MLB schedule today has 15 games
We’ve got a day game at Wrigley Field today, but everything else is a night game as all 30 teams are in action. We also only have one interleague game today, so that is the fewest possible number given 15 teams in each league. We’ve actually got a ton of division matchups, including a huge series between the Mariners and Rangers.
It should be a fun weekend of baseball, but there are also a lot of sizable favorites on today’s card, so it might be one of those days to look for moneyline parlays that make sense.
With so many games and a podcast to record, let’s dive right in.
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Here are some thoughts on the September 22 card (odds from DraftKings):
Skipping over Rockies (Davis) at Cubs (Taillon) with the early start and the Pirates (TBD - Luis Ortiz bulk/start) at Reds (Abbott)...
The Marlins will use opener JT Chargois in front of Johnny Cueto and the Brewers will use Corbin Burnes as Milwaukee and Miami fire up a weekend set. Chargois has opened three times and allowed two hits over three innings of work. He has a 3.46 ERA with a 3.44 FIP for the season.
But, the real cause for concern here is Cueto, who has a 6.32 ERA with a 5.04 xERA and a 7.01 FIP in 47 innings of work. Since coming back on September 2, Cueto has allowed 13 runs on 20 hits with six homers allowed and a 9/5 K/BB ratio. That’s a 7.98 ERA with an 8.58 FIP, so it’s been a struggle for him to be sure. He’s only allowed a 32.7% Hard Hit%, but six of those 17 hard-hit balls have been barrels, including three last time out against the Mets.
Burnes has a 3.56 ERA with a 3.39 xERA and a 3.91 FIP over 184.2 innings of work this season. But, his last seven starts have been pretty interesting. In that span, he’s allowed 5, 0, 6, 1, 4, 0, 4 runs. Add it all up and it’s a 3.97 ERA with a 4.03 FIP, but he’s had three really good starts, including eight no-hit innings against the Yankees on September 10, and four bad starts. I’m not sure there’s any rhyme or reason to them, as he’s shut out the Dodgers over seven innings, but also just allowed four runs over 5.2 innings to the Nationals. He’s also shut down the Cubs, but struggled against the White Sox and Pirates.
So, I have no idea which version of Burnes we’ll get here. What I do know is that he has a 34.7% Hard Hit% in that span with a 5.8% Barrel%, so he hasn’t been hit super hard, but he hasn’t had ideal results.
We’ll see if Christian Yelich returns for Milwaukee and if Luis Arraez returns for Miami, as both lineups are missing the leadoff hitter.
This is another big favorite number and we don’t have a favorite under -140 in the NL today. Tylor Megill and Taijuan Walker are the listed hurlers here. Walker is not pitching well at this point in time. Since the start of August, Walker has a 5.85 ERA with a 5.16 FIP in 40 innings of work. He’s allowed at least three runs in every start and has only made it through six innings twice. One of those was his last start against the Cardinals, but he gave up five runs over seven frames.
Walker has allowed a 45.9% Hard Hit% in that span, so he’s definitely not locating well. He also only has 29 strikeouts against 18 walks, though he did walk six in his August 12 outing, so that skewed the BB numbers a bit. Either way, Walker has not been sharp. Sometimes late in the season here, I’ll just write up some of these games as cautionary tales for adding teams to a moneyline parlay.
Megill has a 4.54 ERA with a 5.35 FIP since the start of August, so he isn’t exactly shining either, but he allowed 11 runs in his first two starts and has allowed 12 runs total in his last six starts over that span. He has only struck out four of the last 46 batters he has faced, though, so I definitely have concerns about the sustainability of anything that he’s doing.
From a weather standpoint, we have a pretty stiff wind blowing in from RF and temps in the 60s, so even though we have two lackluster pitchers here, the weather may not be conducive to offense.
The Cardinals face a suddenly red-hot Padres team that has closed the deficit in the NL Wild Card to four games. They’ve reeled off seven in a row and have won eight of 10 as they send knuckleballer Matt Waldron to the hill against Dakota Hudson.
I should clarify that Waldron, who has a 5.16 ERA with a 5.50 xERA and a 5.79 FIP in 29.2 innings has only thrown the knuckler about 27% of the time per Statcast and actually throws a fastball in the low 90s, so this isn’t RA Dickey or Tim Wakefield. But, it is something that hitters have to be prepared for in any count. Despite Waldron’s unique arsenal, he has allowed 17 runs on 31 hits in 29.2 innings, including seven homers.
Hudson has allowed 15 runs over his last three starts on 20 hits over 14.1 innings of work. He’s only struck out seven of the last 70 batters he has faced and has walked nine of them. If we go further back, he’s got eight strikeouts in his last five starts. With the way San Diego is playing, and the Cardinals not all that invested in the rest of the season, maybe the Padres hold serve as a big favorite, but Waldron’s numbers don’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Sean Manaea is actually listed as the starter for the Giants today. It will only be his ninth start in 36 appearances, but he’s been pretty good for a while now. Over his last 38.2 innings, Manaea has a 3.03 ERA with a 4.22 FIP. He’s allowed four earned runs on 10 hits in his last 11 innings as a starter, with one of those starts coming at Coors Field and the other at home against Cleveland where a reliever allowed two inherited runners to score.
Caleb Ferguson has the ball to start this one for the Dodgers, as Ryan Yarbrough will bulk. Ferguson allowed a solo homer as the opener on the 19th and that was the first run he had allowed since August 22. He has a 2.56 ERA with a 3.39 FIP in 56.1 innings of work. Yarbrough has been spectacular with a 2.59 ERA and a 3.39 FIP since coming back in early July from injury. He has allowed 16 runs on 53 hits and has a 46/5 K/BB ratio. He wasn’t needed in relief yesterday, so he’ll bulk today.
I don’t have anything on this one, though I think the Dodgers might be a decent ML parlay candidate with San Francisco’s struggles on offense against lefties throughout the season.
Chris Bassitt and Tyler Glasnow are the listed hurlers here, as Bassitt brings a 3.78 ERA with a 4.50 FIP into the game, but his home/road splits are something that has stood out throughout the season. He has allowed at least four runs four times over his last nine starts and has actually been about the same between home and road for a while, but that hasn’t been the case for the season as a whole.
Home: 102.1 IP, 3.08 ERA, 3.82 FIP, .197/.279/.314, .265 wOBA, 9 HR
Away: 83.1 IP, 4.64 ERA, 5.29 FIP, .281/.332/.516, .360 wOBA, 18 HR
He’ll be on the road here at Tropicana Field, so I guess we’ll see how those numbers play out.
Glasnow has had a couple of rough outings lately, as he’s allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in his last 10 innings of work. He’s struck out 12 against four walks and had 14 strikeouts just three starts ago against the Red Sox, but he hasn’t located terribly well in his last two outings.
In fact, Glasnow has some notable home/road splits.
Home: 51.1 IP, 2.81 ERA, 2.33 FIP, .164/.218/.295, .225 wOBA, 5 HR
Away: 58.1 IP, 4.17 ERA, 3,67 FIP, .257/.315/.416, .316 wOBA, 8 HR
Here’s the thing about this start, though. Righties against Glasnow this season have a .169/.224/.281 slash with a .223 wOBA against. That would seem to match up really well with the Blue Jays, who are likely to have at least six right-handed bats in the lineup. Also, it’s at home.
I’ve got a lean towards the Rays and I do agree with the line moving up, but I’m curious to see if Glasnow’s last two starts were just bumps in the road (literally) or something more.
Skipping over White Sox (Toussaint) at Red Sox (Sale)...
Shane Bieber makes his return for the Guardians in this one, as he’ll make his first MLB start since July 9. He made two rehab starts and went 3.2 innings in each with two runs (one earned) on zero hits with 11 strikeouts against four walks. He also hit two batters, with one start in Double-A and one in Triple-A.
Bieber threw 50 pitches in his Double-A start and 64 pitches in his Triple-A start five days ago, so I guess he’ll be in the 65-70 range here. Cleveland won’t push it with him, but I think they want him to get a couple of starts here. First to showcase him for a possible trade by proving that he’s healthy, but also to have something to build on going into the winter.
Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea what to expect here, but the market has bet Cleveland like it knows that Bieber will be good.
Dean Kremer comes in with a 4.17 ERA and a 4.66 FIP in 164 innings of work, but it has been a tale of two halves. He had a 4.78 ERA in 98 innings in the first half with a .280/.330/.481 slash and a .348 wOBA against. He allowed 20 homers and 16 doubles in that span. Here in the second half, Kremer has a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings with a .215/.293/.328 slash against and a .278 wOBA. He’s only allowed seven doubles and seven homers.
It was another adventure for the Cleveland pen yesterday, as Emmanuel Clase needed 29 pitches to complete the save and Trevor Stephan blew another game. The Orioles avoided Yennier Cano, Danny Coulombe, and Shintaro Fujinami while using five relievers. Cionel Perez struggled being used for the fourth time in five days. The pen is up against it a little, but I think we could see Jack Flaherty as a bridge reliever to the back-end guys if need be. The O’s also added Tyler Wells to the bullpen and I like his upside in that role.
I just don’t understand this move. Maybe the injury downtime will help, but I didn’t really like where Bieber was prior to it and haven’t liked where he’s been for a while. Also, the Guardians bullpen will have to be used a lot here. I’ll take the Orioles bullpen over Cleveland’s in what may be a toss-up game.
Pick: Orioles -102
Bryce Miller and Dane Dunning fire up a very, very important three-game series in Arlington between the Mariners and Rangers. Both of these teams have had highs and lows in the second half and both the division and a wild card spot are up for grabs. Who knows, maybe both teams make the playoffs, but these head-to-head games are huge.
Miller has a 3.88 ERA with a 3.66 FIP for the season over 123 innings. He’s pitched well for the most part, though he’s had a couple of rockier outings. He allowed five runs on nine hits to the Rays two starts ago on the road, but followed it up with 5.1 shutout innings against the Dodgers. He had a rough start against the Royals on August 25, but other than that, he’s pitched pretty well.
Dunning still has regression signs in his profile with a 3.78 ERA and a 4.36 FIP in 157 innings of work. He actually had a rough run with 22 runs allowed over 24.1 innings of work before throwing five shutout innings against Cleveland last time out. The Guardians got nine baserunners via hit or walk, but couldn’t find a way to score.
I’m not big on Dunning, but I’m not sure how Miller fares the rest of the way as a young guy throwing a lot of high-stress innings. I definitely gave some thought to the Mariners as a dog with a fade of Dunning, but I’ve also barked up that tree a few times this season and it hasn’t worked out.
Skipping over Angels (TBD) at Twins (Lopez) - Twins can clinch tonight with a win/Cleveland loss; and Royals (Ragans) at Astros (Valdez)...
Even though I think Cole Ragans against the Astros is interesting, he’s facing them for the second straight time and he allowed five runs on six hits in the last start. So, I think that means I can move on and look at Detroit as a big road favorite again in the third start of Sawyer Gipson-Long’s career. SGL has allowed three runs on six hits with a 16/3 K/BB ratio in 10 innings pitched this season.
He had a 5.45 ERA with a 5.24 FIP in 34.2 innings at Triple-A, but struck out 50 batters, so the swing-and-miss upside has always been there. He’s faced the White Sox and Angels, so it will be interesting to see him against better competition, but the A’s don’t exactly qualify as that.
Waldichuk has a 5.40 ERA with a 4.85 xERA and a 5.34 FIP in his 130 innings of work. He gave up six runs last time out against the Padres, but he had only allowed 14 earned runs over his previous seven appearances covering 37.2 innings.
It will be a little crisp in Oakland tonight with a bit of a breeze and temps falling into the 50s. It should be a good night for pitchers. I’m not betting any more totals, but I could see a low-scoring game here.
Brandon Pfaadt and Luke Weaver are the listed starters here, as Weaver makes his second start for his third team of the season. He allowed three runs on four hits over four innings against the Pirates six days ago. He’s got a 6.77 ERA overall with a 5.71 FIP in 114.1 innings pitched. Teams keep taking chances on him, so there must be something there, but it isn’t easy to see.
Weaver went cutter-heavy in his first Yankees start, so apparently that’s what they think the cure is for what ails him. I’d expect a similar plan here, as the Diamondbacks are just one spot above the Pirates in terms of batting run value vs. cutters.
Pfaadt has a 5.86 ERA with a 4.75 xERA and a 5.48 FIP in 86 innings of work, but he has a 4.18 ERA with a 4.64 FIP since returning to the rotation full-time on July 22. Pfaadt has a 57/16 K/BB ratio in 60.1 innings of work, but he’s allowed 11 home runs. As I wrote about yesterday, the Yankees have been the worst offense in baseball against righties by a pretty large margin over the last five weeks and really throughout the second half.
I think that’s enough to trust Pfaadt today. The Diamondbacks have also won five in a row, as they’ve been playing really well. The Yankees have nothing to play for except a winning record, while every game is meaningful for Arizona with the NL Wild Card situation. I also like the idea of fading Weaver at Yankee Stadium when he’s allowed 27 homers this season.
Pick: Diamondbacks -108