A massive Thursday of action across the league, with the race to the postseason heating up.
Look below to find our free MLB Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays – 1.10PM ET
A pair of AL East rivals will kick off our Thursday afternoon of MLB action with the third game of their series in Tampa Bay, as the Rays host the Yankees at Tropicana Field for the final time this week.
Although the Rays are the superior team in this matchup, I am going to take the Yankees on the road for the final game of this series in Tampa Bay, as New York will be sending ace Gerrit Cole to the mound for this encounter. Even though Cole conceded three runs across five innings against Boston in his last start, the veteran right hander had only allowed one run in his previous 15 innings with the ball. I don’t believe that Tampa Bay’s lineup is capable of hitting a winning score against Cole on Thursday. Especially with Luis Patino taking the mound for the Rays. Patino has predominantly been a minor league pitcher this season, however he gave up four runs to a lacklustre Cleveland lineup last week.
Jesse’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees (-142)
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 29, 2021
Aaron Judge has returned to the lineup and turned the Yankees’ form around, taking the first two games of this series in Tampa Bay. That is a massive scalp for New York, who are trying to salvage their season and qualify for a wild card slot. On the other hand, this is surprising from the Rays, who are 2.5 games behind the Red Sox for top of the AL East and will be kicking themselves for dropping these two games at home. However, things don’t get any easier for the Rays as they are starting Luis Patino, who was just called up from the minors for a game in Cleveland last week and in his 5.1 innings he allowed four runs. Meanwhile, the Yankees are starting Gerrit Cole and his experience should help keep the 22nd ranked offense under wraps.
Tim’s MLB Pick: New York Yankees -1.5 (+126)
The Yankees have won the first two games of this series so far, and yesterday, the game was super dramatic as it was taken to the 10th innings. Now, the Rays have lost three games in a row and the difference between the Rays and the first place Red Sox is three games! I’m not too sure which way this game will shake out, so I’ll be looking at the total market. The under is 5-0 in the Yankees previous five games overall. As well as this, the under is 7-2 in the Rays previous nine division games.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Under 7.5 (-112)
Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals – 2.10PM ET
Now that the bubble has burst on Kansas City’s winning streak, I can’t see them knocking off the division leading Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon. As well as their superior record, Chicago will have an unquestionable advantage in the pitching matchup on Thursday, with Carlos Rodon taking the mound. Rodon has a 5-1 record and 1.90 ERA on the road this season, while Kansas City’s Carlos Hernandez has a 5.71 ERA at home this season and he has allowed two runs in just 0.1 of innings against the White Sox this year. Chicago is 16 games ahead of Kansas City in 2021 and I believe they will build on that lead on Thursday.
Jesse’s MLB Pick: Chicago White Sox (-190)
While the Royals currently lead this series 2-1, they had their six game winning streak broken in the second game of the series and I don’t know if they will be able to beat one of the best teams in baseball for a third time in four nights. Especially with Carlos Rodon starting, who is 8-4 across 17 starts, with a 2.24 ERA. Rodon should have a field day against a bottom 10 offense, which is what the Royals have. On the other hand, Kansas City’s starting pitcher, Carlos Hernandez, has an ERA of 6.04 and won’t give his lineup any help. This game could seriously be a blowout.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Chicago White Sox -1.5 (-115)
The Royals are storming home and have won seven of their last eight games. Last time out they got a narrow 10th innings victory over the White Sox, and they actually now lead this series 2-1. The White Sox have won seven of their previous eight games on a Thursday and they have also won 52 of their previous 72 when playing a team that has a losing record. On the flip side, the Royals have won their last six games when playing a left handed starter, but they have won just two out of their previous eight games on a Thursday and they have won none of their previous five games in the fourth game of the series. I’ll be on the White Sox.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Chicago White Sox (-190)
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs – 2.20PM ET
A pair of NL Central rivals will also face off today, with the fourth placed Chicago Cubs hosting the second placed Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field for what will be the fourth and final matchup of their series in Chicago.
Although Luis Castillo has begun to return to form with the ball for Cincinnati, I am going to take the Cubs at home in this matchup. Despite his 2-0 record and a 1.40 ERA from his last six starts, Castillo still owns a 1-5 record and 4.50 ERA on the road this season. As well as that, Chicago have played very well at Wrigley Field for the entirety of the season to date, owning an impressive 31-20 record at home. With Alec Mills taking the mound for his 21st appearance of the season for the Cubs, I like Chicago in this matchup, as the right hander is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA at home in 2021.
Jesse’s MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs (+106)
After a slip-up in the first game of the series, the Reds have looked very comfortable at Wrigley Field, winning the last two games 7-4 then 8-2. While Chicago has a very handy 31-20 record at home this season, they are just 30-38 against teams above 0.500 while Cincinnati are 26-17 against teams below 0.500. However, the pitching decisions have me worried. The Reds are starting Luis Castillo, who is 4-10 from 21 starts with an ERA of 4.20, while the Cubs have Alec Mills with ball in hand first, who is 4-3 for the season but is an impressive 4-0 with a save at home. Given the Cubs are at home and have a pitcher who thrives at Wrigley Field on the mound, I like Chicago to win this one and split the series.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs (+106)
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) July 29, 2021
In the NL Central the battle for the second position is red hot! The Reds are currently holding onto the second position with a record of 53-49, and the Cubs are currently in fourth position with a record of 50-53. The Reds have won four of their previous five games on the road, and they have won 18 of their previous 26 division games. Whereas, the Cubs have won eight of their previous 11 games when they are playing at home and are the underdogs, and they have won just eight of their previous 27 games overall. I’ll be on the Reds for this game.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Cincinnati Reds (-124)
Baltimore Orioles @ Detroit Tigers – 7.10PM ET
The Orioles and Tigers will kick off their four game weekend series in Detroit on Thursday afternoon. Detroit will be full of confidence after winning two of three games against the Twins in Minnesota, while Baltimore will be looking to respond after dropping both of their recent games against the Marlins at home.
The Detroit Tigers have continued their solid form in the second half of the regular season, winning two of their three games against the Twins in Minnesota to improve to a 9-4 record since the All-Star break. In that time, the Tigers lineup has averaged 7.45 runs per contest. Given their recent offensive production and their advantage on the mound, I am going to take Detroit in this series opener. Casey Mize will make his 20th start of the season on Thursday and the young right hander has allowed just three runs in his last three starts at home, throwing 13 innings in that time. As for Baltimore, they will be starting rookie southpaw Alexander Walker, who has thrown just 10.1 career innings for five earned runs.
While Baltimore was able to bounce back against the Marlins last night and split the two-game series, they now get on the road to face the Tigers. Detroit comes into this game having won two straight games, including a massive 17-14 win over Minnesota last night. That is a massive result for a middle of the road offense and they now face a very inexperienced pitcher in Alexander Wells. The Orioles’ starter has pitched for just 10.1 innings in the majors and he gave up three runs over 5.2 innings in his last showing. However, things aren’t any better for Detroit, with Casey Mize on the mound and he gave up four runs over 4.2 innings in his last start. Neither side has a defensive side that makes me confident enough to pick them, but neither offense is good enough to take advantage. Detroit are at home so I’ll back them in, but have little confidence in either side here.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Detroit Tigers (-162)
This is the last series of the month for both these teams, so who can end the month on a high? Despite the Orioles having the second least amount of wins in the league this year so far, their last ten games have been pretty good, and they have won seven of them. The Orioles have won five out of their previous six games when playing a team that has a losing record. The Tigers have won 13 of their previous 16 games at home. But I like the over for this clash. The over has hit in 8 out of the previous nine Orioles games when they are playing a team in the AL Central. The over has also hit in 10 out of the previous 12 Tigers series opening clashes.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Over 10 (-102)
Colorado Rockies @ San Diego Padres – 10.10PM ET
A pair of NL West rivals will close out our Thursday night MLB schedule at Petco Park when the third placed Padres host the fourth placed Rockies for the first match of their four game weekend series in San Diego.
Pitching has been a problem for San Diego since the All-Star break as the Padres 4.89 team ERA is the ninth highest in the league. However, Colorado has been even worse at the mound to start the second half of the season, owning a 5.58 team ERA since the break. Seeing as the Padres have a damaging offense, a realistic playoff chance and an impressive 34-20 record at home this season (most home wins in NL), I am going to take San Diego at Petco Park on Thursday. Especially when considering that Colorado are 5-15 from their last 20 games against division rivals and they own the worst road record in MLB, 11-38.
Jesse’s MLB Pick: San Diego Padres (-286)
All Eyes On Me. pic.twitter.com/iqv21Ace2U
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 28, 2021
After going 2-4 in their six games in LA, three against the Dodgers and three against the Angels, Colorado now has to travel down to San Diego to take on the Padres. That may seem like a scary proposition but the Padres have actually dropped three of their last four games. However, two of those losses were on the road and they split a two-game series with the very good Oakland A’s most recently, and that was at home. San Diego are 34-20 at home for the season and should be looking to take advantage of the Rockies, who are 11-38 on the road this season and are now playing their seventh straight game on the road. Kyle Freeland is starting for Colorado and in his two games against San Diego this season, he is 0-1 and has allowed eight runs on 15 hits from just 8.2 innings of work. That is seriously terrible and San Diego is too good to not take advantage again.
Tim’s MLB Pick: San Diego Padres / Over 7.5 (+130)
This game will be the opening clash between the Rockies and the Padres. Looking at the last five games on a Thursday, the Rockies have won four of them, but they have won just 12 of their previous 52 games when playing on the road. The Padres have also won four of their previous five games played on a Thursday, and they have won 26 out of their previous 36 games at home. As well as this, the Padres have won five out of the last six meetings against the Rockies. I’ll be on the Padres.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: San Diego Padres (-286)
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our MLB hub page for all your baseball needs!
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel