MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, May 12th

By Adam Burke  ( 

May 12, 2023 01:14 PM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

We’ve got a full dance card on Friday with all 30 teams in action and the start of some new series. It’s also a 5-5-5 day with five games in the NL, five games in the AL, and five games on the interleague schedule. All of the games are night games as well, so that gives us all plenty of time to handicap and assess the card.

Per usual, I’ll take a look at the week that has been heading into Friday’s action and see what offensive numbers have looked like over the last four days.

Season: .247/.320/.405, .318 wOBA, .296 BABIP, 22.7% K%, 8.8% BB%

Mon-Thurs: .235/.308/.389, .307 wOBA, .281 BABIP, 22.2% K%, 8.6% BB%

A major reversal of fortunes on batted balls this week has led to a down week for offense across the board. What’s really interesting to me is that the Hard Hit% was 40.2%, which is definitely higher than the 39.1% mark that we have for the season, but the BABIP was 15 points lower. Home runs don’t count towards BABIP, but it had nothing to do with that, as the season HR/FB% is 12.2%, while this past week’s HR/FB% is 11.7%.

Baseball’s up-and-down nature seems to be in hyperdrive this season, so you just have to roll with the punches and do the best you can to make bets that make sense while also hoping you’re on the right side of variance, especially with runners in scoring position. (Tracking sheet)

With that, let’s dig into the Friday card.

Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live.

Catch a new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets this afternoon.

Here are some thoughts on the May 12 card (odds from DraftKings):

Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins (-145, 7.5)

This appears to be a pretty big number down in South Beach for the matchup between the Reds and Marlins, given that it is the MLB debut for 20-year-old Eury Perez. The Marlins top prospect has not pitched above Double-A, where he had a 4.08 ERA and a 3.52 FIP in 75 innings last season and has a 2.32 ERA with a 3.78 FIP in 31 innings this season. Perez has given up 14 homers in his 106 Double-A innings, but also has 148 strikeouts against just 34 walks.

Perez, who stands 6-foot-8, was the No. 4 prospect at FanGraphs coming into the season with a fastball that easily sits in the upper 90s and he likely has a MLB-ready slider, but the depth of his arsenal is a little bit of a question, given that he only signed in pro ball back in 2019 and has been growing into his body ever since. He certainly has the stuff to be dominant and he’s going to be in a ballpark that suppresses the impact of mistake pitches, but this is a big leap to say the least.

The balloon popped for Graham Ashcraft last time out. The big right-hander allowed eight runs on six hits in 1.2 innings of work, as his lack of strikeouts caught up with him and the BABIP gods punished him for his lack of command. Ashcraft struck out 13 batters over his first two starts, but he has only punched out 17 batters over five starts since. He had allowed eight runs over his first six starts combined, but then the White Sox had a field day back on May 7.

I would assume Ashcraft bounces back here, along with the fact that the Marlins are a borderline bottom-five offense against righties. Sadly, it is challenging to put a lot of faith in the Reds offense, especially on the road, so even though I think this price is optimistic for Perez’s debut, I can’t take the Reds.

New York Mets (-115, 9) at Washington Nationals

Tylor Megill and MacKenzie Gore square off here as the Mets and Nationals come into this game with records way closer than anybody would have imagined. The Mets have lost five series in a row to drop to 18-20, while the Nationals are battling hard and have a respectable 16-21 record.

Megill has not been sharp for the Mets, who have dealt with starting pitching concerns all season long. He has a 4.33 ERA with a 5.40 FIP in his 35.1 innings of work with only 27 strikeouts against 18 walks. He’s given up five homers and actually has been a little fortunate to only allow that 4.33 ERA because of a 79.6% LOB%. For the lack of strikeouts, that’s a really high number to be able to strand a lot of walks and just shy of a hit per inning.

However, Megill has allowed just a 34.3% Hard Hit%, so he has limited hard contact and that has also allowed him to limit the damage. He’s given up three or fewer runs in six of his seven starts, but he’s also not working that deep into games.

Gore has been a pleasant surprise this season, not because of the talent, but because the Nationals have really done well developing their pitchers at the MLB level this season. Gore is a bit of a success story for them with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.66 FIP in his 37 innings of work. He’s still had a major walk rate issue and is running a .345 BABIP, but his inflated K% and the timing of his strikeouts have led to an 80.2% LOB%. He has a 35.7% K% with men on base and a 40% K% with men in scoring position. As a result, he’s been able to strand a lot of runners.

Gore has only allowed more than three runs in a start once. He’s got a 40.7% Hard Hit% in 158 plate appearances with a 50.6% GB%, so he’s also been able to limit the extra-base hits to prevent offense. I did think this Mets price was possibly a tad low, but nobody can say that they’re really playing like a team you can trust these days.

Philadelphia Phillies (-130, 11) at Colorado Rockies

Taijuan Walker and Austin Gomber are the listed hurlers for this clash at Coors between the Phillies and Rockies. Gomber has been one of the league’s most popular pitchers to bet against, but he has been better in his last three starts. He allowed 22 runs over his first four starts, but has given up three runs over his last 17 innings of work, including a home start against the Diamondbacks and road starts against the Guardians and Mets.

He allowed nine runs on nine hits in two innings to the Pirates at Coors prior to this run, so we’ll see if he can keep the good vibes going here. Gomber has only struck out 10 of the 66 batters he has faced in that span, but has only allowed 11 hits and seven walks. It’s not the kind of profile I’d want to bet on and not a string of performances I would expect to continue.

However, the Phillies are just 22nd in wOBA against LHP at .311 and have the league’s lowest BB% in that split. They are a way better offense against righties this season. Coors Field usually provides a boost for everybody, so we’ll see if that happens for Philly today.

I also don’t really want to trust Walker in this environment. He’s coming off of a really good start against a Boston offense that has seemed to get production against virtually everybody, but he had allowed 13 runs on 13 hits in 7.1 innings over the two starts prior to that. Walker has allowed seven homers over his last four outings and two of his three highest average exit velocities against in his last two starts. Remember when he left his Seattle start early with some discomfort, but then avoided an IL stint? Those last two starts have come since then.

Eight of his 10 barrels have come in his last four starts and he’s allowed his two highest Hard Hit% in these last two starts. There may still be an underlying injury there. I thought it was just a dead arm early in the season, but he’s clearly working through something. It just isn’t enough to get me to bet the Rockies because I have no idea what Gomber will provide.

San Francisco Giants (-115, 10) at Arizona Diamondbacks

John Brebbia will serve as the opener for the Giants in this one and he’ll either be followed by Alex Wood or Ross Stripling, so there is some uncertainty about the pitching plan for San Francisco as they continue the four-game set against the Snakes. Right-hander Ryne Nelson will be the starter for the home team.

Brebbia has allowed nine runs on 11 hits in 13.2 innings of work with 21 strikeouts against six walks. He had a velo drop in his last appearance and hasn’t pitched in six days, but the Giants got sick in Mexico and guys have been dealing with weight loss and weakness ever since. Brebbia is one of those guys, so he’ll get back on the slab tonight after a lengthy layoff.

My guess would be Stripling as the bulk guy, given that Wood is on the IL. If Wood gets activated prior to the game, you’ll know it’s him and he is nearing a return. Stripling has struggled with a 6.66 ERA and a 6.58 FIP in his 25.2 innings of work. He just allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings to the Brewers, but had pitched better than that in his two starts prior. He’s another of many tough guys to trust right now playing a prominent role for a team.

Ironically, so is Nelson. The Diamondbacks haven’t gotten much from Nelson, Brandon Pfaadt, or Drey Jameson this season, which is a bit of a bummer since those are the guys that they are planning their pitching future around. Nelson has a 6.00 ERA with a 4.73 FIP in his 36 innings of work. He’s an extreme pitch-to-contact guy with only 22 strikeouts out of 158 batters faced and he’s allowed 45 hits.

He allowed two earned runs on seven hits over five innings of work, but he allowed 15 runs on 23 hits in his previous 14 innings. I will say that Nelson, who has a .331 BABIP against and a 62.5% LOB% has gotten a bit unlucky, particularly when you look at how solid Arizona is defensively and his league average 39.7% Hard Hit%. But, that’s the risk you take when you can’t generate strikeouts.

Another NL game that doesn’t seem to have any good edges to exploit.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers (-135, 9)

Turns out I was right about a sluggish effort from the Padres on Thursday, but I was wrong about the application of the bet, as the under pushed for the article and the Twins won the game. However, anybody that got in at 8.5 got a winner, so hopefully that softened the blow of how frustrating and irritating May has been for the article picks. If you had 8, I’m really sorry. I'm surprised the line went up, but that seemed to be weather-related in a lot of ways.

Anyway, the Padres are back on the left coast now to take on the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Game 1 features Blake Snell and Dustin May and a decision for bettors. Fade Snell or fade the Dodgers against lefties. What makes this decision even trickier is that May has a fade-worthy profile himself, posting a 2.68 ERA with a 3.46 FIP with a huge decrease in K% and a bump in BB%.

May has a .163 BA against with a .198 BABIP against on the season while pitching to a ton of contact. He has seen a bit of an uptick in strikeouts recently, as he has 16 in his last 16.1 innings of work. It sure would be nice to see more of that from him. He just fired six shutout frames against the Padres last weekend after a couple extra days of rest. He’s allowed just a 5.4% Barrel% and just a 38.4% Hard Hit%, but his low 6.2% SwStr% is a really big concern. He also had just a 3% SwStr% in that start against the Padres, despite having six strikeouts.

Snell was really solid for six innings against the Dodgers last time out. He has a 4.89 ERA with a 5.48 FIP in his 35 innings of work. He’s got 39 strikeouts, but also 21 walks. This season, he’s also seen a really big spike in his Hard Hit% up to 44.3%, which is nearly 10% above his career average and only his second season over 40% (2019). Interestingly, Snell’s three worst seasons by HH% have all come with the Padres.

It’s a profile that I don’t like to back, but he is really effective at limiting the damage for one reason or another. Also, as we know, the Dodgers are just 23rd in wOBA against lefties, though I will say, they have a 95 wRC+ and have been gradually getting better in that split. They also have a big 10.9% BB%, which typically plays well against Snell, so long as you can avoid the strikeouts. 

This line is probably right, especially with May not really showcasing a whole lot of swing and miss upside. It’s a big series for both teams, so we’ll see who can get off on the right foot.

Seattle Mariners (-120, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

Speaking of teams that are bad against lefties, I present the Seattle Mariners, who are 29th in wOBA against southpaws on the season. They draw one tonight in Matthew Boyd, as the Tigers, who are just a half-game worse than the Mariners in the standings, look to move a step closer to .500. Detroit is 2-14 against the AL East and now 16-5 against everybody else.

Boyd only has one really bad start to his name, but he hasn’t worked all that deep into games with 30.2 innings over his six starts. As a result, he has a 5.28 ERA and a 4.68 FIP, even though he’s only allowed more than three earned runs once in those six outings. He gave up six runs on eight hits to a Baltimore lineup that has been in the top five against lefties all season long. The Mariners certainly don’t fit that definition, so this could be a good spot for Boyd.

The Tigers, who are 19th in wOBA at .317 and have a 103 wRC+ against lefties, get a southpaw of their own here in Marco Gonzales. Gonzales allowed eight earned runs over his first four starts, but has allowed eight earned runs over his last two starts. He’s allowed 11 runs total in his last two starts. He’s the definition of a pitch-to-contact guy with 23 strikeouts out of 131 batters faced. The primary issue for the Tigers is striking out and that shouldn’t be as much of a factor against Gonzales.

Detroit’s 25.5% K% is the sixth-highest in baseball. But, Seattle’s 27.9% mark is the third-highest. Even with a handicap placed on T-Mobile Park because it is such a bad hitter’s park, the Mariners only have a 74 wRC+ against lefties. Detroit is at 103, so that’s a really big difference. Comerica Park is also a tough hitter’s park early in the season with the cold weather, so that’s factored in a bit.

You can find a bit better of a price on the Tigers at some shops, but DraftKings is +100 and I think that’s a reasonable bet here. The Tigers are the better lineup against lefties, have a higher Hard Hit% for the season, which was shocking to me, and they’ve done really well against teams on their level or at least outside of the AL East, which is in its own stratosphere.

Pick: Tigers +100

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees (-180, 8.5)

The wrong bullpen melted down yesterday, as the Yankees completely fell apart late in the game and the Rays continued their winning ways. Let’s see if Gerrit Cole can be the ace that New York is looking for in order to even up the series. Cole certainly has been this season overall, as he has a 2.09 ERA with a 2.61 FIP in his 51.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 58 batters and only given up two home runs, which, coincidentally, came in his last start against the Rays.

That last start was the first one in which Cole has allowed more than two runs this season. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with a 6/2 K/BB ratio. While Cole has been racking up a lot of strikeouts, his SwStr% of 10.9% is one of the lowest of his career. He’s actually had three of his worst four games in that department over his last four starts and by “worst”, I mean all have been 9.4% or lower. He’s still doing a pretty good job of limiting hard contact with a 37.8% Hard Hit%, but I think it is fair to wonder if a bit of a correction is coming and if his last start was an example.

Journeyman reliever Trevor Kelley will serve as the opener for this game in front of Josh Fleming, so it isn’t the most confidence-inspiring plan from the Rays. Kelley has 37.1 MLB innings to his name with a 7.23 ERA and a 6.69 FIP. He’s allowed 31 runs on 44 hits in 37.1 innings of work. He’s only worked two innings for the Rays and allowed two runs on a couple of hits. He was in Triple-A with 11 appearances before getting called up.

Fleming has a 4.55 ERA with a 4.57 FIP in his 27.2 innings of work. He’s had two really bad outings that have accounted for 11 of the 14 runs he has given up, including his last appearance against the Yankees, in which he allowed six runs on seven hits with four walks against just one strikeout. He allowed his first two homers of the season as well.

I think it’s pretty interesting to see this total at 8.5 here in a Cole start. I did give some thought to the over despite what is a little bit of an inflated number, but the Rays are scoring a ton of runs and the Kelley/Fleming tandem looks favorable for the New York offense. I may regret leaving this one off the board.

Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Guardians (-135, 8.5)

The winner for “Most Interesting Line Move of the Day” is this one in Cleveland, where it will be a perfect night for baseball between the Angels and the Guardians. Lefties Tyler Anderson and Logan Allen are the listed starters here and we’re seeing a heavy line move on Cleveland. As we’ve seen some of the team platoon split numbers emerge, we’ve seen a lot of line moves on teams that are good against lefties and bad against lefties based on the matchup.

Well, in this game, you’ve got the Angels, who are seventh in wOBA at .340 and have a 115 wRC+ against lefties, and the Guardians, who are 28th in wOBA at .274 and have a 72 wRC+ against southpaws, but the line is moving heavily on Cleveland. In Allen’s three starts, he has a 2.70 ERA with a 3.49 FIP, as he’s struck out 19 and walked five with five runs allowed on 16 hits against the Marlins, Red Sox, and Twins.

The Twins are awful against lefties. The Marlins are 12th in wOBA and the Red Sox are 13th in wOBA. This will be a good test for the rookie left-hander and the betting market seems to think that he will pass it with flying colors.

Anderson has allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in 11.2 innings of work in his last two starts with 13 strikeouts against eight walks. Prior to that, he allowed 16 earned runs over 14 innings in three starts, so he’s settled down a bit, but the walk rate really does stand out. He has a 5.40 ERA with a 6.06 FIP on the season over 31.2 innings of work. I guess it makes sense that the market would prioritize Allen over Anderson, but backing Cleveland’s inept offense at a price tag like this is something I simply cannot do.

Houston Astros (-145, 8.5) at Chicago White Sox

JP France and Michael Kopech are the listed starters here, as the Astros lay a hefty number at Guaranteed Rate Field. This is France’s second start after throwing five shutout innings in his debut effort. He scattered three hits and a walk with five strikeouts and a hit by pitch. He had allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 19.1 innings of work with a 26/11 K/BB ratio in three Triple-A starts and two relief appearances prior to getting called up.

In 15 Triple- A starts last season, France worked 110.2 innings with a 3.90 ERA and struck out 136 guys against 51 walks. That’s been the story for France throughout his career. A lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks. The White Sox are 27th in BB% against righties this season, so we’ll see if that cuts down on France’s free passes.

It has not been a fun season for Kopech, who has a 5.97 ERA with a 7.53 FIP in his 37.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 36, but also walked 22 and has given up 12 homers across seven starts. He just gave up four solo homers last time out against the Reds, but his offense gave him a huge cushion while that was taking place.

Kopech has allowed a 53.2% Hard Hit% and a 19.3% Barrel%. The Astros lineup has honestly been a pretty big disappointment this season on the whole and actually ranks 27th in wOBA against righties. If they don’t hit Kopech, it will still come as a surprise, but this offense has really been lacking explosiveness and excitement this season.

I did think about the Astros on the run line, but opted not to take it. France should be fine and the Astros should hit Kopech, but sometimes Houston isn’t super invested against bad teams.

Texas Rangers (-170, 9) at Oakland Athletics

A couple of left-handers are on the mound here between Martin Perez and Ken Waldichuk. A lot of pent-up regression came to the forefront for Perez in his last start, as he allowed seven runs on eight hits in just 3.2 innings against the Angels on Sunday. He has a 3.86 ERA with a 4.51 FIP, so there’s a little bit more there, but that was a huge correction that was absolutely coming. Prior to that start, Perez had a 2.41 ERA with a 4.11 FIP, so his regression came swift and came hard on a day when I didn’t do the article, which is super disappointing.

Perez had only given up nine earned runs in six starts prior to that outing. He’s not missing a whole lot of bats with just 28 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. He draws an Oakland lineup that has been pretty good against lefties this season, ranking 20th with a .316 wOBA and a 106 wRC+, but they are 25th with a .297 wOBA against lefties at home. Most of Oakland’s offensive damage has come on the road. They aren’t playing well at the Coliseum in front of scant crowds, so it’s hard to put stock into fading Perez here.

Even if the A’s don’t get after Perez, this game still has some potential for runs because of Ken Waldichuk. Waldichuk has a 7.25 ERA with a 7.67 FIP in his 36 innings of work. He’s allowed 29 runs on 45 hits in seven starts, which somehow includes five scoreless innings against the Cubs, who are third in wOBA against lefties. Waldichuk was shelled by the Angels for six runs in his April 2 start at home, but his other two home starts have been fairly effective. He has a 9.15 ERA on the road.

The Rangers are fourth in wOBA against lefties, so this should be a good matchup for them against Waldichuk, but the Coliseum is so tough. Oakland has scored 2.95 runs per game at home. Opponents have scored 6.68 runs per game. That comes out to 9.6, so it’s above the total on this one. But, the Coliseum, man. It’s definitely a tough place to have expectations for offense and Perez may have gotten his bad start out of the way.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles (-155, 9)

Johan Oviedo and Kyle Bradish are the listed starters here, as the Pirates look for some better fortunes against the AL East. The Pirates actually swept the Red Sox earlier in the season, but dropped six straight at home against the Rays and Jays recently, so they’ll try again here with the Orioles. The Pirates are just 1-8 in the month of May and have been outscored 51-13. They’re not scoring early in games and really haven’t scored a whole lot overall.

The offensive woes are clearly a big issue, but maybe the bigger issue at play here is with Oviedo, who has allowed 19 runs over his last 12.2 innings of work. After a rough first outing, Oviedo rattled off three straight gems before turning into a pumpkin. Any starter that buries this Pirates offense right now leaves that group with a really tall mountain to climb given the low offensive output. Oviedo got a bit unlucky against the Dodgers based on his exit velocity and Hard Hit% numbers, but he was not at all unlucky against the Nationals or Blue Jays in his last two starts with his highest exit velos of the season and Hard Hit% marks of 46.7% and 61.9%. Those were also his two lowest starts by SwStr% and his only two in single digits this season.

Oviedo isn’t the only one struggling. Bradish comes into this start with a 5.95 ERA and a 5.14 FIP with 13 runs allowed on 19 hits over his last three starts. He returned from the IL on April 19 and shut down the Nationals, but he’s failed to have a quality start against the Red Sox, Tigers, and Braves. In those outings, he’s allowed a 55.8% Hard Hit% and a 14% Barrel%. The Pirates certainly aren’t on the level of two of those three offenses, but it was the Tigers who hit Bradish the hardest, though it was the Red Sox who did the most damage.

It will be a warm evening in Baltimore, which could certainly turn up the offense, though it is tough to ask the Pirates to suddenly flip the script and turn on the bats given what we’ve seen lately. The Orioles are also 19th in home wOBA on the season, as the ballpark has cut down on their offensive performance as well. I’ll pass on this one.

Atlanta Braves (-155, 8.5) at Toronto Blue Jays

The power-hitting Braves head to the new-look Rogers Centre for interleague action against the Blue Jays and they’ll do so with ace Spencer Strider on the mound. After looking human against the Mets on May 1, Strider turned it up again to rack up 10 strikeouts in just five innings against the Orioles on May 6. He’s got 67 strikeouts in 40 innings, which is absurd. He’s also got a 2.70 ERA with a 1.81 FIP, so he could be doing even better overall. He’s run into a bit of bad luck in the starts where he has given up runs.

Strider has allowed three runs on just four hits twice and four runs on five hits once. There have been some walks mixed in there, but batters are clustering their hits against him. I’m not sure the Blue Jays will find much success against him, especially not seeing him very often, but he’s definitely had some unfortunate sequencing at times.

Chris Bassitt takes the hill for Toronto here and he’s allowed a total of 10 earned runs in his last six starts after giving up nine runs on 10 hits in just 3.1 innings in his season debut. Bassitt is still carrying the weight of that bad start with a 4.28 ERA and a 5.33 FIP. He allowed four homers in that first start and has only allowed two home runs since.

FIP is punishing him for that, though also taking into account that he has walked 20 guys in his last six starts covering 36.2 innings of work. Will the Braves be able to take advantage of the free passes? I would say that in this ballpark, where driving the ball to right center is rewarded, Bassitt better have his best control. He has not in his last three starts with 11 walks allowed against 16 strikeouts.

I think the respect of these two offenses and the park factor can be seen in this total of 8.5, even though you’ve got Strider on the hill. I will be interested to see how the Blue Jays do during this homestand. In their previous 12 games with the new dimensions at Rogers Centre, the games have averaged just 7.8 runs per game, and some of those even featured some late runs off of bullpens on games that were well on pace to go under.

Toronto has also played just 12 home games and 25 road games. Let’s see if they get the bats going here.

St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox (-115, 11)

What an interesting matchup we’ve got here in Boston, as Adam Wainwright makes his second start and James Paxton makes his first MLB start since 2021. Waino allowed four runs on eight hits to the Tigers over five innings last time out with five strikeouts and zero walks. He was pretty sharp from a command standpoint with just a 22.2% Hard Hit% out of 18 batted balls, but struggled as he went deeper into his start.

Fenway Park is a different beast and this Boston lineup is way more relentless than the Tigers group, so I think this could be a very difficult spot for Wainwright. He only made three rehab starts with pedestrian results before making his MLB debut for 2023, as he allowed nine runs on 18 hits over 13 innings with two starts at Double-A and one start at Triple-A.

James Paxton is a tough guy to peg for this start, given that the Cardinals historically hit lefties well and also that he made one start in 2021 and it came on April 6 and only lasted 1.1 innings. He’s made six minor league starts this season and allowed 16 runs on 18 hits in 21.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 26, but also walked 16. His last two starts have been a bit better, but he still walked five guys in five innings last time out.

It’s hard to not like the Red Sox at home given their offensive prowess at Fenway Park, but Paxton is a major unknown and quite possibly in a worse spot than Wainwright, who seems pretty compromised as well.

I really thought I’d just take the Red Sox here with the better offense and the short home price, but there’s a good chance that Paxton really struggles to get any outs in his return.

Kansas City Royals at Milwaukee Brewers (-230, 8.5)

Corbin Burnes is a sizable favorite in this one against Royals spot starter Josh Taylor. Taylor has worked 11 innings and allowed eight runs on 10 hits. He’s maxed out at eight batters faced, so he’s basically going to serve as an opener, even though he’s gone six days between starts. Max Castillo will likely follow as the closest thing to a long man that the Royals have in the absence of Ryan Yarbrough, who was hit in the face by a comebacker last time out.

Castillo only had nine strikeouts in 114 batters faced over 24.1 innings at Triple-A prior to his call-up and has allowed 29 runs on 40 hits in 42 MLB innings. He’s not really a Major League caliber pitcher. That’s why the Brewers are such heavy favorites here. Castillo is also right-handed and so is Taylor, so the Brewers, who are last in baseball in wOBA against lefties, won’t really have to contend with any southpaws for a while in this one.

Burnes got no help from his defense last time out, as he allowed five runs on four hits over six innings of work. He’s got a 3.86 ERA and a 4.29 FIP with a strikeout rate well below his usual standards. But, he also allowed 10 runs in his first two starts and has only allowed seven earned runs since, so I don’t think he’s a guy I want to fade in the sense of playing an over here.

Chicago Cubs at Minnesota Twins (-155, 7.5)

Drew Smyly and Sonny Gray are listed for the final game on the betting board between the Cubs and Twins. Given how well Smyly has pitched this season, it is a surprise to see Chicago priced as high as they are. He only went 3.1 innings in his last start with some deep counts and some control issues against the Marlins, but that was the first bad outing he’s had since Opening Day.

He comes into this one with a 3.05 ERA and a 3.75 FIP in 38.1 innings of work. Even in that last start, he continued to limit hard contact against with a 27.1% Hard Hit%. He’s only allowed six barrels this season and draws a Twins lineup that ranks 27th in wOBA at .283 on the season. Minnesota has struck out 28.4% of the time against lefties on the season. Smyly isn’t a big strikeout guy, but the Twins aren’t making quality contact against lefties and will swing and miss a lot to get behind in counts.

Gray has been really solid as well, posting a 1.35 ERA with a 2.08 FIP over his 40 innings of work. The right-hander is running an 86.4% LOB%, which is the byproduct of having 47 strikeouts in 40 innings, but it’s tough to see him continuing to pitch out of the jams he does create. Gray has allowed six runs on just 29 hits with a .290 BABIP on a Hard Hit% of 40%.

However, Gray hasn’t really faced a lot of productive lineups this season. He’s faced the Guardians, Royals twice, Yankees (without Judge & Stanton), Red Sox, White Sox, and Astros. Against righties, those lineups currently rank 30th, 25th, 21st, 2nd, 24th, and 27th in wOBA. The Cubs are seventh and have the sixth-lowest K% in that split.

This line just looks too high to me. Gray is having a fine season, but he’s stepping up in class here. I’ll take my chances with the underdog Cubbies here.

Pick: Cubs +135

TL;DR Recap

Tigers +100

Cubs +135

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