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MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Friday 5/13

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 13, 2022 11:23 AM
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Happy Friday, friends. We’ve got 15 games on the betting board and not a day game in sight, which means you can assume that spot on the couch, grab a cold one or two and immerse yourself in all the sports taking place this evening. Today looks like a mixed bag with some great pitching matchups, some awful pitching matchups and some mismatched pitching matchups.

Let’s dive into all of it and see what looks good for Friday the 13th *cue spooky music*

Yesterday’s Recap

Mets/Nationals: I’m still rattled seeing pitching lines like what we’ve gotten this week from guys like Reid Detmers and now Taijuan Walker. Walker threw seven shutout innings of three-hit ball with only one strikeout. We’re on pace for the lowest K% since 2018, as pitchers are not being penalized for pitching to contact. The league’s 3.82 ERA is the lowest since 2014, when the K% just ticked north of 20% for the first time ever. I’m going to have to make adjustments to my handicapping going forward because of how some of the pitchers’ statistical profiles look, but at least I’ve identified that now rather than later.

Reds/Pirates: The Reds are on fire! I’ll kick the disappointing Tigers again here and note that the Reds only have one fewer win than the Tigers in the same number of games played. I’ll also kick the Pirates here because they got shut out by Connor Overton and the Cincinnati bullpen. Overton only had three whiffs in 36 swings, but gave up zero runs with three hits and four walks in 6.1 innings. He allowed 12 hard-hit balls and two of the hits were on batted balls of 86.9 and 81.5 mph. Baseball is so weird. (Also, Overton is a fade candidate going forward with a 1.59 ERA, 4.90 xERA, 3.24 FIP (no HR allowed) and a 4.41 xFIP)

Phillies/Dodgers: The Phillies offense bailed out the bullpen with two runs in the ninth after blowing a four-run lead in the eighth. This will continue to be the story for the Phillies all season long. Zack Wheeler did throw the ball really well with increased velo and spin rates, so my concerns about him are now gone and we can wager on him accordingly.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, are in a bit of a funk. Remember, just about every team will win 60 or lose 60. Between the Reds and the Dodgers, we’re seeing what regression to the mean looks like at the extreme ends of the spectrum.

A’s/Tigers: The Tigers were actually 4-4 at one point this season. They’ve gone 5-19 over the last 24 games and are now 1-22 when allowing at least three runs in a game. They’ve scored two or fewer runs in 18 of 32 games. Again, this is an extreme and they will find some better fortune soon, but if they couldn’t find it against the A’s, who will they find it against?

Astros/Twins: I failed all of us. I talked up the regression of the Twins pitching staff and managed to go 0-1 with bets in a series sweep where Minnesota was outscored 21-3. The losing bet was an over in Game 1. Josh Winder, Joe Ryan and Chris Archer all struggled in this series. Houston, by the way, has now won 10 in a row and has not allowed more than three runs to an opponent in any of the last 12 games, including five shutouts. I’m guessing they’ve once again solved the matrix and have found something to have huge pitching success in the new Dead Ball Era.

Over the last 14 days, Houston pitchers have the highest infield fly ball rate (IFFB%) and second-lowest HR/FB% in the league, while still having the sixth-highest ground ball rate (GB%). They have the second-lowest BB% in the league (Arizona is No. 1 with former Astros pitching coach Brent Strom). For the season, the Astros lead the league in four-seam fastballs at the top of the zone or above at 14.8%. The next closest team (Twins) is at 12.6% per Statcast. In the current run environment, with the lack of carry and decrease in power, inducing fly balls on fastballs up in the zone is an incredibly sound strategy.

They were sixth in that stat last season, due in large part to the absence of Justin Verlander, who lives up in the zone, but their percentage of those sorts of fastballs is up 4.8%. I think they’ve made an adjustment to the current ball and should maintain their success because of it.

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