MLB schedule today has 16 games
Another very busy day on the MLB betting board brings us the full 15-game slate and a few matinee matchups before giving way to a nice evening of games. We’ve got one early game in New York City, but the rest of the card really gets going in the 3 p.m. ET hour and carries on deep into the night. We’ve got a lot of pretty big favorites on the card, but there are sure to be some good betting opportunities.
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Here are some thoughts on the August 12 card (odds from DraftKings):
Allan Winans and Denyi Reyes were called up to be the 27th men for this doubleheader and start Game 1, with Winans an enormous favorite in just his second MLB start. That was an early one, though, and it was already well underway by the time I posted, so let’s just look at the nightcap.
It will be Spencer Strider and Jose Quintana in that one. Strider’s peripherals are all spectacular with his enormous K%, 3.14 xERA, and a 2.93 FIP, but he’s got a 3.94 ERA. He’s run into some negative variance with his home run rate and a .336 BABIP. He gave up six runs on five hits last time out against the Pirates in just 2.2 innings and he’s had some of those big blow-ups over the course of the season.
The weird thing is that Strider has only allowed a .208/.282/.358 slash with a .279 wOBA with men in scoring position and still has a 36.8% K% in that split, so I really don’t know where these runs are coming from to drive up his ERA to nearly 4.00. Nothing in the profile suggests it, other than what I believe to be some bad luck. His high BABIP isn’t even supported by a 36% Hard Hit%, so I really am at a loss.
Quintana has allowed 10 runs (9 ER) in four starts over 23.2 innings since coming back from an injury to start the season. He’s allowed 2, 2, 3, 2 in terms of earned runs, so he’s kept his team in every game, but has yet to be the winning pitcher in any of those outings against the White Sox, Yankees, Royals, or Orioles. He only has 16 strikeouts out of 99 batters faced, but hasn’t given up a homer yet and has yielded just a 32.9% Hard Hit%. This will be a stiff test against a Braves lineup that has pummeled lefties all year, but Quintana has really hung in there well.
Nothing from me here. I do think some people may fade Strider on account of that 3.94 ERA, but all of his advanced metrics suggest it’s nothing more than some variance.
Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and trust yourself. I wanted to fade the move on the Pirates yesterday and take the Reds behind Andrew Abbott, but I didn’t see anything in the numbers to strongly support it and you do want to consider the influential money and the positions that those individuals and groups have taken. It turned out to be a dead wrong position, as the Reds won 9-2.
It is Brandon Williamson’s turn today, as the Reds are a slight dog per the DraftKings lines. Williamson is a much less attractive pitcher to back than Abbott, as he comes in with a 4.54 ERA, 5.20 xERA, and a 5.01 FIP in 75.1 innings of work. He’s got poor K/BB numbers with a 20.5% K% and a 9.3% BB% and also has allowed a 42.7% Hard Hit% with a 9.2% Barrel%. There aren’t many redeeming qualities to his numbers.
He’s also been worse on the road than at home with a .357 wOBA against and a 5.40 ERA on the road in 30 innings compared to a .302 wOBA and a 3.97 ERA at home in 45.1 innings. Given the history of Great American Ball Park, I would have expected him to perform much worse at home.
This will be the first MLB start for 27-year-old Andre Jackson, who has 44 innings to his name at the big league level with a 3.68 ERA and a 3.96 FIP. This season, he’s made nine appearances with a 5.16 ERA, 4.71 xERA, and a 4.50 FIP. Jackson has thrown five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts for the Pirates in two relief appearances. He hasn’t worked more than 3.1 innings in an appearance this season at the MLB level, so that’s probably about where he’ll max out today.
Jackson has a 23/3 K/BB ratio this season, so he’s been a strike-throwing machine. He had a couple bad outings in April and has mostly been fine otherwise. The Pirates did get him up to four innings on July 27, so I guess we’ll see what they get out of him here.
The Reds are clearly a better team and at least I know what I’m likely to get from Williamson. Since June 19, he has a 3.92 ERA with a 4.23 FIP, so those are respectable numbers. He just had one of his best starts of the season against the Marlins with a run on three hits in 6.2 innings. Cincinnati’s bullpen is in good shape here and the Pirates are 27th in wOBA at .278 and have a 72 wRC+ against lefties in the second half. I think they’re worth a look today.
Pick: Reds -108
Rich Hill and Zac Gallen are the listed starters for this NL West showdown, as we’ll see Hill’s second start as a member of the Padres. Hill allowed six runs on four hits in his first effort against the Dodgers, so he’ll be hoping for better returns here. He has a 5.09 ERA with a 4.64 FIP in 122 innings of work and only has one start that fits the definition of a “quality start” (6+ IP, 3 or fewer ER) in his last 10 starts. It was the bare bones definition as well, with six innings and three runs allowed.
The freefalling Diamondbacks dropped their ninth straight game last night, so even though they seemingly have a good chance of hitting Hill, I can’t possibly back them here. They’re a mess and they can’t seem to pull themselves out of it.
Gallen has a 3.37 ERA with a 3.91 xERA and a 3.15 FIP in his 149.2 innings of work. He’s been good more often than not, but his dominance in the month of April did skew his numbers for the rest of the season, especially in the K% department. He’s got a 4.17 ERA with a 4.13 FIP since the start of July in seven starts with a solid 49/9 K/BB ratio in 45.1 innings of work.
Even though Gallen is the unquestioned ace of this lackluster rotation, he still needs run support and the D-Backs have been inconsistent with that.
The Rockies have scored two runs in two games in this series thus far against Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn, and a smattering of relievers. Now they’ll go up against Tony Gonsolin, who has a 4.42 ERA with a 5.20 xERA and a 4.87 FIP in his 93.2 innings of work. His K% is down 5% from last season at 18.9% and his BB% has spiked to 9.2%. He’s also allowed 13 homers after giving up 11 in 130.1 innings last season.
It has been especially bad for Gonsolin in his last nine starts with a 6.89 ERA and a 5.48 FIP. He’s allowed four or more runs in seven of those nine starts. The Rockies are a subpar offense to say the least, but Gonsolin might be their best chance to score some runs in this series.
The problem is that Colorado will counter with Peter Lambert, who has allowed nine runs on eight hits in his last two starts over eight innings pitched. He has a 5.57 ERA with a 5.35 FIP in 53.1 innings this season. His first three starts were really solid with no earned runs allowed on eight hits, but the Regression Monster has arrived and has come with a vengeance.
Clearly not laying the huge Dodgers number and I can’t trust Colorado’s offense enough to get us to 10 runs, even though the Dodgers should be quite helpful in that department.
Matt Manning and Brayan Bello are the listed starters here as the Tigers and Red Sox meet once again. It is another intriguing pitching matchup. Yesterday’s was great for three innings before Tarik Skubal gave up a three-run homer in the fourth and Chris Sale lost his perfect game in the fifth with a homer that put the 1st 5 over the total. Stupid Fenway Park.
Manning has a 5.06 ERA with a 5.37 xERA and a 5.31 FIP in his 10 starts over 53.1 innings this season, but I’m still holding out hope that the good 63 innings we saw from him in 2022 are what we can expect going forward. If he can ever stay healthy.
Manning has ridden the struggle bus to work lately, allowing 19 runs on 24 hits in his last three starts over 16.2 innings of work. He’s allowed six homers in that span and a 50% Hard Hit% with a 19.4% Barrel%. The Angels, Pirates, and Rays have all done a number on him and he really hasn’t missed enough bats this season for my liking in general with a 7.2% SwStr%. It’s just a bummer to see promising pitchers derailed by injuries and poor performance, but he is only 25 and there’s still hope.
It just may not come today, especially with Bello on the other side. Bello has had a hard time lately as well, but he also recently had a kid and multiple trips back and forth to the Dominican Republic. He finally got back on track at home against the Royals last time out with one run allowed on six hits. Prior to that, he had allowed 16 runs over his previous 16 innings to start the second half.
Bello has a 3.64 ERA with a 4.35 FIP since his K% is a bit lower than where it should be, but he’s got a 56.5% GB% to offset some of that. The one thing I will say about his Royals start is that he allowed a 52.2% Hard Hit%, so the Royals hit him hard, but some positive outcomes on batted balls saved the day. For as bad as Detroit’s offense is, they have made some decent contact quality this season.
This game may be a sneaky over candidate, but I don’t like it enough to take it.
Gavin Williams and former Indian Shawn Armstrong are today’s two starts, as the Rays will open with Armstrong and then turn it over to Josh Fleming, who was just recalled from Triple-A. I mentioned prior to his last start that what we were sold about Williams’s big strikeout numbers in the minor leagues had not translated to the big league level. Well, he must have read what I said because he struck out 12 over seven incredible innings against Toronto last time out.
Williams may be finding his strikeout stride a little bit. His SwStr% is up to 11.9% now this season at the MLB level and pairing more strikeouts with a 33.3% Hard Hit% and a 3.9% Barrel% is going to really make him a special pitcher. He has allowed a total of eight earned runs in his last six starts and just five earned runs in five starts since the All-Star Break. He’s allowed a 29.3% HH% and one barrel in those five second-half outings.
Armstrong has been dominant in 31.1 innings for the Rays with a 1.15 ERA, 2.11 xERA, and a 2.18 FIP. He’s allowed four runs on 20 hits with a 34/6 K/BB ratio and will be the opener for the fourth time this season. He hasn’t opened since July 15 when he threw two scoreless against the Royals. He has only allowed two runs in the second half over 12.2 innings with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
Fleming is not a guy I like, though. He has a 4.62 ERA with a 5.27 xERA and a 5.86 FIP in 48.2 innings of work at the MLB level this season. He allowed five runs (3 ER) on 15 hits in 11 innings in the minors while rehabbing from an elbow injury that put him on the 60-day IL. He had a 6.43 ERA with a 4.40 xERA and a 4.43 FIP in 35 innings last season. He’s a below average MLB pitcher through and through and he’ll be the one called upon after Armstrong.
Jose Ramirez did have his suspension reduced by a game and he won’t be in there for Cleveland tonight, so they’ll be missing their best active hitter in Saturday and Sunday’s games. While Ramirez would have gotten at least one plate appearance against the right-handed Armstrong, he’s batting .208/.258/.389 against lefties this season, so he’s one of the many reasons why Cleveland has had major issues in that split.
The Guardians have a .244 wOBA and a 50 wRC+ against lefties in the second half. No team is worse in either category. The other teams around Cleveland all have way more strikeouts, but the Guardians just have some of the worst contact quality in baseball. It’s because of that that I will not invest in them today, even though I think Williams throws well again.
It will be Tyler Anderson and JP France in this one, as the Angels and Astros keep their AL West series going. The Astros rolled over the Angels 11-3 in Verlander’s return to Minute Maid Park and the Angels are now below .500 on the season, as their woes continued.
Based on the line and the pitching matchup, I would expect a similar result tonight. Maybe it won’t be an 11-3 game, but Anderson is objectively worse than Detmers, who gave up seven runs on seven hits in just 2.1 innings. The Astros have hammered southpaws in the second half and face Anderson, who has a 4.93 ERA with a 4.37 FIP in 104.1 innings on the season. He’s allowed eight runs on 22 hits in four second-half starts with an 18/7 K/BB ratio. He’s only given up one home run and allowed just a 31.3% Hard Hit%, so we’ll see if he can navigate the tough Houston order.
France is still not a guy that I’m buying stock in, as he has a 2.75 ERA, but a 4.40 xERA and a 4.15 FIP in 95 innings of work. His 17.3% K% doesn’t impress me and I don’t see a lot of sustainability with his 81% LOB%. However, he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 29 and has only allowed five earned runs in five starts in the second half. He has only allowed a 36.6% Hard Hit% and a 7.1% Barrel%, so he uses deception from his compact 6-foot tall delivery to find success.
The Angels haven’t found much success lately and backing the left-handed Anderson against the Astros seems like a poor idea, even if I feel like France has some regression signs in the profile.
Cole Irvin gets the call for Baltimore today as he looks to slow down the juggernaut that is the Mariners. Seattle has reeled off eight straight wins and finally looks like the team that I expected coming into the season. This line looks like we’re paying a bit of a premium on George Kirby and his teammates, but it is hard to step in front of that train right now.
The Mariners lost to fall to 50-50 on July 24 and they are 63-52 heading into this one. During this eight-game winning streak, they’ve won six of them on the run line, including yesterday’s 9-2 romp. Kirby has a 3.32 ERA with a 3.85 xERA and a 3.27 FIP in his 135.2 innings of work. He’s got a 3.26 ERA in 66.1 innings at home and has held opponents to a .274 wOBA, so this looks like another tough day for the Baltimore offense after dealing with Luis Castillo last night.
Kirby has allowed two runs on seven hits in his last 12 innings with 12 strikeouts. He’s had two bad starts and three excellent starts since the All-Star Break. Prior to the Break, he allowed a total of eight earned runs in five starts heading into a bit of downtime, so he’s largely been very good in his last 10 outings.
Irvin has a 5.44 ERA with a 6.65 xERA and a 4.31 FIP in his 48 innings this season. The O’s have not gotten what they hoped for out of him and he also spent ample time on the IL. He hasn’t started since July 7 and hasn’t worked more than two innings in his last five appearances, so I’m not sure what Baltimore can reasonably expect from him here. The O’s also only have a seven-man bullpen, which is rare right now around the league, so they’re going to have to try and push Irvin a bit.
Maybe this line is a little high, but I can’t see any compelling reason to take Baltimore.
Southpaw Justin Steele and right-hander Chris Bassitt get this one going at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have been stymied by every right-handed starter they’ve faced this week and even the lefty that they saw in Logan Allen. Steele is having an outstanding season with a 2.68 ERA, 3.51 xERA, and a 3.21 FIP in his 121 innings pitched. He’s got a strong set of peripherals where nothing looks out of whack and nothing looks all that ripe for regression.
However, Steele hasn’t been as sharp lately, as he’s allowed nine runs (6 ER) in his last two starts over 11.1 innings of work. He also had a start against Boston coming out of the Break with six runs allowed, though only one of them was earned. The Blue Jays haven’t done much right against righties in the second half, but they have crushed lefties to the tune of a .396 wOBA and a 157 wRC+, so this is definitely the better split for them. They also have a 12.4% BB% in those 307 plate appearances and Steele has walked seven in his last three starts. He only has 28 total walks for the season.
Bassitt has a 3.87 ERA with a 4.40 xERA and a 4.57 FIP in his 139.2 innings of work. He has been a really tough guy to handicap this season. He has done an excellent job in most of his starts, but he’s also had some huge blow-ups. He hasn’t had one lately and he has a 2.93 ERA with a 3.61 FIP in his last eight starts with 50 strikeouts against 14 walks. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in seven of those eight starts.
Bassitt also has some really interesting home/road splits. He has allowed a .242 wOBA at home with a 2.56 ERA in 70.1 innings pitched. He has allowed a .379 wOBA in 69.1 innings with a 5.19 ERA on the road. He has given up 17 of his 21 homers away from Rogers Centre. His K% at home is 6.4% higher than it is on the road.
I got a late start to the article this morning and this game starts in about 90 minutes from where I’m at in the writing process, so nothing here, but I would’ve had a pretty strong lean, if not a play on Toronto. There isn't enough lead time to call one official.
Michael King will open for the Yankees here in front of Jhony Brito. The Marlins have a much easier plan and that is to send out Sandy Alcantara, which is why they are such a big favorite in this one.
King has a 2.88 ERA with a 3.26 xERA and a 3.23 FIP in 59.1 innings over 38 appearances, so he is plenty capable of going multiple innings here in his first start of the season. It will actually be his first start since 2021. He went 2.2 innings back on June 8 and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Yankees try to push him that far. Between King and the fellow righty in Brito, the Yankees will be able to keep Miami on the wrong side of the platoon for them throughout most of the game.
Brito has a 5.02 ERA with a 5.55 xERA and a 5.87 FIP in 57.1 innings pitched at the big league level. He also has a 5.45 ERA with a 6.06 FIP in 36.1 minor league innings. Clearly there isn’t a ton to love in the profile here with him and that’s another reason why we see Miami such a sizable favorite.
That being said, Alcantara just cannot consistently get guys out. He’s got a 4.28 ERA with a 3.92 FIP and things have been better, but he just allowed five runs on six hits in six innings to the Rangers, including three home runs. His first two starts coming out of the All-Star Break were shaky as well. He just hasn’t been the same guy and I’m not interested in betting on him because his perception and his reality remain in two different places.
We’ll see Pablo Lopez and Taijuan Walker here as the Twins and Phillies keep their weekend set going. The Phillies rolled over Dallas Keuchel and the Twins last night in a 13-2 romp where outfielder Jordan Luplow wound up coming in to pitch. Stranger things have happened, but I don’t think the Phillies score 13 today in a game started by Lopez.
Lopez has been rolling of late, as he is down to a 3.81 ERA with a 3.10 xERA and a 3.27 FIP. His ERA had been lagging behind his other metrics most of the season, but it seems that some positive regression has made its way into the equation now. He’s got a terrific 30% K% with a solid 6.2% BB%. He’s got a .299 BABIP against, though he has allowed 17 homers in his 141.2 innings of work. That’s a little bit on the high side, but he’s a strike-thrower and those things sometimes happen.
Lopez has allowed five earned runs in his last four starts after getting rocked by the A’s in his first start in 10 days after the Break. I see no reason to believe he gets shelled today, even though the Phillies have been swinging some pretty good bats in the second half.
Walker has a 3.98 ERA for the season with a 4.19 xERA and a 4.40 FIP in 126.2 innings pitched. He’s allowed two runs in three of his last six starts and four runs in each of the others, so it’s tough to know exactly what you’re going to get. He hasn’t been as sharp as he was throughout a dominant month of June when he made some mechanical changes and optimized his pitch usage a bit, but he’s still been very reliable for the Phillies and has also managed to stay pretty healthy.
I certainly understand Minnesota being in a road favorite role here with a rested bullpen, at least in terms of primary relievers, and with Lopez on the mound, but they’re two games over .500. This is not a very good ballclub and I can’t trust them today.
Jake Irvin is a pretty heavy favorite here as the A’s and Nats continue to exchange pleasantries. Luis Medina is on the mound for Oakland and he has a 5.47 ERA with a 4.40 xERA and a 4.87 FIP in his 79 innings of work. Irvin has a 4.93 ERA with a 5.10 xERA and a 5.47 FIP. Their numbers really aren’t all that different, and yet the Nationals have taken the steam and are a clear favorite in this game.
Medina is a guy I’ve been monitoring from afar. For obvious reasons, I haven’t wanted to really invest in many A’s games, but he’s not the complete gas can that he was earlier in the season. Media allowed 10 homers in his first five appearances. He’s only allowed two homers since. Over his last seven starts and three relief appearances covering 49.1 innings, Medina actually has a 3.83 ERA with a 3.41 FIP. He’s struck out 53 and walked 27 with 23 runs (21 ER) on 46 hits.
The obvious point of contention here is that the Nationals don’t strike out a lot, which neutralizes the best attribute in that stretch for Medina. However, Medina is also right-handed and Washington is 25th in wOBA at .304 with an 88 wRC+ in that split in the second half.
The A’s are 21st at .306, but when you factor in the park adjustment, they actually have a 98 wRC+ against RHP in the second half. They get Irvin here as he is allowing a ton of hard contact. Since the All-Star Break, Irvin has allowed a 42.7% Hard Hit% and a 14.7% Barrel%. He has allowed 16 runs on 28 hits in 25.1 innings with eight homers allowed in that span.
Medina has a 38% Hard Hit% and has only allowed a 2.9% Barrel% over that sample size I mentioned earlier. In four second-half starts, Medina has allowed a 27.8% Hard Hit% to the Red Sox, Astros, Rockies (at Coors) and Giants. He’s allowed seven runs on just 16 hits with a 21/9 K/BB ratio. I think the A’s are actually worth a play tonight. Shop around because you can find a better price elsewhere.
Pick: Athletics +120
Southpaws Steven Matz and Cole Ragans will square off in this one, as Ragans is one of the more interesting stories in the big leagues right now. He’s made three starts with the Royals since coming over in the Aroldis Chapman trade and has allowed two earned runs on 15 hits in 17.2 innings pitched with 21 strikeouts against four walks. If the Royals actually found a legitimate pitcher from a few months of Chapman, that could be a huge development for them going forward.
Ragans draws a Cardinals crew that has been a top-10 offense against lefties all season long, so we’ll see how he fares. He’s faced the Rays, Mets, and Red Sox (at Fenway) in his three starts to this point.
Matz has a 3.91 ERA with a 3.88 xERA and a 3.76 FIP in his 99 innings pitched, as a stint in the bullpen has really helped him tremendously. This will be his seventh start since getting reinserted into the rotation and he’s allowed six earned runs in that span. In fact, since getting clubbed by the Reds on May 24, he has a 2.03 ERA with a 2.69 FIP in his last 48.2 innings of work.
I don’t have any interest in playing an under with temps near 90 and humid conditions in Kansas City that are good for offense, but these two pitchers have actually been throwing the ball really well of late. As a side note, not that he walks a lot of guys anyway, but the Royals have a 2.8% BB% against lefties in the second half, so a Matz Under Walks prop may not be a bad bet here.
The Brewers got a bad start from Corbin Burnes, but managed to prevail by a 7-6 count in extra innings yesterday. Today is a big game for them. Brandon Woodruff returned on August 6 from nearly four months away and allowed two runs on four hits in five innings against the Pirates. He struck out nine and gave up two solo homers.
In the past, I would have looked at Woodruff to completely and utterly dominate this White Sox lineup, but with all the time that he missed, I’m not entirely sure what happens in this one. I would expect him to be very good, but the Brewers may also bring him along slowly and all of their primary relievers got called into action yesterday.
Woodruff worked 11.2 minor league innings over three rehab starts and only one came in Triple-A, where he allowed three runs on three hits in 4.2 innings, so I don’t feel like I can really look at him in the same light as I normally would.
Jesse Scholtens is having a nice season for the White Sox with a 3.06 ERA, 3.88 xERA, and a 4.53 FIP in 50 innings of work. He’s made four starts and 14 relief appearances. This will be his third straight start and he has allowed just three earned runs on nine hits in 12 innings against the Rangers and Guardians. Scholtens has a lot of nice peripherals with a 36.6% Hard Hit% overall and a 7.2% Barrel%. He doesn’t have a lot of strikeouts, but his SwStr% isn’t awful.
Not really much more to add here. The Brewers should win, but I’m not sure that price is worth it.
We wrap up with the Rangers and the Giants, as Bruce Bochy was honored last night in his return to San Francisco. The Rangers won 2-1, as San Francisco’s major power outage continued, but the Giants did hold the Rangers’ prolific offense at bay (pardon the pun).
It will be Andrew Heaney and Alex Cobb in this one, as the Giants draw a southpaw. In the second half, San Francisco has a .252 wOBA and a 57 wRC+ against lefties. Only Cleveland is worse, as mentioned above. The Giants have struck out in 26% of their plate appearances in that split with just a 6.6% BB%.
Heaney has a 4.14 ERA with a 4.58 xERA and a 4.77 FIP in his 113 innings. He does have a 24.6% K% that could play up in this split and San Francisco’s inability to draw walks may cut down on Heaney’s 9.4% BB%. The thing that’s tough about Heaney is that he’s had a lot of really good starts, but also some major trainwrecks. He’s allowed six or more runs four times and those ERA killers can really do a number on the stats.
He’s allowed 19 homers on the season as well, so that’s a worry, though the Giants haven’t hit many of those lately.
Cobb has a 3.30 ERA with a 4.55 xERA and a 3.75 FIP on the season over 117.1 innings pitched. Cobb’s high xERA is a byproduct of a 44.4% Hard Hit%. He’s been able to offset that by having a 56.7% GB% and a low walk rate, so he’s limited free baserunners and then worked around a .329 BABIP. That being said, Cobb has allowed five homers in his last two starts and eight runs on 11 hits in 11.1 innings of work.
He’s only had one double-digit SwStr% game in his last five starts and it was against Oakland, who then scored five runs off of him in 5.1 innings in the rematch 11 days later. These are two teams going in different directions and the low baseline for the Giants against lefties really makes me feel like the Rangers have some value today.
Cobb allows a lot of contact, has had some command hiccups recently, and doesn’t generate a lot of swings and misses. Drawing a Rangers lineup that is fourth in wOBA at .351 and third in wRC+ at 125 in the second half, not to mention the second-best offense against righties for the full season, is not likely to help him.
Pick: Rangers -102