One day game and 14 night games are on the betting board for Tuesday, as we’ll see all 30 teams in action and have some pretty interesting games to handicap. There are good pitching matchups, bad pitching matchups and some in between, but today is another one of those days where you want to see how long it has been since a guy took the mound in real game conditions.
Side sessions and bullpens just don’t have the same intensity as going out there against another team, so you want to think about that and factor it into your handicapping on a case-by-case basis.
Marlins/Reds: Miami lived up to its billing of being bad against lefties and Nick Lodolo took advantage as the Reds rolled to an 11-2 win. Lodolo gave up two unearned runs over six and struck out nine, while the Cincinnati offense rolled up six runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings against Trevor Rogers and blasted reliever Zach Pop for four runs in just 0.2 innings.
Since getting recalled from the minors on July 5, Lodolo has allowed 10 runs on 22 hits in 17.2 innings with a 28/9 K/BB ratio. He looks like a solid arm coming from a Cincinnati organization that has really improved its minor league pitching over the last 3-4 seasons.
Braves/Phillies: Baseball is a funny game, eh? After getting swept by the Cubs, the Phillies won a game started by Max Fried with a 6-4 victory over the Braves. Fried gave up three runs on nine hits, but it was the three runs allowed by AJ Minter in the eighth that made the difference. Bryson Stott, who isn’t even hitting his weight, had the big blow and drove in five of the six runs. Yeah, baseball is a really weird game.
Pirates/Cubs: It’s a good thing I didn’t fade Adrian Sampson despite my clear reservations about what the veteran right-hander is doing. He went seven strong innings with two runs on six hits and only allowed six hard-hit balls, despite having just three strikeouts. As I said yesterday, I don’t think he can keep this up, but I guess we’ll see. The Cubs have won five in a row on the heels of a nine-game losing streak right before the Break.
Rockies/Brewers: A huge underdog cash from the article yesterday with Colorado’s 2-0 win over Milwaukee at + 170 may have been a fortunate win. Aaron Ashby had 17 whiffs on 52 swings and absolutely pounded the strike zone with 28 called strikes. He did, however, also allow a lot of hard contact and two runs on five hits. He only walked one, though, so this was about as good as it gets for him.
The Brewers just mustered nothing of consequence against Kyle Freeland, whose home/road splits played out nicely. With seven shutout innings, Freeland’s road ERA is down to 3.57 and his .288 wOBA is nearly 100 points lower than his home wOBA of .380, where he’s also dealing with a 5.66 ERA. Freeland on the road and the Rockies against a lefty is a pretty good package deal.
Giants/Diamondbacks: The Giants lost their fifth in a row coming out of the Break and are back to down to .500 after a 7-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. Arizona switched it up and sent out Merrill Kelly, who threw eight shutout innings with just three hits allowed and only five hard-hit balls. The Giants got a good effort from Jakob Junis with 4.1 innings of one-run ball, but endured another bullpen melt. There is nothing trustworthy about this San Francisco team right now.
Nationals/Dodgers: Just as we all expected, Paolo Espino and the Washington bullpen held the Dodgers to one run on eight hits last night. Los Angeles seemed to have a bit of a flat effort coming off of the Giants sweep and Tony Gonsolin wasn’t quite as sharp on the long layoff with four runs allowed on six hits in six innings. The three walks were what really stood out as a major rarity for him. He’s a negative regression candidate anyway, but I think the layoff hurt him.
Rays/Orioles: I mentioned yesterday how the Rays offense may run into some issues. They had plenty against Austin Voth and the Baltimore bullpen yesterday. Tampa managed one run on eight hits against six different pitchers. The Orioles touched up Corey Kluber for all five of their runs and they’re virtually automatic with a lead, going 32-4 with a lead after five and 34-1 with a lead after six so far this season.
Guardians/Red Sox: I don’t want to complain about a nice 2-0 day, but I should have stuck to my guns on this game. Cleveland managed just one run, as the Red Sox continued their winning ways against non-AL East teams. Boston did only score three runs, as the absences of Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Trevor Story continue to be hurtful. Nick Pivetta allowed seven singles, but did give up more hard contact, which remains a major issue for him.
Angels/Royals: Things just keep going from bad to worse for the Angels. They were shut out 7-0 by the Royals and Zack Greinke yesterday, managing just five hits off of the Royals staff. Noah Syndergaard pitched well over his 5.2 innings, but all three relievers allowed runs and put the game out of reach. The Angels have won just 13 games since May 24.
Astros/Athletics: Quite an offensive explosion at the Coliseum for the A’s, as they scored seven runs, sparked by a five-run fourth inning. This game was over the total of 8 by the sixth inning for last night’s other article win. Jake Odorizzi allowed six runs on seven hits and was losing parts of his fingernail throughout the start. Maybe an IL stint is coming, if for nothing else to serve as an excuse to get him out of the rotation.
Rangers/Mariners: Let’s give you a sneak preview of this week’s Regression Report and talk about the Rangers. They are now 5-22 in one-run games after last night’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Mariners. Teams are generally somewhere in the realm of .500 in one-run games, but not Texas. They are nine games under .500 with a + 6 run differential, which is astonishing.
Chris Flexen was good over six innings with two runs allowed on four hits and the bullpen shut it down for the most part. Flexen is a guy I’m looking to fade in road starts against teams that hit RHP well. Julio Rodriguez missed another game for the M’s and they only had seven hard-hit balls against Glenn Otto and the Rangers pen.
Padres/Tigers: San Diego got into Detroit late after Sunday Night Baseball and played like a sluggish team in the 12-4 loss. Sean Manaea gave up nine runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings, though only four were earned. MacKenzie Gore gave up two runs in 1.1 innings and left with elbow discomfort. The Padres managed four off of Drew Hutchison, but were shut out over 4.2 innings by a strong Tigers bullpen.
I’ve been skeptical of the Padres for a while now and if this is what they’re going to get from Joe Musgrove and Sean Manaea, this runs the risk of turning into a really bad baseball team given the paltry offense.
Weather: It doesn’t look like we’ll have any washouts, but there could be delays in Kansas City, Denver and Baltimore. There is a lot of instability in the air when you get these humid conditions with high dewpoints and pop-up thunderstorms or lines of severe weather are a possibility.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Pirates at Cubs (-175, 8.5): Perfect storm game here, as the market hates Bryse Wilson, but has been betting Keegan Thompson in his starts. This line has jumped about 15 cents as the Cubs look to run their winning streak up to six games.
Marlins (-115, 8.5) at Reds: Think about the perception of Miami that this game even opened close to a moneyline pick ‘em with Pablo Lopez against Hunter Greene. We’ve seen some mild investment to make the Marlins a short favorite, but nothing out of the ordinary. I’d expect to see this line run out a little more during the day, but this one says a lot about oddsmakers’ perceptions of the two teams.
Nationals at Dodgers (-240, 8.5): It’s been a little while since I’ve mentioned this, but the markets will back Josiah Gray, as he’s the one Nationals pitcher with some pretty clear upside. The market is on him today against his former team as he starts against the Dodgers. Mitch White is on the other side for Los Angeles and this line has come down 20-30 cents, but it takes less to move a high number like that than it would a more competitive line.
Cardinals at Blue Jays (-220, 9): We’ve seen a little bit of Toronto money, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more. Not only are the Cardinals dealing with the absences of the unvaccinated Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but now their minds are back at home with severe flooding in the St. Louis metro area. I’m not sure this line is high enough given what the team is missing without Arenado and Goldy, and I’m saying that as a guy that has not been high on Jose Berrios all season.
Yankees (-110, 8) at Mets: The Yankees have either been bet into a small favorite or moved from a short dog to a pick ‘em scenario for this Subway Series matchup. It will be Jordan Montgomery for the Yankees and Taijuan Walker for the Mets. I talked about Walker on The Run Line on Sunday night and how his HR/FB% is the best it has ever been. Perhaps the Yankees are the type of offense to deal a little blow there?
What I’ll Be Watching
Frankie Montas: This is an easy one and it’ll be short and sweet. Montas only worked three innings coming back from injury last time out, so this will be a big start for scouts and front offices wondering about his health. Montas has stellar numbers with a 3.16 ERA, 3.58 xERA and a 3.24 FIP in his 99.2 innings of work. He missed 17 days after leaving his July 3 start following just one inning and four batters with a sizable velocity drop. His velo looked fine in his three innings against the Tigers five days ago. He draws a quality Astros lineup here, but this is more about how he looks and less about the results in what could be his last start for Oakland.
George Kirby: The Mariners sent Kirby down to keep him working during the All-Star Break and he allowed four runs on five hits in his two innings at Triple-A on July 16. He’s still on an extended layoff, but his last MLB start came back on July 8 and he allowed two runs on 10 hits to the Blue Jays. The Rangers are nowhere near that level, especially against righties, ranking 27th in wOBA for the season. This should be a decent matchup for Kirby, but command can be an issue and he’s been on a weird schedule.
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
Angels/Royals Over 8.5 (-110): This total ranges from 8 with the over at -120 to 8.5 with the over at -115, so I’ll meet in the middle to grade it, but shop around as always. We’ll have Jose Suarez and Angel Zerpa in this southpaw battle at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals have been pummeling lefties since the start of June, as they posted a .345 wOBA with a 123 wRC + in June and have posted a .366 wOBA with a 138 wRC + in July.
Suarez has a 5.60 ERA with a 5.26 FIP in his 45 innings of work this season and allowed 10 runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings in his last two starts prior to the Break. He hasn’t pitched since July 16 and he’s a guy with command and control issues, so I’d worry about him in a spot like this.
Zerpa has allowed a run on five hits in two MLB appearances, but 16 of the 23 batted balls he has allowed have been hit at least 95 mph. Words cannot express how lucky he is to have only allowed five hits and one run. In his win against the Blue Jays before the All-Star Break, his average exit velocity allowed was 99.4 mph. The Angels don’t make that level of contact quality, but Zerpa’s command is not MLB-caliber. He’s only thrown one Triple-A inning since that July 14 start, so I’d be shocked if he’s sharp.
These are two bad bullpens as well. The Angels used some of their primary guys yesterday and they gave up runs. The Royals have had a bad bullpen all season long. It will be warm and humid in Kansas City, so the ball should carry well tonight. I’m hopeful that we avoid a rain delay so these two starters can get their innings in because I think they’ll struggle, but a bullpen game has the chance at runs as well. I’ll call it the Over 8.5 at -110, but look for an 8 -120 if you can find it.
Yankees (-115) over Mets: You can find a lot of -110s out there, but with some books out to -120, I’ll grade this at -115. Taijuan Walker is a guy that I have some questions about, as he’s trimmed down his Barrel% and his HR/FB%, but he’s also faced a ton of bad offenses lately. Three of Walker’s last six starts have been against the Marlins and we’ve seen how they’ve been doing ever since Jazz Chisholm Jr. went out. He’s also faced the Cubs, Reds, Astros and Angels over his last seven starts. Not exactly teams that strike fear into the opposition.
Walker has been living right with a 77.8% LOB%, despite a below average strikeout rate. His .274 BABIP seems low for his 40.3% Hard Hit%, even if a lot of those hard-hit balls are on the ground. This seems like the type of start where we see some of those corrections, as he faces a strong Yankees bunch. Walker also hasn’t pitched in 10 days, whereas Jordan Montgomery is going on his regular turn.
Montgomery has a strong 3.24 ERA with a 3.81 FIP, so he has solid numbers as well. He gave up two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts against a very good Astros lineup on July 21 and the Yankees set him up to mostly pitch on regular rest, even with the Break. I think that’s a positive for him in this one. He has a well above average Hard Hit% of 35.1% and the Mets don’t make a lot of quality contact. Their offense has come back to earth recently because their Hard Hit% and Barrel% numbers didn’t really stack up to their early-season run scoring. That has since leveled off.
Both teams have fresh bullpens here, but I think one team has a lead to protect and my belief is that it will be the Yankees. I agree with the line move here and will take New York at the short favorite price, but like I said, shop around for a -110 because they’re out there.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.