Whenever I watch a Padres game, I’m shocked over and over again by the lack of effort when this team is behind. Three runs in the second inning, then a bunch of nothing. The Dodgers vs. Rockies over wasn’t even close; the Rockies had three hits. We did smack that under in Chicago, so we came out behind, but it wasn’t a disaster of a day.
Back in the saddle with two picks today and a PrizePicks entry. Let’s roll.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 96-91 (+1.52 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.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Baltimore Orioles @ 7:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Luke Weaver vs. Kyle Gibson
I seriously thought about betting every over in this series. We cashed both halves of the over in game one, but I had to stay away when I saw the two aces of each team squaring off yesterday. Today, both teams are throwing bottom-of-the-rotation arms when both offenses are due to explode.
Luke Weaver never has a good matchup, but Kyle Gibson certainly doesn’t. Normally I’ll queue up stats to get a larger sample, but June 6th is a very key date for the Reds. That’s when Elly De La Cruz was called up and changed the perplexity of this Reds lineup. Elly has shown to have some real early troubles against left-handed pitching, putting up a .286 OPS in 21 ABs. In 56 ABs against right-handed pitching, he’s slashing .357/.429/.679 with a 1.107 OPS. He’s a game-changer against right-handers. You also have Jake Fraley, posting a .913 OPS against righties compared to a .226 OPS against lefties. The Reds better split used to be against lefties, but we have to adjust now.
Since June 6, the Reds have the sixth-best wRC+ in baseball against right-handed pitching at 125. They have the third-ranked OPS and ISO (Isolated Power). They can hit the long ball and are going up against Kyle Gibson and his 4.48 xFIP, 4.92 xERA, and 4.78 SIERA. Nothing about Kyle Gibson impresses me right now. He’s in the bottom 25% in strikeouts, xERA, whiff rate, Hard-Hit rate; you name it. After facing a much better right-hander in Tyler Wells, Kyle Gibson should be in trouble today.
Luke Weaver is also in for a tough matchup. Funny enough, since June 6th, the Orioles sit right behind the Reds in wRC+ against right-handed pitching. They have been very aggressive, rarely taking walks to a 6.6%, ranking 28th in the league. Weaver is an aggressive pitcher who fills up the strike zone, only to be killed by hard contact, sitting in the 25th percentile. Weaver wants to throw strikes, and the Orioles hit strikes and hit them hard.
The Reds’ bullpen is completely wasted at this point. If they don’t get length from Weaver, which is doubtful, they will start throwing some guys we’ve never heard of. They have three of their best relief pitchers lined up on Baltimore’s side, but Gibson should allow plenty of damage anyway. I like the Reds to score early against Gibson, while the Orioles should be scoring all game.
Camden Yards is also the second-highest projected run-scoring environment of the day, sitting at 11% above average with a 21% increase in home runs. Both starters are due for home runs, and the park is screaming for it.
The Pick: Reds vs Orioles Over 9 (-120)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Arizona Diamondbacks @ 9:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Zach Eflin vs. Zach Davies
The battle of Zach’s face-off in Arizona with a closed roof at Chase Field. Believe it or not, closing the roof at Chase Field helps the pitchers, knocking about a half run off projections with the roof open. In this article, they studied games in Arizona with the roof open versus closed since the franchise’s inception. The OPS falls from .802 to .761, and the runs per game fall by more than a half run. Yesterday’s game flew over with the roof closed, and now I think the total is over-inflated.
Zach Davies isn’t good at all, but he’s nowhere near as bad as his 7.82 ERA would tell you. Every ERA estimator has him between 4.18 and 5.12. He’s not good by any means, but he’s not the pitcher we’ve seen. In his last three starts, he’s allowed 18 earned runs. Maybe I’m crazy, but that’s so bad that I think he’s due for a normal start. I don’t expect him to dominate, but I expect three runs over five innings.
Since May began, the Rays’ offense against righties on the road is at 107, which is pretty solid. However, in the last 30 days, it’s fallen to 92 wRC+. The offense, in general, hasn’t been as lethal as it was to start the season, and I think we are still seeing that in this line. For example, I think there is an argument that Zach Davies is the same level of pitcher as Kyle Gibson, even though the ERA’s would tell you a different story.
We have Zach Eflin for the Rays, who has not been good on the road this season. He is good at getting out left-handed hitters, holding them to a tiny .541 OPS this season. The Diamondbacks will throw out five left-handed hitters, Perdomo, Marte, Carroll, Thomas, and McCarthy. Eflin’s 3.07 xERA sits in the 86th percentile, bordering on elite. Personally, I don’t think he’s that good, but I do think he’s a very solid starter who’s had a few bad road starts.
He’s a sinker/cutter/curveball pitcher, and Carroll and Marte have been very good against sinkers. Eflin has one of the best sinkers in the league from a quality-of-contact standpoint. This should be a good battle, and I like Eflin’s chances.
As we can see, both bullpens are nearly at 100%. As long as these two starting pitchers don’t get destroyed, I think runs stall late in this ballgame. I’m not here to tell you this game ends 2-1, but 9.5 is just too many runs.
The Pick: Rays vs. Diamondbacks Under 9.5 (-115) 1.15 U to win 1 U
PrizePicks Entry 0.2 U to win 0.4 U
First Leg: Elly De La Cruz Over 8.5 Fantasy Score
He’s been too damn quiet for too damn long. He’s really struggled in his last three games, but he faced some tough pitchers. Wells and Morton are far better than Gibson, and then he faced a bunch of left-handers. He’s too good against right-handers to be held down for long, and there is always the chance he steals a base. We don’t have enough data to look at individual pitches this early, but I’m betting on a bounce-back performance against a pitcher whose worse split is against left-handers.
Second Leg: Braxton Garrett Under 27.5 Fantasy Score
I reeaaaallllyyy wanted to bet on the Red Sox today, but I couldn’t back a bullpen game. I wanted to back them because I like the Red Sox matchup against Braxton Garrett. In the last 30 days, this Red Sox team ranks fifth in wRC+ and fourth in OPS at home. Garrett’s been the king of the strikeout lately, but the Red Sox don’t strike out; they are in the bottom three in the league against lefties. Garrett’s lines are incredibly low with how he’s been pitching, and this is my way of backing the Red Sox tonight.