MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, July 18th

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 18, 2023 01:06 PM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

Fifteen games are on the MLB betting board with the 5-5-5 format that has become so common in the big leagues this season. The more balanced schedule has created more interleague matchups and we’ve seen that play out on a weekly basis with the way that the games have been organized.

All of today’s games will be played late once again, so those dabbling in the baseball world will have plenty of time to handicap the matchups and see what stands out.

Before I get into that, I wanted to quickly mention that the HR/FB% yesterday was 13.3%, so down from the 13.9% over the weekend, which makes sense given that the games were at night and it wasn’t the heat of the day like we saw on Saturday and Sunday, but that is still an elevated rate over the rest of July and the rest of the season.

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Here are some thoughts on the July 18 card (odds from DraftKings):

Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies (-205, 9.5)

If the Brewers are going to win the NL Central, they’re going to have to do something better than run out Julio Teheran every five days. He’s on the bump tonight and in a big underdog role against Aaron Nola and the Phillies. Teheran has a 3.64 ERA with a 3.90 xERA and a 4.62 FIP, so the numbers can fool you, but the real Teheran emerged in his final two starts of the first half with 13 runs allowed on 16 hits in 11.2 innings pitched.

What he did for six starts in his return to the big leagues was definitely impressive, however, it looked pretty unsustainable given his track record and that proved to be true. I guess there’s always a chance that he remains effective and can keep up his .239 BABIP and 75.2% LOB% with a 17.3% K%, but I don’t really see it. Teheran is making his first start since July 3 here.

Nola checks in with a 4.39 ERA, 3.74 xERA, and a 4.34 FIP in his 119 innings of work. His peripherals could certainly be better, as his 67.6% LOB% is holding him back, along with a very high 15.8% HR/FB%, but his command hasn’t been quite that sharp this year. He’s allowed six home runs in his last three starts and a homer in all but one of his last 15 starts.

No play here. Nola and the Phillies deserve to be a hefty favorite, but his penchant for the homer is a bit of a concern.

San Francisco Giants (-135, 11) at Cincinnati Reds

Before the Giants and Reds can start this game, they’ll have to finish last night’s with high-leverage situations all over the place. Rain moved in and forced the suspension of last night’s tilt with a 2-2 tie in the top of eighth. The Giants have runners on second and third with one out, so it wouldn’t be totally shocking to see Alexis Diaz come out right away.

That could also eliminate Diaz from tonight’s game if he goes 1.1 or more innings to try and seal a Reds win. As far and away their best reliever, that would affect the handicap on the scheduled game, which features Anthony DeSclafani and Luke Weaver.

Weaver enters this start with a 7.00 ERA, 5.62 xERA, and a 5.74 FIP in his 73.1 innings of work across 15 starts. The Reds are aggressively pursuing starting pitching at the Deadline to take guys like Weaver out of the mix. He has allowed four or more runs in 10 of his 15 starts and all but one of his six starts at home. He has allowed 17 home runs and is still running a .336 BABIP because of a 42.9% Hard Hit% and a 10.7% Barrel%.

At Great American Ball Park, Weaver has a 7.98 ERA with a .391 wOBA against and a .590 SLG against. He’s given up nine homers and 26 runs in just 29.1 innings of work. He has a 20.6% K% against righties, but only a 13.5% K% against lefties. He’s actually done better with home run prevention against lefties, but has missed way fewer bats, so I’m concerned about that moving forward.

This is a homecoming for DeSclafani, who has a 4.44 ERA with a 4.92 xERA and a 4.12 FIP over 93.1 innings of work. Tony Disco was drafted by the Blue Jays and made his MLB debut with the Marlins, but pitched with the Reds for five seasons from 2015-20. This will be his first MLB start since July 1, as he spent time on the IL with a shoulder issue. He allowed three runs, all homers, against the Mets over three innings before hitting the injured list. He has allowed a 44.5% Hard Hit% on the season with a decent 8.2% Barrel%, but allowed eight barrels in three starts before going on the shelf.

He made one rehab appearance down at the Complex League level and allowed a solo homer out of five hits in four innings of work. The Complex League is at Spring Training facilities with 18 and 19-year-old kids for the most part.

It will be another warm and humid evening, so a bad night to make mistakes. Weaver makes a lot of them. DeSclafani has allowed 12 homers himself and three road starts outdoors since May 24 feature 15 runs allowed on 16 hits in just 11 innings of work. I think we see a high-scoring affair tonight, at least in the early going where I like the 1st 5 Over 6.

Pick: 1st 5 Over 6 (-110)

Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves (-190, 10.5)

Zach Davies going up against the Braves seems pretty unfair when you think about it. It might just be unfair for any pitcher to go up against the Braves. But, Davies is a pitch-to-contact guy with a 6.37 ERA and that can’t be good taking on this super lineup on a very warm night in Atlanta.

Temps will be in the mid-90s at first pitch with humidity increasing throughout the evening at Truist Park. Davies does have a 4.64 xERA and a 4.40 FIP, which suggest some positive regression, but that’s hard to do with a 10.1% BB% and an 18.9% K%. Davies does have a really unfortunate 55.7% LOB% that won’t stay as bad as it is, but that’s also a byproduct of not generating a lot of punchouts.

He has only worked 15.2 innings on the road this season compared to 38 at home. His road numbers are better, but the sample size is quite small. He’s faced the Dodgers, Nationals, and Giants and gave up six runs in four innings to the Giants on June 23 in just his second road start since April 2.

The regression signs of Bryce Elder finally came to the forefront in his final start of the first half, as he gave up seven runs in 3.1 innings against the Rays. Elder has a 2.97 ERA for the season, but it comes with a 4.04 xERA and a 4.13 FIP. He’s got an 81.5% LOB% that has done a lot of heavy lifting with his ERA. He’s a ground ball machine at 54.8%, but he has a .273 BABIP, so that was another area to look at for some poorer luck. 

Earlier in the season, Elder was really getting lucky on balls in play with an extreme Hard Hit%. He’s down to 41.7% now after a really nice run in June, but the irony is that he had his highest ERA by month of the season in June at 3.56 and now has an 8.10 in July over two starts with that Rays effort.

No play from me here, though, as he still requires teams to string hits together and that doesn’t always count as a viable strategy. I do expect the Braves Team Total Over to be a popular prop out there. Right now it’s 5.5 with the Over at -130 at DraftKings.

Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals (-145, 8)

Edward Cabrera makes his return to the Marlins rotation in this one as the Cardinals send out Jordan Montgomery for what could be his final start with the ballclub. I’ll say that before every Montgomery and Jack Flaherty start up until the August 1 deadline, as the Redbirds are open for business and a lot of contenders could use starting pitching help.

Montgomery had a nagging himself issue that took him out of his last start against the White Sox on July 7, but he’s had some time to feel better thanks to the All-Star Break. If he pitches like he has recently, his stock might go up just a little bit more. He’s allowed three earned runs over his last four starts with just 15 hits allowed in 24.2 innings of work. He has a 23/6 K/BB ratio and is down to a 3.23 ERA with a 3.53 FIP for the season.

I think he should be one of the most coveted starting pitchers at the Deadline and we’ll see if he can keep it rolling despite the 10-day layoff. The other thing that makes Montgomery so successful is that he has a 36.3% Hard Hit%, so he’ll kind of fit just about anywhere, with any team. He’s also got a strong K/BB ratio and a solid SwStr%. That said, in this assignment, he does draw a Marlins team that leads the league by 18 points in BA against LHP and ranks third in wOBA at .353. Since June 15, the Marlins lead the league with a .390 wOBA in that split.

This will be Cabrera’s first MLB start since June 13, as he returns from shoulder discomfort. Cabrera has a 4.70 ERA with a 4.49 FIP over his 67 innings pitched. He’s got a high strikeout rate and a high walk rate to go along with a 53.7% GB%, so he has all the ingredients to be good, if he could just figure out where the ball was going. He did not make any rehab starts, but threw a five-inning sim game at the Marlins’ Spring Training complex last Thursday.

I don’t want to outright fade the Marlins with their numbers against lefties. I do think it’s scary to try and trust Cabrera as well. Maybe the Over 8 is the play, as Montgomery might not be as sharp with the layoff. But, I think it’s best I just stay away, as I’m not committed to anything.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs (-165, 9)

It will take me a long time to get over leaving this one off the card. As I started to post the article, I had a change of heart and took the Over off the board for this game, as the total had moved up to 9 with over juice. I swapped it out for the Rays, which I couldn’t get out of my head. It turns out I took off a winner and added a loser, which is a really frustrating thing. Yesterday’s game flew over the total as well, so it’s not like it squeaked over.

Anyway, today is a new day and it’s Patrick Corbin Day, so I’m sure bettors are looking for reasons to fade him. I can’t really blame them, as Corbin has turned back into the guy that everybody has been betting against for the last three seasons. He’s got a 4.89 ERA with a 6.26 xERA and a 4.92 FIP over his 108.2 innings of work. The left-hander had a prolonged stretch from mid-April through mid-May that was pretty good. Over his last nine starts, though, Corbin has a 5.33 ERA with a 5.42 FIP.

He did fire seven outstanding innings against the Rangers on July 9, but that came after allowing six runs on 10 hits in his previous start. Corbin was on the paternity list exiting the All-Star Break, so he’s got a new baby in the house. The Cubs, as I mentioned yesterday, have been a tad better than league average against lefties since June 15 and improved upon those numbers a bit with five runs off of MacKenzie Gore yesterday.

Jameson Taillon heads to the slab today with a 6.15 ERA, 5.37 xERA, and a 4.93 FIP in 71.2 innings of work. Taillon has not had a good season at all and has allowed four or more runs in nine of his 15 starts. He had actually allowed 22 runs over his previous five starts and then fired eight shutout, one-hit innings against the Yankees to end the first half with something positive to build on.

Since June 15, the Nationals are 17th in wOBA against righties at .315 with a 95 wRC+. They continue to avoid strikeouts, but don’t walk much and are very BABIP-dependent with low contact quality numbers. For the season, Taillon has allowed a 39% Hard Hit% with an 11% Barrel%, so he’s allowed a lot of barrels, but not really a ton of hard contact otherwise. That said, in his start against the Yankees, he allowed a 55% Hard Hit%, but the BABIP gods took pity on the rest of his first half.

The Cubs get to run it back with their third lefty in four days, which I like because the platoon guys are getting more reps. I probably would have taken the Over anyway yesterday if I knew Jeimer Candelario was going to play, and, of course, as luck would have it, he homered in the game. I like runs here tonight as well.

I mentioned yesterday that the Nationals are missing Hunter Harvey, who was placed on the IL. Kyle Finnegan needed 25 pitches last night and Mason Thompson threw 27, so Washington’s primary relievers were called upon and had decent workloads. I expect we see two guys on long layoffs struggling to be sharp, much like what we saw last night.

Pick: Over 9 (-120)

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers (-130, 8.5)

I guess Dane Dunning is just never going to experience regression, as he battled toe-to-toe with Shane McClanahan and the Rangers bullpen was one run better than Tampa’s. Game 2 of that series will feature Taj Bradley and Nathan Eovaldi. 

I haven’t had a good grasp on Eovaldi lately. He’s allowed four runs in three of his last six starts, but I haven’t caught any of them. His velocity has been up and down a bit and he is a guy that threw 117.2 innings in the first half, which ranked eighth. He has now surpassed his 2022 total and is a guy that missed time in 2016, all of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022, so you always worry about health indicators like a decrease in velo.

Theoretically, the All-Star Break had to be great for him to be able to sit back and let his body recover a bit. I guess we’ll see, as he makes his first start in 12 days. Over his last four starts, Eovaldi had just a 17/12 K/BB ratio. He gave up 10 runs on 16 hits in 24 innings and had major velocity fluctuations. What pisses me off is that his velo was 96.1 mph in his start against Houston when I faded him, but 94.1, 94.4, and 93.8 in his other three starts in that span. Right thought, wrong time, I guess. Naturally, I’d pick the start where he threw seven shutout innings.

So, I think Eovaldi is a bit of a dicey proposition long-term and we’ll have to see what the velo and the control look like coming back off of the Break.

Bradley has a 5.43 ERA with a 4.04 xERA and a 3.98 FIP over his 61.1 innings of work. He’s got a gaudy strikeout rate of 29.7%, but is running a .348 BABIP with a 65.2% LOB% and has allowed 11 homers in 13 starts. Bradley’s got some positive regression signs with his ERA vs. xERA and ERA vs. xFIP (3.35), but he’s inconsistent from pitch to pitch and has allowed a 46.2% Hard Hit%.

This is a tricky handicap to me. I am really not convinced in Eovaldi’s upside for the rest of the way. Bradley allowed 16 runs on 22 hits in his last 12.1 innings going into the Break, so there’s no way I can trust him. Maybe others will see it differently.

Detroit Tigers (-170, 8) at Kansas City Royals

Poor Jordan Lyles. He throws a good game and the Royals bullpen leaves a steaming pile on the mound. Lyles was actually quite good with six shutout innings and just three hits allowed. Meanwhile, the Tigers pen shut it down with 3.1 solid innings of relief work and Detroit has won three of four in the second half. I called them a play-on team in the second half. I’ve played on them zero times.

They’re a big road favorite today with Tarik Skubal on the hill against Daniel Lynch. The last time the Tigers were this big of a road favorite, some guy named Justin Verlander was on the mound at then US Cellular Field in Chicago. The date was August 25, 2017 and Detroit lost 3-2. Others to have the distinction of being this big of a road favorite for the Tigers since 2014? Jordan Zimmermann, David Price, and Max Scherzer. So, this puts Skubal in some impressive company.

It will be another day with some heavy lifting for the Tigers bullpen. Skubal has allowed just two hits over eight scoreless innings since coming back, but he’s only gone four innings in each start. He does have 11 strikeouts against two walks, but he’s thrown 58 and 63 pitches. He’s pitching on eight days rest, so maybe we’ll see him go 70-75 here, but the Tigers are being exceedingly careful with their prized left-hander. I can’t blame them for that.

I tried to back Lynch and the Royals for a 1st 5 against Cleveland on July 7 and Lynch was okay with three runs allowed on six hits over six innings, but Kansas City didn’t score a run. Lynch has a 4.18 ERA with a 4.85 FIP, but as I’ve talked about, he’s throwing the ball better than those numbers would suggest. Four of his seven homers came in one start back on June 14 and he allowed seven runs in that one. Take that start away and he has allowed 15 earned runs over his other seven outings and just three homers.

Lynch has also allowed just a 31.2% Hard Hit% and it was 19% HH% in 21 batted ball events in that start against Cleveland. There’s just no margin for error with a Royals team that can’t score. But, Lynch has allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his eight starts. Maybe finding Under spots with him is the way to go instead of hoping that the Royals do their part with the bats.

The Tigers are just 24th in wOBA against lefties at .294 with an 88 wRC+. If I had more faith in starters coming off of long hiatuses, I’d look at the Under here. I’m not sure how sharp either guy will be, but as far as warm-weather games go, the wind is blowing in for this one, so the hot weather might not help as much.

New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels (-110, 9)

What a night it was for the Angels last night. Not only did Shohei Ohtani hit a huge homer with a pretty spectacular bat flip, but Griffin Canning struck out 12 over 5.2 solid innings of work. Of course, it was also nice for the Yankees to get six solid frames from Luis Severino, as he only struck out three, but also only allowed one run.

As a side note, I haven’t seen anything really about it, but when Ohtani struck out against Nick Ramirez in the ninth, he took two ugly swings at sweepers, grabbing his back after the second one. Hopefully he didn’t tweak anything.

As far as tonight’s game goes, it will be Domingo German and Patrick Sandoval. It’s been quite the season for German as the second half gets underway. He has a 4.32 ERA with a 4.21 xERA and a 4.63 FIP in 91.2 innings of work. He’s got a perfect game to his name, along with a foreign substance suspension, and has allowed 10 runs in a start.

More often than not, he’s been good, as he’s allowed four or more earned runs six times and two or fewer earned runs 11 times. In the six starts with four or more runs allowed, he’s allowed 13 of his 16 homers. Since the perfect game on June 28, he’s allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in 10.1 innings with a 14/3 K/BB ratio.

Sandoval is a guy that really should be having a better season than he is. He has a 4.41 ERA with a 4.45 xERA and a 3.96 FIP in 85.2 innings pitched. He has allowed just a 33.8% Hard Hit% with a 6.9% Barrel%, but somehow has a .312 BABIP against. The cruelty of batted ball luck is very evident with him. He also has a really solid 12.1% SwStr% that is well above the league average for starting pitchers, but he only has an 18.2% K%. Honestly, I’m hoping he gets traded to a team like Baltimore or Arizona that can really help him blossom.

As far as today’s game, no play from me, as the moneyline pick’em price seems pretty reasonable all things considered.

Boston Red Sox (-200, 9) at Oakland Athletics

Not much to say here again, as the Red Sox will use an opener and then likely Chris Murphy for bulk innings. The bulk concept worked great yesterday, as Nick Pivetta threw six no-hit innings and struck out 13 after Brennan Bernardino started the game. I wouldn’t expect the same from Murphy, who has a 2.16 ERA, but a 4.48 xERA and a 3.46 FIP.

The A’s are sending out Funky Cold Luis Medina, who has been among the worst pitchers in baseball with a 6.34 ERA, 4.99 xERA, and a 5.40 FIP in 59.2 innings of work. Even as he’s cut down on the long ball, he still hasn’t been all that great, though he does have a 4.50 ERA with a 3.48 FIP In his last 30 innings pitched.

Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners (-130, 7.5)

Bailey Ober and Bryan Woo make for a really good pitching matchup in Seattle tonight. Woo is only seven starts into his MLB career, but he has a 3.63 ERA with a 2.78 xERA and a 3.08 FIP in 34.2 innings pitched. The concern here and going forward is that Woo has already worked 78.2 innings this season. He worked 57 innings across three levels last season. The Mariners will be watching his workload closely, which means some shortened starts and potentially some time in the minors as well.

It will be important to scan the wire for news about Woo prior to his starts, as sportsbooks may be asleep on things like his outs or strikeouts prop lines, not realizing he’ll be limited. I don’t see anything about it today, but I’m sure it will happen going forward. For now, Woo comes in having allowed just eight earned runs in his last six starts. He hasn’t pitched since July 8, so we’ll see if he’s sharp here, but this will be just his third start at pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park, where he only has 10.2 innings compared to 24 innings on the road.

Ober has a 2.61 ERA with a 3.61 xERA and a 3.39 FIP in his 82.2 innings pitched. He’s got a stellar K/BB ratio and has done a really good job of avoiding hard contact with a 33.5% Hard Hit%. As you know, I like Ober against teams that haven’t really seen him because he’s 6-foot-9 and it’s a definite adjustment. Well, the Mariners have not seen him this season and I think that’s a positive. I also like that he’s a fly ball guy going to T-Mobile Park, so that should suppress any mistakes he does make.

Ober actually hasn’t allowed a homer in three straight starts. He has a strong 12.5% SwStr% and a 24.6% K%. The shoe is also on the other foot from a bullpen standpoint today. Paul Sewald, Andres Munoz, and Matt Brash have all worked back-to-back days for the Mariners, while Justin Topa worked Saturday and Sunday, so they have guys looking at three straight appearances.

It was the opposite yesterday, as the Twins had some usage concerns in the pen. It was a bummer to lose yesterday, but all three primary relievers got the night off. I like both starters here and both teams do strike out quite a bit. But, I think there’s a little more value on the Twins getting plus money with their pen situation and I believe Ober could be sharper than Woo coming back.

Shop around, as you can find a few cents better on this line than what DraftKings has.

Pick: Twins +110

Cleveland Guardians at Pittsburgh Pirates (-115, 8.5)

Logan Allen and Mitch Keller make up a pretty good pitching matchup at PNC Park tonight. Quinn Priester’s MLB debut looked good for three innings and then he had major issues turning the lineup over, as the Guardians beat up on the Buccos. It’s been Cleveland’s MO for years now to make things look a lot better by beating up on bad teams and Pittsburgh is a bad team.

But, Keller is a bright spot this season and he takes the mound with a 3.31 ERA, 3.38 xERA, and a 3.35 FIP in his 117 innings of work. He’s struck out well over a batter per inning with a solid walk rate and a 46.6% GB%. He’s done such a great job throughout the season and there are no obvious regression signs in his profile, so what you see should be what you get more often than not.

He had a little hiccup in late May and early June from a contact management standpoint, but he’s corrected that and looks to be very much on the right track with a HH% under 24% in three of his last four starts. He’s been nails at PNC Park with a .249 wOBA against and a 2.63 ERA over 51.1 innings pitched. Lefties have done 62 points better in the wOBA department, so there is that against a Cleveland team running out a bunch of them, but a .309 wOBA against is still quite good for a platoon split.

Allen was sent down to Triple-A in hopes of becoming more efficient with his pitches, but with Cal Quantrill back on the shelf, he’s back at the MLB level. He has a 3.47 ERA with a 3.72 FIP, but his 4.48 xERA is something I have my eye on. His 79.9% LOB% is doing a good bit of work and he’s allowed some hard contact, especially of late. He made two three-inning minor league starts and allowed five runs on six hits in the second one after not allowing a run in the first.

So, I’m not sure how far he’ll be pushed here. Yesterday was a Johnny Wholestaff game for Cleveland and six pitchers were used, including Sam Hentges for the third time in four days, so he’s out today in all likelihood. Emmanuel Clase shook off some rust with 21 pitches. It would appear that Cleveland’s high-leverage guys will be called back into action today, since this could be a close game.

I do lean a little towards Pittsburgh today, but as I mentioned, this is what Cleveland does. They look better against bad teams. Keller is a great pitcher on a bad team and the Guardians find ways in these types of games. I’ll pass on this one and we’ll see if I regret it.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Baltimore Orioles (-125, 9.5)

The Dodgers and Orioles barely got over the total and it took a grand slam to do it last night, as my handicap was right on Emmet Sheehan and eventually got there with Grayson Rodriguez. As explosive as the stuff looked for Rodriguez, he still only managed four strikeouts and gave up some very hard-hit contact. The command profile just isn’t there for the youngster.

Speaking of young pitchers and command profiles, Michael Grove gets the call today for the Dodgers, as Tyler Wells goes for the O’s. Grove comes in with a 6.89 ERA, 5.09 xERA, and a 5.03 FIP in his 47 innings of work. He’s got a .350 BABIP against with nine homers allowed in eight starts and three relief efforts. His 39.6% Hard Hit% is just above the league average and his 9.4% Barrel% is a little high as well, but he’s allowed four or more runs in six of his 11 appearances.

Grove has only worked 15.1 innings away from Dodger Stadium, but he’s allowed 19 runs and has an 11.15 ERA with a .427/.467/.573 slash against and a .454 wOBA. His miserable start against Arizona is a big part of it with nine runs allowed on April 9, but that still leaves 10 runs allowed in his other three appearances over 12 innings. It will be another warm night in Baltimore, so I’d expect the ball to carry again.

This is such a tough handicap with Wells because he gives up a ton of home runs and the Dodgers are very adept at hitting them. Wells has allowed 21 homers in 104.2 innings pitched, five more than he allowed in one fewer inning last season. However, he also has a 25.4% K% and a 5.9% BB%. He’s an extreme fly ball guy and this weather does not help. He’s allowed 32 barrels and an 11.5% Barrel on the season.

However, 15 of the 21 homers have been solo shots. Opposing batters only own a .252 wOBA with men on base and a .199 with runners in scoring position. Wells has done a terrific job of not allowing hits or walks, so the occasional home run isn’t a big deal.

Wells hasn’t started since July 8, so we’ll see how sharp he is. He has allowed exactly two earned runs in each of his last seven starts and one earned run eight starts ago, so he’s been really good for a long time now. He’s allowed eight homers in eight starts in that span.

This might be a game where you should just take some shots on home run props instead of betting a side or total. Righties have actually hit 15 of the 21 homers Wells has allowed, so maybe JD Martinez to homer at +390 or Mookie Betts at +310 makes sense on the Dodgers side. It is easier for lefties to homer at Oriole Park and Wells has allowed 10/15 homers to righties on the road, but it still seems like the route to go if you want to bet this game. Rutschman at +650 or Santander at +310 for Baltimore might not be bad investments.

San Diego Padres (-130, 9.5) at Toronto Blue Jays

The betting markets are not ready to commit to Alek Manoah yet, as we’ve seen a good bit of interest and money on the Padres side for this one. It will be Joe Musgrove for the Friars as they head north of the border for the first time since 2019.

Betting on Musgrove is probably a good idea. He has a 3.29 ERA with a 3.07 xERA and a 3.55 FIP over 79.1 innings, but he has a 1.79 ERA with a 2.56 FIP in his last nine starts. He’s 7-0 in that span with a 54/8 K/BB ratio. He’s only allowed two homers in 215 batters faced and has allowed a ridiculous 24.5% Hard Hit% with a 2.0% Barrel%. He’s locating as well as anybody in baseball right now. The question is whether or not the eight days between starts will interrupt his streak, but he’s a veteran guy and he should be fine.

Manoah’s return to the big leagues was a smashing success, but he faced the Tigers, not the Padres. Manoah allowed one run on five hits in six excellent innings with eight strikeouts. There was honestly not much different in his pitch usage or velocity, but he had his second-highest Zone% of the season and his best Chase Rate at 35.9%. It seems like the Blue Jays worked on his mechanics and his pitch shape while reinventing him down in Florida.

Is it sustainable? Will it stick with a huge step up in class? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

There are some bullpen concerns both ways here. The Blue Jays have been without Jordan Romano, who had an MRI on his lower back on Friday. Nick Martinez worked three straight days Friday-Sunday and Josh Hader blew a save on Sunday. Tim Hill got the loss in black-to-back games. The Padres pen has some questions and so does Toronto’s.

All in all, I’m passing here, but let’s see if Manoah can pitch well against a much better offense.

Chicago White Sox at New York Mets (-125, 9)

Will this be Lucas Giolito’s final start for the White Sox? Like Jordan Montgomery, who I wrote about three hours ago, Giolito will be a popular trade candidate as the Deadline approaches and the White Sox have plenty of incentive to move him. He’ll get the ball today against the Mets, as he’ll face a former adversary in Carlos Carrasco, who he locked horns with during Cookie’s Cleveland days.

Carrasco has had a challenging season with an IL stint and clear signs of aging. He has a 5.16 ERA with a 5.96 FIP in 61 innings, but he went into the All-Star Break on a high note with eight shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. Since coming off the IL on May 19, he has a 4.18 ERA with a 5.54 FIP, so the numbers aren’t great and his K/BB numbers are subpar. However, he has held opponents to two or fewer runs in six of those nine starts, so he’s been a battler.

Giolito has a 3.45 ERA with a 4.18 xERA and a 4.21 FIP in his 112.1 innings of work. He’s struck out over a batter per inning and is doing well from a BB% standpoint. He’s a fly ball guy, so fit might be an issue at the Trade Deadline, but he’s done okay with minimizing the long ball. He gave up seven runs on April 7 against the Pirates and has not allowed more than four runs in any other start, which he has done four times. So that means he’s allowed three or fewer runs in 14 of his 19 starts.

I’d need a better plus-money price to take the White Sox against any team with a pulse. 

Houston Astros at Colorado Rockies

Odds are trickling in for this one, but the Rockies have not named a starter. It looks like Noah Davis will either start or bulk. The Rockies have a 10-man bullpen, so a Johnny Wholestaff Day could also happen.

Hunter Brown goes for Houston.

TL;DR Recap

SF/CIN 1st 5 Over 6 (-110)

WAS/CHC Over 9 (-120)

Twins +110

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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.