There’s running bad and then there’s running bad with what happened in the Yankees/Pirates game. Holding an under 8.5 ticket, the game went into the fifth at 0-0, the sixth at 2-0, the seventh at 4-0 and suddenly ended 16-0. The “That escalated quickly” gif from Anchorman has never been more appropriate.
These are the days that you remember as a bettor. You don’t really recall the good streaks because they feel like they should happen all the time. You do recall that bad streaks, specifically one that feature a good-looking under that almost doubled the total with one team scoring all of the runs. Minimizing the hard times is the skill required to have some success in this business and that has been easier said than done.
Here’s to hoping today’s the day the misery ends.
Cubs/Brewers: Josh Hader knows what I’m going through. He’s given up a run in two straight appearances to raise his season ERA from 1.05 to 1.63. Credit to the Cubs, who have really been battling lately. Some bad teams have rolled over and died. The Cubs? They’re 6-2 in their last eight games, including series wins against the Red Sox and Brewers. Dog days indeed, but I guess it’s a good idea to look for teams that are showing some dog in them.
Mets/Reds: Under bettors took one on the chin here yesterday with a five-spot from the Mets in the 10th inning to take the game over 10 with an 8-3 win for New York. The Mets were 2-for-13 with RISP prior to the 10th and the Reds finished 1-for-10 with RISP, so it would’ve been a lucky under, but still. The Reds also blew a save in the ninth to send it to extras. That feels like the sort of loss that lingers into the next day and the Reds are playing two today against the Pirates.
Nationals/Phillies: We did not see the Aaron Nola ace bump with Josiah Gray on the hill for Washington and he outpitched Nola with a 3-2 win. Gray struck out 11 over six innings and dropped his ERA to 4.14. Like I’ve said before, the market is fond of him and starts like last night’s are a good example as to why. Nola gave up two runs in the seventh and now has a .505 SLG against and a 6.67 ERA the third time through the lineup.
Cardinals/Braves: Miles Mikolas gave up 13 hard-hit balls in six innings, but only allowed three runs on five hits and two of the hits left the ballpark. The Cardinals defense is absolutely a weapon and it’s an important reminder to consider Hard Hit% in the context of the defense as well. Max Fried was solid over six. The Cardinals had a .349 wOBA against LHP in April, a .346 in May, a .323 in June and now have a .298 in July. They’re still above average in that split, but not on the torrid pace they were.
Giants/Diamondbacks: Huge win for the Giants last night. They were lifeless again for seven innings before scoring five off of the Diamondbacks bullpen. Merrill Kelly only allowed two hits over his 6.1 innings, but the Giants got five runs on four hits and two walks off of Joe Mantiply and Sean Poppen. I still can’t really trust this team, but they’ve saved themselves with some of those types of wins this season.
Rockies/Dodgers: Baseball makes no sense sometimes. Jose Urena threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers yesterday. This was a guy that had a 7.29 ERA in five starts at Triple-A before getting called up, including a start with 10 runs allowed on 12 hits.
The Rockies managed one run on one hit against Mitch White and the bullpen, as they’ve now scored under three runs per game on the road. Colorado has also played six more home games than road games, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to bet in-season win totals or anything.
Guardians/Tigers: Wednesday couldn’t have gone worse for the Guardians. Not only did they lose to complete a four-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers, but Shane Bieber allowed five runs on seven hits. The Guardians get a much-needed day off today, but it may simply be a drop in the bucket. This team looks totally gassed and its best player is clearly hurt.
With the All-Star Break looming, I’d put Ramirez on the IL so that he’s back by the start of the second half and you can maybe make some sort of push, but the loss dropped them to .500. Young guys aren’t used to the rigors and the stressful nature of the MLB grind. It’ll be something to watch with a lot of pitchers in August and September.
Twins/White Sox: The Twins continue to have major relief pitching issues and it’s a primary reason as to why I still think they’re vulnerable in this AL Central race. The White Sox look like the only team that can catch them now, though they did lose a game in the standings in this series. It could’ve been more, but Chicago won a back-and-forth affair on Thursday by a 9-8 count.
Joe Ryan’s velocity was down 1.3 mph on the fastball and really tailed off at the end of his start. I know he missed time with COVID, but he also only threw 85 pitches. Something to monitor.
Blue Jays/A’s: Toronto did not play well in Oakland during this series. The Jays salvaged Thursday’s game by a 2-1 count, but they didn’t hit well at the Coliseum at all against some pretty hittable dudes. You could maybe chalk this one up to a getaway day game, but it wasn’t pretty.
The Jays also haven’t had an off day since June 23 and that’s the only off day since June 9. They’ve played a ton of baseball in the last month.
Rangers/Orioles: Break up the Orioles, man. After their first winning month since August 2017 in June, they’re 4-2 in July with a three-game sweep of the Rangers, all by one run. Baltimore’s pitchers are simply playing follow the leader by all improving at once and the offense has made some huge strides as well, though Ryan Mountcastle is sick and has missed a couple of games.
My thought process going forward with Baltimore is to trust them in coin flip games because they just seem so much more prepared than the opposition and their bullpen generally has an advantage, so long as the all primary guys aren’t wiped out by high workloads.
Rays/Red Sox: Brayan Bello’s MLB debut wasn’t great and he got no run support with six shutout innings from Corey Kluber. The Red Sox are a little thin right now. Rafael Devers has a hamstring issue and Xander Bogaerts is clearly less than 100%. The bat is dragging through the zone right now for JD Martinez. After a torrid pace in May and early June, the Red Sox are 11th in wOBA at .327 over the last 30 days.
Royals/Astros: Another over at Minute Maid Park with one game left to go. We’ve seen 11, 16 and 13 runs in the three games in this series, seriously leading me to wonder if the humidor has been turned off or malfunctioning, especially because the Royals have scored at least six runs in all three games. There have been 13 HR in this series after a total of 80 HR were hit in the first 35 games at The Juice Box. Maybe the humidor has been turned off and we can call it The Juiced Box now.
Or it might just be bad pitching and variance. I’m just very skeptical of MLB’s methods these days.
Angels/Marlins: Seven more incredible innings from Shohei Ohtani with 10 strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Still looking for chances to bet on that home regression for the Marlins against RHP without Jazz Chisholm Jr. It was just too pricey yesterday.
Weather: The usual. Pop-up storm chances in a lot of places east of the Great Plains. You can pretty much set your watch to it these days. Philly, Baltimore, Cincy, Atlanta and Chicago are the places under the microscope the most.
For as hot as it has been, the league slash line is .242/.315/.407 in July with a .316 wOBA and a 105 wRC +. June was .247/.314/.410 with a .317 wOBA and a 105 wRC +, so offense has been pretty consistent.
Injuries: Lots of updates and new injuries from the weekend, so keep an eye on those. Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Nationals at Phillies (-175, 9.5): Joan Adon has been a favorite punching bag of bettors and also batters this season, but we have an interesting move on the total down from 10 to 9.5 here. It’s fairly subtle as the teams play a mid-afternoon matchup, but still a move that caught my eye.
Cardinals at Braves (-240, 9): Spencer Strider gets the ace bump against Matthew Liberatore and the Redbirds here. Guys with high walk rates get bet against a lot in the market and Liberatore has had major control issues to go with some rough command and a lot of fly balls. The offensive projection from modelers must be extremely high for Atlanta here.
Giants at Padres (-140, 6.5): We’re down to a total of 6.5 for Giants/Padres with Logan Webb and Joe Musgrove on the hill. The Padres are also taking money and have grown about 10-15 cents for Game 1 of what is a huge series for both teams, but a mammoth one for the Giants.
What I’ll Be Watching
Marco Gonzales: There was no line on this game with a TBD listed for Toronto, but Gonzales is a guy very much under the microscope. He has a 3.29 ERA with a 4.74 xERA and a 5.23 FIP. He did a similar thing last season with a 3.96 ERA, a 5.02 xERA and a 5.28 FIP, so there is some kind of precedent for him, but still. The strikeout rate is down this season and the walk rate is up, so it seems like it will be a lot harder for him to maintain this level of overachievement on his ERA.
That being said, the Blue Jays are definitely in a tough stretch as I mentioned above. I think a lot of people will expect Toronto to bludgeon Gonzales tonight. I’m not sure, but I know that road starts are likely to be more challenging for him.
Beau Brieske: The Tigers rookie has a 4.54 ERA with a 5.86 xERA and a 5.40 FIP in his 69.1 innings of work. Since the start of June, he’s got a 3.78 ERA with a 4.04 FIP in his 33.1 innings of work over six starts. He’s given up 12 runs on 17 hits in his last 14.2 innings, so he’s back to struggling a bit after pitching really well for a three-start stretch against New York, Toronto and Texas.
Brieske has reverse platoon splits with a .364 wOBA against from righties and a .267 from lefties, plus his ERA is almost double on the road compared to at home. Despite those two things, we’re seeing this total go down a bit.
Thursday Best Bets
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Orioles (-110) over Angels: Since June 19, the Angels have won only two games not started by Shohei Ohtani. He just pitched last night, so it won’t be him tonight. It will be Chase Silseth, who has allowed 12 runs on 21 hits in his last 14.2 innings of work after starting his MLB career with six shutout against the lowly Athletics. Silseth has not pitched more than 4.1 innings since, which puts a lot of strain on a subpar Angels bullpen.
In those last four starts, which are spread out over more than a month, Silseth has allowed Hard Hit% numbers of 57.1%, 50%, 87.5% and 75%, so opposing hitters have been making a lot of really good contact. He hasn’t pitched since June 28, so I wouldn’t expect him to be very sharp in this one.
We all know that Jordan Lyles is pretty up and down, but he’s been serviceable in his last three starts with seven runs allowed on 15 hits in 19.2 innings of work. He’s made a lot of road starts this season and has faced some good lineups in those outings, allowing all 12 of his home runs with a 5.89 ERA and a .366 wOBA against. At home, however, Lyles has a .302 wOBA against with a 2.92 ERA.
As I wrote earlier, I want to try and back the Orioles at fair prices in toss-up games. I should have done it in the Rangers series and I hope I haven’t missed the boat, but Baltimore has the better bullpen and should also have the better projection for the starting pitcher. Hopefully Ryan Mountcastle is good to go tonight because he has elite contact management numbers per Statcast and this lineup looks a lot better with him and Austin Hays in it.
Baltimore is really making a concerted push for .500 and is one of the most improved teams in baseball. The Angels are going in the opposite direction and very few guys are hitting outside of Trout and Ohtani. As a result, I’ll take Baltimore at the short favorite price.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.