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MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Monday 4/18

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

April 18, 2022 11:44 AM
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We’re back to mostly normal on Monday, as we’ll have 11 games and 10 of them will be played in the evening. Most pitchers are making their third starts of the season by this point, which is a good thing because increased sample sizes are beneficial for handicapping the card. A lot of numbers can be skewed in small windows, but the true talent level of a player comes through as more innings and plate appearances are accrued.

As mentioned yesterday, the article goes behind the paywall today, which was planned. My observations of the previous day will be above the article cut-off, so free readers will still have a lot of things to chew on. We’re running a $59 Summer Special right now that gives you VSiN Plus All-Access through July 31, so that’s going to bet your best bet for continuing to read the entirety of the article until our next offer comes along, which is likely to include all of our premium content for the football season.

Yesterday’s Recap

Before I go too far, you can check out the archived version of The Run Line, our MLB-exclusive betting show on VSiN with myself and host Ben Wilson. (HOUR 1 & HOUR 2)

Lots of good thoughts on that program and we’ll be doing it up until football season on Sundays from 8-10 p.m. ET.

Nationals/Pirates: Patrick Corbin only had six whiffs in 37 swings and dealt with some decreased velocity in his third start of the season for the Nationals. He has 11 K against eight walks in 12 innings. The quality of the stuff just isn’t really there anymore. The Nationals did take money against Jose Quintana and the Pirates at some shops, but I can’t see myself really betting on Corbin anytime soon.

Diamondbacks/Mets: The Diamondbacks were shut out by David Peterson and the Mets bullpen on Sunday. Arizona is now 6-for-56 (.107) with men in scoring position. Their 69 PA with RISP are the fifth-lowest in baseball (interestingly, three AL Central teams have fewer – Twins, Royals, Tigers). It’s a bad offense, but it won’t continue to be this bad. No team will be that much of a statistical outlier. I think what’s more amazing is that they’ve managed to win three games with offense like this. New pitching coach Brent Strom is doing some good things with the staff already.

Arizona has also faced the Padres, Astros and Mets, so two preseason division favorites per some sportsbooks and a team that had a win total in the mid-80s. Now they play the Nationals, so we’ll see if they can improve a bit.

Phillies/Marlins: I talked about this on The Run Line last night, but Zack Wheeler’s start was extremely concerning. Getting battered by the Marlins down in a pitcher’s park is bad enough, but Wheeler’s fastball velocity was nowhere to be found. His four-seam fastball and sinker were both down about 3 mph from his year-over-year average. He threw his slowest fastball since April 2018. He did only give up two hard-hit balls, but walked three and gave up seven runs on eight hits. He only had four whiffs in 27 swings in his first start against the Mets. I’m thinking we could see an IL stint here for Wheeler. If nothing else, reports of an upcoming MRI aren’t out of the question.

He threw 95-96 in the first and second innings, but he was down to 92-93 towards the end of his outing. I’m thoroughly concerned.

Cardinals/Brewers: There was a lot to unpack from this game. Aaron Ashby gave up three unearned runs, but he danced around danger for the most part in that outing with four walks in four innings. The big concern for me is Devin Williams, who faced seven batters and allowed two hits, three walks and had a wild pitch. Williams does not look sharp at all right now and the Brewers need him at the back end of the bullpen with Josh Hader. Williams had three days off prior to throwing 37 pitches in this outing. He’s unavailable today I’m sure.

The Cardinals lead the league in wOBA against LHP at .420 and rank third in wRC + at 172. Their .625 SLG leads the league as well. Small sample alert, but also, this lineup does project well in that split with so many right-handed bats.

Cubs/Rockies: Speaking of teams against lefties, the Cubs have taken money in every game against a southpaw starter and beat Austin Gomber and the Rockies on Sunday. Drew Smyly was solid over 4.2 innings of work and threw 14/18 first-pitch strikes, which is huge for him. If you’re betting the Cubs against a lefty, attack the overnight line.

Braves/Padres: It was excruciating watching yesterday’s Braves/Padres game while holding an under ticket. The teams combined to go 0-for-13 with RISP and only managed seven hits. The Padres only scored two runs with eight walks. San Diego is tied for fourth in PA with RISP, but ranks ninth in runs scored by not cashing in enough of those chances. They loaded the bases in the first and second, had two on in the fourth and two on in the sixth and managed two runs.

There were 20 batted balls of 95 + mph in the game. The teams were a combined 6-for-20. Remember, those have a league-wide batting average of .500 or better on an annual basis. Maybe it wasn’t a great handicap, but it wasn’t that bad of one either and it’s important to think about games in that way.

Yankees/Orioles: I know all of the Monday Morning Quarterbacking about the Yankees will be about the offense, but how about another excellent start from Nestor Cortes? He had 15 whiffs in 43 swings and struck out 12 over five innings. In two starts, Cortes now has 9.1 scoreless innings with 17 K against one walk. He had a 2.90 ERA with a 3.78 FIP last season in 93 innings while posting over a strikeout per frame. Starting pitching is the concern for the Yanks and Cortes looks great to this point in his second season with a cutter.

Twins/Red Sox: Michael Wacha went five shutout innings and only allowed one hard-hit ball. In two starts, Wacha has allowed one run on just three this. The Red Sox have scaled back the use of his cutter, a pitch that had a .375 BA and a .586 SLG last season. He’s thrown it only 15.2% of the time through two starts, his lowest rate since 2015. I’m not sure it’s sustainable, but any time a pitcher embraces a positive arsenal change, I pay attention.

A’s/Blue Jays: The A’s go home to Oakland leading the league in runs scored, which is not what I expected after 10 games. They’ve also struck out in 26.4% of their plate appearances and aren’t hitting for a lot of power. So, what’s the deal? Oakland is batting .373 with RISP and is running a .422 BABIP. The BA is 33 points higher than anybody else and the BABIP is 35 points higher than any other team. Regression is coming and it will likely come swiftly. I’ll look to fade them on the upcoming homestand (and do lean that way today).

Astros/Mariners: Matt Brash only had nine whiffs against the Astros, but that’s because he only had 23 swings. Houston was extremely patient with the rookie and worked six walks in 5.1 innings. Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer in the sixth, but the game was 6-0 Mariners at that point. Brash has faced two of the best lineups in baseball at making contact to this point and has done well, all things considered. His next start will be at home against Kansas City, who currently has the second-lowest K% in baseball, but also has the worst wRC + and wOBA. I’m curious to see how big of a favorite he’ll be.

Giants/Guardians: The Guardians were swept by the Giants and scored four runs in three games. The ball doesn’t carry at Progressive Field in April and the Guardians almost always start out slowly on offense, so what they did in Kansas City and Cincinnati was an outlier. At least their catching tandem got its first hit of the season yesterday. The Guardians now play the White Sox, Yankees, Angels, A’s, Padres, Blue Jays, White Sox and Twins into mid-May before playing the Reds for two games. It could get very ugly, very quickly for them.

Monday Resources

Weather: Rain and snow are in the forecast in Cleveland for Guardians/White Sox and in Chicago for Rays/Cubs. All-day rain in Washington already postponed the D-Backs/Nats game and the forecast looks dicey in Queens for Giants/Mets as well. It’s a pretty ugly weather day in a lot of places.

Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. Also, my friend @MLBDream on Twitter put together a great MLB beat writer list to follow.

As I mentioned yesterday, COVID has made another appearance around MLB, as the Mets and A’s have multiple players on the list and now the Red Sox are taking extra precautions with masked employees and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki on the list. It remains a fluid situation, but one to monitor, especially as the Red Sox face the Blue Jays, Rays and Jays again in the next three series.

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