MLB schedule today has 15 games
After a really light day on the diamond yesterday, we’re back to the full 15-game card. This will be a really tough weekend for some players, as they may play their final games with their teammates or their final home games in a city that they’ve known for a long time. There are a lot of emotions around the league right now and it may be a little bit tricky figuring out how teams are taking the days leading up to the Trade Deadline.
They’ll all say the right things about the business of baseball and be as professional as possible, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to deal with, so those unquantifiable factors are definitely present for the next five days.
All we can do is keep that in mind as we run down the card and look for the stats, matchups, and lines that make sense.
Remember I’ve got that live Trade Deadline blog running and will update it as quickly as I can when trades drop. We had the first selling moment for the Mets last night with David Robertson going to the Marlins and I’ll add that one right after I finish today’s best bets and podcast pieces.
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Here are some thoughts on the July 28 card (odds from DraftKings):
The Pirates also had their first selling moment yesterday with the trade of Carlos Santana. The veteran 1B hadn’t been there long, but is highly regarded around the league as being a great teammate, so he heads into a playoff race and leaves the hapless Buccos. Today, they run into Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler has a 3.88 ERA with a 3.27 xERA and a 2.88 FIP over 118.1 innings of work. The right-hander has terrific peripherals, but a .318 BABIP against and a 68.8% LOB% to drive up his ERA, even though he’s struck out 27.1% of opposing batters and has allowed just a 37.2% Hard Hit% with a 5.4% Barrel%.
Wheeler had allowed three or more runs in four starts, and a homer in each one, before holding the Guardians to one run on five hits on the 22nd. Wheeler has had as many starts (8) with four or more runs allowed as he has with one or zero runs allowed. So, you never quite know what will come, even though the peripherals support much better numbers.
Keller’s incredible start to the season is now an afterthought, as his ERA is higher this season (4.01) than it was last season (3.91). His xERA and FIP are still lower, but the uptick in strikeouts from last year to this year is no longer as powerful as it was. He’s having home run issues and he’s allowed five of them in his last two starts with 14 runs allowed on 19 hits in 11 innings.
Prior to that, he had a 3.31 ERA with a 3.35 FIP, so the last two starts have really crushed his numbers. His velo looks fine, but from June 6 to July 18, he only had a 6.1% SwStr% and a 17.8% K% with a 9.1% BB%, so he lost some of his margin for error and was building towards this kind of run.
I don’t have a play today, as this game seems fairly lined, but I am checking to see if Keller shows any additional regression/injury signs.
Will this be Max Scherzer’s final start with the Mets? There seems to be a lot of smoke surrounding Justin Verlander. Less so around Scherzer, but last night’s trade of closer David Robertson shows that the Mets are waving the white flag on the season. It was a thin bullpen to begin with and Robertson was arguably the best reliever in it. The Mets also traded him to a team that they are chasing in the Miami Marlins, so that had to be a deflating moment after yesterday’s 97-minute rain delay and 2-1 win. Brooks Raley got the save in a clear save situation.
Scherzer comes in with a 4.20 ERA, 3.65 xERA, and a 4.78 FIP, so I guess teams would rather take the chance on Verlander’s $43 million than Scherzer’s for next season. He’s still got a solid K%, but he’s also allowed a 16.2% HR/FB% with 22 homers allowed. Two more and it will be the most he has allowed since 2016. He’s allowed 14 runs on 18 hits in his last four starts and that includes seven shutout innings against the Dodgers after the Break. He just gave up four homers at Fenway Park and has allowed nine in those last four starts.
MacKenzie Gore gets the call for the Nats, who continue to operate at a talent deficiency, but keep battling hard. He’s got a 4.37 ERA with a 4.95 xERA and a 4.23 FIP in his 101 innings of work. He’s been very inconsistent from start to start lately, as he’s allowed 5, 1, 7, 0, 5, 0 runs in his last six outings. If that pattern holds, he’ll struggle today. What’s weird about Gore is that he’s allowed a .315 wOBA on the road and has a 4.60 ERA, but he has a .363 wOBA against at home and a 4.04 ERA.
His road FIP is 3.98 and his home FIP is 4.58, but he’s had less batted ball luck and fewer strikeouts at home. So, we’ll see how he does today against the Mets. If I had a little more confidence in him, I’d take a shot with Washington because of all the moving parts for the Mets, but his inconsistencies make him hard to trust.
The Brewers and Braves fire up a series between division leaders, as it will be Adrian Houser for Milwaukee and Yonny Chirinos for Atlanta. When Houser faced Atlanta six days ago, I called it a tough matchup for him. He allowed three runs on six hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts. For a guy with a 17.7% K%, the strikeout increase was unexpected to say the least. His 12.4% SwStr% was his second-highest of the season (the other came in relief).
Of course, Houser also allowed a season-high four barrels and now has allowed a 50.8% Hard Hit% in his last four starts with a 12.3% Barrel%. He’s allowing a lot of hard contact and has allowed a .344 BABIP, but also has an 88% LOB%. In other words, there are some regression signs in the profile to be sure and if the Braves make more contact, I could very much see them happening tonight.
It was pretty ugly for Chirinos in Tampa this season. He was extremely fortunate to only have a 4.02 ERA with a 6.37 xERA and a 5.52 FIP over his 62.2 innings of work. He only had an 11.8% K%, but managed to hold the opposition to a .244 BABIP, despite a 46.9% Hard Hit% against and a 9.2% Barrel%. The weird part was that he had a 2.95 ERA with a .313 wOBA against on the road in 39.2 innings, where I would have expected that hard contact to be far more detrimental than in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. His FIPs were nearly identical at 5.54 at home and 5.43 on the road.
At the Trop, he allowed a .355 wOBA and had a 5.87 ERA over 23 innings. He’ll get the straight start for the Braves here and has allowed a .284/.355/.494 slash and a .362 wOBA in 21 innings as a starter with a 6.43 ERA. He had a 2.81 ERA with a .311 wOBA in 41.2 innings as a bulk reliever.
Initially, I figured I’d keep it simple and just look at the Over here, despite the high number. But, the Braves are only 12th in wOBA against RHP at .329 this month with a 104 wRC+ and the Brewers are 16th at .313 with just a 95 wRC+. They haven’t hit for much power against righties, but have drawn a lot of walks. Chirinos only has a 7.6% BB% this season and a 6.3% BB% for his career, so it isn’t really a problem that he has.
Ultimately, I decided to stay away from this one.
Keep an eye on this one, as we could see the Cardinals opt to not use Jordan Montgomery if a trade is close. Given how Dakota Hudson was forced to wear one yesterday after Miles Mikolas was ejected in the first inning, the Cardinals may take their chances with Montgomery and then deal him after. Teams certainly want to preserve as many bullets as possible when they’re trading for a guy, so a team could swoop in with an offer and take him off the board.
The Cubs haven’t named a starter yet for today, as they’ll use an opener and a bulk guy or a full-fledged bullpen game. Winning in blowout fashion yesterday makes a pen game way more tolerable as they look to run the winning streak out to seven in a row. It is Drew Smyly’s turn in the rotation, so maybe they just opt to go with him. Maybe they use Michael Fulmer as the opener and then roll with Smyly. They could use a guy like Daniel Palencia in a back-to-back to throw a lower-leverage inning and then roll it over to Smyly. I guess we’ll have to see how they handle it.
But, they’re running really good right now, are still scoring over seven runs per game, and may be playing themselves into being buyers instead of sellers. I still think that’s a tall order, but they’re only four games out in the Wild Card, 5.5 in the NL Central, and are one of the hottest teams in baseball. They just got to .500 for the first time since they were 19-19 on May 12.
If Montgomery does start, the Cubs are only batting .321 with a 101 wRC+ against lefties this month, as they’ve done a ton of damage against righties.
The Cardinals have a .358 wOBA against lefties with a 129 wRC+ this month and Smyly is up to a 4.60 ERA with a 4.23 xERA and a 4.82 FIP by virtue of a 6.89 ERA over his last 10 appearances covering 48.1 innings. He just gave up five runs on six hits in 3.2 relief innings to the Cardinals last time out.
Brandon Williamson and Bobb Miller are the listed starters here, as the Reds and Dodgers fire up a weekend set. The Dodgers recently acquired Kike Hernandez and Amed Rosario in hopes of helping against southpaws and we could see both guys deployed here today against the left-handed Williamson.
Williamson has a 4.60 ERA with a 5.57 xERA and a 5.16 FIP in his 58.2 innings pitched this season. He’s been hurt by a 68.9% LOB%, but as you can see, the advanced metrics are worse, as he’s allowed 10 homers in 12 starts and only has an 18.8% K% with a 9.4% BB%. Over his last seven starts, though, Williamson has a 3.94 ERA with a 4.28 FIP. His BB% is down a bit and he’s only allowed four homers in that span, so he’s gotten a bit stronger as the year has gone along.
He’s only allowed two homers in his last five starts and has allowed three runs on seven hits in 12 innings since the All-Star Break. He has only worked 20 innings on the road compared to 38.2 at home and has allowed just two homers in his road appearances compared to eight at home, where his SLG is 57 points higher.
Miller has a 4.28 ERA with a 3.81 xERA and a 3.63 FIP. Unlike Williamson, his low LOB% has negatively impacted him with a 69.4% mark. His peripherals support better results, but he’s had a hard time stranding runners in some of his starts. Miller started his MLB career with two runs allowed on just 12 hits in his first 23 innings. Since then, he’s allowed a 6.82 ERA with a 4.67 FIP in his last six starts. He’s been better since the Break with four runs on 10 hits in 10.2 innings of work.
This line might be a little bit big on Miller and the Dodgers, but I am not eager to back Williamson in this spot either. The Dodgers continue to draw a lot of walks against lefties and that will put him in a tough spot.
Hard-throwers Gerrit Cole and Grayson Rodriguez square off here as a big series in the AL East gets underway at Camden Yards. Rain is in the forecast here, so we could end up with a postponement depending on how the storms shake out. If we get the game, it will be very interesting to see if Rodriguez builds upon his last start. He allowed two runs on three hits over 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and a couple of walks against the Rays.
By Game Score, it was his second-best MLB start of the season, trailing only his five shutout innings after Detroit back on April 29 when he struck out nine of the 18 batters he faced. Given how the Yankees have performed offensively without Aaron Judge, he has a chance to be good. He was better than his stat line against the Dodgers would indicate, especially for four innings of the five that he threw, but the Bryan Baker grand slam that allowed two inherited runners to score made it a bit worse.
Cole keeps quietly rolling along at the front of the Yankees rotation with a 2.78 ERA, 3.60 xERA, and a 3.34 FIP in his 129.1 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since May 28 and has only allowed three runs twice in those nine starts with a 2.59 ERA and a 2.87 FIP. He’s struck out 21 in 12.1 innings since the Break with dominant outings against the Rockies at Coors and the Royals. This is definitely a step up in class, but Cole seems to have taken the chance to catch his breath and run with it.
If you trust Rodriguez, the Under 8.5 is pretty attractive here. It’ll be a warm night with winds blowing out, so there’s that, but Felix Bautista hasn’t pitched since Sunday and Yennier Cano hasn’t pitched since Tuesday, so he’s had a few days to figure some things out. The Yankees pen is in pretty good shape as well.
I’ll take the shot with that Under tonight. Rodriguez seems to have more explosive stuff with better command of it since the recall. He had a 17.2% SwStr% against the Rays last time out and only allowed a 33.3% Hard Hit%. The Yankees lineup isn’t on the level of the Dodgers and much closer to what the Rays have been this month. In two starts since the recall, he has a 69% F-Strike% with a 33% O-Swing%. He’s also getting more whiffs in the zone than he did in most of his early starts. I think he’ll be good. I think Cole will be good. And I think both bullpens will be good.
Pick: Under 8.5 (-105)
Lucas Giolito didn’t have to wait long for his Angels debut. It’ll happen tonight at Rogers Centre when the Angels battle another team in the Wild Card mix. The Blue Jays have a 1.5-game lead over the Red Sox for the last spot and a three-game edge over the Angels. The Angels opted to buy rather than trade Shohei Ohtani, which seemed to spark the team to a doubleheader sweep of the Tigers yesterday in which Ohtani threw a complete game one-hitter and hit two homers. He’s the best baseball player any of us will see in our lifetimes.
But, this series starts a big stretch for the Angels. From now through the end of August, they play 3 @ TOR, 3 @ ATL, 4 vs. SEA, 3 vs. SF, 3 @ HOU, 3 @ TEX, 3 vs. TB, 3 vs. CIN, 3 @ NYM, 3 @ PHI. That’s a hell of stretch and maybe being a buyer will end up looking like a mistake with that gauntlet. We’ll see how they fare today and in this series.
Giolito, who is a California kid, has a 3.79 ERA with a 4.44 xERA and a 4.46 FIP in his 121 innings of work. He allowed eight runs in 3.2 innings against the Mets two starts ago and then threw five shutout innings with nine strikeouts against the Twins in his final start with Chicago. While he’s close with pitching coach Ethan Katz, who was his high school pitching coach at Harvard-Westlake in the LA area, he gets to join a playoff chase and goes to a team that is way more engaged than the White Sox were.
Still, I’m not sure how this first start will go and I’m always uncertain about traded starters. They have to develop a rapport with their new catchers and coaches. Sometimes it clicks right away. Sometimes it doesn’t. For Giolito, with occasional control issues, I’m not sure what to think.
It also doesn’t help that the Angels run into Kevin Gausman. Did Gausman’s once-a-month blow-up happen last time out? He allowed four solo homers to the Mariners, though he did strike out nine over six innings. He’s had one bad start per month, but has a 3.18 ERA with a 2.77 FIP because he’s had a lot of good starts otherwise. His four worst starts account for 26 of the 48 runs he has allowed, so he’s given up 22 runs in his other 16 starts. Not too shabby. Not a profile I want to go against either.
That last start was his first in 14 days, so we’ll see if he’s sharper today after battling some side discomfort.
The White Sox have lost six in a row and send Touki Toussaint against his former team in hopes of stopping the bleeding. Toussaint was with the Cleveland org for one MLB start and 37.2 Triple-A innings before getting released and finding a landing spot on the South Side. He had a 4.06 ERA in his 20 Triple-A appearances and he allowed two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings with five walks in his lone start.
With the White Sox, Toussaint has a 3.95 ERA with a 4.75 FIP in 27.1 innings of work. He has a 23/17 K/BB ratio, but he’s allowed just a .206 BABIP and has only allowed two homers, so he’s been able to work around that ugly BB%. He’s only allowed two barrels and a 35.7% Hard Hit%, so that’s why he’s had some BABIP success. That said, in his two starts, he’s allowed 16 hard-hit balls in 33 batted ball events, so turning lineups over has been a little trickier for him.
Xzavion Curry starts for the Guardians here. He’s got a 2.98 ERA with a 5.22 xERA and a 4.15 FIP, so there are some big regression signs in the profile. As I mentioned prior to his last start, he’s pitched in a lot of low-leverage situations when teams are just trying to get games over with, so he’s allowed some hard contact with a 45.3% Hard Hit%, but teams have been really aggressive in swinging away. I’ll be curious to see what happens as he gets more starts.
He’s topped out at three innings in his two starts with one run allowed on two hits with five strikeouts against four walks. I’d assume Cleveland is hoping for 3-4 innings here.
I think Cleveland wins and keeps Chicago’s losing streak intact, but I can’t lay -140 with Curry and a bullpen game for the Guards. The White Sox seem like they’d rather be anywhere else once again and maybe they need to tear this all down and start from scratch. Giolito won’t be the only trade.
The top pitching matchup of the evening features Shane McClanahan and Cristian Javier, as the Rays and Astros do battle. McClanahan has a 2.89 ERA with a 3.95 xERA and a 3.80 FIP over his 106 innings of work. He’s got a 26.1% K% and an elevated 9.6% BB%, but his 83.8% LOB% and his .265 BABIP have his ERA much lower than his advanced metrics.
McClanahan has had an interesting season, though. He’s battled a couple different ailments, including one that led to an IL stint in early July. He allowed two runs on three hits in a fine comeback start against the Rangers, but then allowed five runs on five hits in four innings against Baltimore on the 22nd. He had a ton of swings and misses and his velocity looked fine, but the BABIP and sequencing gods weren’t on his side there.
He’s actually allowed a 40.6% Hard Hit% and a 9.4% Barrel% on the season, which is quite a bit higher than last season’s 32.5% HH% and 6.4% Barrel%. Even though his numbers are really good, there’s something about him that kind of limits the confidence that you can have in his upcoming performances.
Javier is a shell of what he was last season. He has a 4.32 ERA with a 4.47 xERA and a 4.28 FIP over 102 innings of work. He’s dropped 11% in the K% department and has seen his HR numbers go up, along with a 2.2% increase in Barrel% and a 3.4% increase in Hard Hit%. Javier has allowed nearly as many hard-hit balls (108) this season as he did last season (111) in 46.2 fewer innings. That’ll happen when you allow a lot more balls in play.
Since June 9, Javier has a 7.52 ERA with a 5.70 FIP in 32.1 innings pitched. He’s allowed four or more runs four times in seven starts. He walked six guys last time out against Oakland, but only allowed two runs on one hit. He only has a 14.6% K% in these last seven starts. It has been a struggle.
But, it’s also been a struggle for the Rays offense, as they have a .286 wOBA and an 85 wRC+ against righties this month and it’s even worse against lefties. I think this is a really intriguing game, but I don’t see a good betting angle.
Sonny Gray and Brady Singer are listed for this AL Central showdown as the Twins look to stay hot. They’re 9-4 in the second half, but dropped the last two games of the series against the Mariners, so they’re hoping to bounce back after an off day. It helps to be facing the lowly Royals and to be facing Singer.
Singer has a 5.55 ERA with a 5.15 xERA and a 4.19 FIP for the season over 108.2 innings. His 64.8% LOB% is gradually improving and things are looking a little bit better. In two second-half starts, he’s allowed six runs on 12 hits in 14 innings with 13 strikeouts against one walk. He just had one of his best starts of the season against New York with nine strikeouts over six frames.
He still has a 50.9% Hard Hit%, but he’s only got a 41.6% HH% over his last five starts and he’s only allowed four barrels, so he’s starting to show slight signs of improvement. Unfortunately for him, the Twins are fourth in wOBA at .361 and have a 133 wRC+ against righties this month.
Gray has a 3.15 ERA with a 4.06 xERA and a 2.90 FIP in 111.1 innings of work. He has only allowed a 3.4% HR/FB% with three homers against, so that’s why FIP is such a huge fan of him. xERA sees a 41.6% Hard Hit% and a 9.3% BB% and that’s why that number looks so much different. Gray does have a 23.4% K% for the season, but his K% is only 18% over his last 10 starts with 44 strikeouts in 57 innings. He has a 4.42 ERA with a 3.74 FIP in those outings.
He bounced back against the lowly White Sox last time out with two runs on seven hits in six innings, but he had allowed 11 runs in his last two starts before and after the Break. Are some cracks showing up for Gray, whose spin rates took a tumble in late June before stabilizing quickly. He’s a guy I’m watching closely, but not fading today.
The Tigers lost a travel day and maybe a little beach time because of yesterday’s doubleheader and they played like a team upset to lose out on some sun and fun. The Tigers lost both games to the Angels by a combined score of 17-4 and had a long flight to Miami to think about it. Now they fire up a weekend set with Reese Olson on the bump against Braxton Garrett.
Garrett has really hit the skids in his last two outings, as he’s allowed 10 runs on 13 hits in 7.2 innings of work with 10 strikeouts against one walk. He just allowed three homers to the lowly Rockies in a home start that represented his first multi-homer game since the Braves scored 11 runs off of him on May 3. I’m not sure what happened over the Break for Garrett. His velo looks fine and his spin rates look fine. Maybe this is just a correction from all the hard contact he pitched around in the first half.
As great as his numbers have been this season, he’s allowed a 47.3% Hard Hit% and a 10.2% Barrel%, so his 3.70 ERA and 3.44 FIP sure seemed like something that would have a hard time sticking around. It turns out that is indeed the case. But, will the Tigers take advantage? They only have a .298 wOBA and a 91 wRC+ against lefties this month.
Olson has a 4.53 ERA with a 4.63 xERA and a 3.99 FIP, but he’s thrown the ball better than that. He’s got a 25.1% K%, but only a 62.8% LOB%. Twelve of his 22 runs have come in two of his 10 appearances, including five of them last time out against the Padres over five subpar innings. He has a solid 12% SwStr% and a solid 38.7% Hard Hit%, but he has also allowed an 11.3% Barrel%.
The Marlins have pummeled lefties this month and all season, but they only have a .296 wOBA and an 87 wRC+ against righties here in July. Maybe this will be a good matchup for Olson. I’m not confident enough in Detroit’s offense to consider their underdog price here, but I want no part of the current state of Garrett.
We’ve got Oakland with an opener and Colorado with Kyle Freeland as the least interesting series of the weekend begins. Nothing against these two teams or their fans, but trade pieces are limited both ways and neither team is going anywhere anytime soon. It is JP Sears Day for the A’s, but there seems to be some belief that they will use an opener with a fresh bullpen following Thursday’s off day.
Oakland has been really good about having a starter listed and then pivoting to an opener, which I’m sure has to really excite sportsbooks, given that they have to make adjustments or wait, plus it ruins the Grand Salami bet on a daily basis, which is an over/under of total runs.
This is a tricky handicap because Sears will work in some capacity and he is a terrible fit for a hot day in Denver. He has a 4.19 ERA with a 4.56 xERA and a 5.21 FIP. He is an extreme fly ball guy who has allowed 24 homers in 20 starts. It isn’t just the homer problem that stands out at Coors, this is also a spacious outfield that surrenders a lot of hits. The elevation plays a role, especially in how pitches move, but Coors Field annually leads any other ballpark in BABIP by a large margin.
So, a fly ball guy like Sears, who has just a 27.2% GB% is in a really, really tough spot here. The tough part is that the Rockies have been awful against lefties virtually all season long, but they actually have a .339 wOBA in the month of July, despite a huge K%, so they’ve hit for a lot of power in that split. What’s also super weird is that they have a .291 wOBA at home against lefties this month, but have crushed them on the road.
Freeland comes back from an IL stint for this one, as he has a 4.72 ERA with a 5.39 xERA and a 5.20 FIP in his 103 innings of work. His last MLB start on July 9 was a good one with one run on seven hits in 6.1 innings, but he didn’t strike out any of the 27 batters he faced. He allowed 21 runs in his previous four starts combined.
He did not make any rehab starts, so we’ll see how he fares. His shoulder injury was a dislocated right shoulder, so it had nothing to do with his pitching arm. That said, his velocity was down to 86.5 mph on his fastball and 86.8 mph on his sinker in his last start before the Break, which was over a full mph lower on both pitches.
Sears allowed five runs on eight hits in his last start and has allowed five homers in his two starts since the Break, including six barrels. The A’s also have a bad bullpen, as they have the worst fWAR for the season and have an ERA north of 5 over the last 30 days, plus they traded away one of their best relievers recently in Shintaro Fujinami.
Taking the Rockies Team Total Over doesn’t require Listed Pitchers or worrying about the A’s doing a switch later with their scheduled starter. I think Colorado matches up well with Sears in this ballpark and I think it will be a really tough spot for him. This is also a cheaper way of playing Rockies moneyline without having to trust Freeland.
Pick: Rockies Team Total Over 5.5 (-105)
Logan Gilbert and Tommy Henry get this series going between teams going in different directions. The Mariners are 14-8 in July and the Diamondbacks are 6-14, so it has been a tough month for Arizona, especially with a 3-9 record in the second half. The pitching isn’t holding up at all. The offense actually has 62 runs in 12 games, but that hasn’t been good enough most nights.
The unfortunate part for the Snakes is that Henry is pitching about as well as he can. He’s only allowed 10 earned runs over his last six starts. He’s got a 4.01 ERA with a 4.29 xERA and a 5.14 FIP in his 83 innings of work. He is a pitch-to-contact guy with very low strikeout upside, which is a problem against a Mariners bunch that has struck out a lot this season. Henry does have a 10.5% SwStr%, but has a K% of just 16.3%, so he doesn’t have an out pitch that generates whiffs, but he can get some to get back in counts.
He also has a 31.5% Hard Hit%, so that’s been a big positive for him this season and it is actually just 29.2% in his last 10 starts. The Mariners have had issues with lefties throughout the season and have a .290 wOBA with an 89 wRC+ this month.
Gilbert comes in with a 3.88 ERA, 3.57 xERA, and a 3.66 FIP in his 118.1 innings of work. He’s coming off of a really bad effort against the Blue Jays at home with three homers allowed and five runs surrendered on eight hits in five innings. Gilbert also only went five innings on the 17th against the Twins, even though he only allowed two runs. In two starts since the Break, Gilbert has allowed 21 hard-hit balls in 35 batted ball events, so he has not located well at all. His best attribute is limiting walks and the Diamondbacks don’t walk much anyway, so this is an interesting matchup.
I actually like Arizona at the underdog price tonight. They’re not playing well, but I like this matchup for Henry and I think unfamiliar lefties with deception are a tough matchup for a team. Henry has to have deception to be limiting hard contact to the degree that he is. The Mariners are not good against southpaws and Henry has been way better at home this season with a 3.00 ERA and a .297 wOBA against compared to a 5.05 ERA and a .358 wOBA against on the road.
Gilbert’s been better on the road than at home, which is crazy to me with what we know about T-Mobile Park, but he’s not locating well coming out of the Break and I think the Diamondbacks may be able to take advantage. Also, the Mariners have ridden the bullpen really hard in the second half already. Shop around, as you can find this price a little better than what DraftKings has to offer.
Pick: Diamondbacks +110
It will be Dane Dunning and Joe Musgrove here as the Rangers and Padres get together. This likely looks like a huge line for San Diego, but there is definitely a method to the madness here. Musgrove has been terrific for his last several starts and Dunning is a huge regression candidate. Of course some of that regression hit last time out when I didn’t have the Dodgers, but there is more to come.
Musgrove’s run is really special and would be getting a lot more play if not for what Blake Snell is doing. He has a 2.00 ERA and a 2.82 FIP in his last 11 starts. He’s 8-1 in that span with a 67/10 K/BB ratio over 67.1 innings of work. The three runs he allowed last time out against the Tigers tied the three he allowed to Cleveland on June 13. Otherwise, he hasn’t allowed more than two in this stretch. His Hard Hit% is just 28.5% in that span with a 2.8% Barrel%. He did allow 10 hard-hit balls to the Tigers last time out, so we’ll see if he can straighten that out tonight against the Rangers.
Dunning has a 3.18 ERA with a 4.95 xERA and a 4.18 FIP in his 102 innings of work. He gave up five runs on seven hits in three innings last time out with two homers and just one strikeout. He’s allowed 11 runs in his last three starts and four homers after allowing five for the season up until that point. He has a low K% and he’s starting to allow more barrels, so opposing offenses should be able to crack the code. I’ve been trying to fade him a lot and I’ve just been too early.
That being said, Texas’s offense remains dangerous, even without Corey Seager, so I’m not eager to attack Dunning tonight. The Padres are also going to be sellers, so it’s not a super exciting time for them as a team. I think Musgrove has a good chance to keep pitching well and a much higher ceiling than Dunning. The line might be a touch high, but I’m not touching it.
Kutter Crawford and Logan Webb will give it a go here for the Red Sox and Giants, respectively, as Boston hits the Bay Area. Webb has a 3.48 ERA with a 3.52 xERA and a 3.41 FIP in his 134.1 innings of work. He’s struck out over a batter per inning with a 59.9% GB% and a stellar 4.5% BB%. He’s been pretty sharp this season.
Well, except for his last start, when he allied six runs on five hits to the Nationals in just 1.1 innings. He only faced 10 batters and had his worst start of the season. Prior to that, Webb had been pitching well, but I think a blow-up was building. For the season, he’s allowed a 45% Hard Hit%. Since May 27, that number is up to 49%. Ground balls and strikeouts or not, hard-hit balls eventually find holes and he had that problem in that start. Over his last 10 starts, Webb also has just an 8.2% SwStr%. Boston is really good at strikeout avoidance, so this will be an interesting matchup.
Crawford has a 4.04 ERA with a 3.73 xERA and a 4.34 FIP on the season over 71.1 innings. There’s something there for him, but he can’t seem to fully unlock it. He has a strong 23.9% K% and a solid 5.9% BB%, but he’s also allowed 12 homers. His SwStr% is 12.7%, so I like that and he’s pounded the zone with first-pitch strikes. His Hard Hit% is great at 35.8%, but his Barrel% is definitely a little high at 9.5%.
I will say that his home/road splits make a ton of sense with everything I’ve said. He has a .333 wOBA against and a 6.03 ERA in 31.1 innings at Fenway Park, but a 2.48 ERA and a .279 wOBA against in 40 innings away from home. His K% on the road is 27.3% compared to 20% at home. There is a serious mental block to pitching at Fenway and teams are hyper-aggressive because they know it’s such a good hitter’s park. Oracle Park is not, so this is an interesting matchup for him as well.
Crawford also has reverse platoon splits, as lefties have a .292 wOBA against him and righties have a .318 wOBA. The other interesting split here is that the Red Sox have a .353 wOBA and a 126 wRC+ on the road this month. They also lead the league in home offense, but that’s to be expected with that park. At home this month, the Giants are only batting .287 with an 82 wRC+.
I think Boston is worth a look today as they look to start the road trip on a high note. Shop around, as you can find this price a little better than what DraftKings has to offer.
Pick: Red Sox +120
NYY/BAL Under 8.5 (-105)
Rockies Team Total Over 5.5 (-105)
Red Sox +120