There are 18 games on an enormous MLB card for today. We’ve got two doubleheaders as a result of canceled games from the late start to the season and one because of a rainout in Queens yesterday. That gives us a lot to digest for May 17 to say the least.
Nationals/Marlins: Influential bettors don’t seem to have much of a handle on the Marlins right now. A lot of line moves have been incorrect with this team, including yesterday’s when the Nats took early money as a big money and lost 8-2. Sandy Alcantara threw eight excellent innings at home in the winning effort and the Marlins banged out 16 hits and had two four-run innings. The Marlins are a tough team to figure out right now, so I’m not entirely surprised about their line moves and results, but it is something I’ll continue to monitor.
Pirates/Cubs: I talked about this game on my Rush Hour spot with Danny Burke (no relation) yesterday. Danny mentioned how the line crept up throughout the day with Wade Miley on the mound. Miley, like Jordan Lyles, Zach Davies, Erick Fedde and guys of that ilk, is usually getting bet against in the market. When money is coming in on him to drive a number up or down, that says a lot to me. The Cubs were clearly the right side in the 9-0 win.
Braves/Brewers: The Brewers offense will be part of this week’s Regression Report, but both offenses had a rough day yesterday. The game ended 1-0 after 10 strikeouts from Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta over seven innings and one of Ian Anderson’s best starts of the season. There were only 36 total balls in play and only 12 hard-hit balls. The Braves struck out 16 times in 29 at bats. This offense has been hurt by the deadened baseball, but also by a high whiff rate.
Giants/Rockies: Another over at Coors Field, even with an inflated total of 12. The Giants came away with the 7-6 win in a back-and-forth battle. There were 13 runs and 20 hits in the game, but based on the contact quality for each team, Statcast had the Giants down for a xBA of .215 and the Rockies at .290.
Antonio Senzatela hurt his back and left after two good innings. The bullpen had to shoulder a big load. Daniel Bard has pitched back-to-back days and Lucas Gilbreath, Ashton Goudeau and Tyler Kinley would be working three in four if they pitch today. Just something to follow with the Rox this week.
Diamondbacks/Dodgers: I gave a lot of thought to Diamondbacks + 1.5 yesterday and spent a lot of time glad that I didn’t take it, but then David Peralta’s ninth-inning homer made that bet a winner. The Dodgers have now won back-to-back one-run games after going 20-0 on the run line in victories to start the season.
Madison Bumgarner did experience some regression with three runs allowed over five innings, but he gave up all three runs in the fifth. He continues to pitch well and limit hard contact, more evidence of the incredible job Brent Strom is doing. I’ll touch on that in this week’s Point Spread Weekly.
Tigers/Rays: The Tigers were 3-2 winners over the Rays to scoop another victory. They continue to play a lot of low-scoring games with their anemic offense and decent pitching. The bigger story here is that Corey Kluber looked fine after getting shelled in his last start against the Angels. I always want to see a pitcher bounce back from an outing as bad as that (see Carlos Rodon), just to make sure it wasn’t injury-related or anything like that. It was the Tigers, but Kluber’s velo and spin rates looked fine and he had eight strikeouts over six innings.
Yankees/Orioles: The Orioles have a limited offense as it is, but they’ve got some nagging injuries right now. Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays and now Jorge Mateo have missed time. Mountcastle is on the IL, while Hays has missed four straight games. Hays has been one of the team’s best hitters this season. Injuries are important to keep an eye on. Sometimes I have to do guesswork with the timing of the article, but if you’re waiting games out for lineups, those things are really important to the handicap.
Mariners/Blue Jays: I should have just laid it with the Jays. Hopefully you bet my lean. I did not, but Toronto won 6-2 and Yusei Kikuchi allowed just one hit over six spectacular innings. He only allowed three hard-hit balls. Like I mentioned yesterday, he had run into a lot of bad matchups for him and they skewed a lot of his numbers. Now that things have calmed down a bit, we should see better results, like we did yesterday. The price matters, but sometimes conviction matters more.
Astros/Red Sox: This one was frustrating with a loss on the Astros and a push on the total. Jake Odorizzi was sailing and the 1st 5 easily stayed under, but then Odorizzi suffered a leg injury going to cover first base on a play at the end of the fifth inning. Then there was a rain delay. Then Houston’s bullpen had a meltdown.
The emotional roller coaster of betting baseball is one of the hardest parts. The article best bets have run pretty good most of the season. This one didn’t and it won’t be the last one.
Angels/Rangers: You won’t find an easier winning bet than yesterday’s over between the Angels and Rangers. The teams scored nine first-inning runs with a total of 8, as Noah Syndergaard’s regression happened in the blink of an eye. Jon Gray gave up a ton of hard contact throughout his 5.2 innings of work. The teams only scored two runs over the final 7.5 innings. I’m still waiting for Texas’s offense to figure this thing out. Only Eli White and Sam Huff had multiple hits, despite the seven-run outburst.
White Sox/Royals: Johnny Cueto spun a gem in his Major League return with six shutout innings and seven strikeouts. Interestingly enough, he had a 5.17 ERA in four Triple-A starts, but looked plenty comfortable at the MLB level with his longest start of the season. I’m not sure I’d buy any stock in him right now, but kudos to him for getting back to the bigs and making a positive impact.
Twins/Athletics: Keep an eye on the Twins bullpen. I think that group is a regression candidate to begin with, but after Chris Archer’s four-inning start last night, only the Royals have gotten fewer starting pitcher innings over the last two weeks. The Twins bullpen leads by four full innings in that span. This group is getting a lot of work of late, but has posted a 2.19 ERA with a 3.41 FIP and an 81.7% LOB%. The Twins are going to be a fade team once they start to face some better opponents.
Weather: There’s a small threat of rain in a few places, but wind will be today’s focal point.
Winds blowing out 10 + mph: White Sox/Royals (Game 1), Cardinals/Mets (Game 1 15-18 mph; Game 2 10-12 mph)), Astros/Red Sox
Winds blowing in: Padres/Phillies, Giants/Rockies
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.
Today’s card is a bit of a mess with doubleheaders, late starter postings and other things holding up the betting action. Line moves are fairly limited, despite the big card.
Giants (-155, 11) at Rockies: We’ve seen very high-scoring games at Coors Field recently, but this total has come down from 11.5 to 11. Just some food for thought with Alex Cobb and Chad Kuhl on the hill for their respective teams.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers (-200, 7.5): We’ve seen a decent amount of investment in Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks today. Kelly has been one of the top pitchers in baseball with a 1.71 ERA, though I am a little bit surprised we aren’t seeing more sentiment against him, given that his numbers appear to be a bit above his pay grade.
Tyler Anderson goes for the Dodgers here and has a 4.40 ERA, but his peripherals look fine and he’s actually in line for some positive regression. I’m not saying I disagree with the line move here, but I wouldn’t be jumping for joy to take Arizona.
Tigers at Rays (-300, 6.5): This is a case of an ace getting bet up quickly, with Shane McClanahan on the bump for Tampa Bay. Aces get that 25-30 cent push regularly and we’ve seen that and then some here against Beau Brieske and the Tigers.
Mariners at Blue Jays (-145, 8): This is the most interesting line move of the day. Jose Berrios has been giving up rockets left and right, but he and the Blue Jays are taking money today against Logan Gilbert and the Mariners. Gilbert has a 2.13 ERA with a 3.56 xERA and a 3.10 FIP, so there are some regression signs in the profile. Berrios has been one of the league’s worst starters with a 5.82 ERA, a 7.37 xERA and a 5.13 FIP, so this move is pretty interesting to say the least.
What I’ll Be Watching
Adrian Houser: Today’s start against the Braves looks like an interesting matchup for Houser. He’s a ground ball guy by trade and has induced a lot of them since his first start against the Orioles, but he’s also a guy that doesn’t miss a lot of bats. He only has 25 strikeouts in 30.1 innings this season and a career K% of 19.3% as a starter. The Braves are a team that can make a lot of high-velocity contact, but can also swing and miss a lot. With a SwStr% of just 8.9%, I’ll be curious to see how well Houser can do against this Atlanta lineup. If I felt stronger about Tucker Davidson, I’d probably be on Atlanta.
Reid Detmers: How will Detmers come back from his no-hitter last time out against the Rays? Detmers threw a season-high 108 pitches, 20 more than he had thrown in any other start. He is on two extra days rest here thanks to the schedule and the Angels’ pitching rotation, but still. He’s also running a .174 BABIP against, which seems unsustainable any way you slice it. The Rangers still aren’t really hitting, but Detmers only has 20 strikeouts in 31 innings, so he’s living on batted ball luck right now and only has four strikeouts against his last 48 batters faced. It’ll be interesting to see what he does today.
Tuesday 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
Mariners/Blue Jays Over 8 (-110): It feels like a weird day and I’m not feeling much on the card, but this one had to be a play. As much as I like Logan Gilbert, I have some concerns with what we’ve seen of late. He’s walked at least three batters in each of his last four starts and free baserunners are about the worst thing you can do hand out in this offensive environment. His Hard Hit% has also been 46.7% or higher in each of his last five starts and sits at 46.9% for the season. The Blue Jays have had their offensive woes with RISP, but they’ve continued to make hard contact all season long. That shouldn’t change today against Gilbert.
Speaking of hard contact, Jose Berrios has a Hard Hit% of 49.2% and a Barrel% of 13.3%. Like what we saw yesterday with Kikuchi, some of it has to do with the level of opposition, but Berrios just hasn’t located well overall. He’s only struck out 24 batters in 34 innings, which is out of character for him. In his last two starts, he’s allowed 11 runs on 13 hits over 10 innings to the Guardians and Yankees. He was able to pitch around some of the hard contact early, but it has come back to hurt him in his last two starts and I’m hoping that will be the case again today.
Gilbert has struck out well over a batter per inning, but I’m not sure how. He’s got a SwStr% of just 10% and his called strike rate is very low. Hitters are fouling a lot of balls off, so he’s gotten some fortunate results in that regard as well. I do like the 1st 5 over here as well, but there are some price differences across the market, with some 4.5 under -125 and 4 over -115. For housekeeping and tracking purposes, I’ll do the full game, which is pretty consistent across the board. I do think the 1st 5 over at either 4.5 + 105 or 4 over -115 are good bets.
We’ll be rolling out some more baseball tools soon, including a tracker of my picks that will update in real-time, but for now, I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.