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MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 5/4

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 4, 2022 12:15 PM
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There were some pitching changes and scratches yesterday around Major League Baseball, which serves as a good reminder to talk about something very important. When you go to lock in a baseball wager, make sure you are selecting the option that your bet only applies to the two listed starting pitchers. NEVER select “Action”. Action means that you are locked into that team regardless of the starting pitchers and you are also locked in at a revised moneyline based on the new pitchers.

For example, let’s say you bet on the Guardians with Shane Bieber on the mound at -130. Bieber is scratched with an illness and Eli Morgan starts. If you selected “Action”, suddenly you’ve bet on Morgan at whatever the new line is without doing an ounce of handicapping about him. Always make sure you are selecting the option that the listed pitchers must start. If that option isn’t available, read the House Rules or contact customer support to see what their default policy is.

Unrelated, a couple of quick things I found interesting this morning. There were 299 shutouts last season. We’ve had 52 already in less than four weeks of this season.

On average, teams win about 83% of the time with a lead after five innings. This season, teams are winning 90.4% of the time. The 2022 season features the lowest reliever ERA since 1992 and the lowest FIP since 1989. I would think some regression towards the mean shows up and we get some bullpen blow-ups with shortened rosters and the increased workloads, but this stat blew my mind today.

Yesterday’s Recap

Braves/Mets: The Mets just keep on winning. Yesterday’s doubleheader sweep opened up a 4.5-game lead in the NL East, the largest of any division. The Braves are now down to 11-15 and are squandering a lot of talent. One guy whose talent may be melting away is Charlie Morton. Morton only had five whiffs in 45 swings yesterday. He has a 6.85 ERA in five starts and only 18 strikeouts over 23.2 innings. He’s also having serious control problems. The 38-year-old has gotten somewhat unlucky, as his contact management metrics are solid and his spin rates remain well above average, but the results are not there.

Carlos Carrasco, on the other hand, looked great again with 17 whiffs and eight shutout innings. This rotation is something special and Jacob deGrom still isn’t back.

Diamondbacks/Marlins: The scrappy Diamondbacks won another one-run tilt in South Florida yesterday and sit just one game below .500. This was a huge line move on the Marlins, a game that moved up about 50 cents, but the D-Backs got five off of Trevor Rogers and barely held on. There are some proven bats for Arizona (Marte, Peralta, Walker, Kelly) that aren’t hitting at all, yet this team is finding ways. They’re kind of intriguing going forward.

Reds/Brewers: Another day, another Reds run line loss. It’s comical at this point. Joey Votto is also on the COVID IL now, not that he was hitting at all. Of teams that played 162 games, the 2003 Detroit Tigers have the worst record at 43-119. The Reds are on pace for 21 wins.

Nationals/Rockies: I had some really anxious moments last night with the over 10.5 in this game, as German Marquez held up his end of the bargain, but Erick Fedde somehow did not. The Rockies were 4-for-16 on batted balls of 95 + mph against Fedde, who only had three whiffs in 44 swings. Fortunately, Marquez was awful again, with seven runs allowed on 10 hits over five innings. In looking at his release point, in-game velocity and results, I think he’s pitching hurt, but we’ll have to keep looking to fade him until proven otherwise.

Giants/Dodgers: Julio Urias was pulled after six shutout innings and 65 pitches by manager Dave Roberts in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Giants. For his career, opposing batters own a .255/.310/.418 slash with a .311 wOBA against Urias the third time through the order, which is actually well above average. But, the numbers are certainly higher than a .292 wOBA the first time through and a .258 the second time. I think Dave Roberts may have been a tad aggressive here, but he knows his team better than I do.

Roberts said that he felt the Giants were getting good swings. Their last seven balls in play against Urias were 98.2, 95.6, 94.2, 98.5, 84.9, 95.1 and 74 mph. In any event, this is a watered-down Giants lineup missing Yaz and Belt, so the Dodgers aren’t getting the best version, but this was still a good game.

Twins/Orioles: Yesterday it was the Twins bullpen that held down the fort and allowed the offense to go off and score plenty of insurance runs, as Minnesota kept right on rolling. I did write about the Twins in my first installment of The Regression Report for Point Spread Weekly. I’d encourage you to check that out.

Yankees/Blue Jays: Two botched calls went against the Blue Jays and the floodgates opened in the 9-1 loss to the Yankees. Toronto was 1-for-11 with RISP, as their incredible struggles to score runs continued. I also wrote about that in The Regression Report. Jameson Taillon and Alek Manoah were both great before the Jays bullpen imploded in the seventh. For all the angst about the Yankees coming into the season, they’re playing awfully well now, but my main takeaway is still this Toronto offense with RISP. It has to end at some point.

Angels/Red Sox: Let’s keep an eye on Michael Wacha going forward. Wacha has a 1.38 ERA with a 3.88 FIP and a 4.13 xFIP. He’s got a .162 BABIP and a 94.3% LOB% with a very low strikeout rate. He’s also teetering on the brink of the highest walk rate in his career and his average exit velocity against is a career-worst 90.2 mph. He looks like a straight fade candidate to me, despite his good early-season results. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts, but none of this looks all that believable.

Rays/A’s: Ryan Yarbrough looked all out of sorts in his return to the big leagues with just one whiff on 21 swings. He gave up a five-spot in the first, allowing a home run with an xBA of just .220. The game featured seven runs in the 10th inning, so the high score was a tad misleading, but it’s still hard to pinpoint the Rays right now. By the way, to further expand on Jason Collette’s note about the Rays infield defense from the weekend, the Rays have allowed the 11th-highest batting average on ground balls, slightly above the league average at .231. The Rays are at .238.

Most notably, the Reds have allowed a .306 (!!) batting average on ground balls so far, followed by the Nationals at .286 and the Giants at .284. The luckiest teams? Angels .186, Braves .191, Padres .193 and Brewers at .200.

Rangers/Phillies: The impacts of a bad bullpen and a bad defense were on display in Philly yesterday. Ranger Suarez came back out for the sixth after narrowly escaping disaster in the fifth. Joe Girardi has no trust in his pen, so he tried to milk another inning out of Suarez. A single and an error later and Seranthony Dominguez had to come into a leverage spot with two guys on. He got two strikeouts before giving up a two-run double.

Suarez threw 24 pitches in the fifth and loaded the bases before getting out of the inning, getting lucky on a barrel from Adolis Garcia with a .910 xBA that wound up a harmless fly out. He had no business coming back out for the sixth, but he did and it may have cost the Phillies the game. Bad relievers will push managers into lose-lose situations and that’s what happened here.

White Sox/Cubs: Why does reliever usage matter so much to me? Liam Hendriks pitched for the third time in four days in a back-to-back situation on Tuesday. His fastball velocity was fine, but his spin rate was down 152 rpm from his season average. He threw two sliders that were down 249 rpm. This could be a reporting error from Statcast, but the quality of a pitcher’s stuff absolutely declines with a heightened workload.

Cardinals/Royals: I wouldn’t call Brad Keller an above average righty, but he’s pitched well so far this season. Over 6.1 innings, the Cardinals only had five hard-hit balls and managed just four hits and three walks with zero runs. This is really becoming a theme for their offense against an average or better right-hander. When they win, it seems to be in spite of their offensive shortcomings. I need to take more advantage of this angle.

Wednesday Resources

Weather: Not much today. Rain is in the forecast in a few places, including Denver and New York. Minimal wind impacts around the league today as well. Winds will be blowing out in Detroit and LA and that’s really about it.

Injuries: Check out our Injury Report (https://www.vsin.com/injuries/mlb/) right here at VSiN. Also, my friend @MLBDream on Twitter put together a great MLB beat writer list to follow.

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