Another winner yesterday! We’ve sustained a nice little run, winning six of our last eight picks. It could have been better if Andrew McCutchen came through. Dylan Cease went under his strikeout total for the first leg of the PrizePicks entry, and all we needed was seven fantasy points from Cutch. He went hitless, and we were left with a loser.
Even with it, we came out ahead after Alex Bregman hit a grand slam to give us an easy winner through the first five innings of Angels vs. Astros. We are back again with two MLB picks to round out the week.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 81-63 (+13.98 U)
PrizePicks Record: -2.4 U
I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a risk-free $1000 bet. You can also use code “JBFANS” if you’re betting on MLB. Wager $10 on any MLB moneyline and receive $100 once the bet is settled.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
Baltimore Orioles vs. San Francisco Giants @ 4:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Tyler Wells vs. Anthony DeSclafani
This game immediately shot out at me for a few reasons.
To start, the Orioles put up a goose egg yesterday. They lost 4-0 after being shut out by Alex Cobb and two innings from the Giants bullpen. They didn’t hit much in the first game either, as the Giants got an excellent outing from Logan Webb, but the Orioles worked their typical magic and came out with a 3-2 win. The Orioles are a better team than the Giants and should win this series.
The only thing the Giants have over the Orioles is their production against right-handed pitching. The line isn’t broken; it’s understandable why the Giants would be favorites here. The Giants have been a great offense this season against right-handed pitching, sitting with the 5th best wRC+ this season at 110 and a 99 wRC+ in the last month. The Orioles have a 99 wRC+ this season and a 90 wRC+ in the past month.
That’s where the edge stops. The Orioles have the superior arm on the hill in Tyler Wells. They are around the same by ERA, but Wells’ 3.65 xERA is a full run better than DeSclafani’s at 4.52. DeSclafani’s best trait is his ability to limit free passes, but the Orioles’ best trait is hitting the ball hard, not taking walks. They rank in the upper half of hard-hit rate but the bottom half in walk rate. DeSclafani’s worst trait is his inability to limit hard contact, sitting in the 11th percentile.
Tyler Wells has a very interesting matchup. He’s going head-to-head against a team that is near the top five in Hard-Hit rate. Wells does a much better job of limiting that, but his elevated strikeout rate sets him apart from his previous seasons. The Giants strike out the third most in baseball against righties. Wells can be effective today if he continues his actions, limiting hard contact and getting the Giants to swing and miss. DeSclafani is more playing into what the Orioles want to do.
The Orioles didn’t use Yennier Cano, Felix Bautista, or Danny Coulombe yesterday, their three best relievers. These are a few of the elite bullpen arms in the game, so if the Giants can’t perform against Wells, they shouldn’t have much of a shot. It’s exactly the formula they used in the first game. Kremer gave up two runs, and those three shut the door. The Giants bullpen is relatively well rested, but their best, Camilo Doval, did throw yesterday.
This should be another battle, but I’m taking the better pitcher in this one. The Orioles are a full go at plus money, for anything below that; I would just slightly lower the unit size. That said, the model has them capped as -130 favorites, so seeing value up to -110.
The Pick: Baltimore Orioles ML (+108) 1 U to win 1.08 U
Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks @ 4:10 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Michael Soroka vs. Zac Gallen
This total seems a little high for a Zac Gallen start… does it not?
Not only is it a touch high, but it also hasn’t been reached in this series so far. Neither offense has been impressive so far in this series, but I think both can break out today.
Zac Gallen has been unbelievable at home this season, which makes the high total even more suspicious. He’s thrown 41 innings at home this season and allowed just three earned runs which give him a 0.66 ERA. With all due respect to Gallen, that’s due to come back down to earth; no pitcher can sustain that level of success.
Gallen has been fantastic from a production standpoint, but he does have the same xERA as Tyler Wells, who we just spoke about at 3.65. He is giving up the hardest contact of his career and will face a Braves team that lives off hitting the ball hard.
While the Braves production against right-handers sits around the league average, they rank fifth in baseball in the last month in Hard-Hit rate. Gallen has only allowed two home runs this year; I think we see that number creep up today.
Michael Soroka is on the other side, who has a tough matchup today. We faded him against the A’s and came out on top. I thought he pitched better than the results, but he’s still recovering from multiple injuries that have kept him out of major league baseball since 2020.
He’s facing a Diamondbacks lineup that has been stellar against right-handed pitching. They have been a better offense at home and against right-handed pitching this season by OPS and wRC+. In the last month, they rank eighth in wRC+ against righties and ninth over the entire season. The Diamondbacks want to put the ball in play and use their speed to gain advantages. Soroka isn’t a strikeout guy, so the contact should be plentiful.
I like the high-leverage arms for the Diamondbacks, but not all will be fresh and available. Kevin Ginkel has thrown in two of the last three games, and Miguel Castro has thrown in back-to-back games. Andrew Chafin should be fresh, but the Braves are one of baseball’s best against lefties. The Braves can hit any bullpen in the sport, so I’m not too worried. The Braves had three of their better arms throw yesterday so they won’t be as fresh either. I want to be scared of AJ Minter, but he’s been terrible this season, rocking a 6.66 ERA.
The model has this game capped at 9.5. They have both offenses turning in successful days against the pitchers and the projected bullpen arms. It’s currently projected that the roof will be closed, but I’d expect a jump up in the projection if it is open, which normally adds a quarter of a run to the total. If the roof opens, it’s totally playable at nine; if not, stick with 8.5.