MLB schedule today has 15 games
Day games galore is the story for Wednesday, as 11 of the 15 games start at 4:10 p.m. ET or earlier, including a 12:35 p.m. ET start in Cincinnati between the Rays and Reds. I’ll do the best I can to get today’s thoughts out there with as much time as possible before those games get going, especially because we’ve got a mix-and-match set of pitchers with some aces, some faces, and some guys in between. (Tracking sheet)
A new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets comes your way early this afternoon as well.
Here are some thoughts on the April 19 card (odds from DraftKings):
It feels like this series has gone on forever since it’s been at the top of the article every day this week, but the Giants and Marlins will play some getaway day baseball, as the Giants head home to host the Mets tomorrow night and the Marlins enjoy a night off. Today’s matchup does feature the Giants against a southpaw in Trevor Rogers, but they’ll send out a solid arm of their own in Alex Cobb.
Cobb has allowed just six runs on 19 hits over 14.1 innings in something of a reversal from last season when he had a 68% LOB% That led to a 3.73 ERA, but a 2.80 FIP. He’s running a 3.14 ERA with a 3.59 FIP this season, even though he still has a high BABIP against of .378. This time, though, Cobb seems to be earning his high BABIP with a 48.9% Hard Hit% through three starts. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the Yankees who had a huge HH% against him (40%), rather the Royals (52.4%) and the Dodgers (50%). The Royals actually had three barrels off of him in seven innings, but he only allowed two runs on seven hits. In his other two starts, he’s failed to make it out of the fourth inning.
Rogers has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 13 hits in 15 innings with a 16/5 K/BB ratio. He allowed three runs in 4.1 and 4.2 innings in his two starts against the Mets, but fired six excellent frames against the Diamondbacks last time out with one run on five hits and a Hard Hit% of just 31.3%.
Not much has changed for the splits with the Giants, as they have a 54 wRC+ against lefties this season and a 128 wRC+ versus righties. Miami is bad against righties with an 86 wRC+, but better against southpaws with a 106 wRC+. Unfortunately, both offenses are against their weak sides today. No play for me, but the platoon splits are still worth following for both of these teams.
The two worst starting pitchers of the day by fWAR are on the field in this one, as it will be Jake Woodford for the host Cardinals and Madison Bumgarner for the visiting Diamondbacks. Bumgarner may not be long for the D-Backs rotation after turning in another dud against the Marlins last time out with five runs allowed on nine hits in five innings of work. You would have thought maybe it was just facing the Dodgers that altered Bumgarner, but nah. He’s just not any good.
He’s allowed 13 runs on 18 hits with 11 walks against eight strikeouts in 13.2 innings this season. For those counting at home, that’s a 7.90 ERA with a 7.63 FIP to open the year. This is on the heels of MadBum having a 4.88 ERA with a 4.85 FIP last season over 158.2 innings. His velocity is still down and his command is nowhere to be found. Even if this price is too high on Woodford and the Cardinals, how any sane person can back Bumgarner right now is beyond my comprehension.
Naturally when I faded Woodford to back the Pirates on April 14, he figured it out. Well, sort of. Woodford didn’t allow a run over 5.1 innings of work, but did give up seven hits and only had three strikeouts. He allowed a Hard Hit% of 76.5% in that start with 13 hard-hit balls out of 17 balls in play. He has somehow danced out of danger with runners in scoring position this season, allowing only three hits in 16 plate appearances.
To sound like a 60-year-old man, Woodford is “cruisin’ for a bruisin’” here soon, as some team will smoke him. Maybe it’ll be the Cardinals today and this game will soar over the total of 10 because I’m sure St. Louis will scratch out some production against Bumgarner. We’re seeing 10.5s pop as well with temperatures in the 80s and a stiff breeze blowing out to LF.
Couldn't get to a bet on this one, but a shootout wouldn't shock me.
Huh. How bad have the Rockies and Austin Gomber been this season? They’re a home dog to the Pirates and Johan Oviedo. And a pretty decent home dog at that. Oviedo has been a nice find for the Pirates to this point. After struggling with Boston in the opener, he’s allowed one run on 11 hits over 13.2 innings with 15 strikeouts against one walk. His Hard Hit% has decreased with each start and he hasn’t allowed a barrel since that Red Sox outing. Colorado will be a good test for him, but it does look like a decent day for pitchers with temps in the 50s and a stiff wind blowing in.
That should help Gomber as well and he could use all the help he can get. He’s allowed 13 runs on 17 hits in 14.1 innings with four homers allowed and just 11 strikeouts against six walks. Gomber has had one bad start at home, one bad start on the road, and one quality start on the road. He was more of a ground ball guy in the past, but he’s been elevating the ball way too much this season with a GB% of just 31.9%. He’s been steadily in the 40s the last two seasons.
The total here is definitely indicative of the weather. I do think Oviedo is probably priced a little too high here, since I expect flashes, but not consistent quality as the season goes along. But, I’m not keen on backing Gomber and the Rockies here.
A current Met and a former Met square off here between Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard for some getaway day fun at Chavez Ravine. This will be Scherzer’s first start in nine days after experiencing some side/back tightness. He was good over five innings against the Padres in a bounce back start after struggling with the Brewers in his second outing, but then he had to take it easy for a few days.
Scherzer hasn’t really looked like the Scherzer that we’re used to seeing. He only has 14 strikeouts in 16.1 innings and has allowed four homers. He has a 43.2% Hard Hit%, though most of that damage came in the start against Milwaukee. He only allowed one hard-hit ball in his home start against the Padres.
I’ll be curious to see how today goes for Scherzer because prospect Francisco Alvarez is going to catch him. Scherzer is a pretty fiery and demonstrative guy on the mound, so I’m intrigued to see the dynamic between him and the young catcher.
Syndergaard has had one good start, one bad start, and one quality start on the young year. His second start against the Diamondbacks was really bad, as he faced them for the second straight time. He struck out nine Cubs over six innings in his last start and allowed three runs on six hits. I feel like it’s a mixed bag every time Thor takes the mound. The stuff isn’t nearly as dynamic as it used to be and the velocity kind of comes and goes, but he still has the ability to get swings and misses. He has a 17/2 K/BB ratio on the season.
He’s throwing a pretty heavy arsenal of cutters and changeups these days, which is a big change from the past. The cutter is a new thing for him and increased changeup usage is a pretty recent development as well.
Tough handicap here. Scherzer is always going to be enticing at short numbers, but I’m not sure how healthy he is or how he’ll work with a rookie catcher. You’d also like a bit better of a price to go against Mad Max.
As my good pal Ralph Michaels tweeted at me today, the Dodgers are a home dog for the first time since August 3, 2018.
A ninth inning and an extra inning loss marred yesterday’s results, but at least the Braves came through, even if most of their damage wasn’t against Blake Snell. They draw Nick Martinez today in yet another getaway day affair. It will be Charlie Morton on the bump for the visitors, who are looking to close out an undefeated road trip and run their winning streak to nine.
Morton has allowed three runs in each of his three starts this season with outings against the Cardinals, Padres, and Royals. He’s given up an unearned run in each of the last two. He has 12 strikeouts against seven walks, but he’s kept the ball on the ground and in the park. Morton did give up some hard-hit contact against the Royals last start, but he also had a 7-1 lead by the second inning.
My concerns with ol’ Charlie were well-documented coming into the season, but he keeps running into some decent matchups. This could be one today. The Padres still aren’t really hitting and the Braves have a chance to do pretty well against Martinez.
Martinez has allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in his 17.2 innings. He’s only struck out 11 and walked 10. The key to success with Atlanta is to rack up swings and misses and strikeouts because they’re going to make hard contact off of you otherwise. Martinez has already allowed four homers, despite a high GB%. He has limited hard-hit contact to a 28.1% rate, but he’s also allowed seven barrels in 57 batted ball events, so he’s made some glaring mistakes when he has had shoddy command.
Morton has been living right, though. The Padres hit into an inning-ending double play in the first inning of that game. They lost out on a run because a baserunner failed to touch home plate and was ruled out on appeal. I don’t think I can trust him today. Not enough to lay this price. The 1st 5 Over 4.5 did intrigue me a bit, but I ultimately stayed off that as well.
What a miserable series for Cleveland so far. They got swept in yesterday’s doubleheader and only scored three runs. They have one guy (Josh Naylor) with more than one home run. They’re lucky to be treading water at .500 with the offensive performances they’ve been getting so far and the starting rotation injuries. Sending out Hunter Gaddis and Peyton Battenfield for a double dip wasn’t the plan.
At some point, they’re going to have to just bite the bullet and call up Logan T. Allen (maybe this weekend?!) and Tanner Bibee because the offense isn’t giving anybody any margin for error. We’ll see what they do today against Spencer Turnbull, who is coming off of his best effort of the season with five innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays. He had allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in his previous two starts.
It has not been pretty for Cal Quantrill either. He’s healthy, but he’s allowed 11 runs on 21 hits in 15.2 innings. He’s only struck out nine of 75 batters after telling reporters prior to the season that he planned to add some more swing-and-miss to his arsenal. I don’t like anything about this game, except that the Guardians are calling up Brayan Rocchio in hopes of getting some offensive production.
Gaddis was sent down for Rocchio, which likely signals Allen or Bibee on Sunday or Monday. That ends your daily Cleveland Guardians update.
Martin Perez and Brady Singer line it up here at Kauffman Stadium as Perez looks to keep rolling and Singer looks to figure out a lot of things. Perez has been walking a bit of a tightrope with a 91.3% LOB% that has led to a 2.87 ERA and a 5.10 FIP. He walked four, but mostly danced around it against the Astros last time out. He’s only allowed five earned runs on 18 hits, but has seven walks and has given up three homers. He also has 16 strikeouts, which is a big rate for him with a strikeout per inning.
Still, Perez, despite the walks, has pitched well and his high BABIP is not a good indicator of his contact management numbers. He has a 34.8% Hard Hit% through 46 batted ball events and has a .349 BABIP. I think he’ll be viewed as a regression candidate for a little while now and there are some mild signs lurking below the surface, but really it’s just that he’s walked a few too many dudes.
Singer is an absolute mess right now. He’s allowed 14 runs on 20 hits in 16 innings and just gave up four home runs to the Braves with eight runs allowed on 10 hits. He struck out eight, but he’s not commanding the ball well at all. His average exit velocity against in that Braves start was 101.9 mph. Of his 51 batted balls, he’s allowed a 68.6% Hard Hit%. His Hard Hit% by start is 61.5%, 66.7%, and 76.5%. He’s allowed nine barrels. His sinker velocity is down almost a full mph from last season and this is on a team where some guys have had velo upticks with a new pitching coach this season.
If Singer shows signs in this start, I’ll be more inclined to look at him differently, but I have no reason to right now. The swings and misses last start against the Braves just come with the territory when facing Atlanta. The Rangers have the fifth-lowest SwStr% this season and have a 105 wRC+. They’re also in the top half of the league offensively against righties, while the Royals have a 54 wRC+ against lefties and get one today in Perez.
If Singer flips the switch, it is what it is, but I’ll be on the Rangers today, as Singer is priced like 2022 Brady Singer and that’s far from what he is right now. I know it’s an early game and I apologize for the lack of lead time. Sadly, I’m not consulted about the schedule. As always, shop around. Better numbers are out there in the market, but I'm using DraftKings for the article and tracking.
Pick: Rangers -105
I still remember Jhony Brito giving up 900 runs in the first inning to the Twins last week. I assume he’ll have a better showing today with a pretty low bar to get over. He had allowed one run on five hits in 10 innings heading into that start against Minnesota, but he gave up seven runs on six hits and a walk with nine batters faced. Those happen and it is what it is. Let’s see how he bounces back against the Angels.
Prior to that start, Brito had only allowed seven hard-hit balls in 26 batted ball events. He gave up six hard-hit balls in eight batted ball events against the Twins. I’m not really sure what to make of the bad start other than to call it a bad start. There were no real signs of such a meltdown coming. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out if he’s going to improve here or not.
I’d like to think so, seeing as how his velocity looked good despite the really long inning. There weren’t really any injury indicators. He just had a bad start. I’m not sure that is enough peace of mind to lay a number today, but Griffin Canning at Yankee Stadium is kind of concerning.
Canning gave up two runs on five hits in his first MLB start in nearly two years against the Nationals. He limited hard contact well, mixed his pitches effectively, and navigated a pretty weak lineup, especially against lefties. This will be a stiffer test, even though the Yankees are missing Giancarlo Stanton for the next couple of months. The reason why I don’t really like Canning here is that he will give up the long ball (36 in 214.1 innings) and has traditionally been a fly ball pitcher.
In his first start, he only threw 24.6% fastballs with a bunch of sliders, curveballs, and changeups. If that’s the new arsenal for Canning, he’ll keep the ball on the ground a lot more and likely induce more swings and misses. He had a 45.7% Chase Rate last start per Statcast and 15 whiffs in 39 swings. That is a huge jump from where he usually is in both categories. All of the season, he becomes a pitcher of interest to me if that arsenal holds. We’ll see, but I’m staying off this game tonight.
The Twins threw away two leads yesterday to lose 5-4 in extra innings, but the bigger story was that Chris Sale looked great for Boston, so I guess I exaggerated the reports of his demise. I really hadn’t seen much to like, but the Twins were baffled by his slider and Sale turned in his best start by Game Score since August 8, 2019. Guess it’ll happen from time to time.
I am not really expecting Corey Kluber to turn back the clock and have a Sale-esque start here and apparently neither is the betting market. We’ve seen a heavy move towards the Twins in this game. Joe Ryan has been dominant, while Kluber has not. Klubes has allowed 10 runs on 13 hits in 13 innings. He’s given up an average exit velo of at least 90.2 mph in each of his three starts and has allowed four homers. He’s got a 50% Hard Hit% and just doesn’t look the part.
I also mentioned coming into the season and I believe I have mentioned prior to all of his starts that he had big home/road splits last season when leaving the safety net of pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. That being said, a lot of the value has been extracted from this line with the big movement.
Ryan added a splitter to his arsenal and he’s been basically unhittable thus far. He’s allowed six runs on nine hits in 19 innings of work. He gave up four runs in six innings against Houston in his second start, but struck out 10 and only allowed three hits. He’s struck out 26 batters against just three walks. He has allowed some hard contact and he is a fly ball pitcher, so that merits watching as it warms up a bit, but he only has 41 batted ball events in three starts because of all the strikeouts.
I do think the new and improved Ryan is here to stay, so long as he can stay healthy. But, like I said, I think there’s not much line equity left with the big move.
I understand that Luis Garcia has really struggled for Houston and I bet against him with a Rangers 1st 5 last week behind Martin Perez. I also realize that Jose Berrios has a 7.98 ERA with a 2.36 FIP, so he’s viewed as a giant positive regression candidate. Those are two pretty good elements for a line move, but it is a little bit shocking to see Berrios as a road favorite against a lineup like Houston’s.
Garcia has had to revamp his entire pre-pitch routine because of the pitch clock and the windup rules. It sure seems to have negatively impacted him with 12 runs allowed on 19 hits in just 14 innings. He’s struck out 15, but also walked seven. He’s also allowed a 42.2% Hard Hit%. This is a guy who had a 3.48 ERA with a 3.63 FIP in 2021 and a 3.72 ERA with a 3.93 FIP in 2022. He’s 20% of the way to his earned run total in 2021 and 18.5% to his 2022 total after just three starts. It has been pretty ugly and he’s struggling with a lot of things right now, including a bit of bad luck with a .381 BABIP as an extreme fly ball guy this season.
Berrios has allowed 15 runs on 19 hits in 14.2 innings. He’s only allowed one home run and has an 18/3 K/BB ratio, so FIP is looking favorably upon him, but the problem with looking for ERA-FIP regression is that it assumes a reasonable level of command. Berrios does not have reasonable command. In fact, I think his command is terrible.
His stat line from his last outing against Tampa Bay suggests that he pitched well with one run allowed on four hits over five innings. Eight of the 13 batted balls against were hit 95+ mph. His Hard Hit% for the season is 54.5%. His Chase Rate per Statcast is 24.8% and his Z-Contact% is 80.5%, well below any previous season. If anything, his numbers could very well be worse because he’s not getting chases outside the zone and he has an abnormally high rate of swings and misses inside the zone.
The Astros typically don’t miss pitches inside the zone. I like a high-scoring affair tonight in The Juice Box. These are two pitchers with poor command right now and these are two good offenses at punishing mistakes. Berrios still has a 5.03 xERA because of all the hard contact that he has allowed. That’s on par with last season’s 5.11 xERA. I think FIP is playing some tricks here because it has no awareness for the rate of quality contact against.
Pick: Over 9 (-110)
Taijuan Walker and Mike Clevinger wrap up this series after yesterday’s doubleheader split. The Phillies won 7-4 in the first game and the White Sox won 3-0 in the second game. Now it’s a quick turn to play a 1 p.m. CT first pitch. It was nice to see Walker throw six quality innings in his second straight start against the Reds because it looked like he was dealing with a dead arm during the April 9 outing.
Walker’s velo was up 1.3 mph in that start, so maybe it was just a mechanical issue or something. His velo numbers were up on all his pitches and he looked crisper and more effective. Consider that concern out the window.
That’s mostly the reason I wanted to talk about this game. Clevinger has a 2.20 ERA with a 3.80 FIP because he’s issued 10 walks in 16.1 innings. He’s limited damage for the most part, but I don’t have much to say beyond that. If he keeps up the high walk rate with the good results, he’ll be an ERA-FIP regression candidate that will get bet against in the markets. He’s actually limited hard contact well, so maybe there will be some spots to play on him soon and go against the grain of the market.
Another getaway day affair, this time at the Coliseum, where the A’s send out Mason Miller for his MLB debut. Miller pitched for Waynesburg and Gardner-Webb in college and was taken by the A’s in the third round in the 2021 draft. In 28.2 minor league innings, Miller has 53 strikeouts against six walks. That’s not a typo. 53 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. He only had 306 K in 239 college innings and many of those came in Division III with Waynesburg.
The 6-foot-5 Miller is said to have insane stuff, but he’s been hurt a ton and hasn’t really stayed at the same level long. He touches triple digits with a really good slider and a useful changeup, but I think it’s fair to say that nobody has any idea what to expect from him. He struck out 11 over five innings in his last start at Triple-A Las Vegas, averaging 100 mph with the fastball and nearly 96 mph with the cutter.
The Cubbies are sending their ace Justin Steele to the bump. He’s struck out 19 in 19 innings with only three runs allowed on 10 hits. He’s been downright stellar to this point in the season. He’s got a 57.4% GB% and just a 27.7% Hard Hit% on 47 balls in play. He’s faced the Brewers, Rangers, and Dodgers, so it isn’t like he’s padded his numbers against bad teams.
It’s a low total and the Cubs may have issues with Miller, but the A’s bullpen has a 6.01 ERA with a 5.96 FIP on the season. The Cubs bullpen is a top-10 unit and Steele is likely to work deep into the game here. I don’t expect the A’s to do much with Steele. Even if Miller is great, he’s not going more than five innings here. I think the Cubs are worth a run line price. Miller’s minor league numbers are stellar, but he’s never turned over a Major League lineup and the Cubs should see a steady diet of an A’s bullpen that they’ve seen a lot of the last two days.
Shop around, as you can do better than +105 on this one, but I use DK odds for the article and for tracking.
Pick: Cubs Run Line -1.5 (+105)
Eric Lauer and Marco Gonzales square off in a battle of southpaws here. Lauer is still dealing with a noticeable loss of velocity, but he managed to have a good start against the Padres in spite of it. He allowed one run on five hits over six innings of work. Of course, he also allowed an average exit velo of 95 mph and a 56.3% Hard Hit%. That’s back-to-back starts now for Lauer with nine hard-hit balls against and a high Hard Hit%.
Lauer’s been so bad that a guy like Gonzales is a pretty big favorite here. He had a 3.96 ERA with a 5.28 FIP in 2021, a 4.13 ERA with a 5.05 FIP in 2022, and is trending in a similar direction this year with a 4.22 ERA and a 4.81 FIP through two starts across 10.2 innings. The betting markets usually go against guys like that with a lower ERA and higher FIP. That isn’t really the case here in this one.
This will be Gonzales’s first start in 11 days because he was on the paternity list. He’s allowed five runs on 12 hits in 10.2 innings, with both starts against Cleveland, who, as I’ve established, just doesn’t have a very good offense. I have no idea how Gonzales does with the long layoff here, which effectively amounts to an early-season IL stint. I don’t like betting on guys that aren’t in a decent rhythm, even if there are a lot of reasons to go against Lauer.
Geographic rivals fired up the interleague machine last night with Dean Kremer in a 1-0 dub over Josiah Gray. The Orioles will look for the mini sweep with Kyle Bradish back on the bump against MacKenzie Gore. The Orioles are third in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties and Gore is one of them, so we’ll see if they can stay hot in that split.
Gore has allowed five runs on 12 hits in 15 innings, but he’s teetering on the brink of a collapse. He’s walked 10 to go with his 18 strikeouts. He’s faced the Braves, Rockies at Coors, and Angels, so it hasn’t been an easy road, but his 82.5% LOB% is doing a good bit of heavy lifting for him at this point.
After holding the Braves to an 18.2% Hard Hit% in his first start, he’s allowed 13 hard-hit balls in his last 24 batted ball events. Add in the walks and it’s a recipe for potential disaster. He is doing a good job of keeping the ball down on the ground, so I will give him that. It’s been really good for preventing home runs, but I am very concerned moving forward, especially because he’s not working deep enough into games to prevent a subpar Nationals bullpen from being exposed.
If I had more confidence in Bradish, I’d lay the number here. He was hit by a comebacker seven batters into his start against the Rangers. He gave up four runs on three hits over five innings in a rehab start against the Akron RubberDucks last time out, so I have no idea how he’ll fare in this one. It is worth noting that he is right-handed and the Nationals are dead last with a 62 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season.
I thought about laying it here, but the Nationals have the third-lowest K% against RHP, which is surprising to have the lowest wRC+. They only have a .305 SLG, so that’s been the problem, but I’m not sure that they’re this bad against RHP. They have a .258 BABIP, which doesn’t help. I’m also not sure how sharp Bradish, who said prior to his rehab start, “It feels like I haven’t pitched since Spring Training.”
It’s gotta be a pass for me.
TOR/HOU Over 9 (-110)
Cubs Run Line -1.5 (+105)