MLB schedule today has 15 games
It will be a busy night on the diamond with all 30 teams in action at 6:40 p.m. ET or later. Night game fans like yours truly will be happy with today’s schedule, but those looking for a daytime distraction from work will have to look elsewhere. Have no fear, early birds. More day games are coming tomorrow. (Tracking sheet)
With lots of games to get to, I’ll spare you the long intro, but I did want to briefly mention the state of the injured list right now around MLB. Luis Garcia left after eight pitches for the Astros last night (shout-out to Brandon Bielak and the bullpen!). We’ve already lost Kris Bubic, Jeffrey Springs, JT Brubaker, and others to Tommy John surgery. Jonathan Loaisiga, Jose Urquidy, Noah Davis, Easton McGee, Chad Kuhl, Jacob deGrom, Brooks Raley, Brandon Hughes, German Marquez, and Kenta Maeda have all hit the IL in the last week.
There is a new piece at The Athletic ($) this morning that outlines the pitcher injuries to this point. Theo Epstein and MLB said before the season that the minor leagues saw a reduced injury rate prior with the pitch clock, but I don’t think we’ve seen that at the MLB level to this point. As The Athletic piece notes, this April tied for the highest number of pitchers on the IL since at least 2000. This merits watching as the season goes along.
Tune in for a new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets this afternoon.
Here are some thoughts on the May 2 card (odds from DraftKings):
Sandy Alcantara will make his second straight start against the Braves as these two teams face off for the second time in a week. The Braves had to play two yesterday at Citi Field and came away with a split before jetting off to South Beach. The Marlins had yesterday off in advance of this series.
Alcantara’s season has already featured some missed time and a level of performance we’re not using to seeing from the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. He’s got a 5.04 ERA with a 3.85 FIP, as his 51.9% LOB% is doing a lot of the heavy lifting on that high ERA. He did allow nine runs on 10 hits in his third start and then gave up five runs in his next start, though only three were earned. Last time out against the Braves, he allowed two runs on four hits over 5.2 innings, but still issued three walks and a 40% Hard Hit%. It was his first start in 10 days and he didn’t look terribly sharp.
Alcantara ranks in the 32nd percentile in average exit velo and 54th percentile in Hard Hit%. His GB% is down nearly 10% from last season. His pitch velo is strong and he’s still generating a good rate of swings and misses, but he’s not quite getting the same rate of chases and hasn’t been able to get the same results on his changeup, which is one of the best in baseball.
I noticed that Alcantara’s release point is a lot higher this season and his extension is longer, which should theoretically help with his extreme fastball velo, but it may also be giving his pitches less time to get buried deep in the zone. Throwing from a higher arm slot with more extension, while still having about the same amount of average vertical break, could mean his pitches are staying in the middle of the zone more often. He’s also not locating the sinker in as much as he did last season, leading to more power. He only allowed four homers on 201 batted ball events with the sinker last season. He’s already allowed three in 37 BBE this season.
The good thing is that I think these are correctable issues, though he obviously missed some time with some discomfort already, so it’s entirely possible there’s an injury issue here. He threw five shutout innings before running into issues in the sixth, so that may have just been a fatigue thing last time out.
Bryce Elder has been really solid for the Braves, but there are some regression signs in his profile. He has a 2.17 ERA with a 5.06 xERA and a 4.08 FIP over 29 innings of work. He’s allowed a 52.4% Hard Hit% with a below average K%, so xERA is not a huge fan of his future prospects. There was a bit of a correction last time out against the Marlins with four runs allowed on five hits, including three homers. He also only had three strikeouts in that start.
I gave the Braves some thought with Alcantara going through some mechanical things, but Elder isn’t a guy I want to back right now. I will be keeping an eye on this stuff with Alcantara.
Hayden Wesneski and Trevor Williams are listed for this matchup in D.C. Drew Smyly kept rolling along yesterday against a lineup that entered as a top-10 squad against lefties. Well, the Nats squandered that chance because they go back to a righty now in Wesneski.
Wesneski comes into this start with a 5.24 ERA and a 6.03 FIP, so there aren’t many redeeming qualities to his profile this season, but he was better last time out against the Padres, as the only run he allowed over five innings came on a solo blast. He’s given up five homers in 22.1 innings and only has 15 strikeouts against eight walks, so it hardly comes as a surprise that FIP isn’t a fan. His best start came against the A’s with seven innings of one-run ball. They’re a Major League team, so you don’t want to downplay that performance, but they’re barely a Major League team.
This is one of those starts like I talked about with Blake Snell yesterday. Snell was better, though not great against the Reds. This is a Nationals bunch that ranks 28th in wOBA against RHP. This is a spot where a young kid needs to take advantage and build up a bit of confidence.
Williams started the 2021 season with the Cubs, but wound up getting traded to the Mets. I wrote a lot about him last week when trying the Nationals at +200 against Joey Lucchesi and the Mets. He’s a slightly below average pitcher, but he’s not the leper that the betting markets make him out to be. That said, he wasn’t great in that start against the Mets, though most of his issues came in the fifth inning as he turned the lineup over again. He allowed four runs on nine hits in what was his worst start of the season.
Prior to that, he bobbed and weaved through the previous three starts with good results. He’s got a 4.10 ERA with a 4.87 FIP, but does have just a 31.5% Hard Hit% and only had a 28.6% HH% in that start against the Mets. That said, he has allowed seven barrels in his last two starts and is starting to give up some harder contact of late. No interest in this game from me, but Wesneski is under the microscope.
Freddy Peralta is back on the slab after a confidence-builder start against the Tigers. Peralta allowed nine runs on 14 hits in 10.2 innings against the Padres and Red Sox, but then worked six innings with two runs on five hits and eight strikeouts against the lowly Motowners. Now he heads to Coors Field, but that may not be as bad for him as it is for some other guys.
The Brewers started up a Triple-A affiliation with the Nashville Sounds in 2021. However, from 2015-18, Milwaukee’s Triple-A team was the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Peralta made 13 starts for the Sky Sox in 2018 before getting called up to the big leagues. It was a developmental headache for Milwaukee because their Double-A team was basically right at sea level in Biloxi, MS and then pitchers would basically go to the moon to pitch in Colorado Springs.
So, Peralta at least has some experience in the thin air and the Brewers have plenty of data in the annals about how to work in altitude. While Peralta had a couple of bumpy outings against the Red Sox and Padres, he’s only allowed two homers this season with a 31/9 K/BB ratio, so his 3.77 ERA comes with a 3.18 FIP. Also, his Hard Hit% is just 35% and he ranks in the 66th percentile in that department and the 76th percentile in exit velocity.
Ryan Feltner has actually pitched pretty well for the Rockies this season with a 4.68 ERA and a 3.95 FIP, but this is another example of why game logs matter. Feltner has made four of his five starts on the road, with the lone home start coming against Washington. He has done a good job overall and even has a 33.3% Hard Hit%, but he’s going back to Coors, where he has allowed a .263/.345/.460 slash with a .349 wOBA in 50 innings of work. He’s got a 6.66 ERA with a 5.26 FIP with a 6.1% decrease in K% compared to his work on the road.
The Brewers have been the best team in baseball defensively per Defensive Runs Saved (25) and the all-encompassing FanGraphs Def metric (12.3). The Rockies are 29th in the Def Metric and dead last in Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric (-16).
Colorado has scored 4.8 runs per game at home, but opponents have scored 7.7 runs per game. They are -38 in run differential over 13 games at Coors Field. Feltner has a 12.7% BB% this season and the Brewers are fifth in BB% against RHP on the year. Milwaukee’s full-season offensive numbers are also dragged down by being one of the worst teams in baseball against lefties, but they’re 10th in wOBA against righties and have a good matchup here against Feltner.
Rather than mess with the bullpens, we can get the same price on Peralta vs. Feltner on the 1st 5 run line. If the full-game run line is the only thing available to you, I still think that’s okay, but the Brewers have a pitch-to-contact bullpen that worries me a bit in this park. Devin Williams and Bryse Wilson are the only guys racking up strikeouts. That’s why I prefer the 1st 5 angle.
Pick: Brewers 1st 5 Run Line (-0.5) (-115)
Graham Ashcraft knows the assignment. The Reds are just 3-11 on the road this season and rank 26th in wOBA. They’ve only scored 51 runs over those 14 games. That said, they’ve only given up 63, so they deserve a better fate than 3-11 with a -12 run differential. Still, it’s been a struggle away from Great American Ball Park for a very long time and continues to be this season.
At least Ashcraft is probably a decent guy for the job. He’s allowed seven runs on 20 hits in 30 innings of work. He does have a 2.10 ERA, but also a 3.82 FIP because his K/BB ratio isn’t all that spectacular with 24 strikeouts against 15 walks. He’s certainly created his own issues by not getting hitters to chase and by only having an 8.3% SwStr%. His 54.5% first-pitch strike rate doesn’t help either, especially since he’s been at 48% or lower in his last three starts.
Through all the walks and all the plate appearances where he’s been behind in the count, he’s still only allowed a .232 BABIP with an 86.4 mph average exit velocity. His Hard Hit% is just 31.3%, as he has such incredible raw stuff that hitters have a really hard time squaring him up for good contact. He was pitching with a heavy heart last time out after the passing of his grandma, but still managed six innings of two-run ball against the Rangers.
Ashcraft did have a velocity decrease in that last start against Texas and it was especially noticeable in the middle innings, specifically on the cutter. Could be something. Could be nothing. Could have been trying to take a little off to spot his pitches better. Could have been the emotions of the day and a couple of prolonged innings. He has thrown more fastballs in two of his last three starts while trying to throw a few more called strikes to be able to attack hitters differently. Through all the adjustments, he’s still been really good.
Michael Wacha has not been really good. In fact, he’s struggled quite a bit. Wacha has a 6.75 ERA with a 4.46 FIP, so he’s gotten a little unlucky with a 61% LOB% and a .367 BABIP against, but he also simply hasn’t located all that well. He’s given up 19 runs on 33 hits in 25.1 innings and that includes six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against the Braves on April 8. Wacha has allowed 10 runs on 10 hits out of 23 batters faced the third time through the order with just two strikeouts.
I think the value is okay on Ashcraft and the Reds today to take a shot. The Reds were +180 at DraftKings yesterday with Luke Weaver against Blake Snell. Now they’re +175 with Ashcraft, who is objectively better than Weaver, and Wacha, who is worse than Snell, even with my Snell concerns. I get that somebody steamed up the Padres, but this line was fairer 20-30 cents ago where it opened.
Cincinnati’s pen is third in fWAR and has been way better than I expected. It’s about a 30-cent difference to take 1st 5 instead of full game and the Reds are worth the gamble behind Ashcraft in my estimation.
Pick: Reds +175
Here’s another underdog that looks to have a little bit of bark. The Phillies are on the road against the Dodgers and it will be Matt Strahm for the visitors and Julio Urias for the home team. To say that Strahm has been spectacular is underselling what he has done this season. He’s allowed six runs on 12 hits in 23.1 innings of work with a 2.31 ERA and a 2.79 FIP. He’s struck out 32 and only walked seven over five starts and one relief inning to stay sharp and spare the bullpen on Opening Day.
Strahm has danced around some hard contact with a 44.9% Hard Hit%, which is admittedly a little bit worrisome. He’s also faced the Marlins, Reds, road Rockies, and Mariners in his last four starts. The Marlins are pretty good against lefties thus far, but the other teams have not been at all. But, neither have the Dodgers, who are 26th in wOBA against southpaws and are also running almost a 28% K%.
Strahm has struck out 36% of the batters that he has faced this season and 28 of the 75 right-handed batters that he has faced. Perhaps most importantly given the opponent, he has only walked seven of the 89 batters he’s faced.
Urias is really fighting it a bit here. He’s allowed 14 runs over his last 14.2 innings of work, including six homers. He still has 35 strikeouts in 32.2 innings, but his command has not been on point. His Hard Hit% is only 35.5%, which is still pretty good, but far and away a career-high. His average exit velocity against is up 1.4 mph from last season and nearly 2 mph from his career. His pitch velocity is also down compared to previous seasons.
His fastball spin rate is the lowest it has ever been, down over 100 rpm from last season. Given that he’s throwing that pitch about 46% of the time with decreased velo and spin, it isn’t a big surprise that hitters have teed off, swinging it at a .339 clip with a .571 SLG. Urias’s vertical release point has dropped over each of his last three starts. That could be suggestive of either fatigue or possible injury. Given the reduced velocity and the results, there’s a lot going on here. He’s allowed 22 hits in his last three starts. He allowed 127 hits in 175 innings last season. There may very well be more to that than bad batted ball luck.
We’ll see what kind of bump the Phillies get from likely getting Bryce Harper back in the lineup. It should certainly provide an emotional boost, if not an overall boost. The key members in the bullpen are all rested and ready to go, whereas the Dodgers pen has grouped more appearances recently.
I’ll take a shot with the Phillies here. It’s a bummer that this line has moved down based on some overnight and morning action, but I still like it at +135. Shop around for the best number you can find.
Pick: Phillies +135
I will be GLUED to my TV for this one between Tanner Bibee and Gerrit Cole. Bibee took on a bad Colorado lineup in his debut, but struck out eight over 5.2 innings and showcased a mid-90s fastball with some pretty filthy secondaries. He didn’t get ahead in the count enough to really bury a lot of hitters, but also had some bad luck on some soft contact that kept him from finishing the sixth inning.
Bibee had a 2.13 ERA in 148 minor league innings with 186 strikeouts against just 35 walks. He was a fifth-round pick in 2021 out of Cal State Fullerton and added some serious velo when he got to Cleveland. He only pitched 15.1 innings at Triple-A and that seems to be Cleveland’s modus operandi now, where they’re going to evaluate guys at Double-A, make sure they’re able to face guys with MLB experience at Triple-A, and then promote them to The Show.
Bibee does get a lineup missing Aaron Judge, who was officially placed on the IL, but the kid gets to go on the big stage for his second career MLB start and I’m excited to see what happens.
I have a pretty good idea of what will happen with Cole. Cole has allowed five runs on 23 hits in 40.2 innings of work. He’s got a 1.11 ERA with a 2.11 FIP. He’s struck out 44 and walked 11 and hasn’t allowed a home run. He’ll give up the occasional hard-hit ball, but Cleveland doesn’t hit the ball hard. I gave some thought to the 1st 5 Under 3.5 or the Under 7, but there is always the chance that Bibee doesn’t locate well and things go awry.
But, if you’re looking for a game to watch tonight, this is the one.
Turns out that Jose Berrios might not be fixed after all. He gave up five runs on 11 hits in yesterday’s 6-5 loss, so it was a pretty telling setback and one that I have absolutely filed away for the future. Today’s starter is Yusei Kikuchi, who will try to keep the Boston lineup at bay. Kikuchi has a 3.00 ERA with a 4.87 FIP. He’s given up six homers on the season, which is why FIP isn’t a huge fan.
There is no such thing as a lock in sports, but I can tell you that Kikuchi will not run a 97.2% LOB% the rest of the season. He’s only allowed nine runs and six of them came in one start against the Angels, along with three of his six homers. Otherwise, he has allowed three runs across his other four starts. That said, he’s also allowed a 45.8% Hard Hit% and has two other starts at 50% or higher aside from that Angels debacle. In other words, I’m not really buying any stock in Kikuchi or the start to the season.
His velocity is up and he’s mixing his pitches better, but his SwStr% is 1.5% lower than last season’s and his Hard Hit% is only 1.3% lower. The one saving grace has been that Kikuchi isn’t issuing walks at the same rate. I guess he has some chance at sustainability if that continues, but he’s still allowing way too much loud contact for my liking.
Tanner Houck goes for the Sox tonight with a 4.50 ERA and a 4.20 FIP. He’s allowed 14 runs on 25 hits in 26 innings of work, but he’s hung in there pretty well on the whole. A 68.2% LOB% explains the mild difference between his ERA and FIP. Houck has allowed a 40.3% Hard Hit%, but most of the hard contact he’s given up has been on the ground with a 52.6% GB%.
Houck has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his five starts thus far and he has held righties to a .260 wOBA in 41 plate appearances. Lefties have done some damage with a .340 wOBA. This is another dog that I think can bark today. The Red Sox are a middle-of-the-pack offense against lefties, though, and a high BB% is doing a lot of the heavy lifting there. If Kikuchi still had the walk issues, I’d be all about Boston in this one. Instead, I’ll shy away.
The longest winning streak for the White Sox this season is one. They have not won consecutive games this season. That could change today. They beat the Rays in walk-off fashion on Sunday with a 12-9 win to end a 10-game losing streak. Guess we’ll see if they start another one.
Michael Kopech will try to accomplish the feat today as he brings some solid numbers into this game. Solid for the other team, that is. He has a 7.01 ERA with a 9.86 xERA and a 7.44 FIP in 25.2 innings of work. He has allowed 20 runs on 28 hits in 25.2 innings. He does have 27 strikeouts, but also 16 walks and he’s given up eight homers. To be fair, five homers came in his first start against the Giants and he’s still working to lessen the blow of that one, but commanding the baseball better would help.
Kopech’s average EV by start is 90.3 (5-HR game), 93.7, 97.2, 91.7, 92.2. His Hard Hit% is laughably bad at 58.1% and his Barrel% against is 23%. That’s how you earn an ERA over 7. I’m not sure I’d see any reason to have faith in him or in his offense today.
That’s because the Twins are sending Joe Ryan to the hill. Ryan may be having his breakout season with a 2.81 ERA and a 3.23 FIP in 32 innings of work. He’s gone at least six innings in every start and has 36 strikeouts against just four walks. His new splitter has effectively neutralized lefties, holding them to a .216 wOBA. Righties only have a .252 wOBA, so he’s been strong against them as well.
When Ryan has allowed contact, it has been pretty loud, with a 46.3% Hard Hit%. Hitters are trying to be really aggressive with him because he is a strike-thrower, which is something that the White Sox just inherently do as an impatient group. The thing about it is that the White Sox are aggressive, but hardly controlled. They are 25th in Hard Hit% at 34.7% and 20th in Barrel% at 7.3%. The Twins are seventh in Barrel% at 9.7% and eighth in Hard Hit% at 41.4%.
Better starter, better lineup, better bullpen. It’s a minus price on a run line, but I think it’s justified here.
Pick: Twins Run Line (-1.5) (-105)
I don’t have much to say about this game because I think the price is right on the Orioles and Tyler Wells. Wells is a pitch-to-contact guy, which gives the Royals offense a chance since they’ve made a good bit of hard contact, but also strike out way too much. They’ve also had some bad luck on their hard-hit balls and I do think some measure of positive regression is coming.
However, they’ll need a lot of it in support of Ryan Yarbrough. Yarbrough was good over four innings in his first start of the year against the Diamondbacks, but he has only struck out seven of the 75 batters that he has faced. He draws a Baltimore lineup that ranks seventh in wOBA against lefties and has a 122 wRC+.
If it was a little warmer, this total would probably be 9.5, but I could talk myself into an over. For now, I don’t really have much on this game.
Bryce Miller faces Mason Miller in a battle of rookie right-handers. This will be Bryce’s MLB debut, as the Mariners are calling up their top pitching prospect with Robbie Ray and Easton McGee on the shelf. The 24-year-old Bryce pitched well across Double-A and Triple-A last season with a 3.22 ERA and solid peripherals, including a high strikeout rate.
He started this season in Double-A and has hit some bumps in the road with five homers allowed in 19.2 innings of work. He’s allowed 15 runs on 23 hits with an 18/3 K/BB ratio. Despite that, he gets the call here after allowing just a solo homer and a walk in his last start. Bryce was the No. 83 prospect at FanGraphs to open the season and has a lively fastball that touches triple digits and is described as a “plus-plus pitch”.
We’ll see what the secondaries look like. He was originally at Texas A&M as a reliever, but started in his final year and the Mariners have used him in that capacity.
Mason can also run it up there around 100. He’s allowed six runs on nine hits in 8.1 innings of work over two starts thus far. He’s got an 11/2 K/BB ratio and has gotten a bit unlucky with a .409 BABIP and a 50% LOB%, however, he earned it against the Angels. Miller allowed 11 balls in play and they averaged 100.5 mph and all 11 were hit at least 95 mph.
It isn’t a sexy betting game, but maybe this is the one you want to watch after Bibee vs. Cole and a between games cigarette.
Roansy Contreras and Javy Guerra are the starters here for the series opener between the upstart Pirates and the dominant Rays. Guerra was just acquired from Milwaukee, so I’m sure he’ll somehow become an All-Star for the Rays. He made 17 appearances for Tampa Bay last season before making his way to Milwaukee. The Rays reacquired him last week with a need for arms.
He has a career 6.92 ERA with a 5.78 FIP and allowed eight runs on 10 hits with nine walks in 8.1 innings for the Brewers this season. Josh Fleming will follow as the bulk guy, which could work well for a Pirates team that ranks in the top five in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties. Fleming has allowed seven runs on 19 hits in 19.1 innings.
Contreras allowed seven runs in his second start of the season against the Astros. Otherwise, he’s allowed just four runs over his other four starts. His K/BB ratio leaves a little bit to be desired, but most of the rest of the profile looks pretty decent. I think a lot of people are going to look at this game and just fire on the Pirates, who are making tons of waves and headlines this season. I don’t have a play. I will admit that the line is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Another game I don’t have a lot of interest in, but I’ll tackle it quickly here. Joey Lucchesi makes his third start for the Mets and draws a Tigers team that has struck out in over 30% of plate appearances against lefties. The Tigers actually have a .304 wOBA and a 94 wRC+ despite that monstrous K%, as they’re running a .353 BABIP against lefties. That will come down and that will depress their numbers in this split.
Lucchesi has a 2.19 ERA with a 3.47 FIP in his two starts. He does have a 45.2% Hard Hit%, so xERA isn’t a huge fan of his performance to this point. We’ll see if the hard-hit contact catches up with him. It probably won’t here, but it will down the line.
Michael Lorenzen has made three starts with 11 runs allowed on 18 hits. In the middle, he threw five shutout innings against the Orioles with three hits allowed, even though it was far and away his worst start from a hard contact standpoint.
This price is probably a little cheap on the Mets, but they are coming off of a doubleheader and some heavy pen usage yesterday. Of course, none of their relievers had worked since Thursday, so I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Southpaws Patrick Sandoval and Steven Matz are slated for this one at Busch Stadium between the Angels and Cardinals. I love my dude Sandoval, but this is a tough assignment against a Cardinals lineup that historically pummels lefties and ranks fifth in wOBA and sixth in wRC+ in that split this season.
However, the Angels are just one point behind by wOBA and actually two points ahead by wRC+ against southpaws. That has definitely been their preferred split this season as well. The Angels have struck out a lot less and are 11 points higher in OBP, but 23 points lower in SLG. The Cardinals are also running a BABIP that is 25 points higher.
Sandoval has a 3.16 ERA with a 4.36 FIP in five starts. Three of the 12 runs he has allowed have been unearned. He has a 20/12 K/BB ratio and that is the one area where FIP punishes him. That said, he only struck out four of the first 44 batters he faced, but has 16 K in his last 14.2 innings, so the swing and miss has returned a little bit here. What has been most impressive for Sandoval is that he ranks in the 96th percentile in Hard Hit% at 23.8%. He has only allowed 19 hard-hit balls in his first five outings and he’s faced the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees, who have all been at 33.3% or lower. His other two starts were the A’s.
Matz is a different story. He has 27 K in 26 innings, but that’s where the good things stop. He’s allowed 18 runs on 32 hits, including five homers, with a 48.7% Hard Hit% against. Matz has faced a variety of offenses this season and did make a start at Coors Field, but he just hasn’t located all that well.
This is another dog that appears to have some bite today, but Sandoval’s short outings against the Yankees and Red Sox are worrisome here. Nine of his 12 walks came in those two starts and they left the Angels pen to do a lot of heavy lifting. I think a lot of people will flock to the Over 9 with two lefties against these lineups. I think 9 is pretty fair.
Zac Gallen is rolling right now. He has a scoreless streak of 28 innings going into this game against the Rangers. That’s four straight starts over 27 innings and a scoreless sixth in his start against the Padres. In that span, all he has done is rack up starts with 11, 7, 11, and 12 strikeouts. On the surface, I’d argue that this line looks pretty high, but I’m not stepping in front of the Zac Gallen Express.
Jon Gray also hasn’t been his usual self. He has a 3.91 ERA, but also a 5.88 FIP and has a 17/13 K/BB ratio over 25.1 innings of work. He has done a really good job of limiting hard contact, though, with a 29.7% Hard Hit%. That is a feather in his cap to be sure. The Rangers have also played pretty well for the most part, except for a few ill-timed bullpen meltdowns.
I wish I had the stones to step in front of Gallen and give the Rangers a big home underdog look here, but it hasn’t just been about preventing runs. It’s been about being dominant with 41 strikeouts in that four-start stretch.
Here’s another underdog that honestly might have a little bite. Hunter Brown has been great for the Astros and has a 2.37 ERA with a 2.57 FIP. he’s allowed four runs twice in five starts and zero earned runs in the other three. There’s some pressure on him tonight to give Houston some length after Luis Garcia left eight pitches into yesterday’s start. The Astros bullpen really gutted one out and the offense came through for us late.
Brown seems to be having his breakout season as a starter and that is really good for Houston given the injuries to Jose Urquidy and now Garcia. Brown also hasn’t allowed a home run in five starts, which is what I worry about for the Giants here. They have hit a good number of homers this season to score runs and it’s kind of a struggle otherwise with a high K%.
But, Anthony DeSclafani has been quite good with a 2.70 ERA and a 3.62 FIP. At this price point, I can’t really fault anybody for taking a shot at the Giants, especially because the Houston offense has been rather pedestrian. DeSclafani is a 52.9% GB% guy with only three walks in 30 innings. The one glaring concern is a 49.4% Hard Hit% that will come back to bite him at some point. It doesn’t lead to a .253 BABIP being around long.
Lots of dogs with potential bite today, but this isn’t one that made the cut for me.
Brewers 1st 5 Run Line -0.5 (-115)
Twins Run Line -1.5 (-105)