MLB schedule today has 18 games
It is an enormous MLB card on Saturday with 18 games on the docket because Hurricane Hilary has changed a lot of plans in Southern California this weekend. The storm forced MLB officials to create three doubleheaders today, so the Diamondbacks, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Rays, and Angels will all play two today.
The Sunday games weren’t going to be played and hopefully the teams that need to can get out of Dodge before the storm hits. Also, this frees up emergency personnel who otherwise would have had to work the game and obviously helps the quest for public safety. It’ll be interesting to see how life around Las Vegas goes as we are projected to get half or more of the average annual rainfall from this storm, but other places are going to get a whole lot more.
Stay safe wherever you are this weekend, as we look at our last Saturday without college football in 2023 and our last Saturday without football until January 27.
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Here are some thoughts on the August 19 card (odds from DraftKings):
Those that faded Michael Lorenzen got what they were hoping for, as he got rocked by the Nationals and Washington came away with the 8-7 victory. Today’s game features Cristopher Sanchez against Jake Irvin and the Phillies as a hefty favorite. Sanchez comes in with a 3.39 ERA, 3.92 xERA, and a 4.67 FIP over his 58.1 innings of work, so there are some regression signs in the profile. A 79.4% LOB% stands out as one and a .237 BABIP stands out as another, especially with a 57.8% GB%.
To his credit, Sanchez does have some nice peripherals with a 22.9% K% and a 5.2% BB%, but he had a 19.8% K% and a 13.1% BB% in the minors over 49.2 innings, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see those numbers fall back a bit. He allowed six runs two starts ago against the Royals, but rebounded nicely with two solo homers over six innings against the Twins and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his 11 starts.
Irvin has a 4.76 ERA with a 5.08 XERA and a 5.46 FIP on the year over 18 starts and 90.2 innings. His K% and BB% are both below average, but he’s allowed a 37.6% Hard Hit% and a .283 BABIP to keep his team in games. He has also allowed a 10.3% Barrel%, so that has been tough with 17 homers against. I don’t have a play here, as Irvin has a capped ceiling and a modest floor, so it all depends on how the Nationals hit the left-handed Sanchez.
Kodai Senga and Miles Mikolas are the listed pitchers here and maybe we’ll get some fireworks here. Mikolas, who was already suspended for throwing at a Cubs player after Ian Happ inadvertently hit Willson Contreras in the head with a backswing, was the most adamant about Pete Alonso throwing Masyn Winn’s first-hit baseball into the stands in last year’s game. Mikolas was told to calm down by first-base umpire John Tumpane, who will be behind the plate tonight.
Alonso apologized in the postgame, but it may not be enough for Mikolas. We’ll have to wait and see. What the Cardinals generate on offense may not be enough against Senga either, as he comes in with a 3.30 ERA, 3.78 xERA, and a 3.54 FIP in 122.2 innings of work. He’s got a 28.4% K% against an 11.3% BB% and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since June 17.
In that span, Senga has a 2.98 ERA with a 2.58 FIP, has only allowed two home runs, and has a 62/18 K/BB ratio with a 28.6% K% and an 8.3% BB%. He has only allowed a 30.6% Hard Hit% and a 3.7% Barrel% in that span, so he’s been extremely good over his last nine starts and a bright spot in an otherwise lost season for the Mets.
Mikolas has a 4.27 ERA with a 4.88 xERA and a 3.85 FIP in his 147.2 innings pitched on the season. He has allowed a 40% Hard Hit%, which is on the high side for him and an 8.0% Barrel%. He just had a good start against Oakland by the results, but allowed 10 hard-hit balls and two more barrels. He’s allowed 26 hard-hit balls in his last 60 batted ball events and seven barrels in that span.
He’s had a lot of good starts and some bad starts, but one constant has been working deep into games, so manager Oliver Marmol will leave him out there, even if he isn’t terribly sharp. That is an interesting element to this handicap because he’s a pitch-to-contact guy and Senga has way more strikeout upside to limit balls in play. Also, Senga has done way better in the contact management department.
Both guys have done a good job with homer run avoidance over the last two months, but on a hot and humid day in St. Louis, I like Senga’s stuff and contact profile way more than what Mikolas brings to the table. The primary relievers for both sides are rested, but I think it will be the Mets who have a lead to protect.
Pick: Mets -115
Logan Webb and Yonny Chirinos are the listed starters here in what looks to be a pretty big mismatch, but the Braves offense is so live against any pitcher that it’s hard to go against them. Much like I talked about yesterday with Tony Gonsolin and the Dodgers, if you’re going to try, this would be the pitcher to try with.
Chirinos has a 5.22 ERA with a 6.09 xERA and a 5.45 FIP in 81 innings this season. In four starts with the Braves, he’s found some more strikeouts and whiffs, but his command profile has been atrocious. He’s allowed four homers in 18.1 with 19 runs allowed on 26 hits, so he has a 9.33 ERA with a 5.28 FIP. He’s allowed six runs in back-to-back starts to the Pirates and Mets.
The catch here is that the Giants have been such a bad offensive team in the second half, especially here in August, where they rank 29th in wOBA at .262 with a 63 wRC+. As bad as they’ve been against lefties, they’ve been nearly as bad against righties in the second half with a league-low .271 wOBA and a 69 wRC+. If Chirinos can’t snap them out of it, I don’t know what will.
The Giants ace heads to the hill for a 3.26 ERA, 3.54 xERA, and a 3.24 FIP over 163 innings of work. He’s on track to blow away his previous season high of 192.1 innings set last season, as he probably has 7-8 starts left to go. His peripherals are quite good with a 24.4% K%, 4.0% BB%, and a .300 BABIP with a 74.1% LOB%. Everything looks about where it should be. He has allowed 17 homers, but also has a 60.8% GB% and throws a ton of strikes, so sometimes mistakes happen.
I’d be interested in the Giants today if their offense had shown any signs of life this month. But, if they’re going to steal a game in this series, today’s probably that day.
All of these games are going to be pretty messy today, as the Diamondbacks named Merrill Kelly as the starter for Game 1 and didn’t name anybody yet for Game 2, but it looks like it will be an opener followed by Bryce Jarvis, who threw 51 pitches on Tuesday.
The Padres have announced Matt Waldron as the Game 1 starter and Yu Darvish for Game 2.
I’m going to go quick on all the doubleheaders since I don’t really play them anyway:
Waldron made his MLB debut on 6/24 and allowed two solo homers and two other hits over 4.2 innings against the Nationals. The 26-year-old right-hander has a 7.28 ERA with a 5.46 FIP in 85.1 innings at Triple-A.
Kelly has a 3.05 ERA with a 4.26 xERA and a 3.81 FIP in 124 innings of work. Since returning from the IL on July 25, he’s worked 29 innings with a 33/8 K/BB ratio, including 11 strikeouts over six innings at Coors Field last time out.
Jarvis made his MLB debut earlier this week in relief and allowed a run on a hit with a walk and three strikeouts. He had a 5.48 ERA with a 5.08 FIP in 88.2 Triple-A innings with a high walk rate and a tough time with men in scoring position. I assume the D-Backs will either start him or use an opener, depending on the relievers that aren’t used in Game 1.
Darvish has a 4.24 ERA with a 3.57 xERA and a 4.05 FIP in 127.1 innings of work. He had allowed two earned runs on just 14 hits over 19 innings before giving up four runs on eight hits to the Orioles over seven innings back on August 14. He seems to be back into a decent rhythm after a weird end to June, but he did allow four homers to the Pirates on July 24 in a really ugly start in that stretch.
I’m not sure how the games will go, but Marlins fans will have plenty of interest today. Eury Perez starts Game 1 against opener Caleb Ferguson and bulk reliever Ryan Yarbrough. The 20-year-old Perez has a 3.19 ERA with a 3.92 xERA and a 4.12 FIP in 62 innings of work. This will be his third start since getting recalled and he has allowed eight runs on nine hits, including three homers, in 8.2 innings with a 12/4 K/BB ratio. He’s allowed a 52% Hard Hit% in those two starts and four barrels against the Reds and Yankees.
Ferguson opens with a 2.38 ERA, 3.59 xERA, and a 3.29 FIP. He’s left-handed and I presume Dave Roberts and the staff believe starting him is the best course of action since the Marlins hit lefties well and he probably wouldn’t be used as a leverage option. Of course, a lefty in Yarbrough follows with a 3.82 ERA, 4.53 xERA, and a 4.24 FIP in 61.1 innings of work. He has allowed two runs on five hits in 10.1 innings with the Dodgers.
Braxton Garrett and Julio Urias are listed for Game 2, as the Dodgers are lined similarly. We’ll see if the Marlins can get back on track against lefties since they’re seeing a lot of them here today. Urias has a 4.35 ERA with a 3.78 xERA and a 4.28 FIP in 99.1 innings pitched. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in six of his last seven starts, but did allow eight runs to the Orioles on July 19. He’s allowed just six runs since, all coming in two starts.
Garrett has a 3.91 ERA with a 4.62 xERA and a 3.51 FIP in 122 innings of work. After some bumps in the road, he seems to have figured it out with five earned runs allowed over his last four starts. He does only have nine strikeouts over his last 66 batters faced, so the swing and miss upside hasn’t been there, but his command has improved.
I skipped over Red Sox/Yankees since it has already started.
The Tigers and Guardians split a doubleheader yesterday and will get back at it today. It will be Matt Manning for the Tigers and Tanner Bibee for the Guardians. Bibee is having a sensational rookie season with a 2.90 ERA, 3.49 xERA, and a 3.61 FIP in 19 starts over 108.2 innings pitched.
He’s got a 2.09 ERA with a 3.46 FIP dating back to June 18, which is one start after he had a first-inning blow-up in San Diego in front of friends and family. Bibee has not allowed more than three runs in that span and has only allowed five homers with over a strikeout per inning and just a 34.1% Hard Hit% against. He’s also allowed just a 2.4% Barrel%.
Also, for whatever reason, he loves pitching in Cleveland. Bibee has a .233 wOBA against and opposing batters are only hitting .188 at Progressive Field. He has a 1.70 ERA and has only allowed one home run.
The Tigers will send Manning out there with a 4.60 ERA, 5.32 xERA, and a 5.24 FIP in 58.2 innings of work. Manning had allowed 19 runs over his previous three starts before allowing just an unearned run to Boston over 5.1 innings last time out. He had allowed six homers in that previous stretch, but held the Red Sox at bay, despite one strikeout out of 21 batters faced. He has allowed a 42.9% Hard Hit% and a 10.9% Barrel% on the season, so his contact management skills are lacking to say the least. He allowed 12 barrels in that three-start stretch.
It is tricky with this Guardians offense to have a high expectation, but I fully expect Bibee to pitch extremely well today. There is some pomp and circumstance at the ballpark, as Manny Ramirez gets inducted into the Guardians Hall of Fame, so it will be a pretty packed house, as anything with ‘90s nostalgia brings out the people.
Cleveland won last night’s game with some big contributions from the kids and I think they can roll some of those positive vibes into tonight and win this one by a little bit of margin. They’re back to facing a righty, which is easily their better split.
Pick: Guardians -1.5 Run Line (+130)
It will be Logan Gilbert and Framber Valdez in this one, as the Mariners drew first blood last night with a 2-0 win and will look to build upon it on Saturday. The last six starts for Valdez have really been something. He’s allowed 25 runs on 35 hits in 38.2 innings with a 5.59 ERA and a 5.23 FIP. He’s also thrown a no-hitter. The no-hitter is the only start in which he hasn’t allowed four or more runs.
He’s allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in his last 14.2 innings against the Orioles and Marlins on the road and now heads back home to take on the Mariners. The full-season numbers for the Mariners are tough to look at, but they do have a 114 wRC+ in the second half against southpaws, so we’ll see if they can keep Valdez from getting back on track. He has allowed eight homers in that six-start stretch. He allowed 11 all of last season in 201.1 innings pitched.
Gilbert has a 3.80 ERA with a 3.65 xERA and a 3.58 FIP in 142 innings of work. He had a bit of a rocky start in Kansas City with four runs allowed on seven hits after his best start of the season against the Padres with 12 strikeouts over seven one-hit innings. He’s been a bit of a tough guy to nail down this season, even though the overall numbers look really good.
Gilbert has held righties to a .281 wOBA on the season, so that’s an important split for him going into this matchup against the Astros, who didn’t have Kyle Tucker due to illness yesterday, so they could very well only have two lefties in the lineup again tonight.
With the way Valdez is pitching, this line looks a little bit optimistic, but I’m not in love with taking Seattle here. I don’t find Gilbert as trustworthy as I probably should given the full-season numbers, but he has allowed a 42.8% Hard Hit% and a 9.3% Barrel% and it’s hard for me to remove that from my mind.
Former Athletic Cole Irvin gets the start here for the O’s against Ken Waldichuk and the A’s. For now it’s Waldichuk, but we did see Oakland swap out Luis Medina for an opener yesterday and it didn’t go well as they kicked the ball around and dug a big hole before Medina got out there and struggled.
Irvin has had a throwaway season in his first with Baltimore, as he has a 4.92 ERA with a 6.13 xERA and a 4.04 FIP in 53 innings pitched. He’s made nine starts and eight relief appearances and has had a couple of stays on the injured list. He made his first start since July 7 last time out against Seattle and went five shutout innings with six strikeouts. I’m not sure what to expect from him here, but this is a good park that he’s familiar with and a decent lineup to face.
Waldichuk has a 6.07 ERA with a 4.84 xERA and a 5.25 FIP in his 99.1 innings of work. He has 100 strikeouts in that span, but also 56 walks and he has allowed 16 home runs. He’s been better recently with a 4.29 ERA and a 3.46 FIP over his nine appearances covering 35.2 innings of work, but he’s still not exactly a trustworthy guy. However, he’s only allowed two homers in that span and has only allowed six barrels.
Messy game here. Nothing from me, but remember that Baltimore’s bullpen is in pretty good shape if you like a full-game wager.
Two favorable pitching matchups are on the slate for the Rays today, as their two healthy bodies in the rotation both take the mound. The Angels, who became the second team to lose in a game with a grand slam and a triple play, are at a disadvantage in both games and who knows if they even want to be at the ballpark.
Tyler Glasnow and Chase Silseth are the listed hurlers for this one. Glasnow looks pretty damn good with a 3.01 ERA, 4.03 xERA, and a 3.12 FIP. He’s still trying to erase some hard contact from early in the season when it comes to his xERA, but he’s got a 34.2% K% with an 8.3% BB%, so his peripherals look good there. Since June 25, Glasnow has a 2.01 ERA with a 2.27 FIP in 49.1 innings of work. He has only allowed three earned runs once, two earned runs once, and one earned run in the other six starts.
Silseth has been throwing the ball well this season with a 3.27 ERA, 3.70 xERA, and a 4.55 FIP over 41.1 innings of work. This will be his fifth start in a row and he’s allowed four runs on 15 hits in 22.2 innings with a 31/5 K/BB ratio. All four runs have come via solo homers and he’s allowed a 15.4% Barrel% in that span with a 40.4% Hard Hit% against the Yankees, Braves, Mariners, and Astros.
I was really surprised to see how good Silseth has been. There’s probably a slight bit of value on the Rays since Glasnow has more of a track record with doing it, but it gave me some serious pause.
Zach Eflin and Patrick Sandoval will start the nightcap and that’s a pretty good pitching matchup. As I’ve talked about a lot, the Rays stink against lefties in the second half. They have a .275 wOBA and a 77 wRC+. That should help the southpaw Sandoval, who has a 4.09 ERA with a 4.38 xERA and a 4.06 FIP in 112.1 innings. Sandoval had allowed just six earned runs over five starts before giving up five runs on four hits to Texas last time out with six walks. He’s had a few games with a lot of walks lately and that concerns me. His contact management numbers are so good that he shouldn’t be allowing free passes. Just let guys put the ball in play.
Eflin had a rare miss last time out with six runs allowed to the Guardians to drive his ERA up to 3.67. His xERA of 3.03 and his 3.10 FIP are still quite good and all of his peripherals look strong. But, he’s allowed at least five runs three times in his last six starts, so he’s been a bit shaky. He has been battling some knee discomfort and other ailments, so maybe that’s part of it.
Two good matchups here and two interesting handicaps, but I don’t have a bet in either one.
This one starts shortly, so not a whole lot to say, but Brady Singer has steadily been getting better as the season has gone along. He’s got a 4.91 ERA and a 4.78 xERA, but a 3.88 FIP and a 4.19 xFIP, so the positive regression we’ve seen lately is not a fluke. He has a 2.45 ERA with a 2.35 FIP in his last 33 innings pitched.
He’s struck out 35, walked six, and only allowed one home run with a 51.2% GB%. He’s allowed a 41.5% Hard Hit%, but you can deal with that on the ground. He’s also allowed a 3.7% Barrel% in that span over his last five starts. Don’t just assume the Cubs or any upcoming opponent will rock him. He’s making adjustments and they’re working.
Freddy Peralta and Dane Dunning square off here after a rare awful showing from the Rangers bullpen. If you had told me we’d get eight runs from Texas as a short favorite, I’d have been absolutely thrilled, but they lost 9-8 and the bullpen coughed up six of the runs.
Peralta is a guy I’d keep a real close eye on the rest of the way. He’s now thrown 50 more innings than he did last season, as he comes in with 128 on the year and a 4.08 ERA with a 3.47 xERA and a 4.01 FIP. The numbers are solid, but he’s been injured a lot and this is his second-highest workload at the MLB level.
That being said, his recent returns are spectacular. He’s allowed four runs on 15 hits in his last 25 innings with a 39/5 K/BB ratio against the Reds, Nationals, Rockies, and White Sox. The same thing applies here that applied to Brandon Woodruff last night, though, and it’s that he’s really stepping up in class here against the Rangers. We’ll see if he can keep those positive vibes rolling.
Dunning is still a regression candidate with a 3.10 ERA, 4.35 xERA, and a 3.93 FIP in 127.2 innings of work. He’s continuing to avoid it with eight earned runs allowed over his last four starts and he’s also suddenly found some strikeout upside that pushed his FIP down under 4.00. He’s struck out 29 batters over his last three starts while pitching 20.2 innings.
Nothing here. Game looks to be lined pretty fairly and both guys are throwing the ball well right now.
Just as we all expected, Brett Kennedy spearheaded a shutout for the Reds over the Blue Jays on a night when Christian Encarnacion-Strand destroyed a walk-off homer for a 1-0 win. I’m not sure we get a 1-0 game today with Chris Bassitt and Brandon Williamson, but I would’ve given it virtually no chance yesterday with Jose Berrios and Kennedy.
Bassitt has a 3.95 ERA with a 4.50 xERA and a 4.56 FIP in 145.2 innings of work. The right-hander has allowed four or more runs nine times and also has six starts of at least six innings with no runs allowed. So, I’m not entirely sure what to expect or what we’re going to get out of him here.
What I do know is that Bassitt has some uber-extreme home/road splits. He has a 2.83 ERA at home in 76.1 innings, but a 5.19 ERA on the road in 69.1 innings. He’s allowed 17 homers on the road to five at home. In terms of his slash line, his road numbers are much higher, by 115 points in BA, 85 points in OBP, 273 points in SLG(!!), and 134 points higher in wOBA. Lefties on the road against Bassitt are slashing .343/.391/.723 with a .458 wOBA. He’s pitched well of late, including two good road starts against the Dodgers and Red Sox, but all five of his starts allowing five or more runs have been on the road.
Williamson is left-handed, which is a good thing for Toronto. The Blue Jays have a .382 wOBA and a 148 wRC+ against lefties in the second half with a .309/.391/.500 slash. They have an 11.4% BB% as well. Williamson has a 4.33 ERA with a 5.14 xERA and a 4.81 FIP over 81 innings, but he’s allowed just two runs over his last 12.1 innings of work and has only allowed more than three runs in a start once since June 13.
That total of 9.5 does look tempting with Bassitt’s road numbers and the Blue Jays against a lefty, but it has been bet down from 10 to 9.5 at some shops. Toronto’s bad offensive numbers against righties might be skewing some of the models, so that’s part of the equation here. I’m trying not to bet totals because I’ve been so bad at them, so I’m going to stay away here, but I think it’s a fascinating handicap.
A late note here that Bo Bichette returns for Toronto today and has a .367/.419/.608 slash with a 185 wRC+ against lefties on the season. It’s only 86 PA, but those are some huge numbers. He had 14 hits in 27 PA before hitting the IL, so we’ll see if he can get right back to it in his return.
The Twins got there on the run line last night, though it wasn’t super easy. Pablo Lopez did go six shutout innings, but the Pirates were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, so we got a little fortunate in that one. We’ll see what happens today when Mitch Keller and Sonny Gray square off.
Keller now has a 4.27 ERA with a 4.03 xERA and a 3.86 FIP. It all really turned for Keller in late May for some reason. He had a 2.44 ERA with a 2.66 FIP over his first 10 starts, but he has a 5.59 ERA with a 4.73 FIP in his last 15 starts. He’s mixed in some really good ones, but has also allowed four or more runs in eight starts in that stretch, including six or more runs four times.
His last two starts have been decent against the Braves and Reds, but he allowed eight runs to the Brewers on August 3, his third start out of four with at least six runs allowed.
Gray has a 3.04 ERA with a 3.83 xERA and a 2.79 FIP. He’s worked 136.1 innings on the season over 24 starts with over a strikeout per inning and has only allowed five home runs. He’s allowed more than three earned runs just twice, once before the Break and once right after it. Since giving up 11 runs over those two starts, he’s allowed 10 runs total in his last five starts with a 34/4 K/BB ratio.
This honestly feels a lot like yesterday’s game, but Keller does have more upside than Jackson. But, it is the same overall setup. The Twins have an excellent pitcher on the mound with an offense that has crushed righties in the second half. The difference here is that the bullpen isn’t quite as fresh with the top four guys getting used yesterday.
I won’t run it back with the run line, but won’t be shocked if it hits again.
The Rockies bashed Michael Kopech yesterday and cruised to a 14-1 win as Peter Lambert tied 0 career-high with seven innings. Kyle Freeland will attempt to follow suit against Jesse Scholtens as this series continues. It has been a rough year for Freeland, as he has a 4.94 ERA with a 5.46 xERA and a 5.33 FIP in 124 innings of work. He has seen his K% drop to 14.3% and is on pace to allow a career-high in homers. He’s two off of his previous high with a month and a half left to go.
Since coming off the IL on July 28, Freeland has allowed 16 runs on 30 hits in 21 innings. He’s allowed a 50% Hard Hit% and a 13.8% Barrel%. There is very little to like about those numbers, even against a White Sox offense that doesn’t really stand out in any way. This is even a bottom-five group against lefties in the second half and that used to be a saving grace for the offense.
Scholtens has pitched in altitude a fair amount in his career, as he played parts of three seasons with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. He’s actually made 41 starts and more than a few relief appearances in the Pacific Coast League, so he’s accustomed to it. He’s been a nice find for the White Sox this season with a 3.20 ERA in 56.1 innings, but there are some regression signs in the profile with a 3.89 xERA, 4.36 FIP, and a 4.90 xFIP. He’s got a 78.1% LOB%.
He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in an appearance and has actually made three straight starts with seven runs (6 ER) on 15 hits over 18.1 innings against the Rangers, Guardians, and Brewers.
I lean White Sox here, but I don’t have any compelling enough reasons to lay a number. Both bullpens are in similar spots. I think the Rockies are a little more invested these days, but I can’t really quantify that. Guess we’ll see how it plays out.
Guardians -1.5 (+130)