Rounding the Bases: MLB Straight Up Picks for Every Game Today (Fade Gerrit Cole in First Start of Season)

Aug 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

A full day of baseball is ahead of us, but there will be no more important game than the Orioles vs. Yankees with Gerrit Cole set to make his season debut.

Cole, who has been on the shelf with an elbow injury since the spring, will look to jumpstart his season in a high-leverage game in a battle for AL East positioning. However, should we trust Cole as a heavy favorite?

Here's how I'm betting the full MLB card on Wednesday.

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Tigers vs. Braves Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Tigers (+105)

Let’s back AL Cy Young favorite Tarik Skubal against a floundering Braves lineup, which is 20th in OPS in June. 

Skubal will face off against Braves right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who continues to be a fade candidate with terrible underlying metrics that feature a 3.61 xERA on a 1.69 ERA, per MLBStatcast. 

Reds vs. Pirates Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Reds (+100)

Hunter Greene continues to emerge as a key cog in the Reds' pitching staff, posting a 3.61 ERA, but has fine underlying numbers with a 3.14 xERA and a low hard-hit percentage of 34% (79th percentile). 

At plus money, I’ll back the Reds, who are eighth in OPS in June, to show up and grab a win as a small underdog. 

Cardinals vs. Marlins Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Marlins (+145)

Kyle Gibson continues to be a prime fade candidate, posting an xERA of 4.82 that stands out against his 3.44 ERA. He is walking at the highest rate of batters since 2020 and has a fastball velocity in the ninth percentile. 

While the Marlins are limited on offense, Gibson’s inability to limit hard contact makes me believe that the home team can outperform this price. 

Padres vs. Phillies Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Padres (+150)

While Ranger Suarez is now at the top of the oddsboard for NL Cy Young, I’m going to fade him against a Padres team that doesn’t strikeout much and does a fine job of putting the ball in play and pressuring pitches to put the ball over the plate. 

San Diego is top five in limiting strikeouts and walks at an above-average clip. Suarez has been more reliant on strikeouts than ever before, punching out a career-best 27%, but I think the Padres can snap its losing streak on the road here. 

Giants vs. Cubs Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Cubs (-120)

Kyle Hendricks is operating as an opener now, but I like his chances of limiting runs from the Giants with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field due to his ability to limit hard contact. 

He is in the 93rd percentile in hard-hit percentage and 75th percentile in ground ball percentage, which is impactful with the elements at Wrigley impacting the ball. 

Meanwhile, Howard is allowing hard contact on 42% of balls put in play, which would place him below the big league average if he had enough innings and the same for his near-39% ground ball percentage. 

Diamondbacks vs. Nationals Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Diamondbacks (-160)

Patrick Corbin takes the mound, which makes it always a smart investment to bet on the other team, especially in this case. 

Corbin will face the second-best hitting team against left-handed pitching, which is a disastrous scenario against the southpaw that is in the first percentile in xERA this season (6.86).

Mariners vs. Guardians Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Mariners (+120)

Bryan Woo will take his strong – yet injured – start to the year into Cleveland as the Mariners look to build on its AL West lead. 

Woo has a 1.07 ERA while limiting his walk rate to less than two percent. With a disciplined Guardians unit, Woo’s control is going to be on display as Seattle outperforms expectations on Wednesday.

Orioles vs. Yankees Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Yankees (-170)

Gerrit Cole will make his season debut on Wednesday and will receive a lofty rating as the Yanks are massive favorites against the Orioles. 

However, with a potential pitch count for Cole, as well as a possible injury to Aaron Judge, I’ll back the Orioles at a big price against the Yankees. 

Cole Irvin will start for the O’s, who can lean on his pinpoint control to limit a Yankees lineup that struggles against lefty pitching, 15th in OPS. 

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Red Sox (+115)

I’ll fade Blue Jays’ starter Kevin Gausman, who is pitching at his worst this season. 

He has a 4.08 ERA but has a 4.98 xERA with his lowest strikeout rate since 2018. The Red Sox continue to hit the ball well against the Jays’, winning each of the games in Toronto this week. 

I’ll bet on a sweep at plus money. 

Rays vs. Twins Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Twins (-165)

After each team used a handful of relief pitchers on Monday, I’ll turn to the Twins' reliable starter Joe Ryan. 

The Minnesota ace is striking out fewer batters this season, down from 29% to nearly 27%, but has dropped his walk rate as well with a fantastic fastball (95th percentile in terms of run value). 

He is far more reliable than Rays second-year pro Taj Bradley, who is struggling to avoid hard contact (20th percentile) and is uber-reliant on strikeouts (31%). 

Mets vs. Rangers Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Mets (-110)

The Mets seven game winning streak is set to turn to eight in Texas. 

The New York lineup has come alive, and the Rangers are 22nd in OPS against lefties this season, impactful against Mets starter Sean Manaea. 

Astros vs. White Sox Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Astros (-120)

Houston has underwhelmed this season, but I will take the cheap price against the White Sox, who remain the worst team in the AL.

The Astros are still an above-average hitting team against left-handed pitching, which can help the unit find its form against Garrett Crochet. 

Dodgers vs. Rockies Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Dodgers (-200)

Rockies’ starter Ryan Feltner can’t be trusted at home. He has an ERA of 6.89 over six starts this season at Coors Field, a big issue against the best hitting lineup in baseball. 

Brewers vs. Angels Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Brewers (-170)

Tyler Anderson remains untrustworthy, posting an xERA of 4.66 against his 2.58 ERA. 

The left-hander is walking more than 10% of batters and striking out a meager 16% of hitters (12th percentile). 

Against a quality team like the Brewers, which walks at a league-average rate against southpaws, I think Anderson struggles. 

Royals vs. Athletics Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Royals (-175)

The A’s will struggle with the pitching of Cole Ragans, 27th in batting average against left-handers, making this a nice landing spot for the Royals as modest favorites. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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Reed Wallach


Reed is a Senior Editor at SI Betting. He grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. His passion lies with the Brooklyn Nets, but is always hunting for an edge.