MLB schedule today has 7 games
The month of May has finished and it won’t be missed, as a new month begins with seven games on the betting board. With over half of the league’s teams enjoying an off day, we’ve got three early starts and four late starts to kick off the third full month of the season.
There have been some surprises through the first two months of the season and we’re only about a third of the way through, so we’ll see which surprise teams can hang on, which teams fall off the pace, and which teams start to make a push as the summer takes hold. There may only be seven games, but with three early starts, it’s time to get down to business.
Latest MLB betting splits | MLB odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live. (Tracking sheet)
Tune in for a new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets this afternoon.
Here are some thoughts on the June 1 card (odds from DraftKings):
Taijuan Walker and Max Scherzer are the slated starters for this battle between NL East rivals to finish up this week’s series. It has not been the type of season that we’re used to seeing from Scherzer, who comes in with a 3.54 ERA and a 4.64 FIP over his 40.2 innings of work. He does have a 3.64 xERA, which is a good indicator of the contact quality he has allowed this season. His 36% Hard Hit% does come with a 9.9% Barrel%, but he allowed six of his 11 barrels in his first two starts of the season.
Even though his K% is down at 23.8%, his SwStr% remains elite at 13% and he’s been at 12.4% or higher in every start but one. Since coming back from an extended layoff in early May, he’s allowed two runs on 11 hits in 18 innings of work, so maybe he’s coming around. However, those starts were against Washington, Cleveland, and Colorado, so maybe we shouldn’t jump the gun too much.
Walker has not had a very good season, as he comes in with a 5.57 ERA and a 5.16 FIP in his 53.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 43 and walked 23 and has given up 55 hits, so he’s had a ton of traffic on the bases. He’s got a 40.7% Hard Hit% and just an 8.6% SwStr%, which has been in single digits in each of his last five starts.
It’s a big number for Scherzer, who may not be looking himself, but Walker is hardly trustworthy either.
I’m a little surprised to see the Padres lined as a small favorite here with the way that Joe Musgrove’s season has gone. He allowed one run on six hits over 6.1 innings to the Yankees last time out in his best start of the season, but it’s been a weird year for him. He missed all of Spring Training due to a fractured toe. He had a hideous start in Mexico City. He had allowed four runs in each of his two starts prior to that Yankees start.
Sure, you want to put an asterisk next to his 5.64 ERA and 4.90 FIP because of Mexico City, but he’s allowed 13 runs on 29 hits in 27 innings otherwise. Twelve of them are earned, so that’s a 4.00 ERA. It’s undoubtedly better than his full-season numbers with that Giants start, but it’s still not really the Musgrove we’ve come to know.
That being said, as much as the Marlins can be applauded for their performance against lefties, they rank 24th in wOBA against righties and are just 26th in wOBA against righties at home. Musgrove is right-handed, so we’ll see if he can have a second good outing in a row.
Jesus Luzardo has been quite good this season. A .356 BABIP is an annoyance, but he’s got a 3.67 ERA with a 3.68 FIP in his 61.1 innings of work on the year. He’s struck out 70 and only walked 19, so the control issues appear to be a thing of the past. He’s only walked more than two batters in a start once since his first outing of the year.
Luzardo has made a few command mistakes with an 11.1% Barrel%, but his Hard Hit% is 38.6% on the whole, so I’d expect his .356 BABIP to come down as the year goes along. He’s also allowed a .298 wOBA in 35 innings at home compared to a .394 wOBA in 26.1 innings on the road. His SLG against is 171 points higher on the road this season.
I lean towards the Fish here today, but their low offensive projection against righties is certainly scary, as this looks like a game that will come down to the bullpens and a handful of high-leverage plate appearances.
Connor Seabold and Zach Davies line it up here as the Diamondbacks look for a four-game sweep of the Rockies. Both guys have really struggled this season, as Davies recently returned from the IL and Seabold is just a below average pitcher across the board. The Rockies righty has a 5.94 ERA with a 5.79 FIP in his 36.1 innings of work. His xERA is a little kinder at 4.86, but he has a 6.35 ERA as a starter with a .401 wOBA against.
Seabold has allowed six homers in just 22.2 innings as a starter with a 14/10 K/BB ratio. He’s allowed a .293/.371/.576 slash overall. And this hasn’t been all about Coors Field either. He’s got a .374 wOBA against at Coors with a 5.40 ERA in 23.1 innings compared to a .401 wOBA against on the road in 13 innings. He’s allowed 15 runs total in his last three starts, with home outings against the Reds and Mets and a road visit to the Rangers.
As a starter, Seabold has allowed a 40.7% Hard Hit%, but he’s given up 15 hard-hit balls in his last 29 batted ball events. He has just an 8.5% SwStr% and 14 strikeouts against 10 walks.
Davies made his return from the IL on May 27 and allowed two runs on five hits in 3.1 innings to the Red Sox. His first two starts of the season came against the Dodgers and he allowed six runs on nine hits in 9.1 innings before hitting the IL. He only allowed two hard-hit balls in that start against Boston out of 11 batted ball events and topped out at 75 pitches.
It’s tough to know what to expect from him today, but this is a much easier assignment than facing Boston or the Dodgers. He should get a lot of run support with Seabold on the hil. Arizona is seventh in wOBA and also seventh in home wOBA against righties, while Colorado is 24th in road wOBA vs. RHP.
The Rockies are also just 9-19 on the road and have mustered 3.6 R/G. Fourteen of their 19 losses have come by more than one run. Davies is a command guy and hopefully he’ll be able to keep the Rockies at bay long enough to go to a rested bullpen. I don’t think Seabold has the same upside.
Pick: Diamondbacks Run Line (-1.5) (+110)
We’ve got a solid pitching matchup here as Tanner Bibee gets his first crack at the Twins and it will be the same story for Pablo Lopez against the Guardians. Bibee has a 2.88 ERA with a 3.02 FIP over the first six starts of his MLB career. He was awesome against the Cardinals last time out with one run allowed on two hits and nine strikeouts against just one walk. He has a 34/9 K/BB ratio and draws a Twins lineup that will strike out a lot.
Bibee did allow a season-high 45.5% Hard Hit% against the Cardinals, but they only had 11 batted ball events. His Hard Hit% is 35.2% for the season and he’s got a 4.4% Barrel%. His SwStr% has fluctuated a bit, but he had a career-best 17.3% mark against the Cardinals in that last outing, as he really looked good. He’s thrown a few more changeups in his last three starts than he did early on, so that could be something to watch for in this one.
While the Twins did jump on Hunter Brown’s mistakes yesterday, they still struck out eight times in just 4.2 innings and still have the league’s highest K% at 26.5% against righties. They’ve been able to offset it to some degree with a 9.7% BB%, but Bibee was really stingy with the walks in the minors and should be as his big-league career progresses.
As for Pablo Lopez, it’s been a little bit of a struggle lately. He’s got a 4.11 ERA with a 3.94 FIP, but he’s had some issues locating against lefties and has also had some control problems recently. Over his last seven starts, he has a 5.67 ERA with a 4.77 FIP. If we narrow it down to his last three starts, he has a 6.06 ERA with a 6.04 FIP. He’s given up five homers in that span and does have 19 strikeouts, but also some major command hiccups.
For the season, Lopez has a 40.2% Hard Hit%, but he’s at 45.7% in his last six outings, including a 12.8% Barrel%. He mentioned some control issues against lefties after his start against the Dodgers and that is true, as he’s issued 13 of his 20 walks to lefties and has a 28/13 K/BB ratio compared to a 53/7 K/BB ratio against righties, who only have a .289 wOBA.
The Guardians should be able to send six lefties against Lopez and it could be seven if they suddenly smarten up and call up Bo Naylor today.
I’ll take a shot on Cleveland today. Lopez hasn’t really had great command or control, but has had the strikeouts to fall back on. The Guardians have the fourth-lowest K% against righties this season. He does generate swings and misses, but Cleveland will put balls in play and will send enough lefties at him to be dangerous. I also expect the Twins to have major issues with Bibee.
I also think Bibee’s K prop at DraftKings is worth a look at Over 6.5 at a big plus-money price. He’s gone over that in three of his six starts and this is the first team in the bottom 10 in K% against righties that he’s faced. The others have been COL (9th), NYY (11th), DET (19th), LAA (16th), NYM (3rd), STL (7th) and the Twins are 30th.
Pick: Guardians +120
Reid Detmers and Framber Valdez square off in our only battle between two southpaw hurlers today. It feels like a lot of people have wrongly badmouthed Detmers, who has a 4.93 ERA with a 4.42 xERA, and a 3.61 FIP in his 45.2 innings of work. A .387 BABIP and a 65.2% LOB% with a strong 28.4% K% are to blame. I will grant that Detmers has allowed some hard contact with a 42.7% Hard Hit%, but just a 5.6 Barrel%.
He’s had some negative Cluster Luck with a .319 wOBA with the bases empty, a .367 wOBA with men on base, and a .450 wOBA with RISP. He’s also really run out of steam the third time through the order. He’s allowed a .262 wOBA the first time through, a .295 the second, and a .577 the third time through in 42 PA. He’s struck out 51 and walked 12 the first two times through the order, but has just a 7/7 K/BB ratio the third time through.
He hasn’t finished starts well, but he has started them well, so we’ll see if he can get over that hump against the Astros in today’s outing. Houston is only 21st in wOBA and has a league average 100 wRC+ against lefties. Detmers has kind of become Snellian, in that he pitches four or five innings and allows two or three runs, so his ERA doesn’t really improve, but it’s not like he’s burying his team.
But, then there’s Valdez, who has a 2.38 ERA with a 2.94 FIP in 11 starts over 72 innings of work. He has a 4.01 xERA because of all the hard contact he has allowed, but he’s kept the ball on the ground at an elite rate with a 60.1% GB%. He’s actually improved both his strikeout and walk rates this season, so he’s been about as good as it gets for Houston.
The Angels are a solid seventh in wOBA against LHP at .347 and have a 120 wRC+ that ranks in the top five, but not all lefties are created like Valdez. The Angels bullpen has been surprisingly competent this season, so I gave them some thought since Detmers has the potential to be really good for five innings or so, but it’s just so hard to score off of Valdez with all those grounders.
Freddy Peralta and Kevin Gausman are listed for this one, as Peralta looks for a bounce back effort against a tough Toronto lineup. Only four of the 10 runs Peralta gave up in his last start were earned, but he gave up eight hits and two homers in just 2.1 innings to the Giants. He’s allowed 19 runs in his last three starts covering just 14.2 innings of work. Only 13 of the runs are earned, but still. He hasn’t been locating well at all and has 12 strikeouts against nine walks in that sample size.
Peralta hasn’t really allowed a ton of hard contact or anything like that, but the defense has let him down and he’s been issuing too many walks. Confidence is probably a pretty big issue at present, but you do always worry about the arm health with a struggling pitcher whose medical history weighs quite a bit.
Gausman has a 3.03 ERA with a 3.29 xERA and a 2.52 FIP in his 68.1 innings of work. I’ve talked about his game logs before, but Gausman has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his 11 starts and has allowed 15 of his 23 earned runs in two of his starts. He was blasted on the road by Boston on May 4 and Houston on April 17 and been virtually unhittable otherwise. Well, he’s still allowing a good bit of hard contact with a 43.7% Hard Hit% and a 9.2% Barrel%, but a 31.9% K% covers up a lot.
Pretty easy to have no interest in this game, as Gausman deserves the big favorite role, but the Blue Jays haven’t been too reliable of late.
It will be Hunter Greene for the Reds and Chris Sale for the Red Sox as this interleague series wraps up. The suddenly-surging Reds have won five in a row with some life injected into the lineup and Elly De La Cruz will probably be up this weekend, as the Super Two deadline looms, allowing teams to control a player for another season.
Greene was masterful last time out against the Cubs with six no-hit innings and 11 strikeouts. It was good to see after he had allowed 17 runs in his previous four starts. He’s got a 4.18 ERA with a 3.62 FIP, but the biggest thing to me is that he’s cut down his home run rate in a big way and has really done a lot better with the walks in a majority of his starts as well. He also has 80 strikeouts in just 56 innings, which is very impressive.
But, this is a big test in a small ballpark against a Red Sox team that doesn’t really strike out a lot. They have the fifth-lowest K% against righties this season and rank fifth in wOBA. They are third in wOBA against righties at home and they’ve swung the bats okay in this series, but just haven’t pitched well enough to win games.
The hope, of course, would be that Sale changes that. He comes in with a 4.72 ERA, 3.58 xERA, and a 3.90 FIP in his 55.1 innings pitched. I wrongly considered him cooked earlier this season when he gave up 16 runs in his first three starts, but he’s been significantly better since. In fact, he’s only allowed eight runs in his last 32.1 innings with a 35/4 K/BB ratio. The swinging strike rates look good and, most importantly, he seems to be healthy.
No play from me in this one, but the new-look Reds are suddenly knocking on the door in the pathetic NL Central. If they get Nick Lodolo back in his usual form later this season and Graham Ashcraft can figure it out, this team looks interesting in that weak division.
Diamondbacks -1.5 (+110)