MLB schedule today has 15 games
It is a rare Wednesday in Major League Baseball with only one day game and it is a very early one in Pittsburgh between the A’s and Pirates. One of the other 14 games is a midday matinee in San Diego, but the other 13 games are all late, so we’ve got some time to handicap the card and get everything figured out.
A quick announcement that Zach Cohen will take over this article on Thursday and Jared Smith will provide Friday and Saturday’s MLB writing with his YRFI/NRFI article, as I have a prior commitment to take care of over the next three days.
Jeff Parles will fill in on VSiN Daily Baseball Bets on Thursday and Friday as well. Now, let’s get to the Wednesday action.
Latest MLB betting splits | MLB odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
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VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.
Here are some thoughts on the June 7 card (odds from DraftKings):
Zach Davies and Patrick Corbin start us off in a rather uninspiring pitching matchup. Has the clock struck midnight on Corbin and turned him back into a pumpkin? After a really solid run from April 16 to May 20 with a 3.40 ERA and a 3.92 FIP over 42.1 innings, Corbin has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in his last 11.1 innings of work. He’s struck out eight and walked eight.
To be fair, we should have seen this coming, not just because of his recent past, but because he still had a 43.8% Hard Hit% during that seven-start span. He’s got a 42.1% HH% in his last two starts, but allowed 25 hard-hit balls in the two starts right before it all fell apart. For the season, he’s got a 4.92 ERA with a 6.11 xERA and a 4.95 FIP over 67.2 innings pitched.
Davies has a 5.40 ERA with a 4.70 xERA and a 4.65 FIP in his 18.1 innings of work. He’s got a hideous K/BB ratio with a K%-BB% of just 6.1%, as a double-digit walk rate of 11% stands out in a big way. He’s allowed five runs on 12 hits in nine innings since returning from the IL, so he’s hung in there a little bit, but he isn’t a very reliable arm. Against a Nationals offense that ranks 23rd in wOBA against righties, he could have some success, as the Nats only walk 6.8% of the time, which ranks 29th.
This is the weaker split for the Diamondbacks, as they have a 100 wRC+ against lefties with a .323 wOBA that ranks 17th. Otherwise, I might be a little more interested, since Corbin is seemingly falling apart again.
This is not likely to be a good matchup for Brandon Williamson. In four MLB starts, Williamson has walked 11 and struck out 18 over 21 innings of work. The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball at working walks and their offensive performance against lefties has gotten way better as the season has played out. He has a 4.29 ERA with a 5.14 FIP and a 6.30 xERA, so this has the potential to be a rough start for him.
High walk rates were a huge problem in the minor leagues and command has been an issue this season with 10 homers allowed in 55 innings between Triple-A and MLB on the year. The Dodgers are up to eighth in wOBA and have an 11.5% BB% against lefties.
That being said, this is a bit of a steep price to pay with Noah Syndergaard, who has a 6.54 ERA with a 5.44 xERA and a 5.23 FIP. He’s pitched to a lot of contact and allowed 10 homers in 52.1 innings on the year. He’s allowed 11 runs on 15 hits, including four homers, in his last two starts. Thor is under a bit of pressure in this start, as the Dodgers are reimagining their rotation and he may not be part of it.
His Hard Hit% is up to 40% for the season and sits at 46.4% over his last seven starts. This game would seem to have the potential for a lot of offense in Cincinnati. It won’t be quite as warm in Cincinnati as it was last night when 17 runs were scored in Cincinnati’s 9-8 walk-off win, but the chances are certainly there for some runs.
I’ll look at the over 11 here. This is a really rough matchup for Williamson and Syndergaard just isn’t locating well at all now with a lineup that has a lot more punch and pizzazz based on some recent call-ups. The primary relievers for the Reds are solid, but if Williamson can’t work deep into the game, lesser relievers will have to enter and the Dodgers have a good chance to score runs there.
Pick: Over 11 (-120)
Max Scherzer and Charlie Morton are the slated starters here for Game 2 of this big three-game series between the Mets and Braves. Scherzer comes in with a 3.21 ERA, 3.31 xERA, and a 4.12 FIP in his 47.2 innings of work spread across nine starts. He’s got over a strikeout per inning, but has also given up seven homers, so the command hasn’t been quite what we’re used to seeing.
Scherzer has allowed just three earned runs in his last four starts covering 25 innings of work, but he’s faced the Nationals, Guardians, Rockies, and Phillies, so this is a little bit stiffer of a test, even as the Braves aren’t that much better than average against righties on the season. What is nice to see is that Scherzer has 28 strikeouts in those 25 innings, so it seems like the life is back on some of his pitches. He’s also allowed just a 27.9% Hard Hit% in that span.
Morton heads into this one with a 3.62 ERA, 4.33 xERA, and a 3.56 FIP in his 64.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 25.3% of batters faced, which is down a bit from the last two seasons and his BB% is the highest he’s had since 2018. To his credit, he’s held the opposition to three or fewer runs in nine of his 11 starts, with a couple of lesser outings against the Dodgers and the Mets.
It is a little bit of a shock to the system to see Scherzer as such a clear underdog in any game, but I don’t think the price is good enough to back him here and Morton has stabilized a little bit after showing some bigger regression signs earlier in the season.
The Giants took care of their affairs yesterday and are an even bigger favorite to do it on Tuesday. Logan Webb gets the call against Connor Seabold here, as rain actually threatens this game in Denver.
In the interest of time, I don’t have much to say here, but wanted to mention that Webb has a 2.85 ERA with a 3.39 xERA and a 3.33 FIP overall in 79 innings pitched, but he has a 1.95 ERA with a 2.98 FIP over his last 55.1 innings of work. He’s cemented himself as an ace in the NL and a top-10 pitcher in the league. I’m not really sure that changes as the season goes along with nearly a strikeout per inning and a 62% GB%.
As a starter, Seabold has allowed 20 runs on 30 hits in 28 innings with a 19/12 K/BB ratio and not a whole lot else to write home about. He’s just a filler, like most of Colorado’s starters.
The Rays will use Shawn Armstrong as an opener in front of Cooper Criswell on Wednesday. Armstrong made his 2023 debut three days ago and worked two scoreless frames with three strikeouts and a walk against the Red Sox. He had made seven rehab appearances at Triple-A and allowed two runs on just two hits in nine innings of work before returning to the big league club.
Criswell is probably the worst pitcher on the Rays roster, but he’s been effective in his last two bulk efforts with two runs allowed on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. He has a 6.11 ERA with a 4.98 FIP, but allowed nine of his 12 runs in two of his five appearances. He gave up five to the Brewers on May 21 and four to the Reds on April 17.
The Twins haven’t quite gotten the version of Pablo Lopez that they expected. He has 86 strikeouts in 71.1 innings, which is outstanding, but he’s also got a 4.54 ERA in his 12 starts. In fact, since April 22, Lopez has a 6.15 ERA with a 4.43 FIP. He just allowed six runs on eight hits to the lowly Guardians in 5.2 innings of work. He’s had five starts with at least four runs allowed over his last eight outings and has given up eight homers in that span.
This is a pretty tough handicap in light of that. I’m not super high on Criswell, but Lopez has not had the command profile that some expected and he certainly isn’t riding a high into this start.
I don’t have any interest in betting this game, but it may not take place anyways. The smoke from the wildfires in Canada has made the air quality incredibly bad in New York City and officials are discussing whether or not to postpone the game. If it goes off, it will be Lance Lynn against Randy Vasquez, which adds to my lack of interest, since Lynn has been wildly inconsistent and would be called up for his second MLB start.
Ronel Blanco will make his second start of the season for the Astros in the third game of this four-game set against the Blue Jays. Blanco started for the first time against the Angels on Thursday and allowed two runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings. His start pushed Framber Valdez back a day and gave Houston a six-man rotation to protect guys like J.P. France, Brandon Bielak, and Hunter Brown.
Blanco allowed one run on five hits with 21 strikeouts against 13 walks in 16 innings at Triple-A while getting stretched out a bit from May 9-26. Prior to that, he had allowed six earned runs on 16 hits in 12 innings with a 16/7 K/BB ratio as a lower-leverage reliever for Houston. He was the 26th-ranked prospect for Houston during the 2022 season per FanGraphs with a relief projection due to a shallow arsenal.
Chris Bassitt didn’t miss any time after hitting the paternity list, as he fired 7.2 shutout innings against the Mets on June 2 and then went to be by his wife’s side. It was a big bounce back effort from Bassitt, who had allowed 13 runs (nine earned) over his previous 10.1 innings on 16 hits. He’s had three absolutely horrible starts, one bad one, and eight good ones on the season. It’s been tough to know what, exactly, to expect from him.
I’m not fond of the fact that he has a 47.4% Hard Hit% over his last three starts and that he allowed six barrels over the starts against the Twins and Rays, but I don’t think my convictions are strong enough to back a bigger wild card in Blanco.
Kutter Crawford and Tanner Bibee line it up on Wednesday night in Cleveland, where a lake breeze will be blowing in from LF. Bibee’s career is off to a nice start with a 3.20 ERA, 3.29 xERA, and a 3.23 FIP in 39.1 innings. He’s allowed three homers and 14 total runs on 34 hits in seven starts with 40 strikeouts against 10 walks. He has only allowed more than three runs once in a start and has a solid 36.8% Hard Hit% against.
Crawford has only made three starts this season and went from April 9 to June 3 without making one. He’s pitched 33.2 innings with a 3.48 ERA, 4.18 FIP, and some decent peripherals, but he’s also been working almost exclusively in relief. He allowed one run on two hits over three innings against the Rays last time out in a start on short rest. He’ll also be on short rest here, so I’d expect three innings to be about the max. Corey Kluber is now in the bullpen and so is Nick Pivetta, so maybe those guys will get some time, though Pivetta threw 31 pitches two days ago.
The Red Sox are really trying to cobble a pitching staff together at this point and this game is evidence of that. It’s a bit of a price to pay with Cleveland, but Boston’s road offense is just not really up to par. Bibee has been really good for the Guardians and I would expect that to continue with teams he faces for the first time.
Given how messy this setup looks for Boston and with how Cleveland should be able to go with Bibee, and then a rested Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase, who seems to be slowly getting back on track, I think this one sets up well for the Guardians.
Pick: Guardians -130
Skipping over A’s/Pirates, which has already started, we go to Petco Park for the matchup between the Mariners and Padres. It will be George Kirby on the hill for Seattle and Michael Wacha on the bump for San Diego. Kirby had a spectacular bounce back performance against the Yankees last time out with eight shutout innings and seven strikeouts. That was on the heels of allowing seven runs on nine hits, including four homers, to the Pirates in the start prior.
Kirby has a 3.04 ERA with a 3.27 FIP in his 71 innings of work. He’s got 58 strikeouts against just six walks. As I mentioned yesterday when Logan Gilbert on the hill, the Padres have been really effective at drawing walks this season, but not much else against righties. They are 25th in wOBA and lead the league in BB% at 11.9%. Not surprisingly, Gilbert shut them down with one run on three hits in a 4-1 win.
Gilbert has more strikeout upside than Kirby, but this game sets up in a similar fashion, just with the Mariners as a smaller dog. The one thing that scares me about Kirby is that, while he shut out the Yankees, he allowed 10 hard-hit balls and a 52.6% Hard Hit% for the second straight start. The Pirates just so happened to do a lot more damage on their batted balls, but his exit velocity against was nearly identical.
What an incredible run Michael Wacha is on. After allowing 19 runs in his first five starts, Wacha has allowed just five earned runs in his last six starts. Since the start of May, Wacha has a 1.23 ERA with a 3.28 FIP and a 4.52 xFIP, so there are some negative regression signs in the profile. He’s got a .189 BABIP against and a 92.7% LOB% in that span, so it is a hard pace to keep up. He does have a 26.1% Hard Hit% against in that span, so he’s done a masterful job of staying away from loud contact.
I’m not sure there’s a great edge to be had in this game. The under probably makes some sense, but it is a day game and the ball may carry a bit better in San Diego during the day.
Reese Olson and Zack Wheeler do battle here as the Phillies are lined as a very heavy favorite. Olson’s debut against the White Sox was a good one with just two runs on two hits and six strikeouts out of 19 batters faced. We were on the Tigers in that one, but they failed to score against Mike Clevinger and got shut out. That’s the problem with the Tigers. They have a little bit of pitching, but their offensive projection is so low on a nightly basis that it’s tough to want to back them.
You would think that their offensive output would be quite low here against Wheeler, who has a 4.33 ERA, but a 3.54 xERA and a 2.85 FIP in 68.2 innings of work. He’s got some excellent peripherals, but a 64.2% LOB% is indicative of a lot of bad luck in high-leverage spots. That was evident last time out against the Nationals with seven runs allowed on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work. He only struck out three of the 20 batters that he faced.
I will say that it wasn’t all bad luck for Wheeler in that outing. He allowed a 56.3% Hard Hit%, so the Nationals made some good contact. In fact, he’s allowed a 45.6% Hard Hit% and seven barrels in his last five starts, with six of those barrels in his last three starts. He’s not commanding the ball as well as usual and has given up at least four runs in three of those five starts.
I thought about Tigers +1.5 here, but with the low total of 7.5, we’re only getting even money on that, so it doesn’t seem like a great investment. The Phillies do have a top-10 offense against righties, which is a bit of a bummer as well. If Olson was left-handed, I’d really consider taking the big underdog price, although the line probably wouldn’t be as big as it is.
Either way, another game that just doesn’t seem to have a big betting edge.
Is today the day that Jordan Lyles finally gets thrown a bone? The Royals are 0-12 in his 12 starts, but he allowed one run on a solo homer against the Rockies last time out with eight strikeouts in five innings. Lyles had easily his best start of the season and the team still lost. He has a 6.89 ERA with a 6.13 FIP and a whole lot of ugliness in his numbers.
Lyles has allowed 17 home runs in just 66.2 innings of work. The amazing thing is that he’s only allowed a 35.1% Hard Hit%, but he’s allowed 26 barrels for a 12.3% Barrel%. For some reason, he’s not inducing ground balls at all anymore and living as a fly ball pitcher is not going very well for him. It’s possible that today’s game sets up about as well as possible against a Marlins lineup that is 22nd in wOBA against righties and it comes in a park that suppresses power.
The problem is that Edward Cabrera is a tough matchup. He’s got a 29.9% K% and a 14.2% BB%, so over 44% of his plate appearances end in a strikeout or a walk, but he’s only allowed more than three runs twice in his 12 starts. That doesn’t give a bum like Lyles a whole lot of margin for error. The Royals also strike out quite a bit and have never really seen Cabrera. He faced a similar team in the A’s last time out and had 10 strikeouts over six innings with just one walk allowed.
I can’t see a really good projection for the Royals here and certainly not one good enough to take the chance of backing Lyles. That being said, Lyles has a 50.2% LOB% and some peripherals that suggest that he shouldn’t be quite as bad as he’s been.
It seems unlikely that the Brewers would trade Corbin Burnes in a wide-open (and terrible) NL Central race, but you never know. If they do, Baltimore would likely be one of the biggest suitors, so this is a little bit of an interesting storyline going into this game. The Orioles ran into some bad luck in high-leverage yesterday, as bloopers, bleeders, walks, and stolen bases took a win and turned it into a loss.
Let’s see which version of Burnes we get in this outing. He has a 3.75 ERA with a 4.59 FIP in his 69.2 innings of work. His K% is down from 30.5% to 22.8% and his BB% is up from 6.4% to 9.7%. The weird part, though, is that his Hard Hit% is nearly identical to last season and his BABIP is actually lower. He is on track for a higher home run rate, but the bigger problem is that his GB% is down over 5% this year. Add that to a decreased K% and he’s just giving up more of the contact that hurts the most like doubles and homers.
I’m not really a big Dean Kremer guy. He has a 4.43 ERA with a 6.38 xERA and a 4.59 FIP this season across 65 innings of work. Last season, his xERA was over a run higher than his actual ERA. This season, his K% is up, but so is his home run rate and he’s allowed a sky-high 48.8% Hard Hit% and a 10.4% Barrel%. As punchless as the Brewers lineup has been for quite some time now, this is a really ugly contact management profile and a very tough one to bet into no matter the opponent.
Another game that just doesn’t carry a lot of betting intrigue for me.
How about the run that Jon Gray is on right now? Gray has allowed three earned runs over his last five starts and just fired seven shutout innings against the Mariners with five strikeouts and just two hits allowed. He has a 0.79 ERA with a 2.87 FIP in his last 34 innings with 32 strikeouts against six walks. He’s only allowed two homers in that span.
Sure, you have to take it with some grains of salt, given that he’s faced the Mariners twice, A’s, Rockies, and Orioles, so not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents, but the big uptick in K% is really important because he didn’t have much swing and miss early in the season. He also has the backing of an elite defense behind him, as he’s allowed just 18 hits over those five starts.
We’ll see if he can keep it rolling against the Cardinals, who just may not have it in them to turn this season around. This is still a top-10 offense by wOBA against righties at .326 with a 108 wRC+, but the pitching continues to be a huge problem. Jack Flaherty is today’s starter and he has a 4.55 ERA with a 4.61 xERA and a 4.44 FIP in his 63.1 innings of work.
Since a 10-run debacle back on May 4 against the Angels, Flaherty has allowed just eight runs in his last five starts with a 28/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s done a masterful job of limiting hard contact with a 27.5% Hard Hit% and just four barrels allowed, with only one of them in his last four starts.
Gray is overperforming now and his last five starts have been against teams that rank 24th, 28th, 12th (Colorado, but game was in Texas, Rockies are 24th in road wOBA vs. RHP), and 15th in wOBA against RHP. The Rangers don’t walk much, which is about their one flaw offensively. Flaherty has limited hard contact well and his glaring problem has been issuing walks.
I keep going back to this, but the Rangers have a batting average 45 points higher than anybody else with RISP. This just isn’t sustainable. I’d like to think a guy like Flaherty who limits hard contact could be one of the pitchers capable of keeping them under wraps. I think the Cardinals are worth a shot today.
Pick: Cardinals +130
Jameson Taillon and Jaime Barria wrap up the card for today with a matchup out at the Big A. Taillon finally got rewarded a bit for his efforts last time out with one run allowed on three hits in 5.2 innings against the Padres. I spent a lot of time looking at him prior to that start because he’s run so bad this season and deserves a little bit of good fortune.
He’s got a 7.05 ERA with a 4.12 FIP in 37 innings of work with 35 strikeouts against 11 walks. He’s only allowed a 38.3% Hard Hit% and 12 barrels in nine starts, but he’s had absolutely no luck with men on base or men in scoring position. He’s allowed a .297 wOBA with the bases empty compared to a .410 with men on base and a .428 with RISP.
He’s got a .348 BABIP and a 50% LOB%, so he’s really run on the wrong side of variance in those two metrics. Better days should be ahead for him, as he has an 8.61 ERA with a 5.50 FIP in his last 23 innings since returning from injury. I’m not saying that it’s a profile that I’m eager to bet into, but it is one that stands out as a positive regression candidate.
Jaime Barria has been really good for the Angels this season, as he makes a start on extended rest today. He’s made two starts out of his last three appearances with one run allowed on six hits with 12 strikeouts against three walks. He had an ugly relief appearance in extra innings in between, but he’s got a 1.59 ERA with a 3.11 FIP in 34 innings of work.
Barria has allowed just a 25.6% Hard Hit% and only two barrels on the season. He’s been remarkably valuable for the Angels and now that he’s in the rotation more often, I would imagine his contributions carry a bit more weight.
With all of that, I thought about the under 9, but I guess I still have some reservations about Taillon, despite the negative Cluster Luck and the positive regression signs. These two bullpens have also been a little rocky over the last two weeks.
LAD/CIN Over 11 (-120)