Offense! We had 17 games on the board yesterday and eight of them finished with double-digit runs. Three more finished with nine runs. It was a 10-6-1 day for the over per my colleague Dave Tuley, who also tweeted that Unders are down to 55.2% for the season.
Most of that has to do with the sportsbooks adjusting their totals more than an increase in offense. Of yesterday’s 17 games, nine of them had a total of 7.5 or lower, including a couple of rogue 6.5s. Totals have been adjusted down a half-run to a full run across the board based on the dead ball and now the books are getting some more balanced results. Batters are collectively hitting .238/.305/.376 in May after batting .231/.307/.369 in April. It is only a sample size of four days, so we can’t really make any definitive conclusions, but power is up slightly, which could be more about the quality of pitchers than any atmospheric changes or alterations to the baseball.
Diamondbacks/Marlins: Home plate umpire Dan Bellino embarrassed himself with his stare down of Madison Bumgarner during the substance check after the first inning. He baited Bumgarner into that reaction and there will be no repercussion from the league. Umpires just skate by. They can consistently blow calls and goad players into outbursts with no recourse. It’s a damn shame.
As far as how the game played out, another day with heavy Marlins home steam ends with a loss. This line jumped 25-35 cents and Arizona outlasted Miami 8-7. Those pesky Diamondbacks have a pretty good ROI for bettors thus far.
Braves/Mets: Adam Ottavino was called upon for a third straight day and allowed all three batters he faced to reach with two hits and a walk. He ultimately gave up three runs in the seven-run sixth that Atlanta put together. It wasn’t why the Mets lost, but it is another indicator of why bullpen usage is so important to monitor and follow.
Reds/Brewers: Another day, another Reds run line loss. Another day I didn’t play it. Sigh. Vladimir Gutierrez gave up seven runs on eight hits in the 18-4 defeat, which won’t help his market perception. As I’ve mentioned, Gutierrez is regarded as one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball and his lines will move as a result. Most Reds lines seem to be moving against them these days anyway. If you want to fade them, do it early.
Nationals/Rockies: I got fortunate with the Colorado 1st 5 here, as the Rockies got all five of their runs in the fourth inning. Patrick Corbin threw a complete game loss with five runs allowed on nine hits. Only three were earned, but he did give up 15 batted balls of 95 + mph and only had six whiffs in 52 swings. The quality of the stuff remains quite poor. I think he’s still worth fading, but that one was too close for comfort.
Giants/Dodgers: The Dodgers look relentless so far this season. They’re a juggernaut. I still wonder about their interest level when playing bad teams, seeing as how four of their seven looses are to the Diamondbacks and Rockies and another has been against the Tigers, but they’re now 6-2 against the Giants/Padres/Braves. I think we might be able to spot fade this team after a big series, possibly when they play the Cubs on Friday if the line and pitching matchup make sense.
Mariners/Astros: Everybody “oohed and aahed” over Matt Brash in spring training and now he has a 7.65 ERA and is in danger of being sent down. That isn’t a knock on him. It’s just a reality check for not taking those games too seriously. Brash was lucky to only allow four runs yesterday with 10 baserunners in three innings. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander just kept right on chugging. The Astros only allowed two runs (with a 7-0 lead on Wednesday) over three games to the Mariners and swept the series by a 14-2 count.
Rays/A’s: Frankie Montas was excellent yet again, but so was Corey Kluber and the Rays got to the Oakland bullpen for the 3-0 win. Montas allowed four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven innings. He’ll be a nice trade addition for somebody this summer. Kluber was yanked after just 64 pitches, but his velo was up a tick across the board and his spin rates were also higher, so it wasn’t an injury or anything of the sort. He’s been really, really good for a Rays team that needed some rotation help. I see no reason to believe this is fraudulent from the two-time Cy Young winner.
Twins/Orioles: Trust thyself. I knew this start to the season wasn’t sustainable for Dylan Bundy and now he has a 5.76 ERA after allowing nine runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings. Regression can come in many forms and a complete ERA killer is one of them. I’m mad at myself for not trusting the Bundy read and following through. Sometimes you have to take an ugly team like Baltimore to see a strong thought through. Frustrating.
Angels/Red Sox: I thought we had a winner when Xander Bogaerts broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer, but Boston blew the save and the game flew way over in extras. It turned out that, despite the Bogaerts blast, that the Angels did have the bullpen advantage with their main guys fresh. It’s an important part of handicapping a game and especially live betting.
Padres/Indians: I was on Betting Across America as this whole dynamic was playing out, but bear with me while I roll through it again. The Padres tried to push Mike Clevinger through the fifth inning with a lead so that he would be in line for the win. He maxed out at 67 pitches in his last rehab start and got pushed all the way to 95 here. It was a bad decision by Bob Melvin. Clevinger really labored in the fifth and walked a couple of guys, forcing Steven Wilson to come in with two guys on. He walked the first guy he faced and then gave up a two-run inning.
Then Terry Francona made an even more egregious error and brought Zach Plesac back out. Plesac, who left the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, immediately gave up two hits before Enyel de los Santos came into a leverage spot and gave up both runs. It was a clinic from both guys on how not to manage a baseball game. Had I known Plesac was coming back out, I would have immediately live bet the Padres. Being able to pay attention to these things can create a lot of good live betting opportunities.
Cardinals/Royals: I couldn’t pick this game because of the early start combined with writing the article, but the Cardinals battered lefty Kris Bubic in the first inning en route to an easy 10-0 win. Credit to Adam Wainwright for seven innings of one-hit ball given his road splits, but this was another example of the Cardinals against southpaws. Average or better righties have shut them down. Lefties have not.
White Sox/Cubs: Lucas Giolito had 10 strikeouts over 5.2 innings and 16 whiffs in his start against the Cubs. Giolito’s fastballs have been clustered higher in the zone this season and hitters have not been able to get up there to get them. It looks like there has been a mechanical tweak as well, as Giolito is releasing the baseball closer to the plate than in previous seasons. Ethan Katz is an excellent pitching coach and this Giolito K spike appears legit.
Weather: A very quiet day on the weather front. Breezes will be blowing out in San Francisco, but on a cool 50-degree day. That’s really about it.
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.