The Wednesday slate starts with a 12:35 p.m. ET first pitch and we’ll have baseball throughout the rest of the day, as all 30 teams take the field. We’ve got some getaway day games and some interesting pitching matchups as part of the August 17 considerations.
Joe Sheehan mentioned in his newsletter that August 2022 is on pace to be just the third August in the last 30 years with a SLG under .400. I don’t know if the baseballs have been changed again. I don’t know if the humidor settings are butting heads with the outside humidity percentages. But, I do know it’s getting extremely old, tired and frustrating to be betting into a sport where the ball changes every year and also during the season. You want to talk about the integrity of sport with betting? MLB is the biggest culprit around.
Padres/Marlins: The streak is over! The Marlins scored four runs to down the Padres 4-3, as San Diego’s struggles continued. The game still pushed the total of 7, but stayed under 7.5 for those that got in on that bet. The bigger story is that Sean Manaea only made it through four innings and allowed three runs on four hits, including two Nick Fortes homers. I don’t see anything about an injury, so Manaea was just pulled. Since July 4, he’s allowed 35 runs (29 earned) over 38 innings across eight starts. His sinker velocity was down big in this start. Perhaps he’ll hit the IL to figure things out.
Phillies/Reds: Philadelphia had an offensive explosion against TJ Zeuch and the Reds bullpen in an 11-4 win at GABP. Zeuch allowed six runs on 11 hits in four innings and gave up a ton of hard-hit contact. I think he might be the worst starter currently in the Major Leagues. Kyle Gibson still gave up three runs on a couple of homers, but struck out 11. Rhys Hoskins batted six times and had six hard-hit balls. Big day for the Philly offense.
Cubs/Nationals: It wasn’t pretty, but the Cubs got the job done as heavy chalk against Patrick Corbin and the Nats. Corbin allowed four runs on six hits, which was a pretty good start by his standards. The Cubs bullpen blew Justin Steele’s quality effort, but prevailed in extras. I’ll be curious to see if the Cubs start to limit Steele’s innings moving forward.
Mets/Braves: Another day, another Mets starting pitcher hurt. After Carlos Carrasco left Monday’s start with a mild oblique strain, Taijuan Walker left Tuesday’s start after just two innings with back spasms and a sharp velo decrease. The hope is that he’ll be good to go for his next start, but it was a second straight day with a heavy lift for the Mets. Also, they struck out 12 times against Charlie Morton, who had far and away his best outing of the season over 6.2 innings.
The Braves are right back in this NL East race now and just locked up Michael Harris II to a long extension. It was a great day for the Braves to say the least.
Rockies/Cardinals: The Road Rockies managed four runs, but still came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Cardinals. Jose Quintana only went five innings and managed just three strikeouts on 75 pitches. He had five no-hit innings before the BABIP gods smited him in the sixth, as he left with the bases loaded. Jordan Hicks did some poor relief work, but St. Louis got the job done. I just wanted to point out that Quintana did not leave hurt.
Dodgers/Brewers: The Dodgers did not win as dogs, but they came close. The game needed 11 innings and the Brewers were able to walk it off against Craig Kimbrel. Both bullpens had heavy workloads, as neither starter went more than five innings.
Diamondbacks/Giants: The Giants walked off the Diamondbacks after being stymied for seven innings by Merrill Kelly. Maybe the bigger story was that Jakob Junis threw seven innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and 16 whiffs on 52 swings. Like I said yesterday, San Francisco is taking advantage of a weaker schedule right now to stay relevant in the race. I’m not sure if it’ll continue, but they’re giving themselves a chance. We saw the Braves take advantage of a weak schedule to get hot. Maybe the Giants can do the same.
Rays/Yankees: The Yankees lost yet again yesterday, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rays. They managed all of four hits and eight hard-hit balls. Either teams have made some big adjustments to facing the Yankees or we’re just seeing the problems with having a top-heavy offense with no Giancarlo Stanton. The complete lack of contact quality of late is what really stands out to me. The Yankees are ninth in Hard Hit% this month at 40.4%. That’s pretty clearly their worst month in that category.
The Rays only had four hard-hit balls against Nestor Cortes and Albert Abreu, but it was good enough to win. The lead is suddenly down to nine games for New York, who is in no danger of missing the playoffs, but is suddenly trying to make the AL East race a little interesting.
Orioles/Blue Jays: Ho hum, another underdog cash for the O’s. How about seven innings of two-run ball from Dean Kremer to outduel Alek Manoah? Kremer gave up two runs in the first and nothing the rest of the way, giving the Orioles bullpen a much-needed blow. Dillon Tate and Felix Bautista were still called into action for the close game, but still. What a huge lift from Kremer. What an impressive season for the O’s, who many wrote off following the Trey Mancini deal.
The lack of walks and quality plate appearances really hurts Toronto. My view on this team and its philosophy has been changing over the course of the season and I don’t really like what I see. Remember, some of their gaudy offensive numbers were positively influenced by games in Dunedin and Buffalo during COVID. Maybe they’re simply not as good as I thought.
Tigers/Guardians: That was a really disappointing night for the Guardians. A questionable first-inning replay call led to a run and then three runs, as Cleveland failed to shake it off. Then they got a leadoff double on the ninth, got the runner to third and couldn’t get him home to tie the game. Giving away games against bad teams can’t happen and the best Cleveland can do against Detroit is a split today. They’re still a young team. Those things will happen. But, the timing is bad, especially with the Twins and White Sox showing signs of life.
Royals/Twins: Minnesota has looked like a different team against the lowly Royals. They should’ve scored more than four on Monday and hung a nine-spot on Tuesday against Zack Greinke and the pen. The big lead also allowed the Twins to rest some of their primary relievers, as Sonny Gray went six strong with 10 punchies. The Twins jumped on KC’s bullpen for some insurance markers after once again failing to deliver a knockout blow to a starter. I’m still not convinced this team is any good.
Athletics/Rangers: I did a spot on A Numbers Game on Tuesday morning while I was still working on the card. I got asked about a pick and cited the A’s, then didn’t follow through with them in the article. Naturally, they won 5-1 behind a solid effort from JP Sears. Fading Kohei Arihara made a lot of sense in his 2022 MLB debut. Trusting the A’s is tough, but the Rangers have not played well most of the season and I do really like Sears. Hopefully we’ll get more chances to back him moving forward.
Astros/White Sox: The Astros really hung in there nicely against Dylan Cease, who gave up more than one run for the first time in forever, but the White Sox got to Justin Verlander for two runs in the seventh and then scored the winning run off of Hector Neris in the eighth. The White Sox are hanging that carrot out there once again. I’ve already bitten it once. I won’t bite it again, but they’ve already taken this series from the Astros with a shot at the sweep today.
Mariners/Angels: Good thing I went 1st 5 here because thoughts and prayers to anybody that had the full-game under. A day after the Mariners scored four in the ninth because of some awful defense, the Mariners scored five in the ninth on Tuesday to score an 8-2 win. They led 3-2 after six, shaking off the perfect game that Jose Suarez had through five innings.
The handicap was right on both starters. The Angels had two runs on six hits against Robbie Ray and struck out 10 times. The key moment was a Max Stassi GIDP with the bases loaded in the third that preserved our under. Suarez was great until the third time through the order tripped him up. It was nice to get a win. Maybe I can do that more often.
Red Sox/Pirates: Mitch Keller was in line for some regression and it hit in this game. He allowed five runs on five hits with three walks and just one strikeout in two innings. That’s not the bad part. The bad part is that Keller’s pitches were all at least three mph lower than his season average. Keller told reporters he wasn’t feeling pain, just that the ball wasn’t coming out the same way. That’ll be something to watch, since the Pirates offense has gone back in the tank and the only way they hang is if their pitching allows them to do so.
Weather: Mets/Braves faces the largest threat of rain today, as we could see showers in Pittsburgh and New York as well. Otherwise, a mostly quiet day on the diamond.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Padres (-150, 7) at Marlins: Not all line moves are created equal. While this has only been about a 10-cent move on the Padres, we usually see Pablo Lopez take money almost blindly in his home starts. He isn’t getting that today. To be fair, we didn’t see a move on Sandy Alcantara on Monday and he was the winner anyway. But, it’s always interesting to see market trends get broken and this is one that totally caught my eye today.
Rockies at Cardinals (-205, 7): St. Louis is a heavy favorite behind Jordan Montgomery, but what’s most interesting to me here is the total. The Rockies have been better against lefties this season and German Marquez, while clearly better on the road, still has some ugly numbers. This total has fallen from 7.5 to 7 across most of the market and even 7 (-110), which is kind of rare.
Rays at Yankees (-135, 8.5): The Rays and Yankees total has gone up to 8.5, as bettors seem to be unsure about Corey Kluber’s recent returns and Domingo German’s performance to this point. I am a bit intrigued to see the jump on this total when the Yankees aren’t scoring and the Rays haven’t scored for a while. As an aside, Wander Franco had a setback on his rehab as well.
Astros (-145, 8) at White Sox: We generally see the White Sox take money against lefties, but that isn’t the case today going up against Framber Valdez. It doesn’t help that Tim Anderson is out of the lineup and he was nearly two times better than league average against lefties. It also doesn’t help to be facing a really good one in Valdez. Like I’ve talked about a lot this season, line moves that *don’t* happen oftentimes stand out more to me.
What I’ll Be Watching
Jake Odorizzi: Odorizzi has gone 4.2 and 4.0 innings in his two starts as a Brave. He’s allowed 14 hits, but just four earned runs, despite only having six strikeouts. I don’t know if the Braves had high expectations for him or if the plan was just to be able to give Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright and Max Fried a little bit of extra rest. If he continues to struggle, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which they keep that plan going. I have big concerns about Odorizzi pitching in Atlanta, where the ball should carry pretty well in the warm weather. He’s an extreme fly ball guy with just a 31.8% GB%, so I think there are several reasons to worry.
Michael Kopech: From June 19 to August 6, Kopech posted a 4.98 ERA with a 6.30 FIP in his 47 innings of work across nine starts. He had allowed 11 home runs in that span as well. Perhaps 11 strikeouts over six innings against the Tigers last time out can get him back on track, but he had definitely struggled for about six weeks. Coincidentally, the Astros were the team to kickstart those issues, as he allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings in his June 19 outing. Let’s see if he can give the White Sox a lift today as they seek out a sweep.
Corey Kluber: A bonus one here with a look at Kluber, who may be hitting a wall. He has allowed 23 runs on 40 hits in 28.2 innings of work over his last five starts. The peripherals are still strong with a 3.88 FIP and a 3.97 xFIP, but he has a 6.91 ERA in that span. He’s got a .375 BABIP against and a 56.9% LOB%. The thing of it is that Kluber has a 33% Hard Hit% in that span and just a 5.0% Barrel%. So, he’s gotten really unlucky with balls in play and sequencing. I think bettors are concerned about the high ERA having faced the Orioles three times, along with Detroit and Cleveland, but he’s been unlucky more than anything. If the fortunes change against the slumping Yankees offense, it’ll send some fans and bettors into orbit.
Wednesday 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
Mets (-145) over Braves: It’s rare that you get Max Scherzer at this price point and I’m going to take advantage of it in this one. It seems silly to say this because Scherzer can shut down any lineup, but he really fits the profile of a pitcher that gives the Braves fits. He has immense strikeout and swing-and-miss potential. His K% is 31.3% for the season and his SwStr% is 15.1%. In his two starts against Atlanta this season, he has his two highest SwStr% marks at 21.5% on July 11 and 20.4% on August 6.
Scherzer is also a workhorse, which should allow the Mets to really shorten the game. Adam Ottavino is well-rested and so is Edwin Diaz. We saw Buck Showalter use Diaz for two innings in one of the games at Citi Field earlier this month and I think he’d do that here to make sure to secure this victory.
I mentioned above that I have big worries about Jake Odorizzi. Minute Maid Park really suppressed offense early this season and it comes as no surprise that he’s got some big home/road splits on the year. He hasn’t been terribly effective in his first two starts for the Braves and it takes time to get acclimated to a new team, a new catcher, etc. Odorizzi has allowed 12 hard-hit balls in 32 batted ball events against the Mets and Marlins since joining the club.
My handicap here is that the Mets play from in front and should be able to stay in front. Like I said, it’s rare to get the Mets at this price and we could conceivably have a scenario in which the only two pitchers Atlanta sees are Scherzer and Diaz. Diaz has struck out over 52% of the batters that he has faced this season.
It looks like a stiff price, but I think it should be higher. I’ll lay it with the Mets today.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.