The Saturday MLB card starts at 1 and we’ll have action right on through the midnight hour, at least if you’re in the Eastern or Central Time Zones. We’ve got quite a few good matchups and a lot of top-of-the-rotation pitchers on the betting board for June 25, so let’s dive right in with an abbreviated version of the daily MLB article.
Mets/Marlins: Taijuan Walker really did outshine Sandy Alcantara in this matchup last night. Walker had 14 whiffs over his six innings, while Alcantara managed just six whiffs in 51 swings and allowed 11 hard-hit balls in his seven innings of work. He didn’t walk anybody, but Alcantara’s command just wasn’t up to snuff. Given that he came into the start with a 1.72 ERA, a 2.59 xERA and a 2.84 FIP, some modest regression was to be expected. He also became the first (and only) pitcher to cross 100 innings this season.
I’m a little wary of him moving forward, just because he seems to be pitching above his true potential a bit, but I’d rather fade him on the road if anything.
Dodgers/Braves: Julio Urias had it all working for the Dodgers yesterday. It only took him 94 pitches to get through six innings of one-hit ball and he struck out nine. The story remains the same for the Braves – any pitcher with swing-and-miss upside has a chance to shut them down. That’s true of Urias. He had 20 whiffs in 47 swings for an awesome 43% Whiff%.
Ian Anderson, meanwhile, walked four and struck out six in four innings. Efficiency is not a thing for him against patient and productive lineups. He’s a guy you can really only back against bad offenses and the problem there is that the Braves have big favorite prices.
Cubs/Cardinals: How about Kyle Hendricks with 7.1 excellent innings against the Cardinals? Every now and then, you see flashes of what he used to be and yesterday was one of those days. St. Louis only had six hard-hit balls on 20 balls in play. The Cardinals are still a team that you want to be careful backing against righties.
Phillies/Padres: MacKenzie Gore got through five innings, but his fastball velocity was down once again. He walked four and the Phillies squandered some chances, so I’ll still be looking for chances to fade him moving forward. Gore’s FB velo was down 1.8 mph from his season average. The Phillies were only 2-for-7 on hard-hit balls with a couple of singles. He got very fortunate. He may not be as lucky next time out or when he goes out on the road again.
Tough beat here on the Phillies. They had three barreled balls that were all outs, including the final out off the bat of Kyle Schwarber and went 0-for-8 with RISP.
Astros/Yankees: Justin Verlander didn’t have the strikeout stuff going, but his lone blemish over seven solid innings was a Giancarlo Stanton solo homer. Verlander’s velo was up a little bit and so were his spin rates as he reached back for a little extra in a big game off of Thursday’s demoralizing loss. New York did hit some balls hard off of Verlander and had better contact quality than the Astros, but managed just that lone homer in the sixth.
Red Sox/Guardians: Nick Pivetta allowed 11 hard-hit balls in his seven innings, but he was able to work around it and only gave up two runs, despite nine hits. Bryan Shaw faltered in high-leverage, a spot that he no longer belongs in, but the Guardians have been running low on relief arms. Like I mentioned yesterday, it will continue to be a concern for them with no off days until July 7 and two doubleheaders.
Pirates/Rays: Jeffrey Springs made three mistakes and gave up three solo homers, but he had 17 whiffs otherwise over his six innings. The Pirates actually struck out 17 times in 10 innings, but pushed the game to extra frames. The Rays desperately need Wander Franco and some of their injured players back. I should’ve been more proactive to get out in front of all the low-scoring games they’ve been playing.
Rockies/Twins: Just what we expected from German Marquez and Dylan Bundy, a 1-0 game. Marquez walked five and only had two strikeouts, but he didn’t allow a lot of hard contact. Byron Buxton missed yet another game with his knee injury. One of the big reasons why I can’t sell myself on the Twins is because of Buxton’s seemingly never-ending health issues.
Weather: Lots of muggy conditions are in the forecast today, with temps in the 90s for several games, including St. Louis, Kansas City and possibly the Bronx. Helping winds are present in Minneapolis, with minor rain chances in Chicago.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Astros at Yankees (-165, 8): Gerrit Cole is getting the ace bump today against his former team. Cristian Javier is on the other side for the Astros. It is extremely rare that we see Houston at this kind of price in the + 150s, but Cole is also a very rare pitcher.
Athletics at Royals (-170, 9.5): Speaking of rare prices, think about the last time we saw the Royals as a -170 or higher favorite. That’s the case today in the matchup between Jared Koenig and Brad Keller. We’ve seen a 15-cent move at some shops for this one, as the A’s continue to lose and generally do so on the run line.
Blue Jays at Brewers (-170, 8): The ace bump is also present today for Corbin Burnes in his start against the Blue Jays. Yusei Kikuchi is on the other side, so this move is probably two-fold, as Kikuchi owns a 4.94 ERA with a 6.57 xERA and a 5.53 FIP.
What I’ll Be Watching
Miles Mikolas: There will come a start where the workload catches up with Mikolas. Five of his last seven starts have featured 100 or more pitches, including four of his last five and one two starts ago with 129 pitches in search of a no-hitter. It’s hard to look for that from the Cubs at Busch Stadium, though, where Mikolas has a career .268 wOBA against in 1,095 plate appearances with a 2.71 ERA over 275.2 innings of work. It may happen here, and I’ll tip my cap if it does, but I will be looking to fade him on Friday in Philadelphia.
Logan Gilbert: Is this the day that Gilbert’s regression pops up? The 25-year-old right-hander has a 2.28 ERA with a 3.94 xERA, a 3.04 FIP and a 3.64 xFIP in his 83 innings of work. Gilbert’s Hard Hit% is 48.2%, but he’s managed to stay off of the barrel at a high rate, despite being a fly ball pitcher. His Barrel% checks in at 5.9%, which is nearly 3% lower than last season’s mark. Even with very friendly pitching conditions in Seattle, Gilbert’s wOBA at home is .244 and it sits at .269 on the road. He’s allowed nine of his 11 doubles on the road and four of his six home runs. And, we’re not talking about cupcakes either, as he’s faced the Red Sox, White Sox, Astros, Marlins, Twins, Rays, Rangers and Blue Jays. Gilbert had a 4.75 ERA in 55 innings on the road last season, but his .303 wOBA suggests that he really got unlucky in high-leverage spots.
Saturday Best Bets
Shop around for the best lines! I’m using a market consensus number that should be widely available to most, but every cent matters, so do the best you can to get the best line possible.
VEGAS LINES | ODDS BY STATE | MLB MATCHUPS
Giants Run Line (-1.5) (-115) over Reds: Run lines with home teams can be a little tricky, especially in games with low totals, but I really want to back Logan Webb again. It’s hard to trust Mike Minor for betting an under with such a low total and I think the context of this line move suggests that a run line is a good wager.
The Reds are one of the worst road offenses in baseball, scoring just 3.09 runs per game away from home. They’re 12-23 on the road and have been outscored by 63 runs. Cincinnati ranks 26th in road wOBA against RHP. Webb owns a 3.26 ERA with a 3.45 xERA and a 3.05 FIP. His K% has gradually increased throughout the series as the Giants were able to get his slider back on track to generate more whiffs. He’s just a steady, reliable pitcher, and also one that has a .286 wOBA against at home this season and a .288 wOBA against at home for his career. He’s only allowed six home runs in 161.2 innings at Oracle Park.
Minor is making his fifth start of the season. He’s allowed 16 runs on 23 hits in starts against Washington, Arizona twice and Milwaukee. He’s also already allowed seven home runs and nine barrels. The Giants rank in the upper half of the league in wOBA against LHP and have a 104 wRC + in that split. Even if Minor somehow pitches well, the Giants work counts effectively and the Reds bullpen is not very good, so they can get after the relievers.
San Francisco’s tired bullpen has gotten a couple of days to get situated, especially guys like Camilo Doval. Dominic Leone and Tyler Rogers. Like I said, I know the risk of taking a run line with a team that will likely only bat eight times, but the full game is in the -240s, the 1st 5 run line is -165 and the move on the over suggests that the Giants project well against Minor. I’ll take my chances here with a very reasonably-priced number against a team that already has 36 run-line losses, including 17 on the road in 23 losses.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.