MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, July 21st

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 21, 2023 11:37 AM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

Friday has arrived, bringing an end to the work week for some, but not for Major League Baseball players. There are 15 games on the betting board today with the 5-5-5 format that has become so commonplace around the league this season with the more balanced schedule and more interleague play.

Before I get to today’s card, let’s look at offense from yesterday. It was ugggggggggly. Teams collectively batted .208/.283/.360 with a .283 wOBA and an 81 wRC+ with a 24.9% K%. There were only 18 homers hit across the 10 games with a HR/FB% of 11.9%. Tuesday might have been Happy Homer Fun Time, but the last two nights have been duds on the scoreboard.

The league collectively had a wOBA equal to Brendan Donovan and Ozzie Albies on Tuesday. Yesterday, the league was between Jose Abreu and Esteury Ruiz. Ouch.

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Here are some thoughts on the July 21 card (odds from DraftKings):

St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (-130, 8.5)

After playing a night game yesterday, the Cardinals and Cubs will be at it bright and early with a 1 p.m. matinee at Wrigley Field. It will be Jack Flaherty in what could be his final start as a Cardinal against Justin Steele, who is safely a Cub, even as they look to be sellers at the Trade Deadline.

Is there hope left for the Cardinals to make a run? They’re far enough out that they still have to view themselves as sellers, but they have reeled off six straight dubs since losing 7-5 in 10 innings to the Nationals to start the second half. Flaherty checks in with a 4.29 ERA and a 4.62 xERA in his 98.2 innings of work. His 4.06 FIP is better, especially when you consider all the walks he issued earlier in the season. His BB% still sits at 11.8% for the season, but his home run prevention numbers have helped in the FIP department.

Steele has been the ace that the Cubs need this season. Marcus Stroman’s had a good year as well, but Steele is the unquestioned top hurler on the staff with a 2.96 ERA, 3.34 xERA, and a 3.07 FIP over 97.1 innings. He’s worked in one IL stint this season, but he has an excellent walk rate with great homer prevention numbers and he’s a 48.8% GB% guy. 

Steele did have a rough outing coming back from Break with six runs allowed on 10 hits over six innings against the Red Sox. Flaherty was decidedly more effective with three runs allowed on just three hits against a weaker Washington bunch. Guess we’ll see which guy prevails here, but with an early game, nothing from me.

Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins (-225, 8.5)

Not really a ton to say here with this one, as the Marlins are an enormous favorite against the Rockies with Braxton Garrett on the bump against Peter Lambert. Garrett allowed four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings to the Orioles last time out on the road at Camden Yards and has now allowed 10 runs on 19 hits with a 14/1 K/BB ratio in his three July starts. After giving up 11 runs to the Braves in April, Garrett allowed a total of 15 earned runs in his next 10 starts.

Lambert has a 6.29 ERA with a 5.75 xERA and a 6.00 FIP in 34.1 MLB innings this season. He’s been working down at Triple-A to get built back up into more of a starting capacity with all of Colorado’s pitching injuries. He hasn’t allowed a homer in 21.2 innings at the minor league level this season with a 4.15 ERA, but he has allowed three runs on seven hits in 8.1 innings in his last two appearances since getting sent down.

Real dud of a game here.

San Francisco Giants (-150, 9.5) at Washington Nationals

The Giants will send out southpaw Alex Wood and the Nationals will counter with right-hander Jake Irvin as this series kicks off in the nation’s capital. Wood has a 4.53 ERA with a 5.04 xERA and a 4.78 FIP in his 53.2 innings across 10 starts. He’s got an 11.5% BB% to go with a 20.6% K%, so the walks have been an issue, along with a .314 BABIP stemming from a 42.8% Hard Hit%.

It does appear that Wood has found his stride a bit, though, as he went five shutout innings right before the Break and then allowed one run on five hits in 3.2 innings against the Pirates five days ago. That said, Wood’s had three appearances in his last seven with at least five runs allowed, so he’s not exactly the most trustworthy guy to back.

Irvin is just a hard guy to back because his ceiling is really low. He’s got a 4.96 ERA with a 5.11 xERA and a 5.25 FIP in 61.2 innings of work. The rookie right-hander has really poor K/BB numbers with a 15.9% K% and a 10.5% BB%, but he’s managed not to get crushed very often by inducing a lot of weak contact. While it’s not terribly exciting, he has held the opposition to three or fewer earned runs in seven of his last nine starts. He’s cut from the same cloth as Trevor Williams, which isn’t the best material, but it will keep teams in the game more often than not.

Irvin allowed four runs on six hits over just three innings coming back from Break, but had allowed 10 earned runs over his last 27.2 innings prior to that for a 3.25 ERA. Still, I don’t think there’s a grand edge here. The Nationals aren’t what they were early in the season against lefties and Irvin has allowed a .357 wOBA with a .470 SLG to lefties, whereas righties only have a .324 SLG and a .311 wOBA, so the Giants and their LHB might match up well here.

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds (-125, 10.5)

Another rough pitching matchup features Tommy Henry and Ben Lively as the D-Backs and Reds get together on the banks of the Ohio River. Arizona dropped the series finale yesterday against the Braves, but did take two of three prior to that after getting swept by Toronto to begin the second half. The Reds have won two in a row after losing five straight to begin the second half.

Henry is a pitch-to-contact left-hander who is actually finding some success of late. His ERA is down to 3.89 for the season with a 4.14 xERA, but his 5.07 FIP definitely stands out a bit. He has allowed 12 homers and has just a 56/30 K/BB ratio in 78.2 innings of work. However, he has allowed just seven earned runs over his last five starts. He only lasted 4.1 innings against the Jays with three runs allowed on seven hits, but he had worked deep into his last four starts against the Mets, Angels, Nationals, and Guardians.

In that span, Henry has a 31% Hard Hit% and that has been a big asset for him overall, as he’s allowed a 32% HH% for the season. He does tilt towards the fly ball side and that is a bit scary going into Cincinnati, where it won’t be quite as hot as we’ve seen, but a helping breeze blowing out to RF accompanies a first-pitch temp of 80 and some humidity.

Lively has a 3.72 ERA with a 4.78 xERA and a 4.87 FIP, so there isn’t a lot to like about his profile. The right-hander does have a nice K/BB ratio, but he’s also allowed 11 homers in just 55.2 innings. Since giving up seven runs to the Cardinals on June 9, he’s allowed a total of six earned runs in his last four starts, but did work an IL stint in there. He allowed a run on three hits to the Brewers over four innings five days ago in his first start of the second half.

He’s actually allowed just a 35% Hard Hit%, but the 14 barrels he has allowed have accounted for a lot of those homers. With an 8.6% Barrel%, he’s actually gotten a little unlucky on the dinger front. 

I was surprised to see the Reds only 12th in wOBA at .326 with a 94 wRC+ against lefties at home since June 15. I figured their numbers would be a lot better in that split with the weather and the personnel. I don’t really trust Lively or Henry, but this is a big total at 10.5. I don’t even trust either team, with both off to slow second halves.

Atlanta Braves (-120, 9) at Milwaukee Brewers

This one features Mike Soroka and Freddy Peralta as division leaders mix it up at American Family Field. The Braves salvaged the series finale against the D-Backs to end a season-high four-game losing streak before hitting the road to face the Brewers and Red Sox.

It is tough to know what Soroka will provide here. He’s made five starts and has allowed 14 runs on 26 hits in 23.1 innings of work with a 19/9 K/BB ratio. He’s allowed six homers and a Hard Hit% of 36% with a Barrel% of 9.3%. He’s worked six innings twice, but also been pulled after 3.2, 4.2, and 3.0, with his most recent appearance being three innings against the White Sox with two runs allowed on three hits. Soroka pitched in relief in that game and only needed 30 pitches to complete his work, as he came in to spare the bullpen while trailing 6-1.

So, I cannot say that there is much that I like about his profile at all. He’s still trying to work his way back after injuries and setbacks and the results have been mixed at best.

Peralta checks in with a 4.41 ERA, 3.92 xERA, and a 4.48 FIP in his 98 innings pitched. The right-hander has a strong 27.1% K% with a 9.6% BB%, but it’s the 16 homers and the 15.4% HR/FB% that stand out to me. This is now a career-high in homers for Peralta, whose career-high in innings is 144.1. 

He has only allowed three homers in his last five starts and just threw six outstanding innings against the Reds with one hit and no runs allowed on the 15th. Peralta’s starts had been a bit shaky prior to that, so maybe he just needed the Break to reset a little bit. He’s been a good bit better at home this season with a .303 wOBA against and a 3.88 ERA with a 3.92 FIP compared to a .335 wOBA against and a 5.04 ERA on the road with a 5.14 FIP. For whatever reason, his K% is 30.1% at home and 23.6% on the road. He also has a much better BB% at home and has fared a little better in the home run department.

I like the Brewers tonight. With Allan Winans making his MLB debut tomorrow, I think the Braves could ask for more from Soroka than he is capable of giving. Peralta has been decidedly better at home and does have the 13.2% SwStr% that it takes to have a chance at slowing this lineup down. The Brewers have once again cobbled together an interesting and effective bullpen that is in a little better shape than Atlanta’s.

Shop around here, as the DraftKings 20-cent lines on all numbers come into play. A lot of books have 10 or 15-cent lines here and will have a better price on Milwaukee.

Pick: Brewers +100

Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays (-140, 8)

The Orioles drew first blood in the series against the Rays and have sole possession of first place after the All-Star Break for the first time since August 15, 2016. I outlined Tampa’s offensive woes yesterday and they added more fuel to that fire by going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, including repeated failures in the 10th inning with the ghost runner while trying to tie the game.

The Rays will turn to Zach Eflin today in hopes of getting back in the win column, while the O’s will counter with Kyle Bradish. Eflin is having an excellent season, as he has a 3.59 ERA with a 3.20 xERA and a 3.13 FIP over his 105.1 innings pitched. He’s just shy of a strikeout per inning with an outstanding walk rate and a 52.8% GB%. He’s very difficult to score against more often than not, though he did give up five runs on seven hits over three innings to the Royals last time out.

That start marked just the fourth time in 18 starts that he has allowed more than three earned runs. Eflin also had zero strikeouts out of 15 batters faced in that outing and only threw 46 pitches, as Kevin Cash had seen enough and cut his losses early. Eflin has not walked a batter since June 23, so if the Orioles are going to get baserunners, they’ll have to hit their way aboard.

Bradish is throwing the ball very well for the O’s right now, as he has a 3.05 ERA with a 4.26 xERA and a 3.47 FIP over 91.1 innings of work. Since May 28, Bradish has a run of nine straight starts with no more than three runs allowed and a 2.17 ERA with a 2.75 FIP. He’s struck out 55 and walked 11 in that span with just three homers allowed. He has allowed a total of six earned runs in his last six starts, which seems good heading into this start against a Rays team batting .213/.275/.368 in the month of July.

Both Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista have worked back-to-back days and both guys pitched over an inning yesterday. I couldn’t take Baltimore for the full game in light of that. Also, it’s just hard to see a lot of runs being scored against Eflin. As good as Bradish has been, I don’t have a Baltimore play today, but I don’t want to lay this number with the Rays offense either.

Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees (-200, 8.5)

Alec Marsh and Clarke Schmidt are the listed starters here, as Marsh looks to build off of a pretty epic start last time out. In just his third MLB outing, Marsh struck out 11 Rays over six outstanding innings, but still wound up on the short end of the decision, as his offense failed to muster much of an attack. Marsh has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in 15 innings, with five home runs allowed. Now he takes his fly ball stylings to Yankee Stadium on a humid evening in the Bronx.

Weather could be a factor here with a late start or a delay, so we’ll see if that impacts either pitcher. Prior to that start against the Rays, he had 10 strikeouts in nine innings, so that was an outlier performance to say the least, but still one that showcased his upside as a rookie hurler.

Schmidt is somebody that I have focused on a lot because his turnaround has been quite impressive and isn’t getting nearly enough run while people talk about everything that is wrong with the Yankees. Schmidt allowed seven runs on May 14 to the Rays. Since then, he’s got a 2.83 ERA with a 3.88 FIP in 10 starts across 54 innings with just 18 runs allowed (17 earned). He only has a 47/13 K/BB ratio, as the Yankees have prioritized soft contact with him as opposed to trying to strike dudes out. He does have 15 strikeouts in 11 innings over his last two starts and pitched really well in Colorado last time out with eight strikeouts and just two runs allowed on three hits.

Nothing here from me, as I don’t want to lay a big number with the Yankees offense, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had reservations about Marsh as a fly ball guy in this venue.

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (-155, 8)

Lance Lynn will try to improve his trade value and maybe make his way to a contender as the White Sox battle the Twins. Lynn has an ugly 6.06 ERA with a 4.68 xERA and a 4.96 FIP, but it is the 3.83 xFIP that stands out. Lynn’s 20.3% HR/FB% has never really regressed this season, but if he had a league average HR/FB%, xFIP estimates his FIP around 3.83, which would be really good.

But, we can’t just assume a league average HR/FB% since he’s allowed 24 home runs on the season in 108.1 innings pitched. He allowed two more dingers in 5.1 innings in his first start of the second half to Atlanta with four runs on six hits overall. What’s crazy is that Lynn has a 14% SwStr% and a 27.7% K%, but the contact he has allowed has been punished. He has given up 32 barrels and a 10.6% Barrel%, but his Hard Hit% of 39.7% is right around league average, so he really doesn’t deserve an ERA north of 6.

It’s still an ugly profile to put next to Joe Ryan’s, as the Twins starter has a 3.77 ERA with a 2.99 xERA and a 3.59 FIP over his 112.1 innings of work. Ryan topped out at 147 MLB innings last season, so we’ll see how he does as the second half goes along. I’d say he’s fine for now, but in August and September, I’ll be watching closely for signs of decline.

Hell, there may be some signs of decline right now. Ryan has allowed five or more runs in three of his last six starts. He allowed five homers in his start against Atlanta and has allowed 11 in his last six starts after allowing six in his first 13 starts. He also had a noticeable velo decrease in his start against Oakland, averaging just 91.8 mph with the fastball. That was his second-lowest start of the season. I’ll be watching that as well.

No play today, but several key things to watch with Ryan may lead us to a wager or two down the line.

Houston Astros (-250, 7.5) at Oakland Athletics

Framber Valdez and JP Sears are listed here, as the Astros are a huge favorite against the A’s. Houston did very little against Hogan Harris yesterday, but scored an insurance run in the ninth to cash the run line with the only play that made the cut on a limited card for Thursday.

I won’t be invested here at all. Valdez left his last start with some calf discomfort and was hobbled by a sprained ankle prior to the Break. I always worry about those little injuries leading to some sort of unwanted mechanical adjustment or something. He allowed five runs on seven hits to the Angels in that start and struck out 13, but he allowed a ton of hard contact and two homers for just the second time this season. He should fare better against the A’s in a friendlier pitching environment, but the line is where it is for a reason.

Sears is having a decent season with a 3.99 ERA, 4.44 xERA, and a 4.94 FIP. He’ll probably never be a darling in the eyes of xERA and FIP because he allows a lot of fly ball contact and will give up home runs as a guy that throws a ton of strikes. He’s given up 21 homers in 106 innings this season, but he has 100 strikeouts against just 23 walks. 

He allowed three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts against the Twins last time out over 6.1 innings. He’s allowed just four earned runs over his last three starts, so maybe he is coming into his own a bit. Except for giving up homers, there’s a lot to like, and while that sounds crazy, 14 of the 21 homers are solo shots and you can deal with those. It’s the three-run homers from guys who issue a lot of walks or a lot of hits that are really problematic.

Since May 3, Sears actually has a 3.26 ERA. I would’ve maybe been interested in the A’s if it was anybody other than Valdez on the mound.

Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners (-115, 8)

Former Mariner Yusei Kikuchi will say hi to some old friends and make the start at T-Mobile Park. Kikuchi is having such a wild and crazy year from a stat standpoint that it’s hard to really know what to think about him. He has a 4.13 ERA with a 4.65 xERA and a 5.17 FIP in 98 innings. He has a really solid 24.3% K% with a strong 7.3% BB%. He’s got a .251 BA against with a .284 BABIP and an 83.3% LOB%. Here’s the thing - he’s also allowed 22 home runs in 19 starts.

He’s allowed 13 of those 22 homers on the road, where he has a 4.53 ERA and a .359 wOBA against. He’s got a 3.69 ERA with a .311 wOBA against at home in 46.1 innings. His FIP is actually 5.47 on the road, as his K% goes from 27.7% at home to 21.2% on the road. He’s also allowed a 43.7% Hard Hit% and a 10.4% Barrel% on the season.

Bryce Miller returned from the IL with a good effort five days ago against the Tigers. He worked five shutout innings with three strikeouts and a walk, scattering five hits in the process. It was Miller’s first start since June 30. The Mariners are going to be careful with their prized, young arms as the second half moves along, unless they get into the playoff hunt and are forced to push them a bit harder.

Miller has only allowed a .249 wOBA in his 38 innings at home with a 2.84 ERA and a 3.52 FIP. I just wish he was working a bit deeper into games and had been working a little more consistently. He’s allowed a good bit of hard contact lately and the Blue Jays are a far more talented lineup than what Detroit brings to the table. I’m going to pass on this one.

San Diego Padres (-140, 9) at Detroit Tigers

The Padres and Tigers meet at Comerica Park, as San Diego makes Stop No. 3 on this road trip to begin the second half. So far, the Padres are 3-3 with a series win over the Jays and a series loss to the Phillies. Seth Lugo and Reese Olson face off in this one and it could be a low-key strong pitching matchup.

Lugo had a rocky start to begin the second half with five runs allowed on seven hits against the Phillies on the 16th. He has a 3.78 ERA with a 3.59 FIP on the year and has only allowed more than three runs three times in 13 starts, with that last start as the first one since he returned from the IL on June 20.

He draws a more favorable matchup here against the Tigers, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lugo bounce back a bit. That said, he had a 47.1% Hard Hit%, allowed three barrels, and only had a 6.5% SwStr% in that start. Was it rust or maybe a sign of something more? Given that he racked up whiffs in his previous two starts, I’ll assume rust, but I guess today will be a good litmus test.

Olson is having a fine rookie season for the Tigers. He’s been used as a starter, a bulk guy, and a piggybacker, but he has a 3.96 ERA with a 4.03 xERA and a 3.52 FIP in his 38.2 innings of work. Olson has one really bad start to his name and it came against Atlanta, which certainly happens. Those 3.1 innings account for six of the 17 earned runs he has allowed and he has allowed five earned runs in his last five appearances, with three of at least five innings. 

Olson has a 12.2% SwStr% and a 25.8% K% with a low walk rate and a 37.4% Hard Hit%, so he truly has thrown the ball well. The wind is blowing out here and I think that’s part of the reason why this total is up to 9, but I think this will be a low-scoring affair. The Padres pen is in good shape after losing yesterday and Jason Foley is the only guy compromised for the Tigers. These two teams don’t see each other, so these are some unfamiliar arms.

The Padres have walked a lot against righties to bump up their numbers since June 15 with a .330 wOBA that ranks 13th and a 111 wRC+, but Olson has a BB% around 5%. The Tigers are 26th in wOBA against righties in that span.

Pick: Under 9 (-120)

Philadelphia Phillies (-120, 8) at Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians had yet another bullpen meltdown on Wednesday before getting a chance to lick their wounds prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. It will be Gavin Williams on the hill for Cleveland and southpaw Ranger Suarez out there for the Phillies. Williams had 61 strikeouts in 46 innings at the Triple-A level against 21 walks. He only has 23 K against 11 BB in 29.2 innings at the big league level.

Williams has a 3.94 ERA with a 4.50 xERA and a 4.70 FIP in his five starts. The stuff hasn’t wowed me like the scouting reports said it would, but he has been mostly effective because of a 32.9% Hard Hit% and a 4.7% Barrel%. Williams has faced KC twice, Oakland, Atlanta, and Texas, so a couple of good lineups and a couple of bad ones. The Phillies have some star power in name, but rank 21st with a .306 wOBA and an 89 wRC+ since June 15. That surprised me because they’ve played a lot better over the last seven weeks.

While the Guardians have picked things up a bit offensively, they are still bad against lefties, which has been an ongoing theme. They get one today in Suarez, who comes in with a 3.84 ERA, 4.50 xERA, and a 3.95 FIP in his 68 innings of work. The southpaw’s season got off to a late start and he struggled out of the chute, giving up 12 runs on 17 hits in his first 11 innings. However, he then allowed just six runs total in six starts from May 30 to June 27. In three starts since, though, he has allowed 11 earned runs over 17 innings of work.

That said, Suarez faced the Nationals and Marlins, who see him all the time and have been better against lefties than righties, especially Miami, who has the best offense against lefties since mid-June, and the Padres with seven days between starts.

I mentioned Cleveland against Pittsburgh and how the Guardians will beat inferior teams and they do so regularly. It’s comparable or better teams that they have issues with and the Phillies are in that group. Cleveland’s bullpen has been a mess and Philly’s top relievers are in good shape for this one. I like the Phillies as a short favorite tonight. Shop around, as much like the Brewers earlier, DraftKings’ 20-cent lines on close numbers comes into play here.

Pick: Phillies -120

New York Mets at Boston Red Sox (-115, 9.5)

Kodai Senga and Kutter Crawford are the two listed pitchers here at Fenway Park, as the Mets and Red Sox attempt to open a three-game weekend set. Rain is very much in the forecast here, so we could see this one get delayed or even postponed, depending on how the storms form around the area.

Crawford owns a 3.74 ERA with a 3.57 xERA and a 4.07 FIP in his 67.1 innings pitched across 10 starts and eight relief appearances. He started the second half with a bang thanks to six shutout innings against the Cubs with nine strikeouts. He did walk four, but induced a lot of weak contact and set a season-high for strikeouts. There’s a lot to like about Crawford with a 35.8% Hard Hit% and an 8.6% Barrel%. The HH% is really good and the Barrel% is around average.

Senga is having a fine season as well. He has a 3.20 ERA with a 3.86 FIP in his 95.2 innings. He will issue some walks, but also has a K% north of 30%, so he’s able to work around those. He has a 12% BB%, but a league average Hard Hit% at 39.5% and a low 6% Barrel%. Senga keeps the ball on the ground effectively and that also allows him to work around the walk issues.

I think this game is lined pretty fairly. Boston is playing extremely well this month and, while Senga maybe has more upside than Crawford, the Red Sox lineup has more upside, especially with what they’ve done at Fenway Park this season with 5.6 runs per game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Texas Rangers (-125, 9.5)

It will be Tony Gonsolin and Andrew Heaney as the Rangers left-hander faces his former team. We’ve seen a good bit of interest in the Texas side here, as the Dodgers actually opened a favorite at some shops, but overnight and early-morning money came in on the host squad.

The main reason for that is that Gonsolin has a lot of negative regression signs in his profile. The righty has a 3.72 ERA with a 4.88 xERA and a 4.69 FIP in his 72.2 innings of work. His LOB% is actually just 70.4%, a huge change from the last two seasons when he was at 83.8% and 86.2%, but his .213 BABIP and his incredible fortune with the bases empty are where the regression signs come into play.

He has a .160/.245/.266 slash against and a .233 wOBA with the bases empty. As a result, he hasn’t allowed a whole lot of baserunners, but when he has, he’s allowed a .346 wOBA with men on and a .364 wOBA with RISP. The expectation here for the Rangers seems to be that they will get some traffic out there and capitalize.

Considering Heaney has a 4.43 ERA with a 4.75 xERA and a 5.03 FIP, it had to be something like that to force such a big line move. Heaney has also been worse at home with a .349 wOBA against compared to a .320 wOBA against on the road. He’s got a 4.75 ERA at home and a 3.99 ERA on the road. So, there are some compelling regression signs for Gonsolin serving as the driving force for this line move.

I don’t have a play here, as I don’t really see Heaney being all that trustworthy, but I can totally understand the dislike of Gonsolin.

Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (-180, 8)

Shohei Ohtani Day is here for the Angels, as they lay a big number against the lowly Pirates. Pittsburgh got to fly to Anaheim with some positive vibes after coming back against Cleveland, but this is a team with twice as many losses as wins over the last 60+ games. 

There will be a lot of interested eyes on Ohtani, as he’s allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in his last 10 innings with a 12/7 K/BB ratio. It sure seems like he is struggling a little bit right now, as the Padres and Astros both found success 10 days apart. Ohtani has shouldered basically all of the burden for this team throughout the season. It’ll be interesting to see if he can do it again here as trade rumors swirl, though a deal seems rather unlikely.

Johan Oviedo gets the call for Pittsburgh, as the Pirates right-hander has a 4.53 ERA with a 4.53 xERA and a 4.18 FIP in his 107.1 innings of work. Oviedo has actually eaten up some decent innings for Pittsburgh, all things considered. He has a .289 BABIP against with a 68.8% LOB%, so there isn’t too much to write home about there. His BB% is a little high at 9.1%, but his K% at 20.4% is pretty close to league average. 

His first start of the second half was really good with one run allowed on one hit against the Giants. He struck out 10 on the heels of giving up 13 runs on 15 hits in his last 11.2 innings of the first half. Maybe he needed the Break, as he approaches his 2022 innings total, but all of his innings have been high-stress at the MLB level.

I don’t have a bet here, but Ohtani is worth watching closely as the Deadline nears. Let’s see if he can bounce back from a rough start to the second half.

TL;DR Recap

Brewers +100

SD/DET Under 9 (-120)

Phillies -120

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