We’re back to a fully-loaded slate for Tuesday with all 30 teams set to be in action. All of the games are in the evening and nighttime hours as well, so that gives us plenty of time to survey the card, including some outstanding pitching matchups on the docket. We do have quite a few -150 or higher favorites in the games that don’t feature top-notch pitching matchups.
Over the last seven days, the league is batting .252/.315/.404 with a 21.8% K% and a 7.8% BB%. The game is subject to a ton of batted ball variance and sequencing right now with a rate of balls in play that we haven’t seen since 2017-18.
That gives us a lot to talk about, so let’s dive right in.
Rockies/Pirates: I’m very upset with myself for not playing the under in this game. As you’ll see in Point Spread Weekly and as you heard on The Run Line on Sunday night, PNC Park has just not been a good venue for offense this season. Even with Chad Kuhl and JT Brubaker, the Road Rockies should have pushed me to an under. With one run against Brubaker and the Buccos bullpen, the Rox have scored 42 runs in 16 road games. That’s 2.63 runs per game. They have now allowed 5.6 runs per game on the road, so maybe their team total under is the way to go, but they badly miss Coors Field away from home.
To make matters worse, the Rockies have played 25 games at home and now just 16 on the road, so maybe this is something we need to focus on during the road trip.
Cubs/Reds: There was a lot of bad pitching on display in this game, as the teams combined for eight barrels and 11 runs on 13 hits. This is also mentioned in my Point Spread Weekly article, but Great American Ball Park is one of just a handful of ballparks playing true to form. All five homers were barrels and we had two other doubles. This is about the only park not suppressing power numbers on barrels this season and, fortunately, the over got there.
Dodgers/Nationals: Tyler Anderson took a perfect game into the sixth and had eight strikeouts in eight innings to lower his ERA to 3.30. Anderson has always had solid spin rates and some interesting under-the-hood metrics. His career Hard Hit% is just 30.8%. He just had to get the hell out of Colorado and get away from a toxic Pittsburgh organization. He had 21 whiffs on 66 swings in this start and continued to dominate with his changeup. I don’t think this is a fluke at all. He’s legit and might be cheaper to bet on than a lot of the other Dodger starters.
Phillies/Braves: The Phillies entered play on Monday with the biggest gap between actual record and 3rd Order Win% record. They’ve lost a lot of one-run games and have played a tough schedule. I’m still not a believer in the bullpen, but there is reason to believe this team can improve. Zack Wheeler had 20 whiffs on 49 swings and looked every bit the ace that he can be in this 7-3 win.
The Braves, meanwhile, just continue to disappoint. The more I think about what the Phillies could be capable of as the weather warms up, the more I wonder if 6/1 to win the NL East is worth it. I just wonder if they can piecemeal together a worthwhile bullpen at the Trade Deadline.
Brewers/Padres: The Brewers had the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth inning and the 10th inning and failed to score both times, so they lost 3-2. They didn’t really hit Nick Martinez as I had hoped, so maybe it’s wasn’t a great handicap, but what a maddening way to lose. Also, Josh Hader never pitched in a close game, as Craig Counsell opted to go with other guys. Maddening as well, but that’s been his standard operating procedure with Hader. He only uses him with a lead.
Mets/Giants: Alex Cobb’s batted ball woes continued in this start against the Mets. He gave up singles of 73.7, 76.7 and 77.1 mph and a two-run double that was hit at 84.7 mph and had an xBA of .010. Sure, Pete Alonso hit a missile out of the ballpark and all six hard-hit balls went for hits, but Cobb is getting about as unlucky as anybody on balls in play this season. He’s a play-on guy going forward because this can’t possibly continue, but it’s remarkably frustrating for those that handicap like I do.
Orioles/Yankees: How about the big underdog cash for Jordan Lyles and the Orioles over Gerrit Cole and the Yankees?! Cole had 22 whiffs, struck out 11 and still allowed five runs on seven hits with one of the weirdest stat lines of all-time. Keep an eye on Lyles in his next start, as he was pushed to 117 pitches in hopes of saving the bullpen to some degree. With a lot of young starters, the Orioles don’t have many guys that can work deep into games, but Lyles really fought for them here.
Baltimore used six relievers on Sunday that all threw at least 20 pitches, so Lyles had to be pushed a bit farther. Keep in mind today that Felix Bautista and Jorge Lopez are likely unavailable for the O’s.
Tigers/Twins: Life as a Tigers fan is downright painful right now. They battled back from an early 4-0 hole, only to lose in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth. The Twins, meanwhile, keep picking on a weak schedule, but I really don’t think this team is all that good. Still being patient with the White Sox to win the ALC.
Guardians/Astros: Triston McKenzie only had three strikeouts and pitched around a lot of hard contact in Cleveland’s lopsided win over the Astros. McKenzie went seven innings and gave up nine hard-hit balls, including an Alex Bregman solo shot. The Astros were 2-for-9 on the hard contact, another example of how Minute Maid Park is suppressing offense. Houston is a good offensive team that is being hurt by the playing conditions, especially with the roof closed, like it was tonight.
Athletics/Mariners: Regression hit Marco Gonzales with five runs allowed on eight hits over 5.1 innings of work. Zach Logue was also bad for the A’s as we saw 13 runs scored at T-Mobile Park. Gonzales did only allow five hard-hit balls, though, so it wasn’t like he was beaten around. I still think more regression is coming.
Blue Jays/Cardinals: Stay hot, Paul Goldschmidt. He hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning to give St. Louis a big 7-3 victory. Miles Mikolas allowed three runs on four hits in 6.2 innings, as some of his regression hit, but it probably should have been worse with 12 hard-hit balls. The Blue Jays were 0-for-10 with RISP. I’m out of things to say about this. It’s just incredible. They should be experiencing positive regression, but they are now 3-for-32 with RISP in the last four games.
Royals/Diamondbacks: I’m sure I’ve made worse bets, but the Under 4.5 for the 1st 5 qualifies as one of the worst all-time, given that both teams had five runs scored by the third inning. Zack Greinke and Zach Davies were both awful in this game. Greinke’s regression signs have hit all at once and Davies gave up three home runs to a lineup with basically no power, including one to Whit Merrifield, who must have taken my comment about leading off to heart.
Weather: Weather worries are few and far between today around MLB. Scattered storms could force a delay in Phillies/Braves and maybe a late start for Dodgers/Nationals, but that’s about it. Hurtful winds will be blowing in for Tigers/Twins and Blue Jays/Cardinals, with helping winds blowing out for Mets/Giants.
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.
Rockies at Pirates (-120, 8): The Road Rockies Fade is activated again today, this time with Kyle Freeland on the hill. Roansy Contreras is a highly-touted prospect on the hill for the Pirates. We see lines move at least 10 cents against Colorado on the road and oftentimes more, so this line may not be done going.
Dodgers (-210, 8.5) at Nationals: We’re actually seeing money against Walker Buehler and the Dodgers here with Josiah Gray facing his former team in D.C. I’ve talked a lot about the “ace bump”, but this is the opposite of that and it says a lot to me. Some sharp modelers must have had this line a good bit lower than the opening number. Fading the Dodgers is like eating Taco Bell at the start of a long road trip. It takes extreme caution and a lot of commitment to the bit.
Phillies at Braves (-170, 8.5): A day after Zack Wheeler dazzled in his start against the Braves, Atlanta will hope for the same from its ace in Max Fried. This line has jumped, as the market fades Kyle Gibson and backs Fried with about 25-30 cents worth of trust. I have noticed that Fried not only gets the ace bump, but gets it to a higher degree than some guys.
Tigers at Twins (-250, 8): Sonny Gray is not what I would consider an ace, but he’s certainly better and more accomplished than Beau Brieske and the Twins are clearly a better team than the Tigers. This line has jumped upwards of 40 cents with the hapless Detroit squad getting bet against again.
Red Sox at White Sox (-160, 7.5): A laundry battle on the South Side with the Red Sox and the White Sox has seen about a 10-cent move on Dylan Cease. I also saw on Twitter today that Cease’s strikeout prop is very heavily juiced to the over, as the sportsbooks are attempting to limit their exposure on that betting option. Cease gets the ace bump, but some of this is probably a lack of confidence in the recent returns of Nick Pivetta, who has been outstanding in his last three outings.
Rangers at Angels (-155, 8): We’ve got about a 10-cent move down on Noah Syndergaard and the Halos today. Dane Dunning has pitched pretty well for the Rangers, who are still trying to find their offensive stride. It’s not a big move, but it’s one of those subtle moves that says a lot without shouting from the rooftops.
Marlins at Rays (-145, 6.5): This is the type of environment that gets sharp bettors to wager on Miami. The Marlins are expected to play a very low-scoring game with Pablo Lopez on the bump against Shane McClanahan and you get a lot less variance in a low-scoring game, which creates a good environment for betting on the dog. That’s what people are doing today with a 10-15 cent move on the visiting Marlins.
What I’ll Be Watching
Blake Snell: This will be Snell’s second start since spending about five weeks on the IL. Snell had trouble maintaining his velocity last time out against the Phillies and allowed three runs on three hits with three walks in 3.2 innings. He did strike out five and threw 84 pitches, but it wasn’t the prettiest of outings. He draws the Brewers in a head-to-head matchup with Corbin Burnes here. Snell had 12 whiffs on 35 swings, including nine on 14 sliders. As a guy that typically only works five or so innings and isn’t overly efficient, I’ll be curious to see if he can maintain velo and also avoid some of the deep counts he had last start.
Nick Pivetta: Pivetta draws a White Sox lineup that simply cannot hit right-handed pitching this season. He’s coming off of a complete game two-hitter last time out against the Astros with 112 pitches. Pivetta hasn’t thrown that many since throwing 116 on June 14, 2019 against Atlanta. He has only allowed two runs on 10 hits over his last 22 innings of work with 20 strikeouts against one walk, including six shutout against the White Sox on May 7. Maybe this is the new Nick Pivetta. He has a good matchup in hopes of keeping it rolling, but you wouldn’t know it by how he’s priced and with the early line move on Dylan Cease.
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
Cubs (-105) over Reds: Tyler Mahle does show some positive regression signs with a 5.23 ERA, a 3.64 xERA and a 3.36 FIP, but Great American Ball Park has been a house of horrors for him throughout his career. As we saw yesterday, the park is still playing pretty true to form, as the Cubs scored seven and the game went over the total.
In his career, Mahle has allowed a .253/.334/.476 slash with a .346 wOBA at home, including a .270/.344/.511 slash and a .364 wOBA last season in 78.1 innings of work. The Cubs are swinging the bats a bit better here of late and still grade as a much better offense than the Reds. The Cubs have a 97 wRC + for the season, while the Reds are still sitting at 80 with the third-lowest mark in the league.
Marcus Stroman is an extreme ground ball guy, which should play better for him at Great American Ball Park than Mahle’s leanings as more of a fly ball/line drive guy. Stroman worked five solid innings in his return from the COVID list last time out and his 55.2% LOB% is also in line for some positive regression, much like Mahle’s low number.
Even if the two starters cancel out, the Reds have had one of the league’s worst bullpens throughout the course of the season. The Cubs relief corps has actually been among the league’s best over the last couple of weeks. That group has stabilized with a lot of veterans and should have the upper hand in a close game. In what basically amounts to a toss-up, I’ll take the Cubs over the Reds tonight.
Blue Jays/Cardinals Under 3.5 1st 5 (+ 100): I’ve talked at length about how the Cardinals offense simply looks different going up against above average right-handed pitchers and Kevin Gausman fits that definition. Gausman’s ERA is up to 2.52 with a 2.70 xERA, but he still has a 1.27 FIP on the season. He’s been bothered by a .353 BABIP and some bad luck on the batted ball front, especially in his last two starts.
Despite a 24.3% Hard Hit% in his last two outings, Gausman has allowed six runs on 12 hits in 12 innings. He hasn’t done anything wrong, he’s just given up soft contact that found holes, so this isn’t some big referendum on his pitching stats or performance. It’s just the nature of the beast. Gausman has struck out 40 of the 107 right-handed batters he has faced, which should turn this into a good matchup against a right-handed-heavy Cardinals club.
Jordan Hicks as a starter hasn’t been a great experiment based on the 4.98 ERA, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Hicks has made six starts and allowed two or fewer runs in five of them. He allowed three runs in the other one. He’s had walk issues with 13 in 21.2 innings, but the Blue Jays don’t walk and don’t walk against right-handed pitching. Twelve of the 15 walks for Hicks have been against left-handed batters. Righties are batting .189/.286/.378 with a .300 wOBA. For his career, righties have only batted .145/.269/.202 with a .229 wOBA in 308 plate appearances. Toronto only has two left-handed bats on the roster.
I’ll list this at 3.5 and even money, but you can find some heavily-juiced Under 4s. Shop around for the best line, but 3.5 and even seems to be available in the most places, so it’ll be Under 3.5 at + 100 for tracking purposes.
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.