MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, July 15th

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 15, 2023 12:49 PM

MLB schedule today has 17 games

There are 17 games on the betting board that haven’t started yet and an 18th that was suspended due to rain, so this is the busiest card that we’ll have this season. Live betting will be available on the Nationals and Cardinals, which was suspended in the third inning, as the teams tried to get started, but Mother Nature had other ideas. 

There are a trio of really early starts on the card and I’ll do the best I can to get to them, but two are Game 1s of a doubleheader and I usually stay away from double dips anyway. But, with a lot of games and a lot to write about, it’s time to get started.

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Here are some thoughts on the July 15 card (odds from DraftKings):

San Diego Padres (-165, 9) at Philadelphia Phillies Game 1

San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies (-130, 10.5) Game 2

The Padres are favored with Blake Snell on the bump in Game 1 and the Phillies are favored with Taijuan Walker on the hill in Game 2. Here are some thoughts on each game:

Game 1

This game has already started, but a few quick thoughts…

I’ve spent some time talking about teams that wanted some time away going into the Break and those that probably just wanted to keep playing. That’s true of players as well and nobody wanted the All-Star Break less than Snell. He’s in the best run of his career with a magnificent stretch that started on May 25. He has an 0.68 ERA with a 1.96 FIP in his last nine starts with 84 strikeouts in 53 innings of work. His last start came on July 8 against the Mets and he struck out 11 over six one-hit, shutout innings.

We’ll see if the extended layoff and maybe the interruption of focus bothers him, but it is only one more day than he was getting when pitching every sixth day.

As far as Suarez goes, he’s been quite solid for the Phils. While not Snellian by any means, he has a 3.77 ERA with a 4.47 xERA and a 3.74 FIP in 62 innings of work. Suarez had a nice mini run himself with six earned runs allowed over a six-start stretch, but allowed eight earned (nine total) over his last 11 innings heading into the Break with nine strikeouts against just seven walks. Seems like he needed a blow. We’ll see how he looks here with a chance to collect himself.

Game 2

Walker gave up four runs to the Rays last time out and navigated through five walks over seven innings, but he was another guy locked into a groove prior to that start. He had allowed three runs over his previous five starts with a 32/7 K/BB ratio. He hasn’t pitched since July 5, so we’ll see if he’s a little bit rusty in this one, but an uptick in velo did big things for him and he worked with pitching coach Caleb Cotham to make his delivery less rigid and more athletic. Hopefully he’s been able to keep those altered mechanics over the Break.

He may also get some run support as the Phillies draw Ryan Weathers in Game 2. Weathers, who has been pitching at Triple-A El Paso, has a 6.08 ERA with a 4.62 xERA and a 5.40 FIP in 40 MLB innings this season. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats and doesn’t have the greatest control, plus he’s allowed seven homers to this point. He gave up six runs in 1.2 innings to the Guardians on June 15 before getting sent down.

He’ll just serve as the 27th man here for the doubleheader and head right back down afterwards. The Phillies are only 18th in wOBA against LHP for the season at .318, but eighth in wOBA at .338 since the start of June. The Padres have also pummeled lefties in that span with a .346 wOBA, which may help in Game 1 and they are sixth in wOBA against righties at .336, which may help in Game 2.

Ten is a big number, but I’d lean over if not for having to worry about the first game. Let’s see which relievers are used and how things go on a hot, humid day in Philly.

San Francisco Giants (-165, 8.5) at Pittsburgh Pirates

Alex Cobb and Johan Oviedo are listed for this one, as the Giants picked up their 50th win of the season and cashed a winner for us with the 6-4 triumph. I was a little surprised to see Sean Manaea as the guy to follow Ross Stripling, but even with a poor outing from him, San Francisco’s primary relievers shut it down.

The Giants were just 3-for-14 with RISP and still scored six runs in that one, as the Pirates were 0-for-5 and scored four runs, with only one solo homer. It was a bit of an odd game in that respect. We’ll see how today’s goes with Cobb, one of the Giants actual starting pitchers, heading in with a 2.91 ERA, 3.97 xERA, and a 3.03 FIP in his 89.2 innings of work. Eleven of Cobb’s 29 earned runs have come in two of his 16 starts, as he was rocked in road outings by the Rockies and Brewers within the span of three starts. Since that Rockies outing, Cobb has spent some time on the IL and made two starts after his return with two earned allowed on 12 hits in 11 innings.

He’s just shy of a strikeout per inning with a 57.6% GB%, so he’s a stingy guy to score runs against. He’s also only allowed six homers and has only allowed four of them in his last 14 starts. That’s how he has been able to work around a .348 BABIP. He also has an 80.3% LOB%, so he’s done well in pressure-packed spots.

Oviedo has not done as well, as he has a 67.7% LOB% leading to a 4.75 ERA. He struggled badly in his last two starts before the Break, allowing 13 runs on 15 hits in 11.2 innings. He’s allowed a homer in four straight starts and 10 overall on the season. It did seem like maybe he was getting fatigued late in the first half, as he allowed back-to-back games with a Hard Hit% over 50% and then a 40% mark to the Dodgers. He also allowed 10 barrels in his last four starts.

So, we’ll see if he comes back in better form today. Lefties do own a .445 SLG against him and a .340 wOBA, so they have fared a lot better, hitting eight of the 10 homers he has allowed. The Giants should be able to throw quite a few at him in this one. Oviedo’s wOBA against is 40 points lower at home, though, and his SLG is 73 points lower, as PNC Park is not a great hitter’s park, though it does play better for lefties more often than not.

Rain does threaten this game a bit with shower chances perking up in the evening hours on a humid night. I gave some thought to the Giants Team Total Over 4.5, but at -130, I’ll stay away.

Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds (-125, 9)

It was a playoff-like atmosphere at Great American Ball Park last night and Corbin Burnes brought it. Despite dealing with what looked like some dehydration, Burnes struck out 13 over six incredible innings and the Brewers came away with a 1-0 win to knot things up in the NL Central race.

Game 2 features Freddy Peralta and Andrew Abbott. The Brewers have awful numbers against lefties for the season, but they have been quite a bit better since June 1 and actually rank ninth with a .337 wOBA in that split. For the season, they are 26th at .301. They’ve cut down on their strikeouts and hit for more power as the weather has warmed up.

Abbott has been fantastic for the Redlegs thus far, owning a 2.38 ERA with a 3.39 xERA and a 3.85 FIP over his 41.2 innings. In those seven starts, Abbott has allowed six home runs and just got shelled by Milwaukee in his last outing of the first half with six runs allowed on nine hits. His stats indicated a start like that was possible and it came to fruition. He still struck out six and has 36 strikeouts in his last four starts against just five walks. He allowed five barrels in that start and maybe the pressure just got to him a bit.

What concerns me here for Abbott is that he has just a 19.6% GB%, but Mother Nature may give him a break. While it will be disgustingly humid today along the Ohio River, temperatures at first pitch will only be in the upper 70s, so it may not be the best of hitting conditions, given that we’ve seen a lot of upper 80s and 90s in games here recently.

Peralta has a 4.70 ERA with a 4.00 xERA and a 4.61 FIP over 92 innings of work. He’s got a solid K% at 27%, but some of his other peripherals have taken a dive, including his HR/FB% which is up at 16%. He was at 7.1% last season and hasn’t had a double-digit one since he primarily worked in relief back in 2019.

He has allowed 16 homers on the year and a long ball in all but one of his last 10 starts. In that span, Peralta has a 5.79 ERA with a 5.58 FIP and has allowed an 11.7% Barrel%. His Hard Hit% is 40.9% in that span and he’s made things worse with a 10.6% BB%. Peralta has also had some bad luck on the road, where his ERA is nearly two runs higher and his wOBA against is 60 points higher. His BA against is also 60 points higher and his SLG against is 66 points higher. This definitely classifies as a road start.

I know people are looking for reasons to fade Abbott, but his regression hit pretty much all at once and I do think his numbers have the chance to stabilize now. The Break probably helped him decompress and sort himself out a bit as well. I think this game is lined pretty fairly and am excited to see how Game 2 plays out. I just won’t have a bet on it.

Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals (-190, 9)

After the completion of last night’s suspended game, we’ll have today’s scheduled game at 7:15 p.m. ET between the Nationals and Cardinals. Both teams are going to have to blow their bullpens out in Game 1, as starters Trevor Williams and Miles Mikolas were lost due to the weather. Jake Irvin and Steven Matz are expected to start Game 2.

Irvin has a 4.60 ERA with a 4.81 xERA and a 5.12 FIP. Those are not impressive numbers and his K/BB rates are awful, but I respect the dude. He’s got a 9.1% HR/FB%, so he’s kept the ball in the park with seven homers allowed in 58.2 innings of work and he’s allowed a 35.5% Hard Hit%. Over his last five starts, he’s got a 3.25 ERA with a 4.36 FIP against the Marlins, D-Backs, Mariners, Reds, and Rangers.

He’s cut down on the walks a bit, so that has helped. A .259 BABIP against has helped as well. But, the biggest thing for me is that he continues to allow a lot of soft contact with a 31.8% Hard Hit%. It is not a sexy profile at all, but he’s a dude that battles, kind of in a similar vein to the aforementioned Williams. Of course, the betting markets hate that sort of profile and I can understand why, but I give this dude credit and I hope he’s able to add some more swing and miss to his arsenal at some point.

Matz comes in with a 4.65 ERA, 4.41 xERA, and a 3.97 FIP in his 71.2 innings of work. Those numbers don’t tell the entire story, though. As a starter, Matz has allowed a .306/.363/.472 slash with a .362 wOBA and a 5.17 ERA over 55.2 innings. He’s allowed all eight homers in a starting capacity, has allowed 22 extra-base hits, and a 16.7% HR/FB%. In his most recent start, he went 5.1 innings against the White Sox and allowed just an unearned run with nine strikeouts, but that was his first start since May 24.

I really wish this game didn’t come after the majority of a suspended game had to be played. There is no telling what will happen in that game, who will be used, if anybody will get hurt, etc. I think it is hard to look at the Cardinals and feel like they will be invested in being at the ballpark for a long period of time with how things are going. For the visiting Nationals, they wouldn’t really have anywhere else to be other than the hotel.

Ultimately, I’m going to reluctantly stay away. Maybe the relief stint did help Matz out, as he was able to work on some things and then came back with that outstanding start against the White Sox. 

Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets (-120, 8.5)

Tony Gonsolin and Kodai Senga wrap up the NL portion of the schedule, as the Dodgers and Mets play Game 2 of this weekend set. The Dodgers rolled to a 6-0 dub in Game 1 with six excellent innings from Julio Urias and a rare outlier from Justin Verlander, who walked six over his five innings. If the Dodgers have their walking shoes on tonight, then they should have a good shot against Senga.

Senga is having a solid debut season with a 3.31 ERA, 3.68 xERA, and a 3.85 FIP, as he’s been able to pitch around a 12.3% BB%. He’s struck out 29.5% of opposing batters and only has a .275 BABIP against with a 38.9% Hard Hit% and a 6.3% Barrel%. The 30-year-old “rookie” actually has a 3.28 ERA with a 3.14 FIP in his last 10 starts and has cut his BB% down to 10.3% while upping his K% to 31.8%. He’s been better about challenging hitters and has been in the zone more with a higher Swing%.

Naturally I wonder about him with 10 days between starts, as I would with any guy whose control is in question. The Dodgers have a tremendous lineup and Senga hasn’t faced too many of those during this stretch, but he’s still been extremely effective.

Gonsolin has a 3.86 ERA with a 4.59 xERA and a 4.64 FIP over his 67.2 innings across 13 starts. The right-hander has experienced a 5% decrease in K%, a 2.1% increase in BB%, and has given up eight homers in 67.2 innings after allowing 11 HR in 130.1 innings last season. He just hasn’t been as sharp, getting off to a slow start due to injury and then really falling off a cliff recently.

Gonsolin has allowed 19 earned runs in his last four starts, including four homers allowed. He’s actually been the victim of a lot of bad luck with a .317 BABIP against and a 52.8% LOB% in that span, as he has only allowed a 34.3% Hard Hit% and a 9% Barrel%. Still, it isn’t a profile I would want to bet on. Maybe the All-Star Break gave him a chance to figure it out.

This seems like a fair line when you consider the matchup and we’ll see if the Mets can get on the board tonight.

Cleveland Guardians at Texas Rangers (-175, 8.5)

Aaron Civale battled his way through five solid innings and the Guardians scored four runs off of Jon Gray with homers from the Naylor brothers, Bo and Josh, but then the wheels completely fell off. The Guardians bullpen allowed 10 runs on 12 hits and Texas rolled to a 12-4 win. After struggling with RISP for a while, the Rangers went 8-for-18 last night, as Cleveland was a measly 1-for-6. The Rangers also hit four homers, three of them off of garbage-time reliever Cody Morris.

It was also a rough day for Cleveland in that it was announced Shane Bieber underwent an MRI for some forearm discomfort. If he’s out, it would cost Cleveland their best trade chip here at the Deadline. As a contending team, maybe they didn’t think to move him, but I know I would.

Anyway, Gavin Williams gets the call here and he’ll be opposed by Andrew Heaney in the middle game of this weekend set. In four career MLB starts, Williams has a 4.01 ERA with a 4.82 FIP and has just 19 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. The scouting report on Williams was that he was an overpowering guy capable of reaching triple digits with mechanics and minor league numbers reminiscent of Gerrit Cole. So far, his MLB returns have been a bit pedestrian. That said, he has only allowed a 36.6% Hard Hit% and four barrels, with three of them coming from the Braves.

Williams had his best start from a velo standpoint last time out at 95.9 mph, which was nice to see, especially since he’s had issues maintaining his velocity in the middle innings as a big leaguer. Velo creates margin for error, something you need a lot of against the Rangers.

Heaney now has a 4.71 ERA with a 4.94 xERA and a 5.18 FIP in his 86 innings pitched. He threw five shutout innings against the Astros on July 2, but gave up six runs to the Tigers in the start prior to that on June 26 and then finished the first half by allowing eight runs to the Nationals over three innings. He has allowed 11 barrels in his last four starts. While he has a 38.1% Hard Hit% for the season, he’s allowed a 46.4% HH% over his last eight starts. As an oft-injured pitcher, you do worry about red flags such as these.

The Guardians in a dog role are mildly intriguing here, but Williams not being able to overpower guys is a concern. Cleveland’s offensive production spiked in June and the early part of July, but they still don’t make a lot of high-level contact. They’ve just seen better fortunes with RISP and BABIP more than anything. This just isn’t a game where I can definitively lock in one way or the other.

Minnesota Twins (-230, 8) at Oakland Athletics


This one features Pablo Lopez and Hogan Harris, as the Twins and A’s continue their series at Oakland Coliseum. Minnesota came away with a hotly-contested 5-4 win on Friday night that was decided in the ninth inning. Ken Waldichuk wound up starting for the A’s, who used six different relievers to work the final 5.1 innings of the game. Minnesota also had to use the bullpen extensively after Kenta Maeda left after just three innings and 80 pitches.

The game could’ve had a very different feel, as Zack Gelof’s first career hit was an RBI double that missed being a three-run homer by mere inches. However, Gelof and the A’s have a much tougher assignment against Lopez today. Lopez has a 3.89 ERA with a 3.04 xERA and a 3.17 FIP over 111 innings of work. He’s run on the wrong side of some negative variance this season to have an ERA that high. His K% and BB% are strong at 30.5% and 6.6%, respectively. 

He’s only allowed two home runs in his last seven starts, but has allowed three or more runs in four of those games. This should be an excellent matchup for him, though. Lopez has a 14.6% SwStr% for the season and has had a double-digit mark in every single start. The A’s will strike out a lot and Lopez has 138 of them in 111 innings.

After a nice run from his May 27 recall to June 18 with eight earned runs allowed over five appearances, Harris hit a brick wall to end the first half. In 14.2 innings against the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Tigers, Harris allowed 16 runs (15 earned) on 22 hits with a 14/10 K/BB ratio. He allowed a 46% Hard Hit% and a 10% Barrel% in those three appearances.

Could this be a chance for Harris to get back on track? A little extended downtime may have helped, but he also draws a Twins bunch that ranks 29th in wOBA against lefties at .290 with an 84 wRC+ that also ranks 29th. Things haven’t gotten any better since June 1. In fact, they’ve gotten worse with a .278 wOBA and a 76 wRC+ against southpaws. Harris has a 6.07 ERA, but a 4.44 xERA and a 4.63 FIP, so there are some positive regression signs in the profile, including his 58.2% LOB% that is just way too low.

I like the Under 8 here. I love this matchup for Lopez and feel like Harris can bounce back given the matchup against a Twins team that is the second-worst offense in baseball against lefties. I also like that a lot of relievers pitched yesterday, so those guys could shake off a little rust. 

Other books have better vig on this and you can find Under 8 at +100 or -105 with a little effort.

Pick CANCELLED due to OAK using Pruitt as opener

Tampa Bay Rays (-275, 9) at Kansas City Royals Game 1

Tampa Bay Rays (-215, 9.5) at Kansas City Royals Game 2

Youth will be served for the Royals today, as they’ll send out Alec Marsh in Game 1 and recently acquired Cole Ragans (Aroldis Chapman deal) in Game 2. The Rays will go with Tyler Glasnow in G1 and Cooper Criswell in G2. With Glasnow vs. Marsh the originally scheduled matchup, I’ll paste my thoughts from yesterday and then tackle Game 2.

Game 1

The Rays have been a mediocre team for a while now, which has cut their lead in the AL East down to two games as play resumes. But, they get a good chance here against the Royals to bank some wins and get things off on the right foot. Tyler Glasnow gets the call here in this one against rookie Alec Marsh.

This should be a good spot and a good matchup for Glasnow, who has 64 strikeouts in just 41.2 innings of work. He does have a 4.10 ERA, but a 3.62 FIP and a 2.74 xFIP, so some of his advanced stats do show positive regression indicators. Over his last three starts, Glasnow has 31 strikeouts against just three walks in 16.1 innings pitched, including five excellent innings against the Royals. He allowed some hard contact to the Braves and Mariners in that span, but the Royals didn’t barrel anything. That’s the only start for Glasnow in eight tries without a barrel.

This will be the third start of Marsh’s young career. He’s allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 42 batters faced with 10 strikeouts against seven walks. He’s faced the Dodgers and Twins to get things going and has given up three home runs while not inducing many grounders.

Game 2

Criswell owns a 5.51 ERA with a 5.28 FIP in 47.1 innings at Triple-A and a 5.14 ERA with a 5.01 xERA and a 4.75 FIP in 21 innings at the MLB level. He’s not exactly an effective pitcher and has allowed a lot of home runs between the two levels with 11 in 68.1 combined innings. This will be Criswell’s first MLB appearance since June 7. He actually allowed 10 runs in his first 11.1 innings pitched and then settled down a bit, but still fell victim to the numbers game and got sent down after allowing two runs on nine hits in his last three appearances.

In the minors, Criswell has had two starts in the last month with seven runs allowed. He hasn’t been efficient with his pitches and hasn’t really worked deep into games. Since getting sent down, Criswell has a 9.00 ERA with a 6.75 FIP, so it isn’t like he really earned the call-up. It was just his turn in the rotation that happened to fall on a doubleheader day.

Ragans made 17 appearances in relief for the Rangers over 24.1 innings with a 5.92 ERA, but a 4.29 xERA and a 5.29 FIP. He has had major control issues at most of his stops and also some command hiccups. He allowed a 43.3% Hard Hit% in 67 batted ball events until he was sent down on June 12.

In five minor league starts, he’s got a 4.19 ERA in 19.1 innings. He did throw five quality innings last time out, but got knocked around in his first start for Omaha after the trade. On a warm day in Kansas City, it’s hard to like the chances of either one of these guys. It’s just a matter of whether or not both teams are still invested after playing Game 1 in the heat. Temps will be touching 90 with some thick air.

The problem here is that Criswell may not start. The Rays may use an opener. So, I don’t want the messiness of a canceled bet or anything like that to steer everybody astray. So, I’ll pass on both games of the doubleheader.

Houston Astros (-150, 8) at Los Angeles Angels

Framber Valdez and Reid Detmers are listed for Game 2 here, as the Astros won Game 1 and spoiled Shohei Ohtani’s start. After missing about 10 days, Valdez came back and started against the Mariners on July 8 with two runs on five hits over six innings. He had been battling a sprained ankle that kept him out of the All-Star Game, but he should be good to go now and starts the second game of the second half.

The AL Cy Young favorite has a 2.51 ERA with a 2.82 FIP in 17 starts. He’s only 7-6, as he hasn’t gotten a ton of run support, but he’s got over a strikeout per inning and a 55.3% GB% with just seven homers allowed, including one long ball in his last eight starts. It is incredibly tough to score off of guys like that and Valdez has been very tough to score off of.

So has Detmers, at least recently. He has a 4.31 ERA with a 4.14 xERA and a 3.78 FIP in 85.2 innings of work, but he’s been riding a nice high of late. Well, he had been, anyway. Detmers allowed seven runs on six hits to the Dodgers in 3.1 innings of work. Prior to that, he had allowed five runs in five starts with 43 strikeouts against 10 walks in 31.2 innings. He had only allowed a 34.8% Hard Hit% in that span and a 6.1% Barrel%.

Then the Dodgers jumped him for three homers to leave a sour taste in his mouth heading into the Break. Detmers has actually done a masterful job against righties this season, holding them to a .221/.299/.345 slash with a.286 wOBA in 288 plate appearances. Lefties have hit him well with a .396 wOBA, but the Astros only have two of those with Yordan Alvarez out on a rehab assignment. For the left-handed Detmers, the reverse platoon splits are interesting, but speak to how hard he’s worked to neutralize the platoon. He actually has a 31.6% K% against righties, which is the fourth highest K% for a left-handed starter against righties. Only Matt Strahm, Blake Snell, and James Paxton are higher.

No bet from me here, as I’m curious to see if Detmers can get back on track. If he can, Under 8 is probably good, but I’m not sure he will.

Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners (-205, 7.5)

A series of unfortunate events took place yesterday for Seattle. Matt Vierling robbed a first-inning Julio Rodriguez home run. Ty France was rung up on a pitch inside with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and Seattle trailing by a run. And, perhaps most importantly for Detroit, Eduardo Rodriguez looked good for four innings before leaking oil in the fifth.

Today’s game features Michael Lorenzen and George Kirby. Lorenzen, the Tigers’ only All-Star rep, worked two-thirds of an inning in the Midsummer Classic with a hit and a walk, but didn’t give up any runs. Kirby did give up a run on two hits in his lone inning.

Lorenzen has a 4.03 ERA with a 4.47 xERA and a 4.16 FIP in his 87 innings of work. He was a mixed bag in the month of June, allowing five or more runs three times, but he also had solid home starts against the Royals and Twins. He finished the first half with five shutout innings against the A’s, but he’s a wild card, especially since he has a knack for having really bad starts. Lorenzen has allowed five or more runs five times and two or fewer runs nine times. You never really know which version you will get.

Kirby is a lot more consistent. He has a 3.09 ERA with a 3.73 xERA and a 3.29 FIP in 107.2 innings of work. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in 14 of his 17 starts. It is a profile reminiscent of Kevin Gausman with one blow-up per month. He allowed seven runs to the Pirates on May 26, five to the Padres on June 7 and four to the Angels on April 3 in his 2023 debut. He just doesn’t have the big, gaudy strikeout numbers.

Lorenzen’s penchant for getting shelled makes this total extremely hard to bet and the side price seems reasonable with the difference between the two hurlers.

Boston Red Sox (-120, 9) at Chicago Cubs

Not much lead time on this one between James Paxton and Marcus Stroman, but it should be an interesting game. Stroman opted not to pitch in the All-Star Game, which makes sense given how he was performing heading into it. Regression signs built up for a long time and some are still very much present, but he allowed 15 runs on 17 hits in 14 innings over his last three starts going into the festivities.

Stroman did deal with a blister, but a lot of this is just natural regression. His LOB% needed to come down. His BABIP needed to go up. It felt very expected to me and I tried to prey on it with an Over bet against the Guardians, but the Cubs didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. We’ll see what Stroman looks like the rest of the way, but on a Cubs team that doesn’t appear to be a playoff contender and with Stroman able to opt out after the season, he’s definitely a trade candidate.

Paxton looks to be one as well for the Red Sox, though they’re still in the hunt and have played well in July. Paxton’s been great for them with a 2.73 ERA and a 3.65 FIP in 56 innings pitched across 10 starts. He had a barking knee that cut one of his starts short, but he’s been healthy and effective otherwise. 

The Cubs hit lefties really well early in the season, but rank 20th in wOBA against southpaws since June 1. The right team is favored here. I’d maybe look deeper and take Boston if there was more lead time, but early starts are tough with the time difference and the time and research it takes to write the article.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Toronto Blue Jays (-120, 8.5)

Chris Bassitt slots in for Kevin Gausman here as the Blue Jays take on the Diamondbacks at Rogers Centre. This is another game with minimal lead time, but it will be Zac Gallen for the Diamondbacks and I’ve spoken about my reservations with him. Based on this price, it looks to me like the markets have not only adjusted Arizona, but maybe Gallen as well.

Gallen has still racked up 3.7 fWAR, a metric heavily driven by FIP. Gallen’s FIP is outstanding at 2.76, as he has a 3.04 ERA and a 3.62 xERA. Gallen has had more good starts than bad over his last five, but the big thing for me is that his K% from April is way different from the rest of the season and that absolutely cuts into his margin for error. Gallen had a 36.2% K% in March/April, but a 20.9% in May and a 19.8% in June. He was still effective at times, but wasn’t as dominant as he was portrayed to be.

I don’t mean to keep badmouthing Gallen, but it does look like he’s being priced fairly now. He’s still a great pitcher, but he’s not an elite pitcher in my estimation. He’s also got that 43.3% Hard Hit% that becomes more of a factor with fewer strikeouts. Since May 2, he’s allowed a 10% Barrel% and a 44.8% HH%.

I’m glad this is an early start and I don’t have to dive too deep because Bassitt is a brutal guy to handicap. He has a 4.19 ERA with a 4.81 FIP in his 109.2 innings. Some of his peripherals look good. Others don’t. He’s allowed 18 homers, which I really don’t like, but he has a solid K% of 21.9% and a good 7.7% BB%. He’s allowed just a .276 BABIP and his 72.6% LOB% is right in range.

But, Bassitt has allowed five or more runs five times and three or fewer runs 12 times. He has blow-up potential and four of them have come within the last two months. He actually has a 5.37 ERA with a 5.12 FIP in his last 10 starts. So, you’re never quite sure what’s coming. That makes it easy to skip over this game and most of his.

Miami Marlins at Baltimore Orioles (-120, 8.5)

Braxton Garrett gets the call for Miami here after being one of the league’s most surprising pitchers in the first half. For the season, Garrett owns a 3.70 ERA with a 3.43 FIP, but I keep going back to the fact that he allowed 11 runs on 14 hits in 4.1 innings against the Braves on May 3. Prior to that start, he had only allowed six runs in his first five appearances. He struggled through his next start against Arizona with four runs allowed in 5.1 innings.

Since then, Garrett has a 2.52 ERA with a 2.80 FIP in 11 starts with a 73/9 K/BB ratio in 60.2 innings of work. He’s allowed more than three runs just once. I will note that he’s allowed a 10.2% Barrel% and a 44.2% Hard Hit%, so he has been fortunate with the mistakes that he has made and that there are some negative regression signs in the profile as a result of the contact management numbers.

His stellar 31.3% K% and 3.9% BB% have allowed him to minimize the damage more often than now and he deserves a ton of credit for that. That being said, Garrett only struck out 11 of the last 64 batters that he faced and seemed to be tiring a bit. He threw 88 MLB innings last season and 125 innings overall. He threw 119.2 innings in 2021. He’s up to 92.1 innings already this season and I do wonder how he’ll do with a big spike.

Kyle Gibson has a 4.60 ERA with a 4.68 xERA and a 3.93 FIP in his 109.2 innings for the Orioles this season. Gibson had a huge effort going into the Break with 11 strikeouts against the Twins over seven excellent innings, but he had allowed 15 runs on 19 hits in his previous three starts over 13.2 innings. In 19 starts, Gibson has allowed four or more runs seven times, so he’s been solid more often than not, but he pitches to a lot of contact and it’s that time of year when that can be a bigger problem.

This is probably a pretty fair line. Even though Garrett’s surface numbers are much stronger than Gibson’s, I do have some concerns as he ramps up the workload and also in a road start against an AL East team on a hot night.

Chicago White Sox at Atlanta Braves (-285, 8.5)

Well, the Braves were not sluggish, but the White Sox were, as yesterday’s Under held on barely in Atlanta’s 9-0 win. I thought we were dead after the Matt Olson grand slam in the first, but the White Sox were still on Break, so that was nice. Lance Lynn and Spencer Strider go tonight and the White Sox will hope for some length after Michael Kopech only recorded one out yesterday.

Lynn has a club option for next season and could be a sought-after trade candidate. He has a 6.03 ERA, but a 4.50 xERA, 4.81 FIP, and a 3.74 xFIP. His 64.1% LOB% is a big reason why he has an ERA north of 6. Of course, the home runs don’t help either, as Lynn has allowed 22 of those. His career high is 27 back in 2017 over 186.1 innings, so he’s on pace to blow right on through that number.

His 10.5% Barrel% and penchant for giving up dingers doesn’t look great heading into a start against Atlanta. His 20% HR/FB% is an outlier and should come down, though I’m not sure this is the spot where it happens. He’s had games recently with 16 and 11 strikeouts, though, so he has a puncher’s chance of keeping Atlanta at bay if he can generate swings and misses at a high rate.

Strider should be able to do that against the White Sox. He has a 3.44 ERA with a 3.08 xERA and a 2.84 FIP in his 104.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 38.9% of opposing batters with an 8% BB%. He had a couple rocky outings against the Mets and Tigers in June, but has allowed just four earned runs in four starts since with 39 strikeouts against four walks in his last 26 innings. I would expect more of the same here.

I dodged a huge bullet with Kopech’s epic failure yesterday. I’m not trying to jump on that grenade and hope it’s a dud with Lynn today, but I do hope Lynn gets traded to another team that can figure out how to quell his homer problem.

New York Yankees (-165, 11.5) at Colorado Rockies

Clarke Schmidt and Connor Seabold are the listed starters here. Sean Casey’s debut as Yankees hitting coach was a bust, as the Bronx Bombers managed just two runs at Coors Field against Austin Gomber and three relievers. Carlos Rodon was not sharp over his five innings and both relievers gave up a run.

So, we’ll see what Schmidt and the Yanks do today. This feels like a dicey spot for Schmidt. He’s faced two batters since July 4, so I worry about how sharp he is. Also, as I’ve talked about, he’s performed a lot better of late and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since May 14. He has a 2.81 ERA with a 3.88 FIP in his last nine starts and a relief appearance. But, he also only has 39 strikeouts in 48 innings. He’s been pitching to more contact at the expense of strikeouts, but he’s also located better, cutting down on an astronomical Hard Hit% from earlier in the season.

It has worked, but pitching to more contact is not a sound strategy heading into Coors Field, where the ball does carry better in the thin air and more balls find holes with the spacious outfield. The Yankees outfield also stinks defensively, ranking 26th in Defensive Runs Saved and 17th in Outs Above Average. The Rockies are dead last in Outs Above Average, for what it’s worth.

Schmidt also throws a low rate of four-seam fastballs, relying on sliders, cutters, and curveballs. Those move differently with less resistance on the ball. I think this could be a tough spot for him.

Seabold has a 6.65 ERA with a 4.91 xERA and a 5.96 FIP in 70.1 innings of work. Lately, though, it has been a real struggle. Over his last four starts, Seabold has allowed 24 runs on 28 hits in 16.2 innings. He’s given up nine home runs in that span. The opposition has a 53% Hard Hit% and an 18.2% Barrel%. Astonishingly, Seabold has actually been worse on the road with a 6.97 ERA compared to a 6.41 ERA at home. His wOBA is 47 points higher on the road. However, he’s still running a 5.90 FIP at home, where he has just a 13.1% K%.

Basically, the home/road difference for him is that he’s allowed a .344 BABIP on the road and a .277 BABIP at home, with a higher sample size of balls in play. You wouldn’t expect to see that with the Coors Field factors in play.

The Yankees had 10 hard-hit balls off of Gomber with four singles and a Giancarlo Stanton no-doubter. They also had outs on batted balls with xBAs of .590, .580, and .560 in that sample size. I think they will be able to score a bit off of Seabold and I would expect the Rockies to be able to get to Schmidt as well. It’s a big number at 11.5 with what the Yankees have done offensively, but Seabold doesn’t miss a lot of bats and Schmidt’s pitching to contact, so I think we get lots of balls in play and hopefully better batted ball fortunes here.

Pick: Over 11.5 (-115)

TL;DR Recap

MIN/OAK  Pick Cancelled (opener)

NYY/COL Over 11.5 (-115)

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A Numbers Game: Be careful betting baseball games right now, if they don’t involve teams still trying to make the playoffs. Teams that have clinched or teams that are completely out of it will be approaching games far differently. View more tips.

Ian Cameron: USC at Colorado - OVER (73.5). View more picks.