MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, August 7th

By Adam Burke  ( 

August 7, 2023 08:21 AM

MLB schedule today has 12 games

We’ve got a busy card for Monday, as 24 of the league’s 30 teams will be in action to kick off a new week on the diamond. With 12 games to think about, there are a lot of considerations on today’s card, which means a lot to get to with today’s write-ups.

Before I get into that, here are some offensive stats from the last few days since I’ve been away tending to a family matter.

Season: .248/.320/.413, .318 wOBA, .297 BABIP, 22.7% K%, 8.6% BB%, 12.6% HR/FB%

2nd Half: .249/.322/.425, .323 wOBA, .295 BABIP, 22.9% K%, 8.6% BB%, 13.8% HR/FB%

Last 7 days: .248/.320/.429, .324 wOBA, .291 BABIP, 22.7% K%, 8.9% BB%, 14.9% HR/FB%

I figured that home runs would scale back as pitchers got back into their rhythms and routines, but that has very much not been the case. The average fly ball distance is 318 feet in the second half, which is one foot longer than the first part of July before the Break and three feet longer than the first three months of the season. I still wouldn’t say that the balls are juiced, but they may certainly be a little different from earlier in the year.

Lastly, I don’t want to get preachy or say too much, but my one request for today would be to call your parents if you can. Check in. Say hi. See what they’ve been up to. It’s been a tough week for my wife and I and I just want to say that it’s important to never miss a chat or a little catch-up session

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Here are some thoughts on the August 7 card (odds from DraftKings):

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres (-142, 9)

The Dodgers and Padres play the only “early” game in the NL today, but it’s still a 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. It will be Tony Gonsolin and Seth Lugo to wrap up the series, as the Dodgers rolled to a victory on Sunday Night Baseball and have won two of three in this four-game set. Gonsolin has a 4.11 ERA, but a 4.88 xERA and a 4.86 FIP in his 17 starts this season across 87.2 innings of work. He’s got a .224 BABIP that has held down his ERA relative to his other run estimators, but regression has been a thing of late.

He allowed one run on five hits last time out against the lowly A’s, but had allowed 29 runs over his previous six starts. I wouldn’t exactly call him trustworthy against this Padres bunch today.

If things were going better for the Padres, we’d be talking about Lugo as a godsend for their rotation, as he’s eaten up 89 innings with a 3.54 ERA, 4.17 xERA, and a 3.75 FIP. With Joe Musgrove on the IL, his importance has increased once again, but he’s been a very valuable piece for the team this season, except for when he spent a little over a month on the IL himself. Since his June 20 return, Lugo has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his eight starts with a 3.04 ERA and a 3.58 FIP.

Nothing from me here, as I much prefer how Lugo is throwing the ball, but the Dodgers are the way more consistent offense and simply the stronger team.

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies (-225, 10)

It is Trevor Williams Day, so the Nats are a big underdog as one of the market’s most disliked pitchers takes the mound. Williams is having one of his worst seasons as a pro with a 4.72 ERA, 5.18 xERA, and a 5.55 FIP. The only  season with a decent sample size where he had a higher FIP was the 2020 COVID year. He’s had a couple of higher ERAs, but the peripherals aren’t great this season and he’s allowed a 14.6% HR/FB% with 22 dingers allowed.

The Phillies will send out left-hander Ranger Suarez, who gave up 10 hits in 6.1 innings last time out against the Marlins, but only allowed one run. He’s got a 4.01 ERA with a 4.50 xERA and a 3.79 FIP on the season. Suarez has a 20.8% K% and an 8.2% BB%, so he’s not that far off the league average for starters in both categories and keeps the ball on the ground at a 52.5% clip.

The Nats have been better against lefties throughout the season and rank eighth in wOBA against southpaws in the second half at .347 with a 117 wRC+. It has been a struggle lately for Suarez as well. He allowed that one run last time out, but had allowed 20 runs over his previous five starts. He’s allowed 12 runs on 31 hits in 23.1 innings in the second half.

I lean Over here, but thunderstorms are in the forecast before, during, and after the game, so this one may get banged. I also like that Washington’s bullpen is really, really up against it. Closer Kyle Finnegan and righties Jordan Weems and Andres Machado have all pitched three straight days. Finnegan and Weems have pitched four of the last five. The Nats pen is very fatigued and Williams may be pushed past his limits as a result.

The Phillies pen is in better shape from a rest standpoint, but they’ve had some blown saves lately. Suarez is also struggling and allowing a lot of hits. He now faces one of the top lineups in terms of strikeout avoidance. It’s a big number at 10 and rain may wash the game out, but I like the Over 10 here.

Pick: Over 10 (-102)

Miami Marlins (-135, 10.5) at Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have dropped six in a row as they head into this one against the Marlins. Miami has lost four in a row and seven of 10, along with 16 of 21 here in the second half. They’ve recalled phenom Eury Perez to make this start and he’ll go up against fellow rookie Brandon Williamson.

Many people crushed the Marlins for their decision to send down Perez, as he had a 2.36 ERA with a 3.70 FIP in 53.1 innings across 11 starts to begin his MLB career. But, Miami wanted to not only control his innings, but also have him pitch in a lower-stress environment. He’s only 20 years old and had not thrown more than 78 innings in his first two seasons as a pro. He’s already thrown 90 innings this season.

He was sent down on July 6 and actually didn’t pitch in a game until July 26. He’s allowed five runs on nine hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk in 5.2 innings at the Double-A level since getting going again. He threw 63 pitches in his last start, so I’d imagine he’s somewhere in the 65-75 range today.

The Reds are in freefall mode because their pitching just isn’t very good. Williamson has a 4.85 ERA with a 5.72 xERA and a 5.25 FIP in 68.2 innings. Cincinnati opted not to get starting pitching help at the Trade Deadline, a decision that many questioned heavily, and it appears that the dissenters were right. Cincinnati will get Hunter Greene back in a couple weeks, but they need to hang on until then. Williamson allowed five runs on four hits last time out against the Cubs after a nice stretch in which he only allowed seven earned runs over his previous five starts.

But, he’s still a guy with a low strikeout rate, high walk rate, high homer rate, and will be pitching at home, where he’s allowed eight of his 12 homers. Nothing from me here, but we’ll all be keeping an eye on Perez’s return.

Atlanta Braves (-290, 8.5) at Pittsburgh Pirates

Very little to say here about this one, as the Braves line up at PNC Park as a huge favorite. Spencer Strider is on the bump against Osvaldo Bido. Strider struggled in his first couple starts out of the Break with sequencing and variance, but he’s allowed three earned runs in his last 13 innings. He’s actually had 42 strikeouts in four starts since the Break and should keep up a pace similar to that today against the Buccos.

I’ll be very curious to see how Bido handles the Atlanta lineup. He has a 5.18 ERA, but a 4.66 xERA and a 3.99 FIP on the season. He has only allowed two homers in 33 innings, but has a .330 BABIP against and a 69.5% LOB%. He just went nearly two weeks between starts and allowed four runs on three hits over three innings against the Tigers. He’s only working 3-4 innings max these days, so this will be a bullpen day for the Pirates for the most part.

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets (-115, 8.5)

The Mets have dropped six straight games since being the league’s biggest seller at the Trade Deadline. There is great incentive for the Mets to tank, as their draft pick stays where it is if they have a top-six pick, but if they don’t, their pick would drop 10 spots because of their high payroll. So, it is very much in their best interest to be as bad as possible. So far, they’re doing a great job of it.

They’ve still got some work to do to get to that point and the surging Cubs are in town hoping to help the Mets rack up more L’s. Chicago opted not to sell at the Trade Deadline after getting on a heater and followed the old gambler’s adage of not leaving the table on one. They are now in a Wild Card position entering play tonight and are only 1.5 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central.

Drew Smyly gets today’s assignment, as he comes in with a 4.71 ERA, 4.93 FIP, and a 4.09 xERA, as his season got off to such a great start and then he totally fell apart. Smyly had a 3.27 ERA with a 3.93 FIP through 13 starts, but regression was lurking and it found him in a big way. He has a 6.94 ERA with a 6.43 FIP in his last six starts and two relief appearances, as he was actually taken out of the rotation to be used as a bulk reliever. This will be his first start since July 17 unless the Cubs opt to use an opener.

Kodai Senga is one of the few bright spots of the season for the Mets and the de facto ace now with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in different uniforms. Senga has a 3.25 ERA with a 3.65 xERA and a 3.70 FIP over his 110.2 innings of work. He has a strong 28.7% K% with a high 11.6% BB%, but he’s only allowed 11 homers and only 88 hits in his 20 starts. 

While these two teams are going in opposite directions, Smyly and Senga are as well and I can’t trust Smyly enough to take the Cubs, even though the Mets are pretty clearly in tank mode the rest of the way.

Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers (-230, 8.5)

Peter Lambert and Freddy Peralta are the listed starters here, as the Brewers and Rockies battle it out. Lambert has a 5.07 ERA with a 4.69 xERA and a 5.16 FIP over 49.2 innings pitched and will be making his fifth straight start after getting moved into the rotation. He allowed four runs on four hits last time out, but those are the only four runs he’s allowed over 18.1 innings as a starter at the MLB level. He’s only recorded 10 strikeouts in that span, though, so I’d be wary of buying into the profile, even just a little bit.

Peralta has a 4.46 ERA with a 3.78 xERA and a 4.23 FIP over his 21 starts and 115 innings. It’s a big number for him, as it’s his second-highest MLB innings total. He worked 144.1 innings back in 2021, but only 78 last season. Except for a big blip against the Braves on July 21 with six runs allowed in five innings, he’s been pretty good for a while now. Dating back to June 1, he’s only allowed more than three runs in a start twice and has a 4.30 ERA with a 4.06 FIP.

He’s struck out 20 over his last two starts, including 13 punchies in a stellar start against the Reds on July 26. He should pitch pretty well today against the Rockies, who only have an 80 wRC+ in the second half and a 27.9% K%.

Minnesota Twins (-166, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

The Twins and Tigers kick off the AL portion of the show with Pablo Lopez against Joey Wentz. Lopez has a 4.01 ERA, but it has been improving of late to look more like his run estimators with a 3.20 xERA and a 3.39 FIP. Lopez has had an excellent strikeout rate all season long and it sits at 29.9% going into this start. He’s just had some poor sequencing luck at times and a few really ugly outings, including the seven runs he allowed against Oakland in his first start after the Break.

Since then, Lopez has allowed five runs in his last three starts on 16 hits over 18 innings with 20 strikeouts and just three walks. All of his peripherals look really good and I would anticipate some really good numbers moving forward. He just has some games where it unravels and really gets away from him. I wouldn’t expect one against the Tigers, who are batting just .240/.295/.376 as a team in the second half and rank 27th with a .293 wOBA against righties since the Break.

Wentz has a 6.37 ERA with a 5.50 xERA and a 5.36 FIP in his 76.1 innings pitched this season at the big league level. He’s worked 94.1 innings this season and I think that the Tigers will be watching him closely, as he’s been injured a lot in his career and looks to be topping 100 innings for the first time since 2019.

He just returned for his first MLB start in over a month and went 4.2 innings against the Marlins with a walk and four hits allowed. He struck out six and really threw the ball well. The Twins have had their issues with lefties this season, but they do have a 106 wRC+ in the second half against them and are also among the top offenses in the second half overall with a .352 wOBA and a 127 wRC+. They’ve really crushed righties since the Break, but we’ll see what they do with a southpaw here.

Nothing from me on this one, as the Twins may be priced a tad short, but that’s still a pretty juicy number.

Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox (-205, 10)

It is Brayan Bello Day and the Red Sox ace has a good chance to get back on track with the Royals in town. Bello has a 3.79 ERA with a 4.14 xERA and a 4.40 FIP in his 102 innings of work. The 24-year-old right-hander has had an eventful last few weeks with some time spent in the Dominican Republic over the All-Star Break and then a return trip a few days later for the birth of his child. He’s also been the subject of some contract discussions with the Red Sox.

Bello has allowed 16 runs over his last four starts covering 22 innings of work. He’s allowed seven homers in that span after allowing just eight in his previous 14 starts. With a lot happening, it’s easy to see why he’s struggled a bit. He’s faced the Cubs, A’s, Braves, and Mariners in that stretch and three of the four starts have been on the road, a long way away from his family.

The Royals have actually been a league average offense in the second half and a few ticks better than that against righties, so some of their positive regression signs in the contact quality department are finally yielding some decent results, but they’re still not a very good team.

That said, Cole Ragans is a really interesting dude to watch. The 25-year-old southpaw has allowed one run on 11 hits in 11 innings with the Royals after being in the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Rangers. Ragans has struck out 11 and had a really interesting velocity bump in his first start before scaling it back a little bit in his second. He has only allowed seven hard-hit balls in those two starts and one barrel. For the season, he’s allowed a 36.7% Hard Hit%.

Since the Break, Boston ranks 22nd in wOBA against lefties at .295 and just 16th against lefties at home with a .323 wOBA. I’m curious to see if the Royals found something in Ragans. This will be a really good test for him. I gave some thought to the Under 10, but Fenway Park is a tough place to sweat unders and the Royals have an extremely poor bullpen.

Toronto Blue Jays (-130, 8) at Cleveland Guardians

Discipline could come down at any time for the Guardians from Saturday night’s fracas against the White Sox and it will affect Cleveland greatly because Jose Ramirez will be among those suspended. He may appeal and be in the lineup, but his absence would move the line significantly with the existing injury to Josh Naylor and the trades that Cleveland completed.

Speculating that today might be the day could net some line value or it may not come down until tomorrow, but it’ll happen soon. Either way, Cleveland is the old one-armed man in a boat analogy, just spinning in circles in Lake Erie. Some unpopular moves at the Deadline seemed to signal more selling than buying and the Guardians are 4.5 out now and four games under .500. 

Gavin Williams, like Tanner Bibee and Logan Allen, has been a bright spot this season with a 3.38 ERA, 4.53 xERA, and a 4.30 FIP. His advanced run estimators aren’t a huge fan of the high walk rate that he has, but he’s only allowed four homers in eight starts and a 34.2% Hard Hit%. We were sold a scouting report that made it sound like he would just gas dudes at the MLB level, but he’s been more of a finesse guy than a power pitcher. We’ll see how the Jays do with that, as Williams has allowed just a .259 wOBA to righties. He has an 18/17 K/BB ratio against lefties, but a 19/4 K/BB ratio against righties, so the right-handed-heavy Toronto lineup could very well struggle here.

I just assume Cleveland’s offense will struggle against everybody, but it’s hard to make that assumption with Hyun Jin Ryu. This will be just his second start back and he had a tough time in his last start with four runs allowed on nine hits over five innings against the Orioles. Ryu allowed a homer, only had three strikeouts, and allowed a 52.6% Hard Hit%. 

Ryu allowed four runs on 13 hits with a 16/1 K/BB ratio in four rehab starts across 18 innings before getting back to the big leagues for his first start since June 1, 2022. As he gets more reps against big leaguers, we’ll be able to project him better. For now, I’m not sure what we’ll get as he settles back in.

New York Yankees (-166, 7.5) at Chicago White Sox

One of the bigger surprises at the Trade Deadline was that Dylan Cease was not moved. The White Sox right-hander stayed, as the price was apparently too high for teams to make a move, so he’s stuck playing out the season on a bad White Sox ballclub. Although, Chicago has shown a little more fight (pardon the pun) lately. 

Cease has a 4.61 ERA with a 4.17 xERA and a 3.74 FIP on the season. It’s been a bit of a weird year for him, as he’s pitched well in spurts. Over his last two starts, he has not pitched well, as he’s allowed 11 runs on 16 hits in 7.1 innings of work. Prior to that, he allowed two runs on six hits with 15 strikeouts in 11 innings coming out of the All-Star Break. He faced Atlanta and Minnesota in those two good starts and then Cleveland and Texas in the two bad ones. So, you never really know what you’re going to get, but the advanced metrics love the high strikeout rate and the fact that he has only allowed 13 homers and no more than one in any single start.

Gerrit Cole is quietly putting together another really fine season, as he comes in with a 2.64 ERA, 3.60 xERA, and a 3.26 FIP over 143.1 innings of work. He’s seen a big decrease in his K% to 27.5%, which is the first time he’s been under 32% since 2017 with the Pirates. However, he also has a 9.9% HR/FB%, which is his best mark since 2016. So, you take the good with the not as good and the good has been really good because the long ball was definitely a problem for him.

It shouldn’t be today with the White Sox, who have an 81 wRC+ since the Break and rank last in baseball with a .287 wOBA and a 79 wRC+ against righties in the second half. I expect a very low baseline for Chicago here. Cole has not allowed more than three runs in a start since May 28.

But, the White Sox 1st 5 Team Total is just 1.5 runs, so obviously that expectation is not unique to me. Under 7.5 is tough with how Cease has performed lately and laying the Yankees or taking the run line is very tricky with their offense. Also, they’re more right-handed-heavy than usual with Anthony Rizzo out and Cease has allowed just a .352 SLG and a .307 wOBA to right-handed batters this season.

Texas Rangers (-225, 8.5) at Oakland Athletics

We’ll see Dane Dunning and Ken Waldichuk here as the Rangers and A’s get together for a weekday set. Dunning has a 3.14 ERA with a 4.56 xERA and a 4.13 FIP in his 114.2 innings of work. It looked like the Regression Monster had burrowed deep down into his soul, but he’s allowed four runs on eight hits with 15 strikeouts in his last 12.2 innings. He just struck out 11 White Sox in 7.2 innings against his former team.

I still see tons of regression signs in the profile and have a lot of long-term concerns, but he’s managed to somehow sustain this run that he’s been on, except for a couple of bumps here and there.

The A’s may very well start Waldichuk here after they used six relievers yesterday and have three guys that have worked back-to-back days. He has a 6.52 ERA with a 5.05 xERA and a 5.64 FIP over 88.1 innings of work. The A’s have been trying to give their starters some help with openers, but have also been trying to keep a watchful eye on the workloads of their young arms. Three of Waldichuk’s last four appearances have been starts, so maybe he’s got a longer leash than others.

He’s only allowed two hits in his last two appearances covering 8.1 innings of work, but he allowed four runs to the Dodgers in his most recent outing. He has 54 walks in 88.1 innings and has allowed 100 hits, so he usually has traffic all over the place. The Rangers have a .357 wOBA and a 129 wRC+ in the second half and solid numbers against lefties as well with a .348 wOBA and a 123 wRC+ in that span.

I’ll take the Over 8.5 here. The A’s do have a .317 wOBA and a 106 wRC+ against righties in the second half and actually have a .321 wOBA and a 114 wRC+ at home since the Break. I’d be surprised if the Rangers didn’t find some success against Waldichuk and Dunning still has those negative regression signs. He also just topped 100 pitches for the second time this season and he’s only on four days rest, where he’s struggled in his last two outings on the fifth day.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-120)

San Francisco Giants (-120, 8.5) at Los Angeles Angels

The Angels opted not to sell at the Trade Deadline and were actually one of the bigger buyers. Well, they’ve lost six straight as they head into this one against the Giants, who didn’t really do much of anything a week ago. We have a solid pitching matchup here between Logan Webb and Patrick Sandoval to break down.

Sandoval has a 4.11 ERA with a 4.35 xERA and a 4.07 FIP over his 19 starts and 103 innings of work. With a 50.5% GB% and an 11.8% SwStr%, I would’ve expected his run metrics to look a lot better, but he’s run on the wrong side of variance with a 69.7% LOB% and the swings and misses haven’t come with two strikes all that often.

Since giving up seven runs on June 29 to the White Sox, he’s allowed six earned runs in his last four starts. He has walked 13 in that span, but has also only allowed 12 hits. He has a 35.1% Hard Hit% against and has actually allowed a lot of hard contact lately with a 42.9% HH% in those four outings. So, it’s another example of the weirdness of baseball, in that Sandoval has had good results while not really having his best stuff.

Webb heads into this one with a 3.45 ERA, 3.57 xERA, and a 3.37 FIP in his 148.2 innings of work. He’s got excellent K/BB numbers and a 60.6% GB%, so he’s been very difficult to score against more often than not. He did get blasted three starts ago by the Nationals to the tune of six runs in 1.1 innings, but has bounced back with good home efforts against the Red Sox and Diamondbacks to allow just five runs on 10 hits in 14.1 innings. 

Based on the pitching matchup, I lean Giants here, but their offense has been in the tank in the second half. They have a .248 wOBA against lefties and a 54 wRC+ since the Break. Overall, they are last in wOBA at .274 and have scored just 79 runs in 22 games. Webb does have some noteworthy home/road splits as well with a 2.23 ERA at home and a 4.75 ERA on the road.

All in all, it’s a pretty weak card in my estimation.

TL;DR Recap

WAS/PHI Over 10 (-102)

TEX/OAK Over 8.5 (-120)

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