MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, May 23rd

By Adam Burke  ( 

May 23, 2023 12:58 PM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

Everybody is invited to the baseball block party on Tuesday, as all 30 teams will be in action with 15 night games spread across the betting board. Series that started yesterday continue over and we’ve got a few new series to examine.

With a lot of action to get to, I’ll spare you the long intro and just get right into today’s games.

Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live. (Tracking sheet)

Also, tune in for another edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets this afternoon.

Here are some thoughts on the May 23 card (odds from DraftKings): 

Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies (-150, 9.5)

The Diamondbacks had yesterday’s biggest upset as they knocked Zack Wheeler and the Phillies. They’ll look to run it back at a plus-money price again here with a matchup against Matt Strahm and a bulk reliever. Strahm will serve as the opener, even though I’d personally let him go ahead and continue to start. He has a 2.73 ERA with a 2.22 FIP in 33 innings of work and has 47 strikeouts against 10 walks.

I’d have never taken Strahm out of the rotation, but nobody will let me run an MLB team. Since leaving the rotation, Strahm has had four straight scoreless outings over 6.1 innings. All of his peripherals look quite strong and I have genuinely no idea why the Phillies went this route, unless it had something to do with innings restrictions for a guy that hadn’t started since 2019.

Remember Dylan Covey? He has a 6.54 ERA with a 5.53 FIP in 268.1 innings at the MLB level over 45 starts and 27 relief appearances. Well, he only pitched 14 innings in 2020 and missed all of the 2021 and 2022 seasons before resurfacing with the Dodgers in 2023. He worked 32 minor league innings and four MLB innings before getting sent to the Phillies. His Philadelphia debut will be to serve as the bulk reliever here.

Covey’s four-inning appearance for the Dodgers came on May 17 and he allowed two runs on five hits with a couple homers and three strikeouts against one walk. He pitched in China in 2021-22 and had a 3.63 ERA in 198.1 innings of work. I honestly never thought I’d see him in the bigs again after he had a 7.98 ERA and a 6.06 FIP in 58.2 innings in 2019 for the White Sox.

The Diamondbacks will send out Ryne Nelson, who has a 5.48 ERA and a 4.85 FIP in his 46 innings of work. A 67% LOB% is one of the main causes for his high ERA, but that’ll happen when you have a 16.1% K%. Nelson struck out a lot of batters in the minors and had 16 K in 18.1 IP last season, but he hasn’t found the strikeout prowess this season. Opposing batters own a .288 BA against him with a 40.8% Hard Hit%. 

Nelson bounced back to a degree last time out with 5.1 one-hit innings against the A’s, but he did walk four guys. In five starts prior to that, Nelson gave up 22 runs in 23.2 innings of work. The Phillies didn’t do much against lefty Tommy Henry yesterday, but they are a top-five offense by wOBA against righties and actually lead the league in batting average.

Arizona is actually third in wOBA against righties and Covey is not really a Major League pitcher. This is a big total at 9.5 without any significant weather conditions, but there are going to be tons of balls in play once Strahm leaves because neither Covey nor Nelson are strikeout guys. I like this one over the total.

Pick: Over 9.5 (-105)

St. Louis Cardinals (-135, 10.5) at Cincinnati Reds

Adam Wainwright is a hefty road favorite over Graham Ashcraft as these two teams play the second of four games in this weekday set at Great American Ball Park. The 41-year-old Wainwright is making his fourth MLB start of the season after getting hurt in the WBC. He’s allowed 13 runs on 20 hits in 15.2 innings of work in starts against the Tigers, Red Sox, and Dodgers. He’s given up at least four runs in each start, with only two of the five runs against the Dodgers chalked up as earned runs.

However, Wainwright was far from sharp in that start. He allowed 13 hard-hit balls, more than he had allowed in the first two starts combined, and SIX barrels. He’s honestly lucky that the Dodgers didn’t beat him up worse than they did. He only struck out one of the 27 batters he faced and only has eight strikeouts out of 72 batters to this point. This is not a profile I’m looking to buy right now.

Unfortunately, betting on Ashcraft isn’t an option at present either. He’s allowed 19 runs in his last 12.1 innings of work and just got gashed by the Rockies with seven runs on 10 hits at Coors Field. Ashcraft now has a 4.84 ERA with a 4.24 FIP, so that gives you an idea of how good he was prior to this stretch. He did not allow more than two runs in any of his first six starts, but he seems to have lost it at this point.

Ashcraft only has three strikeouts in each of his last five starts and the lost margin for error is really hurting him because balls in play have not been kind. He only has a 35.1% Hard Hit%, so he’s still mostly stayed off the barrel and away from hard contact, but his BABIP has taken a big jump recently.

I may try to find a buy point on him soon, but I don’t know that today is that day.

San Diego Padres (-150, 8) at Washington Nationals

Yu Darvish and former Padre MacKenzie Gore are the listed starters for the first of three in D.C. between these two teams. Raise your hand if you expected the Padres to be just one game better in the standings than the Nationals on May 23. It is simply crazy to think about, but San Diego is 21-26 and Washington is 20-27 as action begins today.

The Friars have a bevy of problems, but Darvish isn’t one of them. He has a 3.56 ERA with a 3.68 FIP in his 49 innings of work and that even includes his rocky start in Mexico City with three of his five homers allowed this season. He wasn’t terribly sharp last time out against the Royals, however, and will be looking to bounce back here. The Nationals have been a really good offense against lefties, but are a bottom-five group against righties, so I have to think Darvish does see better returns here. Washington actually comes in ranked 25th in wOBA, but 28th in wRC+ against righties. 

The Padres have been better offensively against lefties, but Manny Machado is a big piece of that puzzle and he remains out with a fractured hand. They are 17th in wOBA at .322 with a 105 wRC+ against southpaws, but Machado had a .413 wOBA and a 166 wRC+ in 49 PA before hitting the IL. Gore is having a fine season with a 3.69 ERA and a 3.67 FIP over 46.1 innings of work.

He’s even cut down significantly on his walk rate, as he walked 14 batters in his first four starts and has only walked nine in five starts since. His Hard Hit% is slightly above league average at 40.3%, but he’s paid for that with a .342 BABIP. He’s just been able to get out of jams with an 80% LOB% and the increased margin for error in the form of a 29% K%. His BB% is high for the season, but 7.9% in his last five starts.

I don’t have a play here, as the Nationals have a low projection against Darvish and that leaves Gore in a tight spot. The under may be of some interest, but Darvish and Gore can sometimes lose their control and that could mean extra baserunners.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (-200, 8.5)

Another day, another debut. Bobby Miller gets the call for the Dodgers as the 24-year-old right-hander draws a very difficult assignment to go up against Spencer Strider. Miller is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound first-round pick out of the shortened 2020 COVID draft. He’s only worked 14.1 innings at the Triple-A level this season with 13 runs allowed on 11 hits, with nine of the runs earned. He’s given up a couple homers with a 12/6 K/BB ratio.

Prior to the season, Miller was named the second-best prospect in the Dodgers org and the 33rd in baseball, one spot ahead of Houston’s Hunter Brown and four spots ahead of Tampa Bay’s Taj Bradley, who have both made substantial MLB impacts this season. Miller is the type of guy that baseball nerds would have a poster of on the bedroom wall based on the scouting reports. He touches triple digits with a heavy fastball and his slider and curveball really jump out with the raw data from a spin rate standpoint.

He has a deep arsenal with four MLB-caliber pitches. The question seems to be whether or not he can consistently locate the breaking stuff because he has excellent fastball command. As I mentioned yesterday in backing the Dodgers behind Gavin Stone (who wasn’t great), Atlanta is  effectively a league average offense against righties, so let’s see how Miller’s debut goes.

I will not be betting against Strider today, so I won’t have financial interest, but definitely some interest in seeing how this game goes for both pitchers. Strider has actually looked human a couple times recently and he’s allowed an average exit velocity of 90.3 mph or higher in each of his last five starts. He still has 86 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work against just 18 walks and has a 2.96 ERA with a 2.18 FIP, so I don’t have any compelling reasons to go against him.

New York Mets at Chicago Cubs (-110, 8)

I still can’t get over the season that Drew Smyly is having. He comes into today’s start against the Mets with a 2.86 ERA and a 3.46 FIP over 50.1 innings of work. Since his blow-up against the Reds on April 3, Smyly has not allowed more than two runs in a start, which covers eight starts and 45.2 innings of work. In that span, he has a 43/8 K/BB ratio with a 1.97 ERA and a 3.07 FIP. He’s only allowed four home runs and has a 33.1% Hard Hit% against with a 5.8% Barrel%.

This is probably the best stretch we’ve ever seen from Smyly in his career and he’s been doing everything right - first-pitch strikes, swings and misses, limited hard contact, virtually no walks. It’s one of those things where you wonder when the other shoe is going to drop, but there aren’t any indicators other than the fact that he’s having a career year at 33 with historical numbers that don’t mesh with what we’re seeing.

The Mets are 22nd in wOBA at .309 and have a 99 wRC+ against lefties, so I wouldn’t necessarily look at them as the team to deal some regression, but you never know. You also never really know what you’re going to get from Kodai Senga, who has a 3.77 ERA with a 3.98 xERA and a 4.35 FIP. Senga has a 29.4% K%, but also a 13.9% BB%. He’s got an 82.1% LOB%, hence the difference between his ERA and FIP. In eight starts, he’s allowed two runs once, one run three times, zero runs once, four runs twice, and five runs once. He’s only allowed 36 hits in his 43 innings because his raw stuff is so good that he’s hard to square up with a 39.6% Hard Hit% and only eight barrels.

Senga had his best start of the season last time out with 12 strikeouts over six one-run innings against the Rays. That was after he gave up five runs on eight hits to the Reds. I will say that Senga has allowed 14 runs in 20 innings on the road, while allowing just four runs in 23 innings at home. Maybe he just feels more comfortable at Citi Field, which has tilted more towards being a pitcher’s park historically.

I don’t see a great edge in this game. The Cubs are one of the league’s biggest underachievers by Pythagorean Win-Loss and BaseRuns and that should level off at some point. But, the Mets are also way too talented to be where they’re at and might be showing signs of life with a five-game winning streak.

Miami Marlins (-120, 11.5) at Colorado Rockies

Eury Perez and Austin Gomber are the listed hurlers for Game 2 in Denver between the Marlins and Rockies. I’m honestly shocked that Miami is 24-24 with an offense scoring fewer than 3.5 runs per game. Unlike the aforementioned Cubs, the Marlins are one of the biggest overachievers, as Pythagorean Win-Loss has them more like an 18-30 team and BaseRuns is similar. Being 15-2 in one-run games will do that for you, though.

Miami scored three runs yesterday and went 2-for-11 with RISP in the 5-3 loss last night. If that’s all they muster against Gomber, that would be a really disappointing night. Gomber comes into this start with a 6.70 ERA, a 6.97 xERA, and a 5.83 FIP over 44.1 innings of work. He has a 14.9% K%, which will never play at Coors Field, especially when paired with a 9.2% BB%. He had been pitching better, but just gave up five runs on eight hits to the Reds six days ago.

Gomber allowed 22 runs in his first four starts and then had a nice run with just six earned runs allowed over four starts, but the clock struck midnight in his start against the Reds. He was still allowing a lot of hard contact in that four-start stretch and it all bubbled up in the start against the Reds, where he allowed a 96.4 mph average exit velo and a season-high 12 hard-hit balls.

The Marlins are a top-10 offense against lefties, which is interesting because Jazz Chisholm Jr. only had a .136 wOBA in that split before hitting the IL. The remaining crew for the Marlins aside from Chisholm, Jesus Sanchez, and Avisail Garcia has done the damage against southpaws, so Miami’s injuries may not be as big of a deal here.

The question may be how Perez fares in his third big league outing. He’s allowed three runs (all solo HR) in 9.2 innings of work with 13 strikeouts against three walks. I’m trying to figure out what the Marlins are doing with Perez. He has 85th percentile Extension at 6-foot-8 with 92nd percentile fastball velocity and 99th percentile fastball spin. Yet, his fastball location has been down in the zone to this point at the MLB level, leading to five extra-base hits and a low 13.2% Whiff%.

Throw it at the top of the zone and gas dudes at the letters. Perez can throw the fastball on more of a normal plane conducive to his height and generate a lot more swing and miss up there. Instead, they’re wasting some of the spin and additional perceived velocity. I still feel like Perez and the Marlins are the side here, but I won’t lie that this put some serious doubt in my mind, along with this being his first career road start.

The Rockies are also the best offense in baseball against 97+ mph fastballs. I won’t call it a large sample size by any means, but they have a .357 BA, a .586 SLG, and a .420 wOBA. Given that I would have concerns about Perez’s fastball location with Miami’s pitching plan and the environmental conditions at Coors Field, I’m going to pass.

Marlins Team Total Over might not be a bad bet, but those are always so inflated with the Coors Field factor that it’s a steep price to pay.

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians (-130, 8.5)

Dylan Cease and Logan Allen get us going in the American League with the earliest first pitch of the day at 6:10 p.m. ET. This is a rematch of last week’s game, as Cease allowed three runs on five hits over 6.1 innings and Allen allowed one run on seven hits in 5.2 innings of work. 

I like Allen’s pitchability and he carved up the minor leagues with his ability to throw a lot of strikes and limit walks, but I have some concerns. His Hard Hit% is 45.1%, which happens as a strike-thrower sometimes, but he has a lot less margin for error sitting 90-92 than other guys. It means his command has to be well above average and I’m not sure it’s at that point for the big leagues yet. He had 16 strikeouts in his first two starts, but as teams have gotten more data and advanced scouting reports, it seems like opponents have had better plans at the plate. He only has 13 strikeouts in his last three starts and has given up 22 hits, but only six runs. He’s danced out of danger a lot with some early Cluster Luck splits showing up.

Cease clearly isn’t the same guy this season that he was last season when he had a 2.20 ERA with a 2.70 xERA and a 3.10 FIP. His K% is down 6.3% and his velocity is down 1.3 mph. His Hard Hit% has skyrocketed from 31.2% to 48.7% and he even gave up 10 hard-hit balls to the Guardians last time out. Of his 10 starts, only one has featured a HH% under 45%. It’s a tough way to make a living and his 64.7% LOB% is a good indicator of the quality of contact he has allowed.

Ultimately, while I think I will fade Allen soon, something stood out about Cease in my handicap that I can’t ignore. He’s lost almost a full mph of fastball velocity in each of his last two starts and we can no longer blame the cold. Maybe it was a hot gun in Kansas City, but he averaged 96.4 mph with the heat, which was more in line with last season. He was down to 95.5 against Houston and then 94.6 mph against Cleveland. His slider velocity has dropped as well. Statcast, Pitch Info Solutions, and FanGraphs all corroborate the velo decrease, so I don’t think it’s just a source error.

Cease may very well be pitching hurt or pitching through something. Shutting down the Guardians isn’t all that difficult, but if you’re out there trying to figure out how to pitch pain-free instead of letting it rip, you’re not operating optimally. I may regret leaving the White Sox off the card if my concerns wind up unfounded, but there are enough red flags to keep me from fading Cleveland.

Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays (-125, 9)

Jose Berrios gets the call for the Blue Jays as he looks to help his team even up the series against the Rays. Berrios has a 4.61 ERA with a 3.59 FIP on the season, as his 52/12 K/BB ratio and low home run rate stand out in the FIP department. However, Berrios has allowed five of his six homers in his last four starts and 10 of his 16 barrels. The command profile is starting to wane and regress back towards what we saw out of him last season.

Berrios still only has a 34.4% Hard Hit%, so I do have to give him a lot of credit for that. He’s been really good since allowing 14 runs on 15 hits in his first 9.2 innings of the season with only one really big hiccup against the Red Sox on May 1. Berrios has a 65.4% LOB%, so that’s why his ERA is so much higher than all of his other run estimators.

Taj Bradley is said to be back in the Rays rotation to stay. The youngster has allowed eight runs on 15 hits in 20.1 innings of work with a 27/4 K/BB ratio. He worked five solid innings against the Mets last time out with two runs allowed on three hits with four strikeouts and a couple of walks. Given that Bradley had allowed 17 runs over nine innings in three Triple-A starts, it was nice to see him come back to the bigs and turn in a quality effort.

This is a pretty easy pass, though. The Rays pen is a mess and so is Toronto’s, so there will be a lot of variance at the end of this game. Bradley probably won’t work all that deep into the game and Berrios has some red flags leaking into his command profile. This game could go a lot of different ways.

Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (-170, 7.5)

AL East rivals square off here as well, as the Orioles visit the Bronx to take on the Yankees. It will be Kyle Bradish and Gerrit Cole, as the Yankees look for Cole to continue what has been a stellar season to this point. He’s got a 2.01 ERA with a 3.00 FIP in his 62.2 innings of work with 68 strikeouts against 20 walks. Cole is averaging well over six innings per start and has only allowed four home runs.

He’s only allowed more than two runs in a start once and that came against the Rays back on May 7. In fact, the Rays are the only team to homer off of him this season and he’s allowed just a 38.4% Hard Hit% on the season. There aren’t many compelling reasons to go against Cole at this point. He looks to be the ace that we know him to be, especially when you look at the low number of homers allowed. He gave up 33 homers last season, much to the chagrin of Yankee fans, but his command appears to be back.

Kyle Bradish hits the road for this start and that typically enhances the degree of difficulty for Orioles pitchers. Bradish has a 3.90 ERA with a 4.21 FIP over 32.1 innings. He missed 16 days after getting hit by a comebacker and had to get built back up again upon his return. After throwing six shutout against Washington, he allowed 13 runs in his next 12 innings before getting back on track in his last two starts at home.

Bradish has an 11/1 K/BB ratio in those two starts against the Pirates and Angels with one earned run allowed on seven hits in 12.2 innings. A visit to Yankee Stadium is a different beast than pitching at home, but he is getting some respect here with the total at 7.5. I don’t have a play here, but I’ll be curious to see how Bradish does.

Detroit Tigers (-145, 9) at Kansas City Royals

Another opportunity to fade Brady Singer worked out, though the over would have been much less of a sweat. Today, the Royals have the infamous TBD as the starter. Some thought it would be Daniel Lynch, but he’s making a fifth (and presumably final) rehab start in Omaha. Austin Cox would be on regular rest at Triple-A and Jonathan Bowlan at Double-A is another option on the 40-man.

I can’t imagine a Johnny Wholestaff day for the Royals because they needed to use seven relief pitchers in yesterday’s extra-inning game when Singer was pulled after just 3.2 innings of work. I guess it could simply be Mike Mayers, who is already on the roster and made eight starts at Triple-A with a 6.88 ERA. He worked 2.2 innings on May 17 with one run allowed on two hits.

This is a pretty dire situation for the Royals today. Mayers is not really MLB-caliber and they used a bunch of arms yesterday, along with a Carlos Hernandez opener role the other day where Max Castillo threw 76 pitches. Their pitching staff is a mess right now.

The Tigers should feel pretty good about their situation today. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the bump and he has a 2.06 ERA with a 3.23 FIP in 56.2 innings of work. E-Rod has 52 strikeouts against 12 walks with a tremendous 28.2% Hard Hit% against. He’s only allowed seven barrels on the season and has allowed one or zero runs in six of his nine starts. He did allow four runs on six hits last time out against the Pirates, which was more runs than he had allowed in his six previous starts.

I couldn’t wait any longer to post the article. I wanted to see if Mayers would officially be announced or somebody else. I’ll be on Sharp Money at 2 p.m. PT and I’ll make sure we talk about this game if it’s a bet, so tune in for that.

Boston Red Sox (-115, 9.5) at Los Angeles Angels

Late-night baseball on the west coast features Brayan Bello and Griffin Canning as the Red Sox and Angels meet in Game 2 of their weekday set. Bello heads into his seventh start of the season with a 4.45 ERA, a 5.36 xERA, and a 4.87 FIP. Canning heads into his seventh start with a 6.14 ERA, a 5.05 xERA, and a 5.13 FIP. Neither one of these guys has put up the numbers that their respective teams would have hoped.

Canning’s high ERA is a byproduct of subpar command and some bad luck, as he has a 66.7% LOB%. Bello has a 77.5% LOB%, so he’s had more success working around his own shoddy command. He also has a 61.9% GB%, so teams have to string hits together to score runs, although, he also has a 23.8% HR/FB%, so he’s had some problems there as well. His 3.76 xFIP is an indicator of how much the home runs have actually hurt him.

Canning was a guy that I had more hope for coming into the season because the Angels looked to make some positive changes with his pitch usage, but the changes haven’t exactly helped, nor have they stuck around as much as I had hoped. His fastball usage is back into the mid-40s, he’s abandoned the curveball, and his slider usage has dropped off in the last two starts.

This is basically a broken record handicap for me. Boston has incredible offensive numbers at home. While having a top-10 offense on the road, their numbers are quite a bit lower. Given their pitching staff, they need all the offense that they can get. The Angels are in a similar boat with a top-10-ish offense and a bad pitching staff. It just doesn’t really make for a lot of good betting opportunities when teams like that get together, especially with a total where you need double digits in a park that isn’t all that great for offense.

Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (-210, 9)

Luis Medina and Marco Gonzales are the listed starters here, as the Mariners are a big favorite, but this line has gone down since it opened. It is really hard to trust Gonzales and the A’s have been a good offense against lefties and also on the road. However, T-Mobile Park is such a great pitcher’s park that it feels a lot more like the Coliseum than it does other venues from a hitting standpoint.

I think this is a really interesting matchup for the Mariners offense because they do strike out a lot. Throughout the minors, Medina has racked up the strikeouts. In 17 MLB innings, he has 15 punchies against just five walks, but he walked a ton of dudes in the minor leagues. His stats from the minors are nearly impossible to decipher and he’s only 24 years. He’s bounced around at a bunch of levels and the story has been the same at all of them. Well over a strikeout per inning and way too many walks.

He allowed eight runs in his MLB debut against the Angels, but has allowed three runs over six innings in each of his last two starts. Somehow, he even went six innings without a walk against the Rangers in his middle outing. So, this will be an interesting matchup against a Mariners team that will walk, will also strike out, and has been a really disappointing offense this year.

Gonzales is back in the friendly confines of home and that should be very exciting given that he allowed eight runs on eight hits in 1.2 innings last time out at Fenway Park. Stark home/road splits are nothing new for dudes in pitcher’s parks, but Gonzales has a 4.76 ERA over 17 innings at home with a .314 wOBA and a 7.17 ERA over 21.1 road innings with a .401 wOBA. 

I don’t love the idea of laying the big Seattle number with Gonzales and an A’s offense that has a 110 wRC+ against lefties. However, there is no way I could trust a dude with the walk issues that Medina has shown.

Texas Rangers (-165, 8) at Pittsburgh Pirates

There are three interleague games on the card tonight, beginning with the Rangers and Pirates. Nate Eovaldi gets the call for Texas and Rich Hill gets the ball for the Buccos, who have stabilized a little bit after a horrendous start to May. Eovaldi has been spectacular this season with a 2.83 ERA, 2.89 xERA, and 2.46 FIP in his 60.1 innings of work. He has 61 strikeouts against just 10 walks and has only allowed three home runs, two of which came last time out against the Braves.

He’s allowed a 41% Hard Hit%, but over 51% of his balls in play have been on the ground, so he’s been able to work around that mark. In 34.1 road innings this season, Eovaldi has allowed a .243 wOBA and only given up seven earned runs. The Rangers have certainly hit the cover off the ball at home and opposing teams have done fairly well there also. Eovaldi has actually gotten even better in May with a .214 wOBA against in 23.2 innings of work. I can’t see any reason to go against him here.

After allowing 10 earned runs in his first two starts, Rich Hill has allowed 10 earned runs total in his last seven starts. He’s really gotten his season on track after a bit of a rocky start, as the Pirates have made some good adjustments with him. They started with mechanical adjustments, but now we’re really seeing Hill mix his pitches well based on the opponent. He allowed nine of his 18 barrels in his first two starts and has just a 37.5% Hard Hit% for the season.

This will be a good test for ol’ Dick Mountain because the Rangers are third in wOBA against lefties at .365. Their home/road splits against righties are rather stark in comparison, but they have a .366 wOBA against lefties on the road, so they’ve been consistent in that split. I also neglected to mention that they got Corey Seager back six days ago, so he was another big bat to add to the lineup.

The only course of action that would seem to make sense here is the Rangers run line. Eovaldi has been dominant and has gone at least seven innings in each of his last four starts and at least six innings in each of the last six, so that shields the bullpen from too much exposure because the best arms can come into the game if needed.

I like Hill, but he’s faced the Reds x2, White Sox, Astros, Rockies x2, Nationals, Blue Jays, and Tigers. Those teams rank 21st, 14th, 15th, 26th, 5th, 18th, and 28th in wOBA against lefties as of right now. The White Sox and Astros have been climbing that ladder a bit lately, as they ranked lower previously.

I see no reason to believe Eovaldi struggles against the Pirates, who have scored 2.9 runs per game this month and 13 of the 58 in one game.

Pick: Rangers Run Line (-1.5) (+100)

Houston Astros (-130, 9.5) at Milwaukee Brewers

J.P. France and Colin Rea start us off in Milwaukee for this interleague matchup. Houston rolled to a 12-2 dub yesterday and I’m upset with myself for not trusting my initial handicap and taking the Astros behind Cristian Javier. Corbin Burnes had good results up until that start, but he’s definitely not the same guy this season and it showed up in a big way yesterday.

France got rocked last time out by the Cubs to the tune of six runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings of work. He gave up three homers in that outing and only had two strikeouts out of 22 batters faced. France is a smaller righty, so it’s largely about deception because he sits 93-94 and needs to really hide the ball well to have success. In the minor leagues, he racked up strikeouts, but also issued a lot of walks. At the MLB level, neither thing has been the case. He only has 10 strikeouts out of 66 batters, but has also only issued four walks.

He had allowed one run on six hits to the Mariners and White Sox over 11.2 innings to start his career, but his Minute Maid Park debut was an ugly one. We’ll see if he can bounce back here against a Brewers lineup that ranks 17th in wOBA against righties. The Cubs are ninth. The White Sox are 24th and the Mariners are 19th. 

Rea will make his first appearance since May 14. He has allowed 19 runs on 27 hits in 31 innings of work with a 25/13 K/BB ratio. He’s got a 5.52 ERA with a 5.54 FIP and has allowed a 41.8% Hard Hit%. He actually has gotten a bit fortunate to have a .247 BABIP, but he has given up six homers and those don’t count towards BABIP. He’s got a 67.5% LOB%, which seems reasonable for a low strikeout rate and shaky command.

France’s last start was bad enough to scare me away for this one, but I would be pretty surprised if Rea has a good game against the Astros. It feels like Houston is starting to put it together. Maybe they’re just a really slow starter.

San Francisco Giants at Minnesota Twins (-155, 8)

One of the biggest line movers of the morning has been this game, as the Twins have been bet up into a sizable favorite behind Sonny Gray. This move has a lot to do with fading Alex Cobb, who has a 1.94 ERA with a 3.98 xERA, 3.15 FIP, and a 3.35 xFIP in his 51 innings of work. Cobb has an 88.1% LOB% with a below average K%, so there are a lot of reasons to look for regression in his profile.

He’s also running a 48.1% Hard Hit%, so he’s been really fortunate that the hard-hit contact hasn’t had even more of a negative impact. He is one of those guys allowing a ton of loud contact with a high ground ball rate and you tend to deal with that, but at some point, the numbers correct themselves. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start yet and he only did that once. It happened in Mexico City.

At some point, the big bubble will burst and Cobb will have one of those starts that raises a guy’s ERA a full run. Bettors are lining up behind the Twins here like they think it will be today. It very could be and I agree with the notion that it probably happens on the road.

There is some irony in that Gray has some noteworthy regression signs as well. He has a 1.64 ERA with a 3.16 xERA, 2.01 FIP, and a 3.37 xFIP. His LOB% is 84.2%, but he does have a much higher strikeout rate than Cobb. Gray has also only allowed three runs once and every other start has been under that. His Hard Hit% is up to 41.1%, but, again, he’s a 47.5% GB% guy, so you can live with that. 

I understand the thought process behind laying the Twins price. It’s just not something I’m doing today.

TL;DR Recap

ARI/PHI Over 9.5 (-105)

Rangers -1.5 (+100)

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