Tuesday brings the return of a full dance card in MLB, as all 30 teams will take the field. All 15 games will also come in a three-hour window from 6:40 p.m. ET to 9:40 p.m. That means you’ve got all day to study the card and check out the line moves before locking in your bets. We’ve got quite a few pitchers on the board that bettors have strong opinions about as well.
Yesterday’s two picks were winners, but both had sweats because of the prospect of extra innings. Betting unders in close games is really scary thanks to the ghost runner. Of the many great products in the VSiN store, this one definitely resonates the most with me.
Marlins/Mets: Trevor Rogers deserved a better fate yesterday Rogers had 24 whiffs in 48 swings and got at least seven whiffs with each of his three pitches. He gave up four runs on five hits, though, as the Mets grouped their hits well. Rogers only allowed an average exit velo of 80.9 mph, but the BABIP gods were not on his side.
For his part, David Peterson actually had 19 whiffs on 43 swings over 5.1 scoreless innings. He’s not a big swing-and-miss guy overall, though the slider is one of the best in baseball at generating whiffs. Opposing batters are hitting .167 with a .241 SLG and a 52.5% Whiff% on the pitch. I have no idea why he only throws it 26% of the time, but that pitch’s usage is up to 29.5% in June, so that’s worth watching.
Cubs/Pirates: The Cubs offense will be part of this week’s Regression Report article in Point Spread Weekly, but they did not experience any move towards the positive side yesterday. They scored one run and lost 12-1 to the Pirates, who got an immediate shot in the arm from Oneil Cruz. The 6-foot-7 shortstop did a lot of special things and drove in four runs.
The Cubs had 10 hits with an xBA of .314. The Pirates had 11 hits with an xBA of .310. The difference? Chicago was 1-for-9 with RISP and Pittsburgh was 7-for-15.
Giants/Braves: We got a good pitcher’s duel in Atlanta between Logan Webb and Max Fried. The starters combined for 15 strikeouts and just two walks (both Fried) in the 2-1 game that cashed an easy under ticket. Webb did allow nine hard-hit balls and three barrels. His command has been a touch iffy of late. He’s allowed a 46.9% Hard Hit% in his last six starts with nine barrels allowed, including three last night. Just something to watch. The increased K% has given him a little more margin for error.
Cardinals/Brewers: We saw no ill effects of the 129-pitch effort from Miles Mikolas, who just got outpitched by Corbin Burnes. Mikolas worked 6.1 solid innings and hit the 100-pitch mark again. Burnes struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings and Josh Hader got the save in his return. I still think this workload will catch up with Mikolas very soon, along with some of his regression signs. He’s slated to face the Cubs on Saturday.
Diamondbacks/Padres: Yu Darvish fired seven strong, as the Padres began life without Manny Machado with a victory. Machado has still not been officially placed on the IL, so maybe the injury isn’t nearly as bad as it looked. Still, we saw a good bit of money against San Diego in this one that went down in flames. Zach Davies only allowed four hits, but two were home runs.
Yankees/Rays: This was the real sweat last night, as Gerrit Cole took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 2-0 game. Five runs were scored between the eighth and the top of the ninth, but the game managed to narrowly stay under 6.5. Cole and Shane McClanahan combined for 20 strikeouts and 35 whiffs. Clay Holmes actually gave up an inherited run and a run of his own to raise his ERA to 0.55. The lone blemish for Shane Mac was a solo homer from Anthony Rizzo. This was a really well-pitched game, at least from the starters.
Tigers/Red Sox: It was a ho-hum 5-2 win for the Red Sox over the Tigers yesterday. Detroit was held under three runs yet again, this time by Josh Winckowski and the bullpen. Despite 10 hits, the Tigers only had four at bats with a runner in scoring position. They just don’t drive the ball much. Javier Baez even had two doubles to raise his average to .200, but didn’t touch home plate. The injuries haven’t helped, but this is such a bad baseball team.
Blue Jays/White Sox: Apparently the over was the play on the South Side, as the White Sox won 8-7. Chicago had 16 hard-hit balls and hammered Jose Berrios to the tune of six runs on nine hits, including three homers. Lance Lynn wasn’t sharp either with five runs allowed on four hits. Two were unearned, so Lynn is going to start beating up fielders soon. The teams combined to go 2-for-16 with RISP, yet we saw 15 runs scored. This game could’ve really looked like slow-pitch softball.
Tim Anderson had two knocks in five trips. This team looks so much different with him at the top of the lineup. I keep waiting for the White Sox to catch fire. Maybe it’ll come soon.
Royals/Angels: How about the Royals?! They’ve won four of five for the first time this season. Phil Nevin got greedy with Noah Syndergaard and brought him back out for the eighth in a 3-2 game. It backfired, as the Royals got a Salvador Perez two-run homer to get some cushion. It’s probably more concerning that the Angels managed two runs on six hits against Kris Bubic, but these managerial decisions of pushing starters too far are becoming more frequent.
Weather: Another day with no noteworthy precipitation in the forecast. We’ll have another great night for hitting in Chicago and also one in Minnesota, where the Guardians and Twins fire up an important series with first place on the line. The winds are blowing out in both places with warm temps.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Dodgers (-170, 9.5) at Reds: Some brave souls are on the Reds today against Tony Gonsolin and the Dodgers. Tyler Mahle has been locked into a really nice groove of late and still shows positive regression signs with a 4.46 ERA, 3.23 xERA and 3.29 FIP. Gonsolin also shows some negative regression signs with a 1.42 ERA, 2.55 xERA and 3.10 FIP, not to mention a .182 BABIP and an 88.8% LOB%. This line has dropped 15-25 cents.
Cubs at Pirates (-150, 9): There is no faith in the Cubs in the investment world right now. Roansy Contreras and the Pirates have jumped about 20 cents in the market against Matt Swarmer. I think Oneil Cruz’s presence is a big factor, as the modeling crowd has to love that kid. I also think a lot of this has to do with Chicago’s overall profile and the big bullpen advantage for Pittsburgh.
Giants at Braves (-170, 9.5): Spencer Strider is getting another big bump on the betting board in one of his starts. He draws Anthony DeSclafani here, as Disco returns from the 60-day IL. He hasn’t made an MLB start since April 21.
Diamondbacks at Padres (-130, 7): This is the most interesting move of the day for me. The D-Backs took a lot of money yesterday in support of Zach Davies and most of that seemed to be because Manny Machado was out. He was seen walking without a limp through the clubhouse last night and we’ve seen the Padres line jump 10-15 cents here. Personally, I’d be shocked if he plays today, but we’ve seen San Diego taking money in a great pitching matchup with Zac Gallen and Sean Manaea. It’s a big contrast to what we saw yesterday with a pitcher that influential bettors don’t like in Davies.
Royals at Angels (-155, 9.5): We’re seeing Royals money here with Jon Heasley and Reid Detmers set to start. This line has moved 10-15 cents on the Royals, even though Heasley has a 3.72 ERA with a 5.43 xERA and a 5.30 FIP. Guys with high walk rates have typically been bet against this season, but Heasley is getting the benefit of the doubt. This move says a lot to me.
What I’ll Be Watching
Ryan Feltner: The 25-year-old Rockies right-hander has been interesting in his five starts this season. He has a 4.85 ERA, but a 3.67 xERA and a 3.94 FIP in 26 innings of work. Feltner had some really strong Triple-A numbers in eight starts before getting the call and has carried over the high strikeout rate to the big leagues. The Ohio State product added some velocity over the offseason and has an arsenal that should play better on the road than at home because he throws his four-seamer over 48% of the time and only has one secondary pitch with a slider that has a good spin rate.
Feltner’s 45.1% Hard Hit% is not good, especially with a bad Rockies defense behind him, but he’s managed to post a .230 batting average against and a .284 BABIP to this point. He draws a Marlins lineup that has been missing Jesus Aguilar and Jesus Sanchez over the last few days due to COVID. I’ll be following this start and his other road starts closely.
Joe Ryan: It will be a good hitting environment tonight at Target Field for a really tricky handicap between Ryan and Aaron Civale. Ryan is making his second start since returning from a prolonged COVID stint. He went 4.2 innings and allowed four runs on five hits, including two homers, against the Mariners a week ago. He only gave up five hard-hit balls, but three were barrels. For the season, Ryan has a 2.81 ERA with a 3.42 xERA and a 3.73 FIP.
I’m a tad skeptical of Ryan moving forward. He’s a fly ball pitcher that didn’t really get to experience the new uptick in offense before hitting the COVID IL. He faced the Guardians and Royals on May 15 and 21, respectively, before missing three weeks. Maybe the Guardians don’t do a lot, but upcoming opponents might.
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
Guardians (+ 145) over Twins: I’ll take a shot with the Guardians at a plus-money price today for the matchup between Aaron Civale and Joe Ryan. I truthfully don’t know if Jose Ramirez will play. If he does, this bet will have some line equity. If he doesn’t, then the line will move on Minnesota and it’ll be a bad number. That’s the downside of handicapping for content and trying to get an article out at a reasonable time.
But, here’s my thought process. Civale looked really good in his final rehab start over 4.2 innings with seven strikeouts and only one unearned run allowed. He threw 76 pitches, so he’ll probably be around 80 or so today. I’m just looking for Civale to avoid getting rocked and I think the injury was a blessing in disguise. He’s running a 7.84 ERA with a 5.06 xERA and a 4.97 FIP. His 46.9% LOB% is a big part of the problem. He hasn’t allowed a ton of hard contact, but has allowed a high Barrel%, leading to six home runs. He just wasn’t locating well, but now he’s had some time to figure some things out.
I mentioned my concerns above about Ryan. Sure, he probably has a much higher ceiling than Civale long-term, but he’s a fly ball guy that hasn’t really experienced what the ball is doing now. He only worked 4.2 innings in his first start back off the COVID list and allowed three barrels to the Mariners. He threw 74 pitches.
So, what we’re looking at here is a battle of the bullpens in all likelihood. Civale and Ryan could both very well be out after four or so innings. To me, the Guardians have a noticeable bullpen advantage. Cleveland is second bullpen ERA and Minnesota is 14th. The Guardians are sixth in reliever FIP and Minnesota is 25th.
If we narrow the sample size to the last 30 days, Cleveland leads MLB in reliever ERA and Minnesota is 23rd. The Guardians are fourth in FIP and the Twins are 23rd. As long as Civale can cancel out Ryan or come close to it, we could end up with the better bullpen at + 145. Who knows, Civale might even come out and look better and Ryan may struggle. But, I think this is a spot worth taking a chance on the dog, so I’m on the Guardians.
Mariners (-135) over Athletics: The A’s seem to be doing everything that they can to be relocated to Las Vegas. Oakland owns a .255 wOBA at home this season, which is the worst home mark in baseball by 29 points. The A’s have a 72 wRC +. The next closest is Arizona at 79. The A’s are the only team in baseball with a sub-.300 SLG at home and the next closest team has a .342 (Tigers).
We all know that Oakland Coliseum is a good pitcher’s park. However, opponents have scored an average of 4.85 runs per game against A’s pitching at the Coliseum. The A’s, meanwhile, have scored just 2.52 runs per game en route to an 8-25 record. Playing in front of sparse crowds with opponents using Oakland as a springboard to get back on track cannot be easy for the home team.
I’m not overly keen on Marco Gonzales, but the A’s are batting .198/.269/.298 as a team at home this season and have only hit 14 homers in 33 games. Gonzales has allowed 12 homers in his 68.2 innings of work, which has been one of his biggest problems. This is a decent ballpark for pitching to contact like Gonzales does, especially against an A’s team that ranks 27th in wOBA against lefties and dead last at home against lefties at .246.
The Mariners have been quite a bit better against righties than lefties this season and they draw a bad right-hander in James Kaprielian. In nine starts, Kaprielian has a 6.31 ERA with a 6.49 FIP. He’s given up nine homers in his last six starts and has a Hard Hit% of 43% with 10 barrels allowed. He’s allowed a Hard Hit% of 50% or higher in his last two starts. The command profile is really poor.
Seattle’s primary relievers are all in good shape and they just got back a good arm in Ken Giles. The A’s bullpen has a 5.97 ERA over the last 30 days. All signs point to Seattle, even at a bit of a chalky price.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.