you consider the pitching decisions.
I really like Sean Manaea and his ability to control the ball. He has picked up two wins in his last two outings and sits at 10-9 with a 3.95 ERA for the season. While he gave up five runs last start, that was a free-flowing game that Oakland still won 12-10 anyway. Seattle doesn’t look like they have the hitting power to keep up with that, which is worrying considering they are starting Tyler Anderson, who is 4-5 with a 4.93 ERA when pitching on the road. All of the stats and current form lead to Oakland winning this game, and that is the way that I’m leaning with my money too.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Oakland Athletics (-166)
SUNDAY MATTINEE 🎬 pic.twitter.com/5k1Iw0J63r
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) September 19, 2021
The Athletics are kicking into gear and giving themselves a slight chance to attempt to steal the top spot in the AL West off the Astros, the Athletics are six games behind, and they also play the Astros in six games before the end of the regular season. The Mariners have been a bit inconsistent as of late, and they need to pull it together if they want to claim a Wild Card spot. The Mariners have won two of their previous seven games when they are the underdog, and they have won two of their previous seven games when playing on grass.
Looking at the Athletics now, they have won all four of their previous games as the favorite, and have won all four of their previous games played on grass. When Manaea is on the mound for the Athletics against the Mariner, good things seem to happen, and I think we can expect more of the same again on Monday night. The Mariners starting pitchers also seem to struggle on the road, and especially when playing at night. I’ll be on the Athletics for the victory here.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Oakland Athletics (-166)
The Mariners fight for a chance of making the playoffs as the final American League Wild Card against their division rival, the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics are also in the hunt for the playoffs as they are just 2 games behind the Blue Jays for that final Wild Card Spot. With so much on the line in this game, I expect fireworks. The Athletics and their 12th best batting unit will be facing Tyler Anderson. Anderson has been average this season for the Mariners in very limited playing time. Anderson has an average 3.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP leading to a 1-1 record.
The Athletics will be starting Sean Manaea who has been decent as well with a 3.95 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, leading to a 10-9 record. Despite the Athletics leading in every team statistic and the pitching situation leaning toward Manaea due to his experience, the Mariners may actually win this one. Seattle have played very well against the Athletics recently, with 5 straight wins against the As. Therefore, I have to go with the Mariners as they seem to have the A’s number.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners (+140)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.