MLB schedule today has 15 games
A full day on the diamond only features two early afternoon games, as the Cubs host the Marlins and the Cardinals take on the Tigers. Everything else will start in the 4 p.m. ET hour or later, so it will be a busy evening around the bigs. There have already been some eye-catching line moves and some noteworthy adjustments, so I’ll try to hit on those and more in today’s write-up. (Tracking sheet)
Another quick note: Jared Smith has joined us to write up 1st inning wagers Friday-Sunday, so check out today’s first edition.
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VSiN Daily Baseball Bets returns on Monday, but you can catch up on past editions at any time.
Here are some thoughts on the May 6 card (odds from DraftKings):
Another Justin Steele gem added some more fuel to the future regression fire, as the Cubs rolled to a 4-1 victory to get back to .500. Generally speaking the Marlins are a regression team, as they sit 15-17, but a ridiculous 10-0 in one-run games. They are 10-22 by Pythagorean Win-Loss and 12-21 by BaseRuns. The Cubs are actually on the other side of that ledger, as they should be 22-10 by BaseRuns instead of 16-16. They are 2-7 in one-run games.
That’s awfully fitting because I’m on both Marlins season win total under and Cubs season win total over. Anyway, hopefully I’ll get another one in the right column for each team today with Drew Smyly on the bump for the Cubs and Bryan Hoeing for the Marlins. Outside of a terrible first start against the Reds, Smyly has been spectacular. He allowed seven runs in that first start against Cincinnati, but has only allowed five runs in five starts since and even flirted with a perfect game against the Dodgers on April 21.
Smyly has a 29/6 K/BB ratio with a 2.83 ERA and a 3.50 FIP. He has a .240 BABIP, which is on the low side, but he also has just a 28.3% Hard Hit%, so he’s not allowing hard contact. We’ll see how he fares against a Marlins offense that does rank third in batting average and 10th in wOBA against lefties. He just shut down a Nats lineup that has fallen off of the pace against lefties recently and dropped to 14th in wOBA. His other starts have been the Mariners, Dodgers, and Padres. The Padres are seventh in wOBA, but the Dodgers are 22nd and the Mariners are 29th.
A late swap for this game has reliever Matt Barnes getting the start. Chi Chi Gonzalez may be the bulk reliever. That dude is awful. He has a 5.66 ERA with a 5.37 FIP in 284.2 innings of work at the MLB level. It’s an early start, so not much lead time here.
It will be Austin Gomber and Tylor Megill in this one after yesterday’s 1-0 Mets win. It was good for the Mets to get a win and a good effort from Kodai Senga, but one run against Antonio Senzatela and the Rockies bullpen is not a great look. There’s a lot of talent in that Mets lineup to have a .315 wOBA and just a 102 wRC+. They do have a .274 BABIP and a .236 BA, but they are just 18th in Hard Hit%, so this isn’t exactly a Royals-esque situation with a lot of hard contact and limited results.
The offense has been healthy, too, save for a few missed days here and there. They’ve even brought up Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty to help. Baty has. Alvarez has not. We’ll see what they do against Gomber today, as he comes in with a 7.57 ERA and a 6.36 FIP, but he did allow nine runs in two innings against the Pirates on April 19 and it’ll take a while to get rid of the sting of that burn.
Gomber has allowed one run on six hits over his last 11 innings since that start, but only has a 7/5 K/BB ratio. Shutting down the D-Backs over six innings at Coors is pretty impressive. Shutting down the Guardians over five innings is not because anybody with a pulse can do that right now.
Gomber has a 19/14 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings and that should be a good thing for the Mets, who are still running a double-digit walk rate despite their other offensive shortcomings. This should also be a good spot for Megill, who is stepping down in class a good bit. His last four starts have been against the Padres, Dodgers, Giants, and Braves. All of those teams hit righties pretty well or have a ton of talent in the lineup. Neither applies to the Rockies.
Corbin Burnes didn’t have it and wasn’t himself on Friday, as the Brewers got him four runs of support off of a lefty and it still wasn’t enough. Burnes did give up three unearned runs, as the Brewers continued their funk on this road trip. They’re down to 18-14 after a pretty strong start with five straight losses and losses in eight of the last 11.
I’m not sure Colin Rea is the person you want to see on the mound when things are going like that. Rea has allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in 20.2 innings of work with an 18/8 K/BB ratio. He was actually quite good against the Angels last time out with two solo homers out of 19 batters and nine strikeouts. He has allowed four homers in four starts, which is problematic against a left-handed-heavy Giants lineup that will hit for power.
The 32-year-old journeyman only has 175 innings at the MLB level with a 4.89 ERA and a 4.58 FIP. This may be his last start with Adrian Houser back, but Brandon Woodruff is still out until late June and Aaron Ashby remains out until July at the earliest.
Alex Cobb has a 2.43 ERA with a 3.00 FIP in his 33.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 33 and only walked four over his six starts and allowed just nine earned runs, including a CGSHO against the Cardinals on April 24. Those are Halley’s Comet kind of rare these days, but he went the full nine and scattered six hits.
From a contact management standpoint, Cobb is definitely a negative regression candidate. He has a 49.5% Hard HIt% and has been at 40% or higher in every start, so it hasn’t mattered the matchup. He’s also allowed 10 barrels in six starts, which is really hard to do with a 60.8% GB% since a barrel needs to have the right launch angle to qualify. He only allowed 16 barrels in 434 batted ball events last season and has reached double digits in 103 BBE this season.
The Brewers are 11th in wOBA against RHP, so I gave some thought to the over here. Cobb also has a Cluster Luck thing going on with a .313/.329/.470 slash and a .345 wOBA with the bases empty, a .245/.286/.321 with a .271 wOBA with men on base, and just a .187 wOBA against with RISP. I wish the Brewers made more hard contact, but they’re 21st in Hard Hit%. They do lead the league in batting average on 95+ mph contact against righties, as their numbers against lefties really drag down the overall profile.
I’m just not sure how trustworthy the Brewers are right now, especially against a guy who has Cobb’s numbers. He pitched around hard contact last year and seems to be doing it again.
The Nationals draw southpaw Tommy Henry and we’ll see if they can stem the tide against lefties. Washington was a top-10 offense and faced a lot of them early in the season, so the right-handed platoon bats were able to get in rhythm and get a lot of reps. Recently, they haven’t seen a whole lot of lefties and their numbers have taken a bit of a tumble. They’re more like a league average offense in that split now.
Henry is not a league average pitcher, though, so this may not be a bad spot for the Nats. In 56.2 MLB innings, Henry has a 5.56 ERA with a 5.80 FIP over 11 starts. In two starts this season, he has allowed seven runs on 11 hits with five walks and four strikeouts. One of those starts came at Coors and the other one came against the Royals at home. He’s been a bit unlucky with a 23.5% Hard Hit% against and a .303 BABIP, so we’ll see if he can have better batted ball fortunes in this outing.
This may not be the best of matchups for the Diamondbacks. They are a little below league average against lefties with a 97 wRC+ because they don’t draw walks. They have a 5.8% BB% in this split, opting to instead be aggressive and put a lot of balls in play. MacKenzie Gore has only allowed .241 batting average in his 101 career innings, but he has a 12.5% BB%. Gore has allowed some hard contact and made some mistakes in the zone with a 43.5% Hard Hit%, but setting up innings by drawing free passes is a good route to go and Arizona doesn’t really have that trait.
Gore has a 3.77 ERA with a 3.84 FIP in 31 innings of work with a 39/18 K/BB ratio. He’s given up just 26 hits with a .319 BABIP. He is coming off of his worst start of the season, but that was against a Cubs lineup that is in the top five against lefties. I’ll be curious to see how this start goes. Gore’s BB issue shouldn’t be as much of one, but he’s also run a 25.2% K% and the Diamondbacks are pretty good at avoiding strikeouts.
I don’t see anything I like enough to have a play on this game.
Platoon splits are creating a lot of line moves in the market right now. We saw that 20-cent move against Corbin Burnes and the Brewers yesterday because of their struggles against lefties. We’re seeing another one here today with the Dodgers up against the Padres. Blake Snell is on the bump and this line has climbed 15-20 cents across the market on the Friars.
Look, I get it. The Dodgers are 22nd against lefties with a .302 wOBA and have an 89 wRC+. There is also an element to this about Dustin May, who has a low K% and a heightened BB%, which are two stats that also create line moves. The thing about the Dodgers and Snell here is that Blake has a 5.28 ERA with a 5.63 FIP and, most importantly, a major walk issue. He’s walked 18 guys in 29 innings.
As bad as LA’s numbers look against lefties, they are second in the league with an 11.6% BB%. They have a .250 BABIP with a ton of deep counts and have struck out in 27.5% of plate appearances. This is probably the kind of start from Snell where you see something ridiculous like him going five innings with three earned runs allowed on three hits with five walks and seven strikeouts.
Not only does he have the walk issue, but he’s also given up a homer in five straight starts. He also has a 41.7% Hard Hit%. He’s improved upon it in his last two starts, but that’s pretty un-Snell-like, as he’s only been above 40% one other time (2021) and has a 34.4% Hard Hit% for his career.
May has a 3.15 ERA with a 3.79 FIP in his 34.1 innings of work. He’s got a pretty ugly 23/14 K/BB ratio, but he’s only allowed one homer across 136 batters. His .198 BABIP comes with a 39.2% Hard Hit%, so that’ll be on the rise sometime soon here. That’s a league average HH% with a BABIP nearly 100 points better than league average. That should especially be the case when May hasn’t had a double-digit SwStr% yet this season and, in fact, his best one of 9.5% came in his first start against the Diamondbacks back on March 31.
I’m not a huge fan of guys that aren’t missing bats because it makes me worry a lot about the quality of their stuff. May’s 6.8% SwStr% is a real concern for a dude pumping 96-98 mph in there. May did just have his lowest start by average fastball velo and has seen his release point floating around a bit, including a noticeable drop in vertical release point. He had some spin rate decreases last start, too, which are less noticeable when you have elite spin rates like he does, but they were there.
It’s possible that May, who threw 51 innings in 2022 and 23 innings in 2021, is going through a bit of a dead arm period in his return from Tommy John. Perhaps the Dodgers noticed the same thing, as May’s start was pushed back a few days. He hasn’t pitched since April 28. To rank in the bottom 7% in Whiff% and be in the 19th percentile in K% with his stuff and his spin is really concerning.
That’s a lot of words on this game to say I don’t have a play, but these two pitchers warranted some longer explanations and maybe we can use this info going forward.
To the Junior Circuit we go with the Yankees and Rays. Domingo German and Drew Rasmussen are listed for this one, as the Rays ride yet another winning streak into today with four straight victories.
German has had quite the season already. He’s had three starts with one earned run allowed and three starts with at least four earned runs. He’s been checked for foreign substances and flirted with a complete game. There has been a lot happening. He shut down Cleveland last time out, but that’s pretty easy to do these days. He also had a weird start against Cleveland with five walks and zero strikeouts over three innings back on April 10. He’s only allowed 32 hard-hit balls, but 11 have been barrels.
I honestly have no idea what we’ll get from him today. He has a solid 39/10 K/BB ratio, but he’s struggled against the Twins and Blue Jays recently and the Rays are the best lineup statistically that he will have seen. Any number of outcomes seems possible.
Rasmussen has been a little rocky lately. He’s allowed all 13 of his runs over his last four starts and that includes five shutout innings against the Reds mixed in. He got hit around by both the Blue Jays and Astros and then gave up three runs on nine hits last time out against the White Sox. He still has a 3.66 ERA with a 2.98 FIP, but when you consider he threw 18 scoreless innings against the Nationals, Athletics, and Reds, you wonder what he’ll do the rest of the way against better lineups. I’m not sure the current state of the Yankees classifies as a “better lineup”, but I’ll be watching him closely to see if we can pick off some underdogs against the Rays.
A coin flip in Cleveland features Sonny Gray and Logan Allen on a nice day on the shores of Lake Erie. It will be in the mid 60s with a mild breeze blowing in that should barely be a factor. It won’t suddenly create offense, but it means mistake pitches will be forgiven a little bit less.
Neither of these guys have made many mistake pitches this season. Allen has allowed three runs on nine hits in 11 innings with 16 strikeouts against three walks. He’s given up a few rockets and four barrels in those starts against the Marlins and Red Sox, but he’s got a 50% GB% and a tremendous amount of upside. Both lineups he has faced rank in the top 10 in wOBA against lefties. The Twins are 28th, so this is another example of platoon splits dictating line moves.
Gray has allowed three runs on 25 hits in 35 innings of work. He’s struck out 41 and walked 12 with a 41.4% Hard Hit% and a 6.9% Barrel%. He won’t run a 0.77 ERA the rest of the way, but he has a solid 2.04 FIP and has really mixed his pitches effectively. That being said, he has a 31/5 K/BB ratio against righties in 85 PA and a 10/7 K/BB ratio against lefties. The Guardians will have six lefties in the lineup to go with Amed Rosario (sadly), Mike Zunino, and Myles Straw.
The 1st 5 Under 4 probably makes some sense here, but it is heavily juiced at -125. The Under 7.5 for the game may not be bad either. Cleveland’s top relievers are well-rested, though they’ve all struggled at times. Minnesota had to use Jhoan Duran for a second straight day in the save situation and Jorge Lopez has thrown three of four, so their bullpen is in lesser shape than Cleveland’s.
Ultimately, this feels like a close game that could swing either way and I don’t think there’s a good edge one way or the other.
Following his start against the Diamondbacks, I read about Brady Singer making adjustments to his slider. He said he changed the grip a bit and the movement metrics looked a whole lot better. He gave up one run on five hits in that start and it looked as though he could have potentially turned a corner to some degree.
Then he faced the Twins and it was clear that he wasn’t fixed. Singer allowed eight runs on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. He walked three and gave up a homer, along with more hard contact, which has been the story all season long. Singer has allowed a 59.6% Hard Hit% and a 12.8% Barrel% in his 94 batted balls.
The A’s are 23rd in wOBA against righties, so this hasn’t been nearly as fruitful of a split as the one against lefties has been. However, they are 11th in road wOBA against righties at .322 and have a 105 wRC+. This feeds into exactly what I talked about yesterday. After bombing away on Brad Keller and the Royals bullpen, the A’s are seventh in road wOBA at .332 and have a 111 wRC+.
The Royals should be in for a good matchup as well. They draw left-hander Ken Waldichuk, who has a 7.26 ERA with a 7.39 FIP over his 31 innings of work. He has allowed 10 home runs already this season and has walked 12 batters to go along with 39 hits. In 14.2 road innings, he’s allowed six home runs and 16 runs on 19 hits with a .453 wOBA against. Kansas City has also been better against lefties than righties with a .324 wOBA and a 103 wRC+.
The cherry on top for this game is that it’s going to be 90 degrees at first pitch and the wind will be blowing out at 10-15 mph to left field. These are pretty ideal hitting conditions for May. These are also two ideal bullpens for hitting. The Royals are 27th in ERA and the A’s are 30th. The Royals are 23rd in FIP and the A’s are 30th.
It’s a big total at 10.5, but the weather is ideal, the pitchers are both allowing a lot of hard contact, and both bullpens are terrible. All signs point to a lot of runs and don’t forget that the Royals are still a lineup holding my interest with a top-five Hard Hit% and a lot of bad batted ball luck thus far.
Pick: Over 10.5 (-110)
A quality pitching matchup in Anaheim features Nate Eovaldi and Reid Detmers. Eovaldi has a 3.93 ERA with a 2.07 FIP in his 36.2 innings of work. He’s only allowed one home run and has a 39/5 K/BB ratio. He’s actually gotten a bit unlucky with a .356 BABIP and a 62.5% LOB%, which is why his ERA is nearly two runs higher than his FIP. His Hard Hit% is a little elevated at 42.2%, but he’s actually lowered it over his last three starts, including a 28.6% HH% against the Yankees last time out.
The Angels rank fifth in wOBA against lefties, but 12th against righties, so this is the weaker split for their offense. It will be interesting to see how Eovaldi responds after throwing a 113-pitch complete game shutout last time out. That’s a pretty hefty workload by today’s standards, but he is on a couple extra days of rest after that stellar performance.
Detmers hasn’t really lived up to the big expectations placed on him in the stats community coming into the season. He’s allowed 19 runs on 26 hits in 26 innings with a 4.85 ERA and a 4.47 FIP. Five of those 19 runs are unearned and his 59.9% LOB% should improve going forward, especially with over a strikeout per inning pace. He’s allowed a bit of hard contact with a Hard Hit% over 40%, but nothing outlandish.
He has had some negative Cluster Luck with a .304 wOBA with the bases empty and then a .381 wOBA with men on base. The Rangers rank just outside the top 10 in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties, but it has been a pretty good split for them, due in large part to a 10.5% BB%. Detmers has occasionally had a walk issue this season to go along with his strikeouts, so we’ll see how that all plays out.
Eovaldi as a dog is a little bit attractive here, but the two offenses project similarly given the matchup and the Rangers bullpen has been shaky. By the way, the Angels bullpen leads the league in FIP, which kind of blows my mind.
Another day, another MLB debut. This time, it will be Houston’s J.P. France and he’ll go against Marco Gonzales, a veteran of 158 MLB games. France is a 28-year-old right-hander who has spent the last three seasons at Triple-A with a 3.54 ERA and 27 homers allowed in 210.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 269 and walked 100 in 31 starts and 25 relief appearances. He may also be around a while since it was announced yesterday that Luis Garcia will undergo Tommy John surgery.
The Mississippi State product has a kitchen sink arsenal with five or more different pitches. A scouting report from July 2022 at FanGraphs slapped an average grade on his overall arsenal and mid-90s velo. He’s allowed six runs (five earned) on just nine hits in 77 batters faced at Triple-A this season. He has 26 strikeouts against 11 walks and hasn’t allowed a home run, which is really good for the Pacific Coast League.
He reportedly creates some deception out of his 6-foot frame and that is why he’s able to get a lot of strikeouts. Hitters have also been able to draw walks, but the Mariners continue to strike out a lot and have a 25.9% K% against righties, which is second only to the Giants. It’s tough to say what they’ll do against France today.
But, the betting market seems to like Houston against Gonzales. He got shelled by Toronto last time out with eight runs allowed on eight hits in three innings. Only five of the runs were earned, but he gave up eight total runs in his first four starts, so it was a rude awakening to be sure. Gonzales is a guy who profiles a lot better at home in T-Mobile Park, but there are some positive regression signs in Houston’s profile against lefties.
They are 16th in wOBA, but have the second-lowest K% at 15.8%. They have a .264 BABIP in that split, so they’ve certainly gotten unlucky with some of their balls in play. I wish I had some more confidence in France. If I had more of an idea of what to expect, I’d be on Houston here.
Let’s see if Adam Wainwright can be the savior of the St. Louis season. The Cardinals got a good start from Jordan Montgomery, but fell 5-4 in a game where they had a three-run homer robbed by a catcher turned quasi-outfielder in Eric Haase. Jordan Hicks immediately blew the lead when Montgomery left and the Cardinals couldn’t muster a rally.
If it can go wrong for St. Louis, it has this season, including Wainwright’s IL stint. He was hurt during the WBC, so this will be his MLB debut for 2023. Waino made three rehab starts and allowed nine runs on 18 hits with a 13/2 K/BB ratio. The 41-year-old had a 3.71 ERA with a 3.66 FIP in 191.2 innings last season. This rotation desperately needs Wainwright to perform like he has the last two seasons and he gets a decent first opponent in the Tigers, who are playing quite well right now, but still rank 29th in wOBA against righties.
Since allowing 12 runs over his first two starts, Spencer Turnbull has been okay. He’s not working too deep into games, but he’s allowed eight earned runs in his last four starts covering 18.1 innings of work. That being said, he has an 18/14 K/BB ratio for the season and just an 8.4% SwStr%. He isn’t creating much margin for error for himself and the Tigers have been very proactive about pulling him before he turns a lineup over too much.
He has a 38.6% Hard Hit% on the season, which is a little better than league average. If he could mix in some more strikeouts, I think he could turn the corner. That won’t happen against a Cardinals lineup that makes a lot of contact. It’s a tough handicap with Wainwright back and Turnbull isn’t the most attractive of underdog pitchers.
Jose Berrios will try to bounce back from his worst start in about a month as he takes on the Pirates. Berrios was sailing right along with three earned runs allowed over three starts against the Rays, Astros, and White Sox before giving up five runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings of work against the Red Sox. It was more of the Berrios we’re used to seeing, as he only struck out four of 27 batters and allowed three barrels, including two homers.
To be fair, Boston has the second-best lineup in baseball against righties and Fenway Park is a brutal place to pitch. Maybe this is just what we’re going to get with Berrios, who has a 5.29 ERA and a 3.21 FIP. He’s allowed 19 of his 22 runs in three of his six starts. It would make sense given the really inconsistent command profile he has shown over the last few seasons. He has 34 strikeouts in 34 innings against just seven walks and has only allowed three homers, so FIP is a fan. His 56.4% LOB% is why his ERA is two runs higher than his FIP. So, there are some positive regression signs there, but it all comes down to his command.
Has the clock struck midnight for Johan Oviedo? One of this season’s biggest surprises has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 15 hits in his last two starts covering 7.2 innings of work. He was blasted by the Nationals in his most recent start for seven runs on nine hits and that’s concerning because he’s right-handed. The Nationals have hit lefties better than righties this season, but Oviedo failed to locate and allowed his highest exit velo of the season in that start.
My initial reaction was to look at the Pirates at this price because I simply don’t trust Berrios, but Oviedo turning back into a pumpkin makes it tough to put any trust in him against a dangerous and powerful Blue Jays lineup. I will give Oviedo credit that he hasn’t allowed a homer since giving up three in his first start against Boston, but I bet that changes today.
Elvis Andrus, who is an objectively bad hitter at this stage of his career and hasn’t been a real everyday player since 2017, hit a three-run homer off of Hunter Greene in the fifth inning yesterday and that was the turning point of the game, as the Reds lost 5-4. Andrus made his MLB debut in 2009 and that was his 10th three-run homer. I hate crying about losing bets, but what in the actual eff?! Ridiculous.
It will be Mike Clevinger and Nick Lodolo here, as the White Sox draw a lefty, but that hasn’t been that big of a positive for them this season. They are 19th in wOBA at .310 with a 95 wRC+ against southpaws after being a top offense against them the last few seasons. We’ll see what they do against Lodolo, who isn’t exactly locked in right now.
Lodolo has a 6.16 ERA with a 5.15 FIP in his 30.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 44 and only walked nine, but he’s given up eight homers, all in his last four starts, and has allowed 19 of his 21 runs in his last 18.2 innings of work. He’s had some major command woes lately and is running a .450 BABIP to go with a 25.8% HR/FB%. Given the current command profile, I can’t even entertain the thought of taking Lodolo.
Clevinger has a 4.60 ERA with a 5.54 FIP in his 29.1 innings of work. He’s had some control and command issues this season. He just struck out eight over five innings against the Rays, but also allowed six runs on seven hits to the Jays in his start prior to that one. You never really know what you’re going to get from Clevinger, but he’s allowed 49 baserunners in 29.1 innings and working around that much traffic is tough to do.
It will be a warmer day than most in Cincinnati and we saw a few homers last night. The total is certainly taking that into account at 9.5. These guys do both have high ERAs, but Lodolo definitely gets a lot of respect in the betting markets.
So, the Braves couldn’t score off of Dean Kremer and the Orioles crushed Max Fried. Initially, I was going to play the over, but opted for Atlanta’s side only, given how well Fried had pitched, even though the Orioles maul lefties. I chose poorly. Fried had a few regression signs in the profile and they all hit at once, as they often do with ground ball pitchers when things just snowball out of control.
I’m not sure the O’s have the same success today against Spencer Strider. Strider was not sharp last time out against the Mets on extra rest as he allowed for runs on five hits and walked three guys. He also only struck out eight batters to end his streak of punching out nine or more. He still has 57 strikeouts in 35 innings, which is lunacy, and has only allowed 10 runs on 19 hits. The O’s are third in wOBA against lefties and ninth in wOBA against righties, so they’ve done well overall, but Strider is a different beast.
Kyle Bradish gets the call for the O’s today with a 6.14 ERA and a 4.86 FIP. He’s allowed 10 runs on 20 hits in 14.2 innings and missed some time after taking a comebacker in his first start against the Rangers. He has given up all 10 runs in his last two starts with a 6/5 K/BB ratio, so he really hasn’t been sharp since shutting down the Nationals over six innings in his return. Bradish has allowed a lot of hard contact with a 51% Hard Hit% and has had single-digit SwStr% marks in his last two starts.
This is a pretty eye-catching line because the Orioles have the second-best record in baseball and they’re a $2 underdog. I can’t step in front of Strider, though, so it’s a no-go for me.
Corey Kluber and Bailey Falter round out the card for Saturday, as Klubes hits the road in hopes of better fortunes. Every game at Fenway Park seems like a slugfest this season. Kluber has a 6.44 ERA with a 6.49 FIP in his 29.1 innings of work. He’s allowed at least one homer in all six starts and eight of them overall. He’s allowed a 44.4% Hard Hit% and only has a 28.6% GB%, so he’s allowing a lot of line drives and fly balls.
This is the better split for the Phillies, who have a .337 wOBA and a 110 wRC+ against righties. They do have a .343 BABIP in this split, so that is doing a good bit of the work to rank sixth in wOBA, as it is the highest BABIP against righties by 24 points over the Rockies. That means that the Phillies will regress towards the mean in that department. Given their low walk rate, it’ll take a lot of power production to stay ahead of the BABIP regression curve.
Given that you have Kluber’s 6.44 ERA and Bailey Falter’s 5.01 ERA, it is a little surprising to see so much under juice on the total of 9.5 here. So much so that we may see this line slide down to 9. Falter has earned his 5.01 ERA by also having a 5.06 FIP with six homers allowed in his 32.1 innings of work. He also only has 22 strikeouts, so he’s allowed a lot of balls in play.
It has been more of a struggle recently, with 16 of his 19 runs allowed in his last four starts. He even faced the Mariners in that span, who have not hit lefties well. The Mariners had 12 hard-hit balls and four barrels in that April 25 game. The Red Sox are better against righties than lefties and obviously better at home than on the road, but they’re still a top-10 offense against lefties and rank 12th in wOBA away from home.
Kluber has a 61st percentile Chase Rate, so he can get some swings outside the zone, which could be a big positive today against a Phillies lineup with the fourth-highest Chase Rate in baseball.
This price just looks too big to me. Hopefully the Red Sox get back Alex Verdugo, who came in as a pinch runner and defensive replacement yesterday. Even if not, Falter is really struggling and Kluber would seem to have a better chance on the road against a pretty undisciplined Phillies team that doesn’t draw walks and will expand the zone leading to bad counts and strikeouts. They’re an offensive regression candidate against righties with that .343 BABIP and overall with a .332 BABIP that leads the league by 11 points.
Pick: Red Sox +135
OAK/KC Over 10.5 (-110)
Red Sox +135