To Tuesday we go, with 16 games on the betting board thanks to a double dip in Cleveland, though rain is once again in the forecast on the shores of Lake Erie. The Guardians have already had nine postponements this season and have a lot of doubleheaders left to go, so hopefully they can get at least one of the games in today.
Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard day. The lone day game is Game 1 of the doubleheader, so that means we have plenty of time to survey the card and look for the bets that make the most sense.
Diamondbacks/Reds: It turns out that guys that throw upper 90s gas with a good slider can put it together from time to time. That’s what Hunter Greene did, as the only hit he allowed in the game was a leadoff bunt single. That runner was immediately erased on a caught stealing. The Reds scored seven runs and the game was called after seven innings. Bummer for run line and under backers, as the grounds crew failed to put the tarp on correctly and the infield was basically rendered unplayable.
Greene had 17 whiffs on 41 swings and only needed 87 pitches to get through seven strong. He’s got 28 strikeouts against just four walks in his last four starts. Maybe the kid is figuring it out on the fly.
Mets/Padres: The Mets are having an impressive West Coast trip thus far. They’ve now won three in a row after an 11-5 triumph over the Padres. Blake Snell struggled through four innings with five runs allowed on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Snell was behind in the count a lot and had to rely on the fastball. Lost in the offensive outburst was that Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 over seven innings against a Padres offense that is simply not very good.
San Diego now has the fifth-highest K% over the last 14 days and just a .285 wOBA. Four teams have a wOBA under .300 since May 1. The Padres are one of them. The others? Rays, A’s, Tigers.
Blue Jays/Royals: Ross Stripling gave up one hit over his five innings with a couple of strikeouts as he and the Blue Jays bullpen combined on a two-hit shutout of the Royals. Daniel Lynch got rocked in the middle innings and gave up six runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, including three homers. The Royals are 3-14 in their last 17 games.
Mariners/Astros: So much for all the low-scoring games at Minute Maid Park. Games in Houston averaged 6.4 runs over the first 20, but Robbie Ray and Cristian Javier both gave up a ton of hard contact early in a 7-4 win for the M’s. Ray gave up 12 hard-hit balls over his five innings, but only managed to give up three earned runs.
Quietly, the Mariners have won seven of their last 10 for their best stretch since mid-April. I’m not saying that the Mariners have a high ceiling, but it is interesting to note a few things about their schedule. They’ve only played three of their 19 scheduled games against Oakland and just six of 19 against Texas. They also haven’t played the free-falling Angels yet this season, but have played 10 of their 19 against the Astros with two more left in this series.
Red Sox/Angels: Just what we all expected from Michael Wacha and Noah Syndergaard, a 1-0 game. Wacha fired a CGSHO three-hitter with six punchouts against an Angels team that seemed to be a little jet-lagged. Syndergaard was solid over six innings against a very good Red Sox offense, though he did pitch around 10 hard-hit balls. Mike Trout had a hit and a walk, but the Angels still ran their losing streak out to 12.
The Red Sox are over .500 for the first time since being 6-5 on April 19. After starting 10-19, the Red Sox are 18-9 over their last 27 games and only two of the wins, including last night’s, have been by one run. They’ve been an excellent run line bet lately, but it hasn’t gotten the fanfare of the early Dodgers and Mets runs.
Weather: Rain is a possibility in several places today, which happens a lot at this time of the year with severe weather and tornadic activity throughout the Great Plains and Midwest. The games that are threatened are in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Kansas City, as well as Baltimore and Atlanta. With interleague action in four of those locales (games that are hard to make up), they’ll wait it out if need be or push to get it started and make the game official by going at least 4.5 innings if the home team leads and 5 if not.
The winds will be blowing out at a good clip on a cool night in San Francisco. Otherwise, wind is not really a factor in the other 15 games.
Injuries: We’re seeing a lot more injuries these days. A lot of position players and pitchers are dealing with soft tissue things. Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Diamondbacks at Reds (-140, 10): We’ve had some spots lately where the Reds feel like an uncomfortably big favorite. Graham Ashcraft is the starter for today’s against spot starter Tyler Gilbert, who has a 5.02 ERA with a 6.16 xERA and a 6.84 FIP in his 14.1 innings of work. Ashcraft has a 1.53 ERA with a 3.38 xERA and a 3.87 FIP, so he’s got some negative regression signs, but the Reds are still chalky today.
Nationals at Marlins (-180, 8.5): Edward Cabrera and the Marlins are very large favorites against Joan Adon and the Nationals today. I get it, as Adon has a 5.98 ERA with a 6.01 xERA and a 5.25 FIP, but that’s a really large number with Cabrera, who has eight MLB starts under his belt. The line has jumped about 15 cents on the Fish.
Rockies at Giants (-225, 8): There is a lot going on here. First, we’ve got the “ace bump” for Carlos Rodon. Then, we’ve got the Rockies Road Fade. We’ve also got German Marquez on the mound for Colorado and he has a 6.71 ERA on the season. Remember that the Rockies get bet against in nearly every road game and it’s usually a 10-15 cent move. They’ve scored 3.05 R/G on the road and also 7-20 in their last 27 games.
Blue Jays (-230, 9) at Royals: Alek Manoah is getting the “ace bump” today against the lowly Royals with a move of about 30 cents. My Run Line co-host Ben Wilson talked about investing in Manoah for an AL Cy Young future when we filled in on Prime Time Action last night (VIDEO). Might not be a bad idea
Cubs (-115, 8.5) at Orioles: Keegan Thompson and the Cubs have taken the influential action against Kyle Bradish and the O’s to get bet into a clear road favorite. Bradish has a 6.82 ERA with a 5.57 xERA, a 5.44 FIP and a 3.72 xFIP. Bradish is running a 24.2% HR/FB% this season over 33 innings. He’s got solid K/BB numbers, but his command has not been there with eight homers in seven starts, a .368 BABIP against and a low LOB%.
What I’ll Be Watching
Ranger Suarez: It has been a struggle for the 26-year-old southpaw this season. Suarez was highly thought of coming into the season, but has a 4.69 ERA with a 4.45 FIP and a 4.19 xFIP in his 48 innings across 10 starts. He hasn’t completed the fifth in any of his last three starts and has had some walk rate issues to go with problems stemming from a bad Phillies defense. He’s gotten some extra downtime to work on things and catch his breath, as he hasn’t pitched since May 31.
Suarez needs to be more efficient to keep a bad Phillies bullpen off the field as much as possible. He’ll have that chance tonight against a Brewers lineup that ranks 23rd in wOBA and has the fourth-highest K% vs. left-handed pitchers.
Jeffrey Springs: Tampa Bay’s incredible ability to turn virtually every pitcher into a high-level contributor has been on display with Springs, who had a 3.43 ERA and a 3.91 FIP in 44.2 innings as a reliever last season and now has a 1.88 ERA with a 3.37 FIP in 38.1 innings as a starter and reliever this season. Springs draws a tricky assignment here against a Cardinals lineup that hits lefties very well as he makes his sixth straight start. He’s given up four solo homers in his last two starts, but scattered six hits otherwise with 13 strikeouts against one walk. I’m curious to see how long he can keep rolling like this, especially with a 96.2% LOB%.
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
Rockies/Giants Over 8 (-115): This has been one of the moving lines of the overnight and morning hours, as we’ve seen this one go from 7.5 to 8 with a little bit of juice. The move makes sense and I still think there’s some value, even at this price. Let’s start with the harder part of the handicap, which is the Rockies road offense. As mentioned, they’re only scoring 3.05 runs per game on the road, but are fifth in road wOBA against left-handed pitchers, trailing the White Sox, Phillies, Braves and Cardinals. Their 120 road wRC + ranks sixth.
Rodon has not looked like himself lately. He had the huge Sunday Night Baseball blow-up against the Cardinals with eight runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings, but he’s only had a 14/8 K/BB ratio over his last three starts covering 16.1 innings of work. Rodon has also been throwing a lot more fastballs lately, which makes me wonder if he just doesn’t have a feel for the slider or if maybe there’s an underlying issue there with a guy that has been hurt a lot.
There have been a lot of issues with German Marquez, who has allowed at least four runs in eight of his 10 starts. He’s had no command to speak of with 11 homers allowed and a Hard Hit% of 47.8%. He’s given up 17 runs over his last three starts against the Mets, Nationals and Marlins. He’s only made three road starts on the road, but he’s given up 16 runs (12 earned) in those 15.2 innings. The Giants have had some bad relief pitching and defense this season, but this offense still has the fourth-highest wOBA in baseball and rank fifth in wOBA against RHP.
Neither bullpen has been very good, as the Giants have a 4.47 ERA and the Rockies have a 5.18 ERA. Both bullpens have been hurt by poor defensive play. With all of that, I’ll take the over here.
Cardinals (+ 140) over Rays: A low-scoring game is expected down at The Trop when the Cardinals and Rays get together. Dakota Hudson is not typically the type of pitcher that I like to back, given that his xERA, FIP and xFIP are a lot higher than his actual ERA, but he’s going to a good pitcher’s park against one of four offenses with a wOBA under .300 since the start of May. As offense has picked up around the league, the Rays have not been part of the trend.
Hudson has also made a career out of overperforming in terms of his ERA-FIP differences, so maybe he’s just one of those outliers. He does induce a ton of ground balls and has a very stout infield defense behind him year in and year out. That is true again this season. He’s also only allowed four homers this season.
Jeffrey Springs has been really strong this season, though there are some things that I question. This is more of a subjective point, but he did just face his former team, the Texas Rangers, in what I presume was a pretty important start for him. Now he draws a Cardinals lineup that ranks third in wOBA against left-handed pitchers. It’s a tricky assignment to be sure and he’s a guy running a 96.2% LOB% and a .222 BABIP against, so there are some regression signs in his profile.
The Cardinals have been able to give their two best relievers, Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos a couple of days off after some heavy work on Saturday. With a low-scoring expectation, the underdog is worth a shot here. As a starter, Springs has struggled to turn lineups over, allowing a .525 SLG in 43 PA the second time through. The Cardinals have a lot of smart, right-handed hitters, so I feel like this could be a spot where Springs struggles.
The Cardinals should be live here and the + 140 price is enough to make me jump in.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.