MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, July 4th

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 4, 2023 11:37 AM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

Another 5-5-5 slate comes your way on Tuesday, as the July 4 holiday means a pretty hefty dose of day games. The first game actually starts at 11:05 a.m. ET in D.C., so that’s a bright and early 8 a.m. for us out here in West Coast time. I worked ahead on the card, but certainly didn’t plan to have this out in time for that one.

But, I am committed to getting this out as early as possible so we can all enjoy Independence Day. So, let’s get to the games.

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VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.

Here are some thoughts on the July 4 card (odds from DraftKings):

Cincinnati Reds (-115, 10) at Washington Nationals

This game has already started, but a few thoughts...

How bad is Patrick Corbin? Well, he was an underdog this morning to Brett Kennedy, who was signed to pro ball in the Padres in 2015 and has 26.2 innings at the MLB level, which came back in 2018 with San Diego. He allowed 20 runs on 36 hits with an 18/12 K/BB ratio over six starts. He is a great story of perseverance making his way back to the bigs after toiling in the minors every year since, but I’m not really sure what to expect from him here.

In 43.2 innings at Triple-A, he had a 3.71 ERA with a 4.33 FIP across eight starts. He is also coming off of his worst start of the season with six runs allowed on eight hits in 5.1 innings. So, I’ll be rooting for him for the story, but have absolutely no play here.

Corbin comes in with a 4.84 ERA, 6.20 xERA, and a 4.87 FIP in his 96.2 innings this season. He was just on the bereavement list after firing seven shutout innings against the Mariners with nine strikeouts, but he didn’t miss a start while on the list. In his six starts prior to his seven shutout innings, he allowed 26 runs on 47 hits in 33.1 innings with seven homers and just a 23/19 K/BB ratio.

I’m glad this is an early game so I don’t have to think about it more than I already did.

St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins (-180, 8.5)

Another early one features the Cardinals and Marlins, as Miami looks to build off of last night’s 5-4 win. It was the 20th one-run win of the season for Miami, who is having a magical season in that regard. They may not need to win by one run here if Adam Wainwright is the same pitcher that he’s been throughout the season and if Jesus Luzardo follows suit. 

Wainwright has allowed 13 runs on 17 hits in his last 4.2 innings pitched, as he’s been battered around by the Cubs in London and the Astros in Busch Stadium. He’s got a 7.45 ERA with a 5.46 FIP on the season in 48.1 innings pitched. He’s only struck out 25 of 234 batters and has given up eight homers. There’s been a little bit of bad luck with a .375 BABIP with a 34.4% Hard Hit%, but there is no bad luck in the elevated home run rate with 21 barrels allowed and a 10.9% Barrel%. Waino has a 5.5% SwStr% on the season with one start over 10%. He’s had five starts under 5%, including his most recent outing.

This is as bad as it gets for the soon-to-be 42-year-old, as he is expected to retire after the season and may not even make it through the year in the rotation. His fastball velo never really lit up the gun as a starter, but it’s down to 86.3 mph now and he’s just out there throwing glorified batting practice.

Luzardo slayed some road demons last time out with a tremendous start in Boston. He’s got a 3.53 ERA with a 3.52 xERA and a 3.29 FIP in his 97 innings pitched with a nice 28.4% K% and a terrific 6.1% BB%. Luzardo has been decidedly better at home with a 2.65 ERA and a .259 wOBA against over 54.1 innings compared to a 4.64 ERA with a .353 wOBA against in 42.2 innings on the road. His home K% is 30.5% and his HR/FB% is just 6.8% compared to 25.9% and 16.7% on the road, respectively.

This should be a good matchup and a good spot for him against the Cardinals. With limited lead time and a pretty big favorite number, no play from me, but I’d be pretty shocked if St. Louis won.

New York Mets (-120, 9.5) at Arizona Diamondbacks


One of the weak links for the Diamondbacks is on the mound here in the person of Zach Davies. On the whole, the D-Backs could use some pitching upgrades and one of them would be to get Davies out of the rotation. Despite a good start last time out against the Rays, Davies has a 6.54 ERA with a 4.44 xERA and a 4.06 FIP. His 54% LOB% has done a number on his ERA, but there still isn’t a lot to like in the profile.

His 6.4% HR/FB% is about half of his career average in over 1,000 innings, so I’d question the sustainability of that. His 10.3% BB% is a lot to work around with a 17% K% and a .282 batting average against with a .333 BABIP. The seven shutout innings against Tampa Bay came out of nowhere, as he had allowed 21 runs over his previous 10.2 innings of work. In those three starts, he allowed 28 hard-hit balls and a Hard Hit% over 60%. In the start against the Rays, he only allowed four hard-hit balls.

Maybe pitching coach Brent Strom found a magic fix. He basically abandoned the changeup with the second-lowest usage of the season and went with more fastballs and cutters. I’m surprised he had success with that pitch mix, but maybe there was a mechanical adjustment as well. Either way, he’s the opposite of trustworthy.

At least you mostly know what you are going to get with Kodai Senga, who has a 3.53 ERA with a 3.86 xERA and a 4.01 FIP in 81.2 innings of work. Senga has struck out 28.5% of opposing batters, but also walked 13% of them. He’s only allowed a .208 batting average despite a 40.8% Hard Hit%, so I’d be worried about that going up, but he does wind up with a lot of two-strike counts where batters need to protect the zone.

Senga has allowed four or more runs six times in 15 starts, but he’s had more good outings than bad. Against a very aggressive Diamondbacks team that may not take advantage of his erratic nature, I’m curious to see how this start goes. Arizona is 19th in BB% and likes to swing early in the count.

I’m interested in the Mets, who did have an off day to travel, which was really important because David Robertson had worked three times in four days, six relievers were used on Sunday, and several guys would have been questionable for Monday. Now, at least those guys have had a bit of a breather. Arizona’s bullpen has some major question marks of its own.

Corbin Carroll will probably be back and his inclusion in the lineup would likely improve the price on the Mets, but I do think New York is a good investment today. I wanted to get the article published for those doing stuff on the holiday, but the D-Backs lineup will probably come out shortly and if Carroll is in it, the market should react accordingly and those taking the Mets will get a better line.

Shop around as it is because DK once again has the highest line in the market here. Shop around with every bet, but especially sides with their 20-cent lines.

Pick Cancelled Due to NYM Pitching Change

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers (-120, 9.5)

Crafty vets face off here in a matchup between Kyle Hendricks and Wade Miley. This will be the eighth start for Hendricks, who has not allowed more than three earned runs in any start. He has a 2.81 ERA with a 3.65 FIP in 41.2 innings of work and has only allowed two homers out of 166 batters faced. He also only has a 13.3% K%, so he hasn’t missed a lot of bats, but he has a .200 BA against and a .221 BABIP. 

He’s doing what he does best and that is limit hard contact with a 33.8% Hard Hit% against. He hasn’t had a start with an average exit velo higher than 88.8 mph. This is vintage Hendricks, where is ERA is close to a run lower than his FIP and he is outpitching his xERA. His previous xERAs were certainly better, but the really anemic K% is holding him back in that department.

Miley has a 3.02 ERA with a 4.81 xERA and a 4.54 FIP in his 56.2 innings. Like Hendricks, a low K% is holding him back, but he’s only allowed seven homers on the season and has a .231 BABIP against with a 33% Hard Hit% and a low average exit velo. Apparently there’s still a place in baseball for command artists that don’t overpower guys.

The Cubs are down to 11th in wOBA against lefties, as they’ve struggled recently. Since June 1, the Cubs are just 23rd in wOBA at .293 after being a top-10 offense in that split throughout most of April and May. My initial thought was that this line presented some value on the Cubs, but with that ghastly June performance against lefties and what happened yesterday, it’s hard to like much about this team.

It sure feels like a decision may have to be made on David Ross and that there are simply too many problem areas with this squad. Not that I’m high on Milwaukee either, but maybe this line is about right.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers (-245, 9.5)

It will be Luis Ortiz and Emmet Sheehan here as the Pirates and Dodgers continue their series. This will be the fourth start for Sheehan, who struck out 41.7% of the batters he faced in Double-A, but only has a 19% K% at the MLB level to this point. He had a 19.7% SwStr% in Double-A, but has an 8.7% SwStr% against the best of the best. He’s only allowed five runs on 10 hits in 17 innings, but I continue to have worries about his high rate of fastballs.

He’s faced the Rockies (at Coors), Astros, and Giants and had success, so he’s faced a pretty comparable slate of teams to what he’ll see with the Pirates on Tuesday night. He’s allowed a decent rate of hard contact in his last two starts and sits at 42.6% for the season with five barrels allowed. With a 65% fastball rate, I would assume hard contact keeps being part of the equation. He threw a lot of sliders at the right-handed-heavy Astros and preferred to go with a more even pitch mix against the Giants between the slider and changeup.

The Pirates recently got Bryan Reynolds back from injury, so they’ll have four or five lefties to throw at Sheehan, who has done identically well against hitters from both sides of the plate. But, that will dictate his pitch usage from start to start, especially with a fairly shallow arsenal.

While I have concerns about Sheehan, they pale in comparison to the ones I have about Ortiz in this matchup. He has a 4.11 ERA with a 6.78 xERA and a 5.67 FIP in 50.1 innings of work. He’s only struck out 13.7% of opposing batters with an 11% BB%. He’s also allowed eight homers and a ton of hard contact with a 47.1% Hard Hit% and an 11.8% Barrel%. This looks like a really, really rough matchup against the Dodgers for Ortiz.

He’s allowed a .414 wOBA against with the bases empty, a .303 with men on, and a .293 with RISP. Lefties own a .384/.481/.616 slash with a .467 wOBA in 104 plate appearances, while righties have a .273 wOBA in 32 PA. The Dodgers only have five lefties to send at Ortiz, but the righties include Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, who are both having excellent seasons.

Sheehan has actually allowed a 45.2% Hard Hit% on his fastball. It currently has a .168 wOBA, but a .300 xwOBA. The question here is whether or not the Pirates can attack it and get some positive outcomes. I'm not sure Pittsburgh contributes. I do lean Dodgers Over 5.5 Runs at -115, but I'm not sure I'll officially lock it in. It won't be an article play, but they should do well against Ortiz.

Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (-120, 9)

It has been a major struggle recently for Kyle Gibson, who comes into this start with a 4.66 ERA with a 4.88 xERA and a 3.89 FIP. Gibson has allowed 11 runs on 16 hits in his last 7.2 innings with both starts coming at home. He’s a guy that sort of lives on the edge in most of his starts since he’s a low-strikeout guy that has allowed a lot of hard contact of late. Since May 3, Gibson has allowed a 47% Hard Hit% with a .323 BABIP. In that span, he has a 5.05 ERA.

Let’s narrow it down even more. Gibson has a 55% Hard Hit% against in his last five starts with an 11.3% Barrel%. He’s allowed an average exit velo of 92.2 mph in that span over 80 batted ball events. While FIP likes him because he has only allowed two homers and has 27 K in 25 innings, he’s just not locating very well right now and his last two starts have been the culmination of his shoddy command.

Will the Yankees, who have been among the worst offenses in baseball since Aaron Judge went out last month, take advantage? That’s kind of the burning question in all of their games. 

I wrote a lot about Clarke Schmidt going into his most recent start. Schmidt has a 4.37 ERA with a 4.29 xERA and a 4.20 FIP in his 82.1 innings pitched. Schmidt has simplified his game, as he’s not racking up nearly as many strikeouts, but he’s doing a way better job of avoiding hard contact. In his last eight starts over 42.1 innings, he has a 2.55 ERA with a 3.74 FIP. He only has 31 strikeouts and hasn’t had more than four in a start since May 31, but he has only allowed three homers and seven total barrels. His Hard Hit% is up to 40% after giving up some loud contact last time out, so we’ll see if he can locate better here.

One of the starts in that span did come against Baltimore and the Orioles had the highest exit velo in the sample at 93.3 mph, but only scored one run on five hits.

Tricky handicap here and I don’t like anything with the early start, but it is a spot where I think some of Schmidt’s pitch-to-contact nature may catch up with him. Rain is also a major threat for this one, as they may not even get the game in depending on how and when the storms pop.

Texas Rangers (-120, 10.5) at Boston Red Sox

Dane Dunning takes the hill today at Fenway Park hoping to continue to keep the Regression Monster at bay. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 2.69 ERA with a 4.60 xERA and a 3.80 FIP in his 80.1 innings of work. He’s been a fixture in the rotation since May 5 and has a 3.00 ERA with a 3.99 FIP in those 60 innings pitched, as he only has 40 strikeouts, but did just rack up 10 over 8.2 magnificent innings against the Tigers.

That was Dunning’s longest start of the season by far and his second-longest start was the seven innings he threw against the Yankees in the start prior. This was the first time he had touched 100 pitches and, while he’s getting an extra day of rest relative to the traditional schedule for MLB pitchers, I do worry a bit about him here. He’s also allowed 17 barrels with a 40.8% Hard Hit% in this starting stretch, so regression is lurking for sure. He only has a .279 BABIP against and has allowed just five homers, with three of them in one start.

Boston will counter with a Johnny Wholestaff setup, as Brennan Bernardino makes his first career start. He’s got a 2.49 ERA with a 4.09 xERA and a 3.37 FIP in 23 relief appearances covering 25.1 innings. I would presume Chris Murphy is the bulk guy today, since he last threw 46 pitches on Wednesday. He has allowed two runs on six hits over 10 innings with a 12/3 K/BB ratio. Justin Garza is also on the roster and can be a long man, but he’s allowed 11 runs on 17 hits in 16 innings.

Maybe it’ll be a combo of both. I don’t know, but this is an early game with limited lead time. I’m just hoping I don’t miss out on Dunning’s regression, but a warm day game at Fenway Park could be the spot. It will be gross in Boston today with humidity approaching 100% and rain and storms in the forecast.

Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (-195, 9)

Another early start in the AL features the Royals and Twins, as Kenta Maeda looks to pitch his team to another victory and maybe another game up in the standings on the Guardians, who have to contend with the Braves once again today. It will be Zack Greinke for the visiting Royals.

Maeda has only made six starts this season after coming back from Tommy John surgery. He missed about two months due to triceps soreness and has looked better in his return from that than he looked in April. Maeda has allowed two runs on eight hits over 10 innings with 12 strikeouts and four walks in outings against the Tigers and Braves. He really threaded the needle against Atlanta with a 94.2 mph average exit velo against and a 53.3% Hard Hit%.

In two starts since coming back, Maeda has SwStr% marks of 13.3% and 17.1% while pumping in a bunch of first-pitch strikes. His velo is up a little bit as well, though not back to where it was earlier in his career or even in 2021.

You’d have had to see it to believe it with Greinke’s line last time out against Cleveland. He lowered his ERA to 5.15 with two runs allowed over six innings, but he gave up 11 hits and didn’t strike out any of the 28 batters that he faced. It marked the first time since May 30 that he didn’t allow a home run and his two walks were the most he had issued since April 27. The 11 hits were a season high, but to illustrate the importance of sequencing, he allowed nine hits and seven runs the start prior on June 23 and four runs on eight hits the start prior to that.

Greinke’s profile is not one worth betting into, as basically any good starts feel like pure luck with where his stuff is at right now. But, I don’t want to trust Maeda at all either, so this is an easy pass to me.

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers (-170, 8.5)

Today is a really big day for the Detroit Tigers. They’ll welcome left-hander Tarik Skubal back with open arms as this series against the Athletics gets underway. Oakland will counter with southpaw JP Sears in a 6:40 p.m. ET start at Comerica Park.

Skubal’s last MLB start came back on August 1, 2022 as the final salvo in a season that saw him finish with a 3.52 ERA and a 2.96 FIP in 117.2 innings of work. He had 117 strikeouts in that span and then hit the IL requiring flexor tendon surgery. In five rehab starts, Skubal went 14.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on nine hits with 20 strikeouts against three walks, so the stuff apparently seemed quite crisp.

Skubal maxed out at four innings and 68 pitches in the minors, so I wouldn’t expect miracles today. The Tigers have brought him along pretty slowly from the surgery and subsequent rehab, so they aren’t going to push him too hard now. He also went a week between starts on his fourth and fifth rehab outings and this is a little quicker of a turnaround, so I would think 75 pitches or five innings is the max.

But, it is a soft landing getting the A’s in his first start back. After being a decent offense early in the season on the road and against lefties, they have posted a .198 wOBA and a 21 wRC+ against lefties on the road since June 1, albeit in a small sample size of 99 plate appearances. On the road in general, they have a .304 wOBA and a 92 wRC+ in the sample.

As far as Sears goes, this is a road start, but Comerica Park isn’t a bad place to pitch with a spacious outfield. He has a 4.43 ERA with a 4.82 xERA and a 5.14 FIP in his 87.1 innings of work. He just got rocked by the Yankees and allowed seven runs on five hits over four innings, but he had been in a pretty nice groove prior to that with a 2.93 ERA in his previous eight starts. He still had a high 4.64 FIP because of the home runs, but that comes with the territory as a fly ball guy.

Quietly, the Tigers are ninth in wOBA at .323 against lefties since June 1. I was ready to take a chance on the A’s until I noticed that nugget. I think this price is a big ask of Skubal and the Tigers bullpen in his return, especially since that group has a 4.69 ERA in the last 14 days. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how Skubal does and adjust accordingly.

Toronto Blue Jays (-120, 8.5) at Chicago White Sox

It will be Chris Bassitt and Lucas Giolito in the latest of the AL start times at Guaranteed Rate Field. At this point, I’d be better predicting lottery numbers than figuring out what Bassitt is going to do. His game logs are insane dating back to May 5:

May 5-17: 23 IP, 0 R, 9 H, 20 K, 7 BB (3 starts)

May 22-27: 10.1 IP, 16 H 13 R (9 ER), 5 HR, 9 K, 3 BB (2 starts)

June 2-7: 15.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 13 K, 0 BB (2 starts)

June 13-23: 11.2 IP, 21 H, 17 R (15 ER), 4 HR, 11 K, 6 BB (3 starts)

June 29: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K (1 start)

So, yeah… I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that insane amount of inconsistency. For the season, it all adds up to a 4.06 ERA with a 4.84 FIP. He does draw a White Sox team that is closer to league average against righties since the start of June, but has been a well below average offense for the most part otherwise.

Giolito’s results have been a little bit steadier, as he comes in with a 3.53 ERA, 4.18 xERA, and a 4.24 FIP in 99.1 innings of work. He’s got well over a strikeout per inning and a solid walk rate, but there are some negative regression signs in the profile, namely a 79.3% LOB% that is a career-high for him.

His Hard Hit% is up to 41.5% and he’s been above that mark in each of his last three starts. He’s allowed a 10.3% Barrel% on the season with 28 total and he’s allowed eight of those in his last four starts. I’m not sure either pitcher is very trustworthy here and I especially don’t find Bassitt to be the least bit reliable, so this is a game with a wide range of outcomes that I can’t put my finger on.

Seattle Mariners at San Francisco Giants (-115, 8)

The Giants came up short in a wild ninth inning yesterday, as a 2-2 game ended 6-5 when Camilo Doval gave up four runs and Paul Sewald gave up three, but the Mariners prevailed as an underdog. The handicap was definitely right on Logan Webb, who had 11 strikeouts, but wrong on Bryan Woo, who navigated a lefty-heavy lineup well. The Giants even got Mike Yastrzemski back and couldn’t get much done offensively. Of course I happened to pick a day in which they gave Patrick Bailey a blow. That seems to happen a lot this season as well.

Today’s game features Logan Gilbert and Keaton Winn, as Winn starts a game that could feature Jakob Junis prominently as well, as he threw 17 pitches on Saturday and hasn’t been used otherwise in the last week. Sean Manaea threw 57 pitches on Saturday, so I don’t think he’s an option. It’s possible that Winn won’t need any help. He went six innings last time out against Toronto and allowed two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

A big component of my handicap yesterday was to look at Webb in the matchup against Seattle because the Mariners strike out a lot. Winn only has 12 strikeouts in 71 batters faced and the other concern is that he has allowed a 50% Hard Hit%. He does have a 56% GB%, but his last two appearances have featured fewer grounders and more hard-hit balls, so we’ll see how he gets through this one.

Gilbert has a 4.19 ERA with a 3.55 xERA and a 3.62 FIP in 92.1 innings of work. He is a positive regression candidate due to a 64.5% LOB%. A huge drop in K% with men on base is to blame for the low LOB%. He’s got a 28.9% K% with the bases empty, but a 17.7% mark with men on base and a 16.5% K% with RISP. By BABIP, that split also goes .242, .322, .321, so he’s got some sort of hitch in his proverbial giddy-up when pitching from the stretch. That’ll be something that the Mariners need to fix and figure out.

The fortunate thing is that Gilbert has only allowed 79 hits in 92.1 innings and only issued 19 walks, so he doesn’t pitch with men on base a ton. Lefties have done slightly better than righties against him, so I’m not too concerned about that, but he has allowed 12 homers and the Giants are quite adept at hitting the long ball. 

All in all, while I think this game has some good handicapping elements, I don’t see a huge edge to be had.

Colorado Rockies at Houston Astros (-190, 9.5)

Kyle Freeland and Brandon Bielak are the listed starters at Minute Maid Park for this one. Freeland has a 4.88 ERA with a 5.15 xERA and a 5.09 FIP in his 90.1 innings of work. He’s a pitch-to-contact southpaw with a low 15.5% K% and a 40.7% Hard Hit%. He’s run into some tough matchups recently and struggled, as he’s allowed 17 runs over his last 14.1 innings against the Braves, Angels, and Dodgers. He walked five in five innings against the Dodgers and gave up six runs on four hits.

Freeland has allowed seven home runs in his last six starts. What’s crazy to me is that his numbers are decidedly better at home this season, as he has a 4.13 ERA and a .331 wOBA against in 52.1 innings at Coors Field, but a 5.92 ERA with a .363 wOBA against on the road in 38 innings. He only has 14 strikeouts in 160 batters faced on the road compared to 46 in 226 PA at home. That’s an 8.8% K% in road starts.

Bielak’s numbers aren’t impressive either, as he has a 4.37 ERA with a 6.29 xERA and a 5.68 FIP in 47.1 innings pitched. This will be his first MLB start since June 17, as he got sent down for one minor league start and is now back. That start was June 24, so I’m not sure how sharp he’ll actually be in this one. 

Bielak has allowed a 50.6% Hard Hit% with a 14.3% Barrel% on the season. He’s allowed a barrel in seven of his eight starts and allowed two in his lone relief appearance. I’m not sure how, but he has an 82.5% LOB% for the season, despite all of that hard contact and a low 17.6% K%. 

For all of the offensive issues that Houston has had, the Astros are fifth in wOBA against lefties since the start of June. Righties own a .285/.337/.493 slash with a .354 wOBA against Freeland overall and a .287/.322/.546 slash with a .363 wOBA on the road. That should definitely boost the Houston offense here today.

The Rockies offense is what it is and the opposite of the Coors Field Effect definitely has an impact on their road numbers. However, Bielak’s command profile is very suspect and he’s also pitching on an extended layoff, which makes it hard to stay sharp. 

Furthermore, the Astros bullpen got used a ton over the weekend. Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu, and Phil Maton have all worked three of the last four days and worked back-to-back on Sunday/Monday. Ryne Stanek has been used two of the last three for 42 pitches. Pressly and Abreu have actually been used four of the last six days. Bielak will be expected to provide some length here, even if he hits the skids.

It’s a lofty total at Minute Maid Park, but I think we can get to double digits here.

Pick: Over 9.5 (+100)

Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays (-145, 8)

Former teammates square off here, as Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin meet down at the Trop. Eflin was a Phillie from 2016-22, while Nola has been one since he made his MLB debut in 2015. Unfortunately for Nola as he faces his old friend, Eflin is on pace for a career year and a good start here may actually tie his previous career high in fWAR at 2.3, which he set back in 2018.

Eflin has a 3.29 ERA with a 3.09 xERA and a 3.25 FIP over 90.1 innings pitched. He has 2.2 fWAR over his 15 starts with his highest K% in a non-COVID year at 25.6% and a stellar BB% at 4.2%. All of his peripherals are excellent, along with a career-high 52.7% GB%. He has allowed four runs three times in his 15 starts, but has held the opposition to three or fewer runs in every start otherwise. 

All three of his starts with four runs allowed have come on the road. At the pitcher-friendly Trop, Eflin has allowed just a .245 wOBA with a 2.17 ERA and a 2.95 FIP over 49.2 innings of work.

Nola has a 4.51 ERA with a 3.63 xERA and a 4.31 FIP over his 105.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 14 runs over his last four starts and that includes an outing with six shutout innings against the Braves. Dating back to April 21, Nola has allowed at least one home run in all but one of his starts and has given up 17 on the year. He throws a lot of strikes and it comes with the territory, but it is a little surprising to see a 14.2% HR/FB% with an 8.1% Barrel% and a 35.9% Hard Hit%. It does feel like he could have some more luck on that front.

Where Nola’s issues have really become a factor is with men on base. He’s allowed a .198 BA and a .264 wOBA with the bases empty, but a .282 BA and a .359 wOBA with men on base and a .299 BA and a .385 wOBA with RISP. Much like what we see with Gilbert, Nola has a 27.3% K% that drops to 17.4% with men on base.

I really like Eflin here at home and Nola has enough command hiccups for me to feel like the Rays can scratch out some runs and get a lead against him. Eflin has only allowed two homers in his last six starts and both came in the same game. He’s held lefties to a .188 BA and a .232 wOBA on the season, so that should neutralize some of the Phillies hitters, along with the guys at the bottom of the order, which should make facing the top a little bit better.

The Rays continue to be one of the league’s best offenses against righties and I like them to get the victory here. Shop around, as the DraftKings line on this game is the highest in the market. You can find 5-10 cents better at other books.

Pick: Rays -145

Los Angeles Angels at San Diego Padres (-135, 7.5)

The Angels and Padres have the best pitching matchup of the evening, as we’ll see Shohei Ohtani go up against Joe Musgrove. Musgrove is locked into a nice groove right now. It’s not on the level of rotation mate Blake Snell, but it’s still solid, especially for a guy who missed all of Spring Training and took some time settling in.

As if Ohtani didn’t have enough on his shoulders, now the likely absence of Mike Trout puts even more pressure on the galaxy’s best baseball player. Ohtani has a 3.02 ERA with a 3.78 FIP and is basically on pace to chase Aaron Judge’s AL HR record this season. He’s allowed one run in each of his last two starts with 22 strikeouts over 13.1 innings pitched. There was a minor velo dip a few starts ago, but that led to nothing and he’s back to being pretty dominant.

The Padres offense has shown signs of life recently, so maybe we’ll see them continue to do that here, but Ohtani is certainly a quality starting pitcher and a guy who has a really high ceiling with a high floor.

Musgrove has a 3.80 ERA with a 3.16 xERA and a 3.73 FIP for the season, but that includes a start in Mexico City with no bearing on any of his other starts and a weird beginning to the season without a real Spring Training. In his last seven starts across 42.1 innings, Musgrove has a 2.13 ERA with a 2.54 FIP and a 36/7 K/BB ratio. He had one start with one strikeout over six innings against the Rays, but has basically been a K per inning guy otherwise. Most notably during this run, Musgrove’s Hard Hit% is just 23.4%. He has only allowed two barrels in that span.

It looks as though he’ll face a lineup without Trout, who hurt his wrist on a swing late in last night’s game. We’ll see what gets said today and what the test results come back with, but this could dramatically alter what the Angels do moving forward, especially in regards to Ohtani’s trade status. I couldn’t touch this game not knowing when or if an update will come out today. A bad update could absolutely put the Angels (and even Ohtani) into a tailspin.

Atlanta Braves (-135, 9) at Cleveland Guardians

I guess this will be the ultimate test of Shane Bieber’s ability to stave off regression. The former Cy Young Award winner has shown flashes in his last two starts, racking up 16 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched. He was outstanding for five innings against the Brewers before going single, double, three-run HR in the sixth. He went six shutout innings against the Royals in his last start with eight punchies and, more importantly, just a 27.3% Hard Hit%.

But, Bieber faces the team with the best contact authority in the Major Leagues here. He’s allowed a 46.6% Hard Hit% with an 8.4% Barrel%, which has been growing with eight barrels allowed in his last three starts. Three of his last four starts have featured a double-digit SwStr%, so maybe he’s found something that works, but I remain skeptical. His K% is at 19.5%, which is 8.5% below his career average and 5.5% below where it was last season. 

He’s never been a guy to do a good job of limiting hard contact, but he’s allowed a lot more of it this season, so he has a 3.48 ERA with a 4.69 xERA and a 3.98 FIP over his 17 starts and 106 innings.

I guess the bigger question here is whether or not the Guardians can hit Kolby Allard if they need to. The left-hander returned to the Majors and allowed three hits and a walk over 4.2 scoreless innings. He struck out eight, but fell short of qualifying for the win, which would’ve been just his 10th in 66 career games. Allard, who made his MLB debut with the Braves in 2018, had a 7.29 ERA with a 5.67 xERA and a 7.87 FIP in 21 relief innings last season. He has a 5.95 ERA with a 5.27 FIP in 237.1 career innings.

Cleveland cannot hit lefties, but this is a bad one, so maybe it gives them some measure of hope on a warm and humid night in The Land. I can see how this game plays out. If I put my tail between my legs, Bieber will get rocked and give up like six runs over three innings. If I fade Bieber, as I’ve done a few times this season, he’ll turn back the clock against a lineup that will swing and miss and throw like seven innings of one-run ball and pitch around some hard contact with eight or nine strikeouts.

I guess Allard is the wild card to me. I have some conviction that the Braves get to Bieber, but I don’t know if the Guardians maybe do their part as well. Ultimately, I’m at peace with staying away, so make of that what you will.

TL;DR Recap

Mets CANCELLED due to pitching change

COL/HOU Over 9 (+100)

Rays -145

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