Welcome to another full slate of games on this Friday with plenty of MLB picks and MLB Underdog Fantasy plays at our disposal for tonight's Major League Baseball schedule. Our top MLB picks today on Underdog Fantasy feature Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani in matchup vs the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Michael Lorenzen in his first start back after tossing a no-hitter. Plus, we throw in a bonus pick for Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal in the early game of today's doubleheader. Check out these MLB player picks on Underdog Fantasy for “Pick'Em” contests tonight. Don't forget to check out the latest MLB weather report and the confirmed MLB lineups when placing those MLB daily picks or setting daily fantasy baseball lineups. Plus, the MLB daily projections and MLB Batter vs Pitcher page will help you find the best matchups for MLB player props and MLB DFS lineups. Let's dive into the top MLB player picks on Underdog Fantasy for Friday, August 18th.


MLB Underdog Fantasy Top Picks August 18

Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers – LOWER than 5.0 Hits Allowed

Last night’s Tigers vs Guardians game got rained out, so we have Tarik Skubal back on today’s slate in the first game of a doubleheader. Let’s go right back to a pick from yesterday’s MLB Underdog article because we have the same matchup. Skubal faces a Cleveland Guardians offense that’s been terrible against left-handed pitching this season. The Guardians rank dead last in the MLB against left-handers in wOBA (.284), OPS (.650), and ISO (.127) with a .231 BA in the split as well (2nd-worst). In the month of August, Cleveland is even vs lefties with a .192 wOBA, .436 OPS, .057 ISO, and .165 BA. This lineup has struggled against five straight opposing left-handed starters, including Andrew Abbott last game. Skubal should keep it going despite his own up-and-down tendencies. The Detroit Tigers lefty has a 4.18 ERA, which isn’t too impressive, but his much-lower 2.09 FIP and 2.70 xERA suggest positive regression. Plus, Skubal’s high .349 BABIP and low 54.7% LOB rate point to some better outings moving forward. 

Michael Lorenzen, Philadelphia Phillies – LOWER than 93.5 Pitch Count

In his first start since tossing a no-hitter last week, Michael Lorenzen is back in action and it’s a good time to slightly fade him with his pitch count tonight. Lorenzen needed 124 pitches to get through that no-no. We rarely see starters throw that many pitches these days, but it was nice to see manager Rob Thomson let his guy go to accomplish the feat. Still, you have to think the Philadelphia Phillies will want to keep an eye on his pitch count after such a high number last time out. Plus, Lorenzen threw 101 pitches and went eight innings in his prior outing for Philly. Before being traded to the Phillies, the right-hander didn’t throw more than 93 pitches in seven of his previous 10 starts with the Detroit Tigers. He also hadn’t thrown 100+ pitches in an outing since April. Maybe his new team is allowing him to go deeper into games, but 225 total pitches through two starts is a lot and the Phillies would be smart to dial it back a bit tonight. As for this matchup, Lorenzen is ironically facing the Washington Nationals again – the team he just no-hit. Despite that result, the Nats are a top 10 offense vs right-handed pitching lately with a .359 wOBA, .305 BA, and 126 wRC+ over the past week in the split. This lineup should also benefit from just facing Lorenzen. Furthermore, the Phillies bullpen is well-rested with yesterday off and almost everyone available. 

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – HIGHER than 0.5 Runs Scored

Backing Shohei Ohtani to score a run has been a pretty profitable strategy this season. Of course, the 42 home runs help out, but Ohtani has now scored 92 runs in 120 games so far. The Los Angeles Angels are still slipping in the AL Wild Card race, but that hasn’t stopped the AL MVP favorite from doing his thing. Ohtani has scored 29 runs in 31 games since the All-Star break with at least a run scored in 22 of those 31. More recently, he’s scored a run in 10 of 15 games played in August with a .321 BA and .410 OBP this month. The hitters behind Ohtani is always a concern whether or not they can hit him in (if he’s not doing it himself), but it’s happening more often than not. Ohtani and the Angels will face the Tampa Bay Rays, who look to be rolling out a bullpen game tonight. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez will at least start and he’s rocking a 5.72 ERA and .337 BAA this season. The Rays bullpen has a poor 6.35 ERA and .355 wOBA allowed over the past week, so Ohtani should get plenty of favorable matchups no matter who’s on the mound.


MLB Best Bets

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