Fifteen games are on the betting board for Tuesday and all of them are night games, as we go from a night full of quality pitching matchups to one that is lacking in that department. We do get Justin Verlander vs. Dylan Cease, though, so that should be a fun one with the top two contenders for the AL Cy Young Award.
Underdogs did okay last night, though not the ones I picked. The Marlins, Nationals, Rays, Orioles, White Sox and Tigers in Game 2 all came through, while several big favorites also held serve in their expected roles. It’s just going to be like that the rest of the MLB season and if you’re betting dogs, you hope you pick the right ones.
But, hey, college football season starts in 10 days, so there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Phillies/Reds: It sure feels like Noah Syndergaard is just trying to thread the needle in his starts with the Phillies. I mentioned at the time of the trade that I’d like to see more strikeouts because the Phillies infield defense is a problem area. He’s allowed 25 hits in just 18 innings, but has been able to limit the damage to nine runs. He’s got 12 strikeouts against two walks, so the control has been helpful, but it’s going to be very touch-and-go in his starts moving forward. He’s also pitching to more fly ball contact, which is weird given that he’s almost exclusively throwing sinkers and sliders right now. Those pitches usually induce grounders.
Padres/Marlins: Miami was held to three or fewer runs for the 16th straight game, but fortunately, Sandy Alcantara doesn’t need a lot of run support. The Marlins took home a 3-0 underdog win behind seven strong innings from Alcantara, who was pumping 100 mph pills late in the game. This small of a sample size doesn’t really mean much of anything, but the Padres are just 5-7 since Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury played their first game.
Cubs/Nationals: Cubs 1st 5 backers took one on the chin yesterday, as they led 3-0 going to the bottom of the fifth and then allowed four unearned runs. Marcus Stroman only made it through 4.2 innings, despite only one walk and six hits allowed. Josiah Gray struck out 10 over six solid innings for Washington. Teams playing out the string are going to be so Jekyll and Hyde on a daily basis.
Stroman had a nice velo uptick in this start, so at least that’s a positive going forward.
Mets/Braves: Carlos Carrasco was apparently pitching hurt last night, as he’s headed for an MRI due to some side tightness. It would have been cool to know that before the Braves scored three runs in the second inning against him. This was a weird (and awful) game with a rain delay, Carrasco coming back out, a short start from Spencer Strider with only nine whiffs in 40 swings. Carrasco’s velo was down across the board, including a 2.2 mph drop on his slider. Completely awful handicap on my part. Sadly, been a lot of those lately.
Dodgers/Brewers: Julio Urias needed 94 pitches to get through five innings, but didn’t give up any runs in the shutout win for the Dodgers. Freddy Peralta only gave up one run in four innings, but did walk three. Each starter only allowed three hard-hit balls, so this was not a night for good contact. Urias only had eight whiffs in 52 swings, so he wasn’t totally sharp, but the velo did go up a bit.
We saw a little bit of Dodgers investment here, but not as much as I would have expected given that their lines get steamed virtually every time they’re under -200. Seems to speak to some measure of respect for Peralta and the Brewers.
Diamondbacks/Giants: Maybe the Giants aren’t dead yet. They’ve won four in a row with a soft part of the schedule and are back over .500 for the first time since July 24. Madison Bumgarner finally ran into some regression with six runs allowed on eight hits, as the Giants had 11 hard-hit balls off of him in 5.2 innings. They also played decent defense behind Alex Cobb for once, whose ERA is finally under 4.00.
The soft schedule continues with three more with Arizona, three at Colorado and three at Detroit. If you think the Giants can make the playoffs, I’d probably bet it now. They do play 13 of their final 16 games against the Rockies and Diamondbacks.
Rays/Yankees: The Yankees were blanked by Jalen Beeks and Ryan Yarbrough yesterday and only had seven hard-hit balls in the game. Yarbrough even had six strikeouts in his four innings and he has not pitched well this season at all. Gerrit Cole was solid over six innings, but the bullpen faltered again and put the game out of reach. This Yankees team stinks right now. The offense is in the tank, the bullpen is a mess and nobody seems to know how to fix it.
They’re not really in any danger in the AL East or of losing the bye just yet, but a lot of guys have to be pressing right now. It’s still hard to fade this team, but if you have been, you’ve been quite successful.
Orioles/Blue Jays: Another nice underdog cash from the Orioles, who just keep finding ways to win games. They jumped on Yusei Kikuchi for six runs in just 3.1 innings and their bullpen pitched shutdown baseball over 4.1 innings. This is such a fun team. As long as the starter doesn’t bury them, the bullpen gives them a chance every single night, which is why they’ve been so good as a dog, particularly as the offense has improved throughout the season.
The Blue Jays got George Springer back and he was 2-for-4 with a double, but this offense is another one that has underperformed for a while now. Teams seem to just be better prepared than Toronto and it’s been hurting the Blue Jays in a lot of games.
Tigers/Guardians: The Guardians really needed to take both games, but they had to settle for a split on Monday. Eli Morgan has become completely unusable in relief and Bryan Shaw is one of the worst relievers in baseball. Their margin for error is pretty thin, which is why I still don’t believe in them, but they really need to take care of their affairs against the bad teams. They had been up until last night’s second game.
Xzavion Curry’s one-off start was a decent one, as he showed some swing-and-miss upside with 12 whiffs on 38 swings. He gave up seven hard-hit balls, but only one barrel and three singles and a double on the hard contact. Not a bad debut, but some unfortunate sequencing luck.
Royals/Twins: Kansas City scored two in the first, but couldn’t muster any other offense. Kris Bubic also had a bad start and should have given up more than four runs. He allowed 10 hits and three walks in his 5.2 innings, along with 11 hard-hit balls. He just didn’t have it. I’m lucky that game was as close as it was. Still not a believer in the Twins, but my hope in the Royals was misguided last night.
A’s/Rangers: The Rangers came away with a 2-1 win on a day where they fired Chris Woodward and their starting pitcher had six walks against one strikeout. Baseball is a weird game. Glenn Otto walked six in six innings, but only gave up two hits and just three hard-hit balls, including a solo homer to the No. 9 hitter batting .214 with a .598 OPS. I don’t know, man. I really don’t.
Astros/White Sox: The White Sox just keep hurting me when I’m on them and hurting me when I’m against them. Johnny Cueto gave up seven hits again, but managed to only allow two runs, as his regression signs simply keep growing. It really didn’t help me that both Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena got the day off for the Astros, leaving Mauricio Dubon and his .568 OPS in the leadoff spot and Yuli Gurriel and his .669 OPS in the No. 2 hole. Why managers don’t get more creative with their lineups when guys are out is beyond my comprehension. Still, the Astros led 2-0 into the eighth before Rafael Montero had a meltdown. Everything is just so frustrating right now and when it rains it pours.
The Astros had 11 hard-hit balls against Cueto and managed three singles, a double and a sac fly. This guy is getting so lucky. I’ll probably fade him again next time out.
Mariners/Angels: The Angels need to watch some Tom Emanski videos after what transpired in the ninth inning last night. Seattle scored four runs, only one of them earned, after a botched rundown and other infield foibles. Luis Castillo and Shohei Ohtani were worth the price of admission, but the Mariners bullpen was better and the team converted batted balls into outs. Castillo’s been excellent for the Mariners. I’m not saying he’s an auto bet every time, but he’s in a much better situation now.
Weather: Not much to talk about today. Small rain chances in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but everything else looks pretty decent. It’s cooling off in a lot of places as the extreme heat of summer seems to be winding down.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Padres (-145, 7) at Marlins: Sean Manaea has really struggled lately, but we’ve got a total that has been bet down to 7 here and a favorite slowly coming down. The Marlins have that 15-game streak of three or fewer runs in tact, hence the low total and we may keep seeing some under money in their games moving forward.
Cubs (-160, 8.5) at Nationals: Fade Patrick Corbin Day has been a recurring national holiday for some and they have that chance today with the Cubs laying a big price in D.C. Corbin is 4-16 on the season in 23 starts with a 7.02 ERA, a 6.12 xERA and a 4.96 FIP. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his last six starts, including five in two of them and six in two of them. Seeing the early Cubs team total at 4.5 with over juice.
Rockies at Cardinals (-225, 7.5): We’ve seen varying degrees of line movement on Jose Quintana and the Cardinals here. Quintana’s been solid since the trade and we have the standard-issue Rockies Road Fade activated once again. So many big favorites all the time.
Dodgers at Brewers (-120, 8): The Dodgers are an underdog today with Brandon Woodruff for the Brewers and Ryan Pepiot for the league’s best team. Per my good pal Ralph Michaels on Twitter, the Dodgers have only been a dog five times in the last 366 games. We’ll see if they close one today.
Rays at Yankees (-160, 7): We’ve seen the total drop down to 7 here between the Rays and Yankees. Tampa’s offense isn’t special and the Yankees have had plenty of offensive issues lately. We’ve actually seen a decent amount of under movement with New York this season, specifically, at home. Jeffrey Springs and Nestor Cortes are the starters doing battle today.
Orioles at Blue Jays (-210, 8.5): While it is Alek Manoah Day, we’re seeing a little bit of modest investment in the Orioles with Dean Kremer on the bump. They’ve been very kind to bettors as an underdog, so it may not be anything more than that, but it’s still noteworthy when we saw Manoah get the ace bump every start for a long time.
What I’ll Be Watching
Jose Suarez: There haven’t been a lot of positives this season for the Angels, but two left-handed starters have been among them. The full-season numbers for Suarez aren’t terribly exciting with a 4.04 ERA and a 4.48 FIP, but he has allowed just one unearned run over his last 17.1 innings with 10 hits allowed and 16 strikeouts against five walks. He has faced Oakland twice and Kansas City, so we’ll see if he can continue against a better lineup, particularly since he allowed 10 runs in two starts against the Dodgers and Orioles prior to the All-Star Break.
Suarez does have a 12.2% SwStr% this season and has done a decent job of limiting hard contact, especially since his return in June. He’s thrown a lot more sliders and changeups as the season has gone along and seems to be sequencing his pitches better.
Nestor Cortes: The Rays have struck out a lot against left-handed pitching lately, but this will be their fourth look at Nestor Cortes for this season. I’ve mentioned before that a big part of Cortes’s success has been the deception he creates with his arm slot and pitch timing. He has a 2.67 ERA with a 3.33 FIP for the season, so he’s been plenty solid, but has had bumps in the road facing teams multiple times.
That said, he seems to be back on track after a bit of a rough patch, allowing eight runs over his last five starts, but he’s faced the Reds at home, Orioles, Royals, Cardinals and Mariners. I’ll be curious to see what he does against the Rays in this matchup. Projections must be good since the total is just 7.
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/Angels 1st 5 Under 4 (-120): Since June 12, Robbie Ray has allowed more than three runs in a start just twice. Both games were against the Astros. In fact, he’s only allowed more than two runs twice, with the two Houston games and then a matchup against Texas where he struck out 12 over 6.2 innings. Ray gets a really bad Angels lineup here and one that he should be able to have a lot of success against.
The Angels are 23rd in BB% in the second half, so that should help eliminate Ray’s biggest issue, which is the free pass. The Angels also have the seventh-highest K%, so that should help Ray rack up the swings and misses and the strikeouts. The Angels posted a 114 wRC + against lefties in April and a 100 wRC + in May. Since then, their wRC + by month against lefties has been 65, 50 and 76. In that span, they are batting .192/.260/.312 with a 62 wRC + over 700 plate appearances, including a K% of 25.4%. It turns out that not having Mike Trout hurts.
I really like what Jose Suarez has been doing lately. Since he returned to the Angels full-time in mid-June, he has a Hard Hit% against of 34%. He did face the Mariners twice and pitched well both times, but he’s also done a really nice job of limiting hard contact overall and the only times he’s really ran into barrel trouble have been against the Dodgers and Astros, which happens.
The Angels have such a low projection against Ray that I just need Suarez to be decent. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep up his recent run, as it sure seems like the Angels are making some strides on the pitching side. Patrick Sandoval has been great and Reid Detmers has really turned a corner. It seems like they’ve unlocked something with Suarez as well. I’ll take the Under 4 for the 1st 5 here and list it at -120, though you can find some -115 out there.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.