MLB schedule today has 16 games
Happy Hump Day, baseball fans. Just like yesterday, we’ve got 16 games on the board thanks to a doubleheader, as unplayable conditions washed out the Marlins/Mets game at Citi Field. They’ll play two today and the Marlins don’t have Thursday off, so the bullpen will have to weather a storm of its own in order to make the postseason push the rest of the week.
That gives us seven games in the NL, six in the AL, and three interleague matchups, as we’ve got a surprising number of competitive lines given the stakes at this time of the year across the league. Let’s see what’s on the board for tonight and what looks like a good betting opportunity.
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Here are some thoughts on the September 27 card (odds from DraftKings):
Parties did take place in Philly and Milwaukee last night, as the Phillies secured a Wild Card spot with their sixth straight win. The Phillies are the No. 1 Wild Card because they won the season series 4-3 over Arizona and the Diamondbacks are five back with five games to play. So, Philadelphia has absolutely nothing to play for other than preparing for the postseason. That means setting up the rotation and keeping the bullpen fresh.
I would fully expect a hangover lineup tonight from the Phils and I would expect all of their key contributors to get a day or two off throughout the remainder of the week. That means Ranger Suarez may not get a whole lot of run support tonight against Johan Oviedo and the Pirates.
Suarez has a 3.89 ERA with a 3.95 FIP, so he’s pitched well overall this season. He allowed four runs on five hits last time out against the Mets, breaking a streak of seven straight starts with three or fewer runs allowed. He’s done a really good job of limiting hard contact with a 36.8% Hard Hit% and a 7.9% Barrel% in 353 batted ball events. Given that he won’t pitch for over a week, the Phillies will let him go as long as he can tonight.
Oviedo is finishing the season on a high note for the Pirates with the traditional metrics, but you’ve gotta look deeper. He’s allowed eight earned runs over his last six starts after a couple of rough outings in mid-August. Oviedo is having issues with walks, as he’s walked 17 guys in his last four starts, so that would be the concern here, along with a lot of hard contact in that span. He’s got a 3.44 ERA in his last four starts, but a 5.11 FIP with all of those walks. He’s also allowed a 52.6% Hard Hit%.
While Oviedo’s numbers do scare me, the Phillies clinched in walk-off fashion and the Pirates have battled well in the second half. They said that they’re treating every game like a playoff game. I think they show up tonight and look for a dub. I also don’t think that the Phillies will use Craig Kimbrel, Jose Alvarado, or Jeff Hoffman tonight in a back-to-back setting with no reason to add unnecessary risks, so lesser guys will be used if the game is close.
Shop around, as +110 is the lowest number in the market at DK. Other places have a better line.
Pick: Pirates +110
Braxton Garrett will start Game 1 for the Marlins, presumably against Joey Lucchesi, as we should run back last night’s pitching matchup. We know that Kodai Senga will start Game 2 for the Mets, but the Marlins have not yet named a starter. I would presume we see an opener followed by Bryan Hoeing, but that remains to be seen.
We don’t have lines on either game this morning. The big takeaway here is that we’ll need to follow Miami’s bullpen very closely this week.
Last night was a devastating loss for Chicago. After jumping out to a 6-0 lead, the Cubs bullpen turned it into a game and then Seiya Suzuki completely whiffed on a fly ball with two on and two out in the eighth that led to two runs. The game never should have gotten to that position, but Suzuki had the miscue and the Cubs lost 7-6.
They have no choice but to pick themselves up now with Jameson Taillon on the hill against rookie Darius Vines. Taillon has a 5.05 ERA with a 4.66 FIP on the season in 144.1 innings of work. He’s had patches where he’s pitched well and he’s coming off of six scoreless against Colorado, but this is a big step up in class to say the least. He’s allowed 31 runs in his last 43.1 innings, but the defense has been an issue, as only 23 of the runs are earned.
Vines was an excellent story in his debut against the Rockies and made his mom very proud, but he’s struggled a little bit since then. Vines has allowed five runs in his three relief appearances over 8.1 innings of work. He only has four strikeouts out of 35 batters faced. And, like so many Braves pitchers, his role could be magnified in the postseason due to injury and ineffectiveness. (https://twitter.com/JomboyMedia/status/1697076975842611636)
The Braves got another bad start from Bryce Elder yesterday. Max Fried and Charlie Morton are hurt. The rotation right now is Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, Allan Winans, Elder, and Vines. Fried has a blister and the hope is that he’ll be fine by the postseason, but this bullpen is going to be wearing one with the guys in the rotation.
Vines had a 2.37 ERA in nine minor league starts, but I’m not sure he’s a viable MLB pitcher at this juncture, despite the promise he has shown. He allowed three runs in 3.1 innings five days ago against the Nationals.
With the Dodgers’ doubleheader split yesterday, the lead is four games for Atlanta for locking up the NL’s No. 1 seed and they’re close to locking up the No. 1 overall seed for home-field advantage in the World Series. I lean with the Cubs today, but it’s not a bet I think I can make with Taillon against this lineup.
The Brewers backed into it, but Chicago’s loss last night gave them the NL Central crown. I’m sure there was a celebration, but maybe a subdued one, as Milwaukee is not playing well right now. The Cardinals won 4-1 last night behind a strong effort from Miles Mikolas, who started in place of Zack Thompson, wiping out our bet.
Thompson goes tonight, but it’ll be against Wade Miley instead of Adrian Houser. I don’t really have much to say about this one. I don’t want to back Thompson for the reasons I mentioned yesterday and I’m definitely not interested in a struggling Brewers team with a potential hangover lineup. The Brewers have nothing to play for, as they’re locked into the No. 3 seed.
It’s easy to move past this one.
Skipping over Dodgers/Rockies (Sheehan/Davis)...
I dodged one last night by not fading the Padres, as they won 4-0 over the Giants. Kyle Harrison did not end up starting for San Francisco, as John Brebbia opened and Alex Wood bulked. Today, we know it will be Matt Waldron for the Padres and Sean Manaea for the Giants. Pitching changes are probably going to be pretty frequent this week, so keep an eye out for those.
Waldron had a really good outing last time out against the Cardinals with one run on three hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out a season-high nine and I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t had better returns. He throws a low-90s fastball and a knuckleball, which is one of the more unique arsenals that you will find.
Manaea had some issues early in the season, but he’s really performed well for a while now. He still has a 4.51 ERA with a 3.97 FIP, but he’s done well in his last three starts with four earned runs allowed and has a 2.56 ERA over his last 45.2 innings. He has an opt-out after the season, but I can’t imagine he’ll take it, despite the good close to the season.
I don’t have anything here with two pitchers that have shown well recently, but could just as easily go the other way based on their larger sample size. Plus, I have no idea how invested these two teams will be by first pitch.
Yesterday’s game did not go how I expected it to go, but the Rays still came away with the win in a 9-7 slugfest. The weather was not enjoyable at Fenway Park and not good for offense, but 16 runs were scored and virtually no pitcher was spared, including Rays starter Zach Eflin.
We’ll see if Tyler Glasnow can fare better today, as he comes in on a bit of a low. He’s allowed 14 runs in his last 15.1 innings of work. He’s also allowed a ton of hard contact lately. The strikeouts are still there because the stuff is so high-quality, but his 41.5% Hard Hit% isn’t indicative of how many batted balls he’s allowed just below the 95 mph threshold to be classified as “hard hit”.
The Red Sox will go with Brayan Bello, who just allowed eight runs on eight hits in just three innings to the Rangers. Bello has a 5.32 ERA with a 5.17 FIP in the second half and it has to be hard to focus on his job with a two-month old baby at home. He became a dad just after the All-Star Break and it has been a tough second half in a lot of respects. He’s allowed at least three runs in all but three of his 10 starts and has given up 14 homers.
I think Glasnow has a better chance at snapping out of it, but with both guys riding the struggle bus to work, I’ll just skip over a game in Boston where crazy things can happen.
Another gutsy performance from the Yanks last night, as they came away with a 2-0 win against the Jays. Michael King and Kevin Gausman traded zeroes and the Yankees outlasted the Jays with two runs in the top of the ninth. Now Toronto has to deal with Gerrit Cole. The Yankees will deal with Jose Berrios.
Cole comes in with a 2.75 ERA, 3.49 xERA, and a 3.21 FIP over 200 innings in what will be a Cy Young season. Cole actually hasn’t won the award yet, so good for him. He’s consistently been one of the game’s best since 2018 and spare me the spin rate/Spider Tack thing. A lot of guys were doing it, especially when they realized the advantage it could create. He’s also been pretty good since it was banned.
He’s certainly gone out there and earned the reward by allowing just seven earned runs over his last six starts, including eight dominant innings against the Jays last time out with nine strikeouts. It’s hard to do anything other than assume that he will pitch well again here.
But, much like yesterday, albeit with a lesser pitcher on the mound, you still have to look at the Yankees and wonder how much they can score against an above average righty. Berrios did allow four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings against the Yankees last time out. He’s also had a few rocky starts lately, giving up five runs in back-to-back starts to end August.
My guess is that this is another low-scoring game where the teams are left to battle it out with the bullpens. I’m not betting any more totals this regular season, so I don’t have an opinion on that. I’m just not sure we see a ton of offense tonight. Where that leaves this game when the final out is recorded, I don’t know.
Skipping over A’s/Twins (Estes/Lopez)...
Well, then. The Angels got a solid start from Reid Detmers and the Rangers got the opposite from Cody Bradford, as Los Angeles won 9-3 to end Texas’s six-game winning streak. Corey Seager also left the game hurt for the Rangers, so that’s a major concern going forward. It’s said to only be a forearm bruise, so surely the Rangers will be careful with him. He’s their most important hitter going into the playoffs.
Dane Dunning and Griffin Canning are the listed starters in this one, as Dunning comes in as a regression candidate with a 3.88 ERA, 4.65 xERA, and a 4.44 FIP in 162.1 innings of work. He has allowed 26 runs on 44 hits in his last 34.2 innings of work, so that regression has been very present of late.
Canning has a 4.39 ERA with a 4.27 FIP over his 121 innings. Since returning to the rotation on August 14, Canning has a 4.21 ERA, but a 3.51 FIP. He’s struck out 43 in 36.1 innings of work and only allowed five home runs, so he’s been throwing the ball pretty well. That being said, this isn’t a high enough price to take a really bad, really watered-down Angels team, even with how much I dislike Dunning’s metrics.
The teams have split the first two games in this series, so this is an enormous game on Wednesday. Seattle faces Texas for four games beginning tomorrow. Houston finishes the regular season against Arizona. The Mariners are a half-game back of the Astros in the Wild Card standings, so this is the biggest game of the season for both teams. That will be true of each successive game as well.
The Mariners will send out 25-year-old rookie Bryce Miller in this spot. Miller has a 4.17 ERA with a 4.81 xERA and a 3.84 FIP in 127.1 innings of work. He just allowed six runs to the Rangers and five runs to the Rays two starts ago, but both of those outings were on the road. Miller’s ERA is nearly two runs lower at home, where his wOBA against is also 50 points lower. He’s allowed 18 runs over his last six starts with a 5.46 ERA, but a 3.73 FIP, so there are positive regression signs in his recent returns.
Framber Valdez gets the nod for the ‘Stros. He’s got a 3.39 ERA with a 4.22 xERA and a 3.43 FIP in 194 innings of work. This type of workload is something Valdez had last season. It is not something that Miller has had, so we’ll see if that has any impact. I questioned George Kirby yesterday and he went out there and fired a gem, so maybe Miller will do the same.
Anyway, back to Valdez, who just allowed seven runs on four hits to the Royals with 10 strikeouts over 5.1 innings, it has been a wild second half. Valdez no-hit the Guardians on August 1 and had seven no-hit innings against Detroit on August 25. He’s got a 4.55 ERA with a 4.28 FIP in 13 starts and has allowed 47 runs in the 11 where he’s allowed a hit. He’s allowed five or more runs five times. There is a high degree of variance to his performance level over the last 2.5 months.
That makes this a really tough handicap. I can’t say that I like anything today.
Skipping over Diamondbacks/White Sox (Pfaadt/Patino)...
“Thank You Tito” night is tonight at Progressive Field. The Hall of Fame manager is retiring and his decade in Cleveland has been a very successful one. It’s time for the team and for Francona to move on, but I’m sure he’ll still be around in some capacity given his relationship with the front office.
As I talked about yesterday, I’m not really sure how strong the connections are with the current roster and Francona. I’m sure they were “playing for Tito” last night and lost, so there’s hardly a guarantee that they win today. Like I said, I think it’s almost more of a distraction. The Reds are out there playing baseball with a playoff spot on the line. Cleveland is playing for nothing except maybe the manager.
Shane Bieber at least has something to play for, as he heads to the hill for his second and final start of the second half. Bieber didn’t look sharp against the Orioles last time out and I don’t really expect him to look all that sharp here either. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits over five innings. He allowed a 56.3% Hard Hit% in that start and only averaged 90.6 mph with the fastball, so he didn’t really prove anything to me about being ready.
This line has come down a little bit because Cleveland is facing a lefty and their offensive numbers against lefties have been terrible all year long. Andrew Abbott has a 3.70 ERA with a 4.24 FIP in 107 innings of work. He hasn’t been as sharp lately as he was earlier in the season, but he draws a pretty good assignment here.
I am a bit worried about the Reds bullpen today, though. Alexis Diaz has worked three of four days with 58 pitches. Lucas Sims has been used four of the last five. Fernando Cruz and Sam Moll both worked yesterday. The Guardians used all of their lesser reliever yesterday, so their higher-upside arms are all very rested.
I’ll fade Bieber and back Abbott here, but only for the 1st 5, as I think the Reds have a starting pitcher advantage. I’m only trading a few cents here and Bieber is the key part of the handicap to me.
Pick: Reds 1st 5 (+105)
Nothing from me on Nationals/Orioles, but just a reminder to look for those player props with the guys just shy of round numbers that I talked about yesterday. Even guys with 19 homers or something like that are likely to be swinging for it. None of the guys with 29 homers went deep yesterday and it is NOT a blind bet, but handicap the pitcher and see if the situation fits.
Reds 1st 5 (+105)