MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, July 8th

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 8, 2023 08:10 AM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

The final Saturday before the All-Star Break has a full 15-game slate, as we’ll see a couple early starts in the AL and a couple more on the interleague side of the ledger. These last two days before the Break hits can be extremely challenging from a handicapping standpoint. As I mentioned yesterday, some teams and individuals are very much eager to get to the Break and enjoy a little bit of downtime. Other teams are still looking to bank wins and hope to head into the hiatus on a high note.

It is always important to think long and hard about the bets that you want to make, but it is even more imperative at this time of the year when you have to not only look at the stats and the matchups, but also have to consider how invested some of the players will be.

Author’s note: I had to post early today with a morning commitment, so these stats are all through Thursday’s games.

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Here are some thoughts on the July 8 card (odds from DraftKings):

Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants (-210, 8.5)

Ryan Walker is listed as the starter for the Giants and Connor Seabold is listed for the Rockies as these two teams kick off the five-game NL slate on Saturday. Alex Wood will bulk after Walker. Wood has a 5.20 ERA with a 5.27 xERA and a 4.98 FIP if he is the one that gets the call. He’s worked 45 innings over nine starts and three relief outings on the season.

Wood’s last outing six days ago was a real dud against the Mets, as he allowed five runs on just two hits, but walked four in 1.2 innings pitched. That was on the heels of five shutout innings against the Blue Jays with seven strikeouts, so who knows what he’ll have in store for today.

As far as things go with Seabold, he has allowed 21 runs in his last 13 innings of work, so he has really fallen on hard times. He’s allowed eight homers in those three starts and a whole lot of hard contact. We’ll see what happens with him in this outing, but I certainly wouldn’t expect good things. This is a game where I can’t really advocate a bet one way or the other.

Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins (-110, 7.5)

Two teams that should have no problems being engaged on Saturday are the Phillies and Marlins. It will be Ranger Suarez for the Phillies and Braxton Garrett for the Marlins, so we’ve got a quality pitching matchup here as well. Garrett has a 2.26 ERA with a 2.59 FIP in his last 10 starts covering 55.2 innings of work. He’s allowed more than two runs in a start just twice, with one of them being his most recent start against the Cardinals.

Garrett allowed three runs on seven hits in that start after allowing three earned runs total in his previous four starts. He also has 70 strikeouts against just nine walks in that span, so his control and command have been solid, as he’s allowed just five homers in that 10-start stretch as well. He has gotten a little bit lucky in terms of balls in play with a 44.2% Hard Hit% and a 10.1% Barrel leading to a .266 BABIP against. He does have a 50.4% GB%, but I’m still a tad wary about his ability to keep this up at this pace.

Suarez is coming off of a tough start. He allowed five runs on seven hits to the Nationals six days ago. The five runs were more than he had given up in his five previous starts, so it seems like it was just a little bit of a correction in his numbers. He’s got a 3.67 ERA with a 3.50 FIP for the season, but he allowed 12 runs in his first 11 innings, but had only allowed six earned runs in a six-start span before that bump in the road against Washington.

What’s interesting here is that the Marlins are tops in batting average and third in wOBA against lefties for the season, while the Phillies are only 17th in wOBA for the year. However, if we look since June 1, Miami is third in wOBA at .353 and Philadelphia is fourth at .351. Could this be a spot for both guys to regress? For one to have more success than the other? Good game, but I’m not sure there’s a great edge to be had.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks

We’ll see Mitch Keller for Pittsburgh, as Arizona looks at a bullpen day. The Snakes only used two relievers last night, so most of the bullpen is fresh heading into this one, but it looks like a full-fledged Johnny Wholestaff game with a lot of guys working an inning or two at most.

Keller is way more projectable, as he has a 3.52 ERA with a 3.36 xERA and a 3.30 FIP in his 110 innings pitched. The right-hander is having a career year, already having surpassed his previous high mark in fWAR of 2.1, which he set last season. He’s got a huge 7.2% K% bump and has managed to mostly sustain it.

That being said, Keller has been feast or famine lately, as he has allowed at least four runs in five of his last eight starts. He’s allowed one run in each of the other three starts. So, it’s fair to wonder what we’ll get from him here.

Also, it was mind-blowing to see Corbin Carroll thrown right back into the Arizona lineup last night. It’s a good thing that he’s not hurt, or at least not severely enough to miss time, but I thought it was nuts that he was playing right away the next night.

With no starter really posted for Arizona, there isn’t much to do here.

Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers (-130, 9.5)

Luke Weaver and Colin Rea start a very important middle game in this battle for first place in Milwaukee. Weaver actually piecemealed together a decent outing last time out, as he allowed two runs on six hits against the Nationals over five innings with just two strikeouts. He actually has just 11 strikeouts in his last five starts and for a guy that allows a ton of loud contact, that’s a really, really bad development moving forward.

Weaver has a 6.72 ERA with a 5.44 FIP in 69.2 innings of work. He’s allowed 15 homers, a 42.6% Hard Hit%, and a 10.5% Barrel%, so more contact cannot be a good thing. Over his 14 starts, Weaver has allowed four or more runs in nine of them, so the ceiling isn’t very high and the floor is actually pretty low. Most of his tolerable starts have been on the road. That’s not surprising, as he has a 7.98 ERA at home and a 5.80 ERA on the road and we know that Great American Ball Park is a great place for hitters.

However, his wOBA against is only nine points lower on the road. His SLG is 61 points lower, hence the big change in performance, but he has allowed 22 extra-base hits and 14 walks in 40.1 innings on the road. So, I’m not sure I’d trust him anywhere.

That being said, I don’t want to lay any sort of number with Rea and the Brewers against a better team. Rea has a 4.40 ERA with a 4.22 xERA and a 4.70 FIP in his 75.2 innings pitched, so he’s been better than I would have expected, but it’s still tough to take him seriously in a favorite role like this. He has allowed three runs on eight hits in his last two starts, but allowed nine runs on 12 hits in two starts prior. Since May 14, he has allowed four or more runs in four of his nine starts.

The potential for runs is certainly present in this game, especially since Rea has some platoon splits that favor lefties, but Weaver could very easily bury Cincinnati in this game and that Reds bullpen has had a lot of work this week.

New York Mets at San Diego Padres (-170, 8.5)

A couple of lefties square off here, as Blake Snell rides the hottest wave of his career into this one against David Peterson and the Mets. The Padres are getting some amazing production from Snell, who is actually working deep into games as well. His last start was the worst of the bunch by far, but he somehow danced around seven hits and four walks in five innings to not allow a run.

Snell has not gone 47 innings in his last eight starts with a 0.77 ERA and a 2.08 FIP. He’s struck out 73 and walked 19, but he’s allowed just 27 hits in that span with a 25.6% Hard Hit% and only five barrels allowed. He has a 17.1% SwStr% over that time and every start has been at 11.1% or higher, with his last six starts all checking in at 15.6% or higher. He’s honestly never been better for a stretch in his career.

I can’t say the same for Peterson, but he’s had a couple of good outings to build off of recently. Peterson has allowed one run on eight hits in 10 innings of work with an 8/6 K/BB ratio. He had allowed 27 runs in his previous five starts, but that was a stretch that got him sent to the minor leagues to work on some things.

While he was there from May 21 to June 21, he posted a 4.50 ERA with a 4.55 FIP in 32 innings with 39 strikeouts against 18 walks. I’m not sure we could say that he was really fixed, but he was at least a somewhat better version of himself. In these last two starts, he hasn’t been terribly sharp and still allowed a 50% Hard Hit% against the Giants, so I don’t think we’ll get a super strong effort here, but he’ll hope to keep his team in the game.

If Snell keeps running like Snell has, this number probably isn’t big enough. The Mets do have a 101 wRC+ against lefties this season, but rank just 20th in wOBA at .313. Since June 1, they are 18th in wOBA at .307 with a 96 wRC+. This hasn’t been a great split for them. The Padres, meanwhile, are ninth in wOBA at .334.

I like the Padres 1st 5 Run Line here at -0.5 and -130. Peterson has been terrible away from Citi Field on the season and really bad the first time through the order with a .351.427//623 slash against and a .442 wOBA. He’s also been bad the third time through with a .390/.432/.732 slash and a .490 wOBA, so that would give San Diego a great chance to get a lead and a great chance in the fourth and fifth innings as they turn the lineup over.

Pick: Padres 1st 5 Run Line -0.5 (-130)

Toronto Blue Jays (-215, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

The Blue Jays and Tigers play an early one at Comerica Park with a matchup that features Kevin Gausman in a huge favorite role against Matt Manning. Yesterday was a big day for the Blue Jays with a blowout win and six strong innings from Alek Manoah. They’ll hope that Gausman can follow suit against a lineup that has really been overpowered by righties on the season.

Gausman comes in with a 3.04 ERA, 3.54 xERA, and a 2.49 FIP in 109.2 innings of work. He has a huge 32.7% K% to go with a nice 6.1% BB%. Gausman has had a bit of a strange season in that he’s been really awful once a month. He allowed eight runs on April 17 against Houston, eight runs on May 4 against Boston, and six runs against Minnesota on June 11. Those three starts account for 22 of the 42 runs that he has allowed over 18 starts. So, that means he’s given up 20 total runs in his other 15 starts. So, you can usually bet on him to be pretty good, but the pattern would suggest that a bad start is coming at some point this month. *cue ominous music*

If it came today, it would be a stunner, since the Tigers are 28th in wOBA at .290 against righties with an 84 wRC+. They’ve been just as bad since June 1 with a .291 wOBA and an 84 wRC+.

With Tarik Skubal, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Alex Faedo all back, the Tigers rotation is looking a lot better. The same is true with Manning back in the fold. In his two starts, however, he’s been shaky, allowing six runs on eight hits in 10.2 innings with eight strikeouts and four walks. Manning hit the IL after his April 11 start against Toronto and just recently returned. He looked solid in the minors, but the big leagues are a different beast and his location mistakes have been magnified a bit. He did allow a lot of hard contact against Texas for the two runs on three hits outcome, so I’m not confident in him today.

It’s a big number to lay with Gausman, but the run line feels like the only play that makes sense. It’s an early start and it’s a juicy one, so I’ll pass.

Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins (-125, 8.5)

Tyler Wells and Sonny Gray line it up at Target Field here, as Gray runs it back again against Baltimore and Wells starts after facing the Yankees earlier this week. Gray has a 2.50 ERA with a 2.84 FIP on the season and he’s only allowed three home runs. He just went six shutout innings against Baltimore with seven strikeouts against three walks. We are on July 8 and he is 17 starts into the season and he has still not allowed more than three runs in a start.

It is kind of incredible to look at the pitching that the Twins are getting and see such a small lead in the AL Central. It’s honestly rather embarrassing in regards to their offense. Gray has four wins in 17 starts because of a lack of run support. He’s also been pulled a lot after five innings, as manager Rocco Baldelli is extremely sensitive to the times through the order penalty. Gray does have a 5.49 ERA the third time through the order, but a lot of that seems to be bad luck or shoddy relief work, as his wOBA against of .324 is actually 12 points higher than his wOBA against the third time through.

Wells has a 3.19 ERA with a 3.72 xERA and a 4.75 FIP. The high FIP is a byproduct of 21 home runs allowed in just 98.2 innings for Wells. He’s around the plate a ton and he’s a fly ball pitcher, so the long ball is just an occupational hazard. The way to limit the damage is by carrying a low walk rate like Wells does with a 5.8% BB%. He has allowed a 40% Hard Hit% and just allowed 12 hard-hit balls to the Yankees. He’s also allowed 12 barrels in his last four starts, so he’s not locating all that well lately.

But, he has a .192 BABIP against because he has only allowed 46 hits that are not homers. It’s been a weird season and I keep looking for spots to play on the likely regression in his profile, but I have to respect that he’s a guy that has a 25.9% K% and also induces a lot of fly balls to the big part of the ballpark.

I don’t have a play here in this one. It probably comes down to how many solo homers Wells gives up since Gray is a lockbox when it comes to runs.

Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox (-230, 9.5)

The Red Sox will send out James Paxton and the A’s will counter with Paul Blackburn here as this weekend set at Fenway Park rolls on. Blackburn has a 4.50 ERA with a 3.40 FIP in his 36 innings pitched and is coming off of a terrible start against the White Sox at home with five runs allowed on six hits and four walks. Previously, his two worst starts had both come on the road, which makes sense when you pitch for Oakland and have such a good home environment.

A bad start against a bad White Sox offense against righties sounds a lot of alarm bells, particularly heading into a game at Fenway. It was the first start this season in which Blackburn allowed a Hard Hit% of 40%, so he didn’t locate very well in any facet. In his three road starts, he’s allowed nine runs on 20 hits in 16 innings. The Marlins and Guardians both did well against him, while the Brewers did not, but this is a step up in class (at least vs. a RHP) and also a huge step up for the offense in terms of park factor.

That should bode well for Paxton, who returns from the paternity list just to head back home for the All-Star Break. Paxton had a knee issue in his June 24 start against the White Sox and was limited to four innings. I faded him wondering if he was fully healthy with the knee and a velo drop, but it turns out he was, as he fired 7.2 shutout innings against the Blue Jays.

Some extra rest likely helped Paxton, who has a 2.70 ERA with a 3.25 FIP in his nine starts over 50 innings. Given that he made six starts over 21.2 innings from 2020-22, it’s been good to see him back out there having success. He has allowed 12 barrels in nine starts, but just a 38.8% Hard Hit% and the A’s have forgotten how to hit against lefties.

Not only is Oakland 30th in wOBA against lefties at .249 with a 60 wRC+ since June 1, add another split of being on the road against lefties and they have a .227 wOBA with a 39 wRC+ in that split. So, there isn’t much to do with this one other than think about including Boston in a moneyline parlay or laying the big number.

Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Guardians (-175, 8.5)

Right thought, wrong bet for me in the Royals and Guardians game, as another one stayed well under the total on Friday night. Daniel Lynch did throw the ball fairly well, but Aaron Civale was on another level with his best start of the season and his best start in a very long time. He struck out nine over seven innings and Kansas City barely sniffed a run. So, the Under was the play instead of the Royals 1st 5. That’s a mistake I’ve made a lot this season.

This game is a much different handicap, as we’ll see Gavin Williams against Brady Singer. Williams just faced the Royals back on June 27 and mowed them down over seven innings with just one hit allowed and six strikeouts against one walk. His third start was against the Braves and he allowed three homers over 6.1 innings. He struggled a bit with his location against Oakland as well, so Williams has had two subpar starts and the one dominant one. 

The one, glaring red flag about Williams is that he has had major issues maintaining his velocity in his starts. Specifically, he dropped a few mph against the Braves last time out and only averaged 94.6 with the fastball after regularly touching triple digits in the minors. I don’t know if he was told to hold back or what, but we haven’t seen the velo from him at the MLB level that we saw in Triple-A.

Williams carved up the Royals with 62% fastballs in the first start, but he’s now facing an MLB lineup for the second time for the first time in his career, so I wonder if we’ll see a bit more variance to his arsenal or if they’ll adopt the “if it ain’t broke” philosophy. I’d personally like to see some more depth to his pitch selection.

Singer has a 5.52 ERA with a 5.44 xERA and a 4.36 FIP in his 89.2 innings over 17 starts. He has an 18.6% K% and an 8.5% BB%, both of which are huge downgrades from his performance last season with a 24.2% K% and a 5.6% BB%. His biggest issue has been command, as he has allowed a 51.7% Hard Hit% on the season in 286 batted ball events. He has a 9.4% Barrel% as well, as he has earned his .322 BABIP against.

I can’t tell if he’s turning a corner or not, but he’s had back-to-back good starts for really the first time all season, as he worked six shutout innings against Cleveland and seven innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers. Most notably, he had HH% marks of 38.9% and 28.6% in those two starts. He’s still a two-pitch pitcher and that leaves minimal margin for error, but the sun is shining on this dog’s arse a little more these days.

That said, I still don’t trust him. I don’t really trust Williams either, especially with his disappearing velocity act in the middle innings. I certainly don’t trust him at this price, but I won’t take KC.

Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros (-135, 7)

It will be Bryan Woo and Framber Valdez in the best pitching matchup of the day. Woo checks in with a 4.08 ERA, 2.72 xERA, and a 3.22 FIP in his 28.2 innings pitched. He has a strong 32.8% K% with a 6.7% BB%. I tried to pick against Woo last time out against the Giants because he’s had some issues with left-handed bats throughout his career. He went six innings with two runs allowed on three hits, but he did allow a 50% Hard Hit% and two barrels. The Giants just didn’t make the most of the hard contact that they did make.

In this start, Woo doesn’t have to worry about lefties. The Astros only have two of them and one is a real Major Leaguer. Righties have struck out 27 times in 66 plate appearances with just three walks, only eight hits, and one double. Righties are batting .127/.167/.143 with a .145 wOBA against him in his young career. The Astros will have at least seven and probably eight of them in the lineup and Jose Altuve will not be one of them, as he’s sidelined with an oblique injury.

Starts are running out for Woo, who will be shut down in the second half. He’s thrown 72.2 innings thus far after throwing 52.1 last season. The Mariners are being extremely careful with him, so he might as well get his good ones in while he can and this looks like a good opportunity.

Valdez comes in with a 2.49 ERA, 3.94 xERA, and a 2.86 FIP in his 105 innings over 16 starts. He’s given up some hard contact, but has erased it with a 26.3% K% and a 56.5% GB%. That’s not on par with his last few seasons, where he’s been 60% or higher, so I’m kind of curious to see what’s happening. Valdez allowed four runs on eight hits last time out against the Cardinals and then got skipped because of a sprained ankle.

His velocity looked fine and I don’t really see anything in the profile that explains why he’s allowing more line drives and fly balls this season. It hasn’t impacted him yet, but it is still a weird development from one of the game’s premier worm killers.

The Mariners are 23rd in wOBA against LHP at .308 for the season with a 26.2% K%, but they are seventh in wOBA at .344 with a 125 wRC+ against lefties since June 1. If we look on the road, specifically, they are seventh in wOBA at .356 with a 129 wRC+ in that split.

I like Woo’s chances against the Astros here, but I couldn't see a good way to play it. The ceiling for scoring runs off of Valdez is limited, even with Seattle’s recent surge in offense against southpaws. But, now that the full-game total has gone to 7 most places, the 1st 5 total is 3.5. I think I'm going to stay off. Hopefully I don't regret it.

Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees (-190, 8.5)

Drew Smyly and Gerrit Cole kick off the interleague portion of the card with Cole in a big favorite role at home. The Yankees couldn’t hit former friend Jameson Taillon on Friday and came up on the short end of a 3-0 decision with Carlos Rodon back on the bump. Cole has been sailing along while Smyly has been struggling, so this seems like a decent spot for the Yanks, as the line implies.

Cole has allowed 36 runs in his 18 starts and has a 2.79 ERA with a 3.39 FIP. He had a couple of hiccups in late May with 11 runs allowed in his last 11 innings of the month, but bounced back nicely and only allowed eight runs in five June starts. He started off July with a solid effort as well, holding the Cardinals to two runs on six hits in six innings.

With the way the Cubs have been swinging it for a while now, it seems like Cole has a pretty good baseline here, which puts the onus on Smyly to right the ship. After a magnificent start to the season, Smyly has been riding the struggle bus for a while now. In his last seven starts, Smyly has a 6.49 ERA with a 6.03 FIP. He only has a 25/18 K/BB ratio, has allowed seven homers, and has failed to get through four innings in his last two starts with 10 runs allowed on 13 hits in a couple of 3.2-inning starts.

Not much more to add here, as Smyly is struggling, but the Yankees offense has been bad for a long time. It’s the old movable force meets the stoppable object expression. Guess we’ll see which side is worse today and that’ll likely dictate the outcome here since Cole will likely do what Cole does.

St. Louis Cardinals (-130, 10) at Chicago White Sox

This was another blank overnight, as the White Sox had not determined a starter, but the Cardinals had. Miles Mikolas will head out at Guaranteed Rate Field. It looks like Touki Toussaint will get the call for Chicago. In two appearances for the White Sox, Toussaint has allowed four runs on four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and six walks, so this isn’t a very promising possibility.

The White Sox may very well trade Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, and Mike Clevinger as the month goes along, so Toussaint may actually swallow up some innings for this team. He had a 4.06 ERA as a reliever in Triple-A with the Guardians, but the White Sox scooped him up in need of working arms. I can’t imagine that he has that high of a ceiling moving forward and will probably be pretty fade-worthy, at least if we can find decent prices to do that.

Mikolas has a 4.51 ERA with a 5.30 xERA and a 4.01 FIP overall in 105.2 innings of work. He had been locked in a decent groove, but has allowed 22 runs on 34 hits over his last five starts across 31 innings, including a 40.5% Hard Hit%, which is quite high for him. He’s allowed a barrel in every start and nine overall. From April 16 to June 4, he had gone 10 starts and only allowed 16 runs, so he’s definitely seen a reversal of fortunes of late.

What’s really strange about this season for him is that he has a 5.32 ERA at home with a .331 wOBA, but a 3.29 FIP. On the road, he has a 3.86 ERA with a .319 wOBA and a 4.59 FIP. His K% is 5.4% lower on the road and he’s allowed a higher home run rate on the road, but his BABIP is .351 at home and .286 on the road.

Rain could threaten this one and 25 mph gusts could pick up as the game goes along. I think the potential for runs is high, but so do the oddsmakers with a total of 10 here. That’s pretty rich, even though I think we could get there.

Texas Rangers (-190, 10.5) at Washington Nationals

Andrew Heaney and Jake Irvin are the listed hurlers here as the Nationals draw another lefty. They didn’t do much of anything against Cody Bradford yesterday, continuing what has become an ugly pattern for them over the last several weeks. Early in the season, the Nationals punished lefties. Lately, they’re a borderline bottom-five offense in that split.

Heaney is a tough guy to handicap. He has a solid K% with a good Hard Hit%, but he’s allowed an 11.7% Barrel% (three in each of his last three starts) and 14 homers in 83 innings. He’s very feast or famine from pitch to pitch, let alone game to game. That being said, he’s actually been good in most of his games. He’s allowed six or more runs three times, accounting for 19 of the 38 earned runs he has allowed. He’s allowed four runs twice and then held the opposition to three or fewer runs in 11 starts.

He has issues working deep into games with 35% of his plate appearances ending in a strikeout or walk, so that creates a lot of deep counts. He actually has a good 11.5% SwStr% and he’s been well above that number in five of his last six starts, so there’s some explosiveness to his stuff.

Irvin is the opposite. While his K% + BB% is nearly 28%, that’s with a 16.8% K% and a 10.8% BB%. He’s walked a lot of guys, but has a 4.70 ERA with a 4.99 FIP because he’s only allowed six home runs. He’s only allowed 52 hits as well, as a byproduct of a solid 36.5% Hard Hit% and a 7.8% Barrel%. He’s worked around a terrible 5.6% SwStr% and that high walk rate by limiting the amount of hard contact that he has allowed.

Most would say that he’s a bad pitcher and I can’t disagree, but he is a battler and it’s allowed him to mostly limit damage. However, he hasn’t faced a lot of lineups with a lot of power. In his last five starts, he’s faced the Diamondbacks twice, Marlins, Mariners, and Reds. Texas is sixth in homers. Those other teams are 12th, 23rd, 15th, and 18th. Texas is third in Hard Hit%. Those other teams are 21st, 25th, 7th, and 28th.

Pitching to contact and giving free baserunners to Texas is a different beast. I think Heaney has the chance to be good here. I also think Texas is still engaged, while Washington is likely looking forward to hitting the All-Star Break. While Heaney has allowed a lot of hard contact and some barrels, Washington is 29th in Barrel% and 26th in Hard Hit%.

I like this matchup a lot for the Rangers and think they win it running away.

Pick: Rangers Run Line -1.5 (-115)

Atlanta Braves (-140, 8) at Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay dropped six in a row with the loss to the Braves on Friday night and they’re having some serious run-scoring issues. They’ve scored one run in three of the last four games and now draw Spencer Strider on Saturday. Strider seems to have made the necessary adjustments with four earned runs allowed on 17 hits in his last 19.2 innings pitched. He had allowed 13 runs over nine innings prior to that, but I think he’s back.

He’s struck out 155 batters in 98.1 innings, including 28 in his last three starts against just three walks. That’s not exactly what you want to see if you’re the Rays. Also, Strider has cut down on the hard contact he’s yielded in his last three starts as well.

Taj Bradley has a lot of positive regression signs in his profile with a 5.27 ERA, but a 3.94 xERA and a 3.86 FIP over 56.1 innings pitched. Bradley has struck out 30.8% of opposing batters, but has also allowed a 44.4% Hard Hit% on the season. He has allowed 12 runs on 17 hits in his last two starts and five of those hits have left the ballpark. He’s allowed a ton of hard contact lately and six barrels in his last two starts.

That’s not what you want to see heading into a start against Atlanta, but it’s pretty close to what Tyler Glasnow had done going into his start on Friday night. The difference is that Glasnow has a much higher SwStr% and can generate a lot of swings and misses up in the zone. Bradley, too, likes to work up in the zone with the heat, but if he doesn’t elevate it enough, he’s in trouble. Lately, he hasn’t elevated it enough. If the same outcome happens with the Braves, it’ll be a short night for him and a potentially long night for Tampa Bay.

The Rays went into Friday with a .244 wOBA against righties and a 32.9% K%. I think it’s worth laying the number with Strider here. He has the chance to completely overpower this lineup and I’m worried about the hard contact Bradley has allowed lately. He allowed a .362 wOBA in June and his one start this month hasn’t gone any better. I think the league has made its adjustments and I’m not sure his command is MLB-ready. After all, in 75 innings at Triple-A, Bradley allowed 15 home runs between last year and this year and these are much better hitters.

Pick: Braves -140

Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers

Reid Detmers and Michael Grove will square off here in what will be the last game of the first half for these two teams. Because of the way that the schedule shook out, this two-game series ends on Saturday, so that really makes this an interesting spot. Detmers has been outstanding of late, but the Angels are limping into the Break. The Dodgers are getting close to chasing down the Diamondbacks, but Grove has not pitched well at all.

Grove may ultimately be used as a bulk reliever behind an opener, so we may not have a line on this game for a while. He’s pitched poorly with a 7.02 ERA, 5.10 xERA and a 5.19 FIP in 41 innings of work. He threw four good innings in his start back on July 3, but he’s also allowed four runs in four of his last six outings, including one where he allowed four solo homers to the White Sox.

Over his last five starts, Detmers has been insane. He’s got a 1.42 ERA with a 2.75 FIP and has 43 strikeouts against 10 walks. He’s allowed just five earned runs total and just 15 hits. His Hard Hit% is just 34.8% with a 6.1% Barrel% and a 13.7% SwStr%. He’s faced the Cubs, Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox, and Diamondbacks in that mix as well, so it’s not like he’s faced a bunch of scrubs.

He went seven shutout against the Dodgers with eight strikeouts in that June 20 start. I don’t know if he can replicate that here, but he’s throwing the ball really well right now, so I’m not looking for huge regression in his final start. I’m just not sure his teammates will be all that invested. This is an easy pass with no line and a tough situation for the Angels.

TL;DR Recap

Padres 1st 5 -0.5 (-130)

Rangers -1.5 (-115)

Braves -140

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