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Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (September 19th, 2022)

By Hank Blaine

We’re just two weeks away from the start of the MLB postseason! Many teams have their futures defined, while some other are still grasping air to stay alive. As we get closer to those dates, let’s take a look at the top MLB betting matchups this week. See below for analysis and free picks.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (September 19th, 2022)

Cleveland Guardians vs. Chicago White Sox

  • When: Tuesday, September 21, 2022, 8:10 PM ET
  • Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, IL
  • TV: Bally Sports Great Lakes, NBCSCH, MLBN (out-of-market only)
  • Radio: WTAM 1100 (White Sox) // WMVP 1000 AM (Braves)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: Guardians (+145) // White Sox (-167)

The Chicago White Sox were the fairly heavy spring favorites to repeat as AL Central champions but realistically the only way the Pale Hose have a shot to accomplish that or make the playoffs overall is to sweep a three-game home series starting Tuesday at home against the first-place Cleveland Guardians.

The Guardians are seeking their first division title since 2018 and play 9 of their final 15 games against division rivals, including a 6-game series vs. Kansas City from Sept. 30-Oct. 1 to close the regular season. The Guards are slated to host 9 of their final 15 games at Progressive Field; meanwhile, Chicago (9 of final 15 at home) will also enjoy a home-heavy schedule, while Minnesota (6 of final 15 at home) will see more travel.

Cleveland rookie left fielder Steven Kwan and center fielder have emerged as two of the best defensive outfielders in baseball this season. Per FanGraphs, Kwan’s 20 defensive runs saved (DRS) trail only Colorado’s Brendan Rodgers (21DRS) for the MLB lead. Over a full season, Kwan’s 20 DRS would mark the 2nd-highest total by a Clevelander since the statistic was introduced in 2003, trailing only catcher Roberto Perez in 2019 (30DRS). Straw’s 12 outfield assists trail only Boston’s Tommy Pham (13) for the MLB lead.

It’s possible the White Sox activate All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson from the injured list on Tuesday. He suffered a sagittal band tear on the middle finger of his left hand suffered on a check swing in his final at-bat in Texas on Aug. 6. “I want to make sure I’m 100 percent when I do come back,” Anderson said recently. “Make sure I have all my strength for sure.”

Anderson features a slash line of .301/.339/.395 over 351 plate appearances this season with six home runs, 25 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. Veteran Elvis Andrus has been a key addition in Anderson’s absence at shortstop and at the top of the order. Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo wouldn’t commit to putting Anderson back as the team’s No. 1 hitter when he’s healthy enough to return.

Aaron Civale (2-6, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday for Cleveland as he will be activated from the injured list. Despite giving up four earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in 2.2 innings in Thursday’s rehab start, Civale is ready to rejoin the big-league rotation. Five of his eight outs came via strikeout in that lone rehab appearance.

Ace and Cy Young contender Dylan Cease is scheduled for Chicago. Cease (14-7) was tagged with the loss after he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out eight against the Rockies last Wednesday. He allowed two runs to score in the second frame before a C.J. Cron single in the fifth inning drove in the final run on his line. The 26-year-old came into the contest having given up just two runs over 23 innings in his last three starts combined. Cease still owns a 2.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with an eye-popping 214 punchouts over 167 innings in 29 starts this season.

MLB Betting Pick: White Sox

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies

  • When: Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 6:45 PM ET
  • Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • TV: SNET, TVA Sports, NBCSP/li>
  • Radio: SN590 (Blue Jays) // 94 WIP (Phillies)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

This concludes the season series between these teams, although it’s possible (if not likely) they meet in the World Series. Both should earn Wild-Card spots in their respective leagues. Phils ace Zack Wheeler, the 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up, will be activated from the injured list to make this start. He has missed five starts while tending to inflammation in his right elbow/forearm. Wheeler will take the mound Wednesday one month and a day after his last start, a loss against the New York Mets in which he allowed five hits, four walks and four runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Phils will watch Wheeler’s workload the first couple of starts back. Including warmups, he threw 55 pitches Friday in a rehab start. His fastball was 96 to 98 mph, according to Rob Thomson. “It was really encouraging,” the interim manager said. After Wednesday, Wheeler would then start Sept. 27 at Wrigley Field followed by one more start Oct. 2 in Washington. That would put him on regular rest to start Game 1 of the Wild-Card series on Oct. 7 if the Phillies wanted. “I haven’t even thought about it,” said Wheeler. “I just want to make it to the playoffs. I’ve never been.” Kevin Gausman is scheduled for the Jays. Gausman (12-10) allowed five earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven across seven innings to take the loss last Thursday against the Rays. Gausman allowed a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot to Yandy Diaz in the second inning. The long ball has become a significant problem for Gausman across his last four starts, during which he has served up seven home runs. In those same 25 innings, he has a 5.04 ERA, despite a 31:3 K:BB. For the season, Gausman still owns a 3.45 ERA across 159.1 frames. The Phillies were swept a two-game series in Toronto right before the All-Star break.

MLB Betting Pick: Phillies

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READ MORE: Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (September 26th, 2022)