We gave it a good run with the Pirates. I still think the Dodgers were way too overvalued in that spot; they ended up closing at +165 at first pitch. That’s a good sign that the bet was on the right side but didn’t hit. That’s been the season’s story so far, as we are back to even on the season.
We have not been nearly as close to what we were last year, but I will keep fighting. This will be my last pick until All-Star weekend, as I’ll travel to Seattle later today. Over the weekend, I’ll have plenty of draft day, Home Run Derby, and All-Star game picks.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 106-105 (+0.31 U)
I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a risk-free $1000 bet.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
All Bullpen Screenshots are courtesy of Rotowire.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers @ 6:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Alek Manoah vs. Alex Faedo
Come on. This bet was born to be mine.
First, I want to clear something up. I’m not a hypocrite. Yesterday, we spoke about how Julio Urias was returning from the IL, and I’ve faded pitchers coming back from injuries before, and it’s been profitable. This is Alex Faedo’s first start off the IL, but have you seen his injury?
Alex Faedo was recovering from a fingernail being removed. A fingernail. This wasn’t a hamstring, oblique, shoulder, elbow, foot, or anything major. At first glance, I was worried about how he would perform, and maybe he won’t pitch well, but a fingernail can’t give me any real cause for concern.
Alek Manoah is back. He made headlines for his horrific start at the Florida Complex League, where he mostly faced teenagers and got blown up. He allowed 11 runs on ten hits and was removed before getting out of the third inning. He was moved up to AA ball and turned in an excellent start, tossing five innings of one-run ball with ten strikeouts. On the surface, that may look like he found it again, but I went back and watched that start after our guy Aram Leighton talked about it on our podcast.
What I saw from Alek Manoah did not appear in the stat sheet. His command was well below average, leading to three walks in those five innings. He did rack up the strikeouts but was behind on most counts. He went to his fastball and elevated it, past minor-league hitters for strikeouts. He’d throw his offspeed out of the zone, then dial up the fastball in order to get swing and miss. You can’t do that against big-league hitters, especially when his velocity has dropped from 93.6 MPH to 92.8 MPH this season. Granted, the fastball command was solid, but I’m willing to bet it isn’t as pristine in his first start back.
I think the Blue Jays rushed him. I don’t understand why the Blue Jays needed to do this, but it’s understandable when you consider they had a doubleheader yesterday. They were calling him up before they knew they would have one, so they must want to see him back before the All-Star break. If he’s fully back and turns everything around, so be it. It’s gambling, and I’m betting against it after watching his starts.
Alek Manoah had a 6.85 xERA before being sent down, sitting in the third percentile in Major League Baseball. His strikeout and walk rates are some of the worst in the league by Statcast percentile ranking, and he’s in the 25th percentile in Hard-Hit rate.
On the flip side, we have Alex Faedo, who is a young pitcher that I’ve taken a liking to. The results haven’t fully been there for him yet, sitting with an ERA above five. However, Statcast loves him. He sits with an xERA at 3.14 with a two percent walk rate and a strikeout rate above 25%. He doesn’t allow hard contact, and his main pitch, his four-seam fastball, has an opponent average of .191 and an xwOBA of .307. I think he has a relatively bright future ahead of him, and I think he’ll be effective today.
In the last 30 days, the Tigers have been better than the Blue Jays against right-handed pitching. They have a 101 wRC+ to the Blue Jays at 94. They have a .728 OPS compared to the Blue Jays at .702. They have a .170 ISO to the Blue Jays at .150. Over the full season, the Blue Jays are undoubtedly the better offense overall and against right-handed pitching, but the Tigers are performing better right now. That’s enough for me to bet them at plus money.
The Tigers’ bullpen is at an ideal rest point. Tyler Holten is extremely solid, so his being out of this one is not ideal. However, the team’s closer, Alex Lange, hasn’t thrown since July 1st, so he’s ready to go. Jason Foley should have arguably been the Tigers’ All-Star representative, and Jose Cisnero is also very good. This Tigers unit is a top-ten bullpen in the game, sitting at ninth in SIERA.
I’m high on the Blue Jays bullpen. They rank number two in SIERA but aren’t in a good rest spot. It’s not a bad rest spot either, as they should have Swanson ready to go, who is an elite arm. They did have to use the bulk of their bullpen yesterday, so we have to lower the projections slightly for this bullpen.
The model makes the Tigers -120 favorites in the full game and -111 through the first five, so we see plenty of value on this one. We’ve also seen some reverse line movement here, with more tickets on the Blue Jays but the line moving in favor of Detroit.
I’m fading Alek Manoah in every way. Give me the Tigers in every way possible.
The Pick: Tigers ML (+125) 0.5 U, Tigers First 5 ML (+120) 0.5 U, Tigers Team Total Over 4.5 (+120) 0.25 U
PrizePicks Entry 0.2 U to win 0.4 U
First Leg: Hunter Brown Over 6 Strikeouts
He is -165 to go over 5.5 strikeouts on BetMGM, and the model has him getting seven strikeouts. It makes sense, as the Mariners are striking out a lot lately. They have the third-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching in the last 30 days. I wanted to play the Astros to win this game, but without Altuve, the Astros lineup looks a bit thin, and Castillo has plenty of success against them. However, I do like Brown’s matchup a lot. Brown is in the 75th percentile in strikeout rate, and even when he doesn’t pitch well, the strikeouts are there. In his last start, he allowed 10 hits in four innings but got six strikeouts.
Second Leg: Tyler Glasnow Over 7.5 Strikeouts
Tyler Glasnow is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. The extension he gets with high-octane stuff is an incredible sight, and he’s really found his groove, punching out 23 batters in his last two starts. The Braves are not a high strikeout team, but Glasnow is one of the great strikeout artists in the game. He has a 30.7% K rate for his career and sits over 36% this season. The model has him at 8.3, and he’s -140 on BetMGM to surpass 7.5 strikeouts. This line may end up moving to eight, so if you like it, make sure to get at 7.5. He’s also in a good position to be stretched out, as the Rays’ bullpen has been used a ton in the past two games. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go over 10 strikeouts today.