The last six weeks of the MLB season have not been kind to me at all. Bad luck and bad handicaps are all part of the process, but you’d certainly like to space them out better than I have. The reality is that you’re going to go through slumps and skids when you’re doing this every day and how you manage those rough patches usually defines you as a bettor.
Understanding and navigating the bad times is not easy, whether you’re a newcomer to the business or a veteran that has seen it all. Compartmentalizing the really difficult periods and not letting them leak over into the other aspects of your life is really important. It’s a process that I’m still working on, despite being in this industry for over a decade as a content creator and more than that with my own investment.
This is not a “woe is me” intro to the article. Few people talk about the mental side of betting, as this industry usually devolves into a competition to see who can pat themselves on the back the hardest. It’s important to me to do that because there are a lot of people that struggle with this business, whether they’re using it as an interest, a hobby, a supplement or to try and make a living.
There’s a lesson for everybody in the hard times, betting or otherwise. Some lessons cost more than others. The hope is to get through them and get to the other side. You just never know how long that route is going to take. I’m still plugging away and still trying to put out what I believe are the best plays on the card. So, it’s a new day with new opportunities and hopefully these ones will pan out.
Braves/Marlins: The Marlins actually staked Pablo Lopez to a 2-0 lead, but it wasn’t enough and Miami was held to three runs yet again. Per regular VSiN guest David Bearman from ESPN, the Marlins have scored three or fewer runs in 21 of their last 25 games. That makes it really, really hard to win and they’ve fallen short in most of them. Lopez only gave up two runs in his 5.2 innings, but also only had four strikeouts and allowed 10 hard-hit balls. He’s still not as sharp as we’ve seen him in the past and the offense can’t bail him out.
Phillies/Mets: How about the 2-1 win for the Phillies over Max Scherzer?! The Phillies only managed one run on nine hits against Scherzer, so they squandered a lot of chances, but Ranger Suarez and the bullpen held the Mets to one run on just five hits. The primary relievers for Philadelphia have really been solid lately and David Robertson has been a nice addition at the back end. This just might be a good team capable of overcoming the defense.
Brewers/Cardinals: Another day, another good start for Jordan Montgomery. The Cardinals really found a nice upgrade and he seems to love pitching in front of this defense. He had 15 whiffs on 49 swings as well. He’s such a quality pitcher. I’m really surprised that the Yankees gave him up.
On the Milwaukee side, Eric Lauer pitched well after a rough first inning, but he had velocity decreases across the board that I’m pretty concerned about. He has not been anywhere near as sharp over the last two months as he was early in the season. The results may have been fine, but the stuff is still mediocre.
Diamondbacks/Rockies: The Rockies are continuing to do their thing by playing well at home and struggling on the road. They just took a series from the Cardinals at home and started with a nice win over the Diamondbacks. It’s a similar story to what we’ve seen most other years and what we should continue to see throughout the rest of this season.
Pirates/Giants: The Marlins offense has been noticeably bad, but so has Pittsburgh’s. Going up against Carlos Rodon is no easy feat, but the Buccos have scored just 68 runs in 20 games while going 6-14 in the second half. They’ve actually scored eight runs twice and seven runs once in that span, but have not had much success outside of those games. I don’t see any reason for that to change.
Guardians/Blue Jays: Cleveland jumped all over Jose Berrios, as they had eight runs on eight hits against the right-hander. Berrios allowed six hard-hit balls, including two homers, and only had one strikeout. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays did absolutely nothing against Cal Quantrill, who went seven innings with just one hit allowed and seven strikeouts. That was definitely a shocking start to say the least, but that is back-to-back outstanding outings against the Astros and Jays after allowing 11 earned runs over his previous three starts.
The Guardians may have found something mechanical for Quantrill, as his fastball velocity has taken a nice uptick in his last five starts. It seems now that he’s been able to harness it better over these last couple of games.
Orioles/Rays: Guess I should have played the Orioles as a dog instead of the under. Or the 1st 5. The game was 3-0 through five, but six runs were scored in the sixth, as the Orioles finally dealt the big blow to Corey Kluber. Once again, Brandon Hyde brought a starter back out after a long offensive half inning and he allowed runs. The damage was done anyway, but still. It may end up being a good live betting angle on the O’s.
Kluber only allowed five hard-hit balls again, but he gave up seven runs on 10 hits. The Rays still have some defensive issues to iron out.
Yankees/Red Sox: The Yankees were 1-for-10 with RISP and squandered a bunch of hard contact against Nate Eovaldi to wind up with yet another loss. This one hurt. Not all losses are created equal, but the Yankees had first and third with one out in the first and didn’t score, first and second with one out in the second and didn’t score, left two on in the fourth, two on in the seventh and Clay Holmes blew a save with two walks and a single.
Complete disaster for Yankees backers, including me.
Mariners/Rangers: With the Mariners in a wild-card spot right now, I think it’s important to point out how George Kirby has suddenly become a huge part of the season. I don’t think he’ll be used as a starter come playoff time, but as a multi-inning relief weapon capable of throwing upper 90s, he’ll have a place on the roster. He threw 5.2 solid innings yesterday with two runs allowed on seven hits as the Seattle offense picked up six runs.He did give up some hard contact, though, and I continue to worry about him against teams that have seen him with limited depth to his arsenal. But, it struck me this morning that they’re going to use him in October and he’ll be an important piece.
Twins/Angels: At least one pick came through with a minimal sweat yesterday. Tyler Mahle picked up his first win with a team other than the Reds in a 4-0 four-hit shutout. The rested relievers did come into play. Patrick Sandoval did walk four, but largely held the Twins at bay. The Angels only had six hard-hit balls in the game, as their offense continues to be rather limp at the plate.
Looks like it was a slow gun in Anaheim, as every pitcher had some velo decline. I’ll keep an eye on it with the starters, but I’m not alarmed.
Dodgers/Royals: I keep waiting for the Dodgers to have a letdown. I don’t know if they will. It was a 0-0 game until the sixth, as Daniel Lynch and Tony Gonsolin went pitch-for-pitch, but Josh Staumont and Luke Weaver completely melted and gave up seven runs in what wound up a laugher for the Dodgers. This team is a machine. By the way, Dustin May’s final rehab start is tomorrow, so he’ll be back in the rotation.
Weather: A mild chance of rain in Denver is a rarity, but we have that, as well as a possibility of some rain in Chicago. Otherwise, smooth sailing and some decent hitting conditions around the league.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Cubs at Reds (-120, 9): We’re seeing some love for Graham Ashcraft and the Reds against Adrian Sampson and the Cubs today. It has only been about a 10-cent move, but bettors have two starters with pretty similar numbers in this one and they’ve opted to back the Reds.
Phillies at Mets (-200, 6): We’ve got a total of 6 at Citi Field between Aaron Nola and Jacob deGrom. We’ve also got about a 30-cent move on deGrom as the Mets look to get back the game they lost with Max Scherzer on the bump last night.
Dodgers (-280, 9.5) at Royals: Pretty slow day for line moves, but we’ve seen a jump of about 50 cents here with Andrew Heaney against Brad Keller. The Dodgers have been taking a lot of money recently, as the oddsmakers can’t seem to keep up with how dominant this team has been. Most lines that get steamed heavily are under -150, but this one has gone up with the line approaching $3.
What I’ll Be Watching
DL Hall: The Orioles have called up one of their top pitching prospects in DL Hall. For his first MLB start, he gets to try and match up with Shane McClanahan. Hall, who turns 24 next month, doesn’t have the most impressive numbers at Triple-A with a 4.76 ERA and a 4.04 FIP. He’s been a Robbie Ray circa 2017 of sorts. He’s struck out 114 of his 317 batters, while also issuing 44 walks and 10 home runs. A 36% K% is great, but when paired with a 13.9% BB%, that’s a little bit concerning. Home runs don’t count towards BABIP, as they are not balls in play, yet Hall still has a .340 BABIP against.
Hall comes up in a bit of a funk, as he allowed six runs in 0.2 innings on July 26, six runs over four innings with five walks and three homers on August 2 and then two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings last start. We’ll see what he does against a Major League lineup today, but the reports on the raw stuff are good and the strikeout totals are eye-popping.
Lance McCullers Jr.: The veteran right-hander makes his 2022 MLB debut today. He allowed 11 runs on 16 hits over 13.1 innings in four rehab outings, topping out at five innings and 24 batters faced. McCullers struck out 17, but also walked seven, so we’ll see how sharp he is today. If the Astros can get anything from him the rest of the way and in the postseason, they’ll be happy with that. McCullers struck out 185 batters, but walked 76, in his 162.1 innings of work last season at the MLB level. He gets a good ease-in against the A’s, but I’ll be curious to see how sharp he is.
Reid Detmers: I think I mentioned this briefly after his last start, but Detmers has been on quite a run over his last five starts. He has allowed five runs (four earned) on 19 hits in 31 innings with 38 strikeouts against 10 walks. He’s faced the Orioles, Astros, Braves, Rangers and Mariners in that span, so this has been an extremely impressive stretch. His Baseball Savant page isn’t overly impressive with a 27th percentile average exit velo and a 27th percentile Hard Hit%, but he’s made some noteworthy arsenal changes. He’s throwing his slider as his primary pitch now with fewer fastballs, so that has generated more swing and miss. His curveball usage is up a bit as well. Opposing batters only own a .157 BA with a .270 SLG on his slider this season. We’ll see if he can keep it going against the Twins.
Saturday Best Bets
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Tigers/White Sox Under 8 (-115): Lucas Giolito and Matt Manning are the listed starters for this AL Central matchup. We’ve seen some underdog investment on the Tigers and Manning in this one with some books showing up to 20 cents worth of line movement. I have a hard time backing the Tigers, but for them to compete in a game, it usually needs to be a lower-scoring environment and I think that’s what we’ll have here.
Manning has allowed just three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and seven walks in his last 12 innings since coming off of the IL. The seven walks are a concern, but the White Sox are 28th in BB% since the start of the second half and haven’t walked all season long. Manning has only allowed 11 hard-hit balls on 35 batted ball events in those two starts. He made 18 starts last season and allowed 29 of his 59 runs in four of them, so he was a solid arm more often than not.
Giolito has a walk issue as well, but the Tigers have the lowest BB% in the second half, so they’re not exactly working counts and taking their walks. In his last three starts, Giolito has only allowed six runs, but has walked 10 against 16 strikeouts. He’s also allowed some home runs this season with 18 of those, but only three over his last eight starts.
Both bullpens are in pretty good shape for this one, so I’ll look at the Under 8 with one play for today.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.