I’m not sure I can recall seeing an MLB schedule at any other point this season like the one we have now. We’ve got four AL games, four NL games and six interleague games on the docket for Wednesday after we had seven last night. We’ve got our share of big favorites, but also some reasonably-priced lines as well.
Two more days of the article before I go into full football mode (at least until I start doing college basketball prep). I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but, as always, thank you for reading. I greatly appreciate it and all the support the article has gotten throughout the season.
Cardinals/Cubs: The teams split a twin bill yesterday, with Chicago winning 2-0 early and the Cardinals winning 13-3 late. We also found out that Franmil Reyes might be a better pitcher than hitter. My biggest takeaway is that the Adrian Sampson regression happened that I’ve been waiting for. I’ll still be on the lookout for more, but he gave up five runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings in the losing effort.
Reds/Phillies: This game was really something. 1st 5 bettors had a 0-0 game and then all hell broke loose in the sixth with seven combined runs. In total, 13 runs were scored over the final four innings and the Phillies walked it off in the ninth by erasing a one-run deficit. Both Nick Lodolo and Ranger Suarez lost it the third time through the order, yet another example of how that is such a hard thing for pitchers to navigate.
Braves/Pirates: JT Brubaker’s start was a microcosm of the Braves offense. He struck out eight over 6.2 innings. He had 13 whiffs. He also gave up six runs on nine hits and 10 hard-hit balls. This, too, was a slow starter with a 1-0 Pirates lead through four innings, but then the Braves struck for five runs in the fifth. The Pirates barely threatened the rest of the way. This is such a bad baseball team and unlike some of the other bad teams, they haven’t really gotten any better. The rotation looks better, but the bullpen and lineup are both still a mess.
Brewers/Dodgers: The Dodgers are in postseason form. Tony Gonsolin was solid and Los Angeles scored seven runs against Burnes in just 3.2 innings. Gonsolin was yanked after five innings and 77 pitches with the big 7-1 lead and the Dodgers added on late for good measure. When they get challenged or tested, they answer the bell. They’ve beaten up on the Padres and Giants and have also now rocked Burnes and Sandy Alcanatara over the last two weeks. I believe only the Mets can beat them.
White Sox/Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle’s three-run homer in the first inning was almost all the offense the O’s needed for a 5-3 win. Dylan Cease went 14 straight starts allowing one or fewer earned runs, but he’s allowed seven on nine hits in 10.1 innings over his last two starts. He’s also only struck out four in each of those starts and walked three. I’m not overly concerned, but it’ll be something to watch. Meanwhile, Austin Voth was good enough to get by and the Orioles pen was solid as always.
Blue Jays/Red Sox: Ross Stripling was outstanding again for Toronto, though he did get to pitch with a big lead after an eight-run third inning from the Blue Jays. Josh Winckowski had his second straight awful start for a Red Sox team that just has no pitching these days. The Jays scored nine without the benefit of a homer, so they had a rare good day at the dish with RISP and rolled to an easy victory.
Mets/Yankees: Frankie Montas allowed two runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, which was really important, along with three huge relief innings from Clarke Schmidt. The Yankees caught a break missing out on Jacob deGrom, but they haven’t gotten many breaks lately, so this one felt overdue. This was a big two-game sweep for them and should lead to some more positive vibes on this road trip, along with the return of Giancarlo Stanton.
Diamondbacks/Royals: A nice win on the Snakes yesterday for one of the two best bets. It didn’t look great early, as the Diamondbacks missed some chances against Jonathan Heasley, but got after a bad Royals bullpen and added on for good measure. It’s really important to know the bullpens, which I hope is a point that readers take with them moving forward after reading this article throughout the season.
Rangers/Rockies: The Rockies prevailed at home by a 7-6 count over the Rangers, even though German Marquez had another, ahem, rocky outing in Denver. He gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings, but at least he went six innings to help out the bullpen. Colorado scored three in the seventh and made it stand up. The Rangers battled, but I think this is a team ready to throw in the towel on the season between the Woodward and Daniels firings. Everything will change going into next season and teams often respond negatively to that.
Guardians/Padres: Never really a threat to the under in this game, as Cleveland won 3-1 and got help from both the Astros and Orioles to push the lead out to three over the Twins and four over the White Sox. Aaron Civale had a lot of deep counts, but battled through 4.2 innings and the bullpen did the rest. Mike Clevinger only gave up two hits, but both left the yard. I certainly wasn’t upset to see Juan Soto scratched right before the game.
Marlins/Athletics: It’s a good thing the Marlins scored more than three runs because they needed them last night. This game leaked over the total of 7 in brutal fashion with three runs from Oakland in the ninth. It was nice to see Pablo Lopez look like the pitcher of old, as he only allowed four hard-hit balls over six shutout frames. The Marlins only hit five balls hard in this game, so the five runs they scored were a tad fortunate. My condolences to under bettors here. That was an ugly one.
Weather: Nada. Nothing today to be concerned about. Wind isn’t really a factor. Just a quiet day. It’ll be hot in Denver for the day game between the Rangers and Rockies, so the ball could carry a bit.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.
Blue Jays (-150, 9.5) at Red Sox: Brayan Bello returns from an IL stint and a rehab assignment to face the Jays. We’ve seen this line drop 20-30 cents on Toronto, as bettors didn’t love Jose Berrios in that big of a favorite role, even with Bello’s performance thus far. Berrios has been better over the last six weeks, so I’ll be curious to see how this move works out.
Guardians at Padres (-150, 7.5): Here’s another one where the absence of a line move seems to say a lot. Cal Quantrill has been bet against a lot this season, but that isn’t the case today. There hasn’t really been a move on this game. The line jumped with some initial money on San Diego, but buyback happened very quickly on Cleveland. The modeling crowd may be iffy on Quantrill, but there isn’t a lot of confidence in San Diego at a big price. This game could also be in a holding pattern until we see the status of Juan Soto.
What I’ll Be Watching
Jose Berrios: Berrios had a real ugly outing against the Guardians on August 12, but then allowed just one earned run over 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts against the Yankees in a big bounce back effort. Since July 1, Berrios has made nine starts over 50.1 innings of work. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of them and three in another. He’s also had a couple of big ERA blow-ups in back-to-back August outings against the Twins and Cleveland. The Hard Hit% and Barrel% have gone down in a big way, even with four barrels allowed against Minnesota. I’m not saying I’d bet on him or that I have a lot of confidence in him, but he’s not the full-fledged gas can he was early in the season.
Lucas Giolito: In Giolito’s 22 starts this season, he has allowed at least four runs in nine of them and allowed at least five runs in seven. When he’s bad, he’s been very bad. He’s been very bad against the Astros twice and Blue Jays twice, which are two lineups loaded with productive right-handed bats. Righties own an obscene .336/.389/.589 slash with a .416 wOBA against him this season and they’ve hit 14 of the 19 home runs he has allowed. The Orioles are kind of a mixed bag, but Cedric Mullins is a lefty and switch hitters Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander will be from the left side. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the O’s have a nice day against Giolito, but he’s certainly at his worst against right-handed-heavy ballclubs.
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
Brewers/Dodgers 1st 5 Over 4.5 (-105): We’ll see the return of Adrian Houser for Milwaukee on Wednesday night as he goes up against Andrew Heaney and the Dodgers. Houser hit the IL after 15 starts with a 4.72 ERA and a 4.21 FIP in 76.1 innings of work. What stands out the most to me with this particular matchup is that Houser only had 57 strikeouts and walked 31 batters. The Dodgers should be in a lot of advantageous plate appearances here ahead in the count or be able to make solid contact with two strikes.
Houser gave up three earned runs (six total) in his three rehab starts, but only worked 8.1 innings. He walked seven of 37 batters in those outings as well. The Dodgers still walk at one of the highest clips in the league and Houser is a pitch-to-contact dude, so I expect that they’ll have plenty of chances to drive in runs.
Heaney has a 1.77 ERA with a 3.01 FIP in his eight starts, so there are just some obvious regression signs in the profile. He struck out 10 Brewers in 4.2 innings last start, but allowed three home runs as well. Heaney has struck out 52 in 35.2 innings, but the balls in play he has allowed have been hit hard. In four August stats, his Hard Hit% is 50%. Hopefully the Brewers can make enough contact to help us out with a couple of runs here.
I just don’t love anything about this matchup for Houser. As long as the Dodgers are engaged the night after beating up on Corbin Burnes, I really like our chances with this wager. I’ll take 1st 5 Over 4.5 at -105.
Diamondbacks/Royals 1st 5 Under 3.5 (-110): I don’t normally play Under 3.5 for the 1st 5, but this is the right spot to do it. Zac Gallen and Brady Singer square off here and these are two pitchers throwing the ball extremely well. Gallen hasn’t allowed a run in 21.1 straight innings with 26 strikeouts against three walks in that span. He hasn’t allowed a home run in six straight starts and has only allowed five runs total in his last 39 innings. That seems pretty good.
Since he allowed seven runs in five innings against the Astros on June 3, Singer has allowed 28 runs over his last 79.2 innings with a 2.94 ERA and a 3.48 FIP. Since the All-Star Break, Singer has allowed nine runs in six starts and has 45 strikeouts in 38.1 innings of work. He’s only allowed two homers and has faced the Rays twice, Yankees, White Sox twice and Dodgers, so a mixed bag of opponents. He’s outpitched Gerrit Cole and hung with Shane McClanahan in that stretch as well, so he should be amped up for going up against Gallen.
There isn’t a lot of margin for error with a 3.5, but Gallen and Singer haven’t needed much, so I’m hoping that stays the same here. The Diamondbacks have been a league average offense in the second half and the Royals are nowhere close, so I’m thinking that these two excellent pitchers do precisely what they should do. A couple 1st 5 totals tonight with the Under 3.5 at -110 here.
I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.