MLB schedule today has 15 games
Wednesday brings us a full day of baseball, as we have games early and games late to get through the middle of the week blues. All 30 teams are in action and the schedule format remains the same for today with seven games in each league and then one lone interleague game. It is going to be an important day for a lot of teams and a less important day for others, but each game has its fair share of betting opportunities.
I’ll hit on as many as I can here, keeping in mind that there are some day games with very limited lead time.
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Here are some thoughts on the September 6 card (odds from DraftKings):
Just dropping in here with this game to mention that we’ve got a total of 11 with a nice, summer day in Chicago and winds blowing out to CF at a 10-15 mph clip. The ball should travel well for Alex Wood against Jordan Wicks, as the Giants opt not to go with an opener here and the Cubs send out Wicks, who is making just his third MLB start.
Wicks is left-handed and the Giants have had major issues with lefties, while Wood is also left-handed and the Cubs have been way better against righties in the second half, so I guess we’ll see how this one goes, but the hitting conditions are quite good on the North Side.
Zack Wheeler and Michael Wacha square off in this one, as the Phillies head out of town following this game and enjoy a Thursday travel day. The Padres are also skipping town, as they head out to Houston. Philadelphia goes home to host Miami in a huge series for both teams.
Wheeler, who is getting zero buzz for the NL Cy Young, actually leads the league in fWAR at 5.4. He has a 3.62 ERA with a 3.14 xERA and a 2.97 FIP in his 164 innings of work. Wheeler’s elite K/BB ratio is a big part of why his numbers look so strong, but he also has just a 9.5% HR/FB% on the season, so he’s been really good at limiting the long ball. The low walk rate is particularly important today against the Padres, who have drawn a lot of walks in the second half and throughout the season to boost their offensive profile.
As far as Wacha goes, there have been regression signs in the profile for him throughout the season. He has a 2.85 ERA with a 4.31 xERA and a 3.86 FIP over 107.1 innings of work. He’s running a .254 BABIP with an 82.7% LOB%. If Wheeler had his LOB%, he’d be running away with the Cy Young, but his sits at 71%, which is just below the league average.
Wacha has a 2.91 ERA with a 4.46 FIP in four starts since coming back from injury, so everything has remained pretty consistent. I just think Wheeler has a higher ceiling and I’ve been waiting for Wacha to run into a bad start for a while now. Hopefully it is today.
Also, while the Phillies lost yesterday, they got to give all of their relievers a day off, so I’m happy with where the bullpen is for this one. I think they win and then enjoy their flight home.
Pick: Phillies -112
I feel like this line is a little bit low, but Lance Lynn has gone back to his old ways and it hasn’t been pretty. LA dusted him with some Dodger Magic right after he was acquired from the White Sox, but his last few starts have shown that old habits die hard. Perhaps he can get back on track against a Marlins team that struggles with righties and in a park that typically suppresses offense, but it is a bit of an ask for him to turn it around.
Lynn has allowed 11 runs on 17 hits in his last 10.1 innings and allowed five home runs. The Marlins are nowhere near the levels of the Braves and Red Sox, but Lynn also has a total of five strikeouts in his last three starts over 77 batters faced and that is a huge red flag, irrespective of who the opponent is.
The Marlins will go with opener JT Chargois in front of either Edward Cabrera, who was recently recalled from Triple-A, or Bryan Hoeing. Cabrera certainly has the higher ceiling for a team fighting for a Wild Card spot, so I anticipate that it would be him, but he could be a tough matchup against a very patient Dodgers lineup. Cabrera has been in the minors since getting sent down on July 31. He has a 4.79 ERA with a 4.67 FIP in 77 innings.
In his five minor league starts, he had 30 strikeouts over 28.1 innings with 12 walks. He gave up a couple homers, but only allowed seven runs on 20 hits. Guess we’ll see if the adjustments that the Marlins worked on in the minors will transition to the MLB level.
Joan Adon and Jose Butto are the listed starters here, as the Mets and Nationals keep playing out the string of the season. The Nats have dropped six in a row as some pent-up regression is taking hold. I wrote yesterday about how they had a winning record in the second half with a run differential swung way to the negative side. Yesterday’s 11-5 loss didn’t help.
Adon grades as one of the worst starters in the game, but Butto’s MLB returns have not been nice to see either. Butto has allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 14.2 innings at the MLB level with 14 walks against 10 strikeouts. In the minors, he has a 5.93 ERA over 91 innings. As much as I’d like to fade Adon, especially with the Mets swinging it a little bit better lately, I can’t bet on Butto and that profile. I’m also not interested in looking for 12 runs from two teams that aren’t playing for anything.
I didn’t have any lead time on this game to really go in detail, but the Guardians are a fade team to me the rest of the way. They got bludgeoned in the first two games by the Twins. Their AL Central hopes are completely dashed and I wouldn’t be surprised if Minnesota dances on their graves in today’s game.
Terry Francona unofficially officially announced his retirement yesterday on a SiriusXM hit, so that distraction will be present for the team over the remaining few weeks of the season. Cleveland has been torn all year between trying to contend and get young players some experience, while ultimately failing at both, at least on the position player side.
The kids should play every game going forward, but I don’t think that Francona, who had a fringy MLB career himself, will do that to the veteran guys that he loves. They’re between a rock and a hard place the rest of the way and I think the results will show it. The young arms are no longer pitching in a competitive environment as they all reach new innings highs and Cleveland may even scale some of them back, which will lead to more Hunter Gaddis and more guys of that ilk.
They were probably worthy of being a fade today and will be a fade-worthy bunch moving forward.
Just wanted to drop in quickly on this game and mention that the Blue Jays have pulverized lefties in the second half and get one today in JP Sears who gives up a lot of homers. It’s a day game in Oakland, so the ball should travel a bit better with temps in the mid-70s and a little bit of humidity, not to mention a breeze blowing out.
It is still a getaway day game for the Jays, who come back and host the lowly Royals, but I think they should have their hitting shoes on in this one against Sears.
Not that this is an overly competitive line, but it is interesting to see Nick Pivetta at such a big underdog price given what he’s done throughout the last 3+ months of the season. Pivetta was bumped out of the rotation, but found himself in the bullpen, posting a 3.48 ERA and 3.51 FIP over his last 72.1 innings of work. However, he’s allowed 19 runs on 29 hits in his last 31.1 innings of work. A lot of the old habits are back, as he’s allowed eight homers in those eight appearances and a good bit of hard contact.
It’s a reminder that the betting markets look much more at smaller sample sizes than they do the season as a whole and current form is something that I’m going to have to think more about next season. I typically look for a lot of negative regression signs in the overall profile, but I may need to cut back on that and honestly discredit a lot of what I believe about sample size and think about the game differently.
As for Tyler Glasnow, he has just been so dominant for the Rays in so many facets, as he has come back from injury, stayed healthy, and pitched extremely well. He had a random blow-up against the Angels and one against the Orioles that account for 13 of the 33 earned runs he has allowed over 16 starts.
I guess this game was just about the future and thinking about the adjustments that I need to make to my MLB handicapping.
I learned my lesson about betting on the White Sox yesterday. They jumped all over Brady Singer and led 6-0 after the top of the third. They proceeded to not score another run and lost 7-6 on a walk-off balk. The Royals now have 4.55% of their wins via walk-off balk this season.
To illustrate how sad and pathetic the White Sox are, Jordan Lyles is a favorite tonight. The Royals have won four of the 26 games started by Lyles this season. Lyles allowed two runs on four hits over eight innings against the Red Sox last time out, but had allowed 35 runs over his previous seven starts.
Touki Toussaint has not pitched well himself, as he’s allowed 21 runs in his last six starts. He does have 35 strikeouts in 28.2 innings, but has also walked 23 guys. I think some people will blindly fade Lyles as a favorite, but Toussaint and the White Sox very much deserve to be an underdog here. I wasted my time once with this series and actually got in a good position to win a bet, even though it was not to be. I’m not bothering again.
This one should be fun in Texas. Although, nothing has been fun in Texas in this series for the Rangers, as backup catcher Austin Hedges has pitched in back-to-back games. The Astros have put a beating on them and will look for the sweep with Justin Verlander on the bump against Max Scherzer.
Scherzer has made six starts in a Rangers uniform and has a 2.21 ERA with a 2.47 FIP. He’s apparently going through some forearm discomfort, but has only allowed nine runs on 19 hits in 36.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 47 and walked 12, while not allowing more than three runs in any of those starts. Righties have a .283 wOBA against him for the season and he has an 86/11 K/BB ratio in that split, so this should be a good matchup for him against Houston’s right-handed-heavy offense.
On the other hand, the Astros are swinging it rather well right now and Texas is not. Will the Rangers get it figured out against Verlander? They could, especially if he pitches like he did last time out when he allowed six runs on eight hits, including four homers, in six innings. Verlander has a 3.86 ERA with a 4.69 FIP in six starts with Houston.
I think this is a fun game, dripping with storylines and intrigue, but I would not call it a fun game to bet on.
The Orioles had chances to cover the run line, but also had chances to lose the game, as they won 5-4 last night in Anaheim. They’ll look for the sweep tonight with Kyle Gibson on the hill against Patrick Sandoval. The Angels have lost five in a row and eight of nine as yet another season spirals out of control for them.
Fortunately, it seems like they dodged a bullet with Shohei Ohtani’s oblique injury, but I’d be surprised to see him back in the lineup tonight. I’d be surprised if his representatives didn’t just request for him to be shut down for the season. There’s no reason to keep putting his body at risk with free agency on the horizon.
Gibson has a 5.15 ERA with a 4.71 xERA, but his 4.03 FIP suggests that he’s been pretty unlucky. His 66.2% LOB% does as well, but sometimes that’s what you run into with low-strikeout pitchers and that’s precisely what he is. He has a 6.60 ERA with a 4.32 FIP and a 3.60 xFIP in his last 13 starts. He’s allowed at least five runs five times in that span. It’s been a struggle to say the least and he had two starts in August where he allowed three homers. If the Angels are going to steal a game, it’s probably this one.
I’m hoping some pitching-savvy team gets Patrick Sandoval the hell out of Anaheim this winter. He’s got a 4.19 ERA with a 4.52 xERA and a 4.08 FIP, but I think he’s capable of so much more and I don’t really think the Angels can consistently get him there. He had a 2.91 ERA with a 3.91 xERA and a 3.09 FIP last season with over a strikeout per inning and I think that’s a lot closer to what his baseline should be.
Nothing from me here. Sandoval hasn’t pitched very well of late with 17 runs allowed in his last four starts, but I think he’s got some pretty high upside.
Logan Gilbert and Lyon Richardson are the listed hurlers here, as the Reds have taken the first two games of the series. Gilbert has been living right for quite a while now. He’s got a 3.56 ERA with a 3.66 FIP on the season despite a good bit of hard contact. He’s allowed a 44% Hard Hit% and a 9.5% Barrel% on the year in 27 starts. Recently, he’s allowed a ton of hard contact. His HH% in the second half is 54.5% with a 9.7% Barrel%.
Yet he has a 3.38 ERA with a 4.10 FIP in his nine starts. He hasn’t been the losing pitcher yet with five wins and no losses. He’s given up 10 homers and only 54 hits, despite all that hard contact. He also has an 87.8% LOB% in that span. His ERA in the second half (3.38) is lower than his ERA in the first half (3.66), even though he’s +44 in BA, +35 in OBP, and +96 in SLG. He allowed 13 HR In 108.1 innings in the first half and already has the 10 in 53.1 innings in the second half. I really think that he’s in line for a rough outing.
Will it happen today against the Reds? I’m not sure. Rain is in the forecast and that worries me. It will be warm and humid and this is a good ballpark for offense. The Reds may need the runs, as they’ve recalled Richardson, who has allowed nine runs on 10 hits in 12 MLB innings with nine strikeouts against 11 walks. He has pitched exceptionally well in the minors, but it hasn’t translated to MLB yet.
I gave a lot of thought to the Reds today, but Richardson is just too tough to trust. Reds +1.5 at -110 may not be a bad look, but the risk of ruin on Richardson is a little high. Just the one play for me today, as today’s card doesn’t yield a lot of good edges in my mind.