Cash two more winners! We took over 8.5 in Braves vs. Diamondbacks, which ended on 13 runs. We took the Orioles to win the game, and they won 8-3. It was a great day, and now in our last 12 picks, we’ve won ten of them.
Runs like these are exciting; let’s make the most of it today with two more picks and a PrizePicks entry on a limited Monday slate.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 83-63 (+16.06 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.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ 8:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Brandon Bielak vs. Alek Manoah
One of these pitchers is getting crushed today, probably both, and instead of guessing which one, I’ll make a play on both of them.
It’s easy to rag on Alek Manoah throughout the season, but Brandon Bielak is the guy going under the radar. Bielak has been one of baseball’s luckiest pitchers up to this point. It’s hard to maintain a 3.19 ERA when you sit in the 18th percentile in Hard Hit rate and sit in the bottom half of both walk and strikeout rates.
Bielak is rocking a 5.48 xERA, a 5.16 FIP, and a 4.43 SIERA. He’s also had a relatively easy schedule thus far. His toughest test against right-handed pitching this year was the Giants, where he allowed two runs in four innings in his first start.
The Blue Jays are one of four teams with a wRC+ above 110 against right-handed pitching. He’s also had more struggles on the road, putting up a 3.86 ERA, a 6.96 FIP, and a 5.31 xFIP. He’ll be on the road in the Rogers Centre; I don’t see him turning in anything special today. He’s why I’m not taking the Astros on the ML; I don’t like his matchup.
Then we have Alek Manoah. The most disappointing pitcher of 2023. Manoah finished third in AL CY Youg voting last season and now sits in the sixth percentile in xERA. He has the same xERA as Sean Manaea and is around the likes of Adam Wainwright, Luis Medina, and Eric Lauer.
Houston has been a league-average offense against righties this season, but they were top ten in May and sixth in the past two weeks. This Astros offense is only getting better, and now they get to face one of the worst pitchers in baseball.
The Blue Jays offense is the best against righties in the past two weeks. They get a pitcher who’s due for massive regression. On the flip side, the Astros’ offense is heating up, and they get to face a pitcher due for even more regression. I respect the bullpens, and while I do think this game eventually goes over, it’s the first five innings that should provide the offense today.
The model has these two teams exploding early, predicting 3.3 runs for both teams. 5.5 is a high total through five innings, but it’s high for a reason. Expect fireworks early.
The Pick: Astros vs. Blue Jays First 5 In Over 5.5 (-105) 1.05 U to win 1 U
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers @ 8:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Adam Wainwright vs. Martin Perez
Adam Wainwright looks like a shell of his former self, as does Martin Perez. These are two pitchers in bad scenarios facing fantastic offenses. This is a recipe for runs both early and often.
We just spoke about Alek Manoah and his 6.42 xERA and how it ranks as one of the worst in baseball. Wainwright has been even worse, sitting with a 6.46 xERA. He’s been at his worst on the road this season, putting up a 7.39 ERA and a 6.75 FIP. I’m not sure how long he will last if we are honest with each other.
He’s only striking out 12.9% of batters, by far the lowest of his career. Hitters are teeing off his most used pitch, the sinker, and simply laying off the curveball. Why would they swing at it? His only other pitches are his cutter and fastball, which are also being destroyed. The loss of Yadier Molina is apparent, and father time has him throwing in the mid 80’s with his three variations of fastballs.
He’ll be facing a juggernaut offense. We typically hate taking a team to put up runs after putting up so many in their previous two games, but this Rangers team is different. They have too many good hitters from top to bottom. They were supposed to have a let-down game yesterday, but it again turned into a 12-run outburst. They also get to stay at home, where they have a .878 OPS, by far the best of any team.
In the last two weeks, the Rangers have a 132 wRC+. Since May began, they rank number one against righties, and over the full season, they rank number two. This will be Wainwright’s hardest matchup of the year.
Let’s say he miraculously pitches well. It’s entirely possible; it’s baseball at the end of the day. This Cardinals bullpen sits in the middle of the pack in most statistics across the board, which some pointing to below-average production. Good luck facing the Rangers.
On the flip side, we have Martin Perez, who looks more and more like the 2021 version of the Red Sox rather than the elite arm last season. He’s rocking his lowest strikeout rate since 2018, and his 5.30 xERA is a touch better than that 2021 year, where he put up a 5.54 xERA. The hard-hit rate is back to being concerning, and he’s seen his velocity dip back down.
Perez will face a Cardinals team that ranks 8th in wRC+ this season against lefties with the seventh-highest ISO. What is working for Perez is his success pitching at home. He’s thrown three starts against the Phillies, Yankees, and Rockies. Respectively, those teams rank 30th, 26th, and 16th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. None of them have the firepower of the Cardinals. The only team that compares to the Cardinals against lefties is the Angels, who put up seven runs in 3.2 innings.
The Rangers’ bullpen is their one kryptonite; they rank 24th in ERA this season. They have three solid arms, Will Smith, Brock Burke, and Jose Leclerc. Leclerc has thrown 35 pitches in the past two games, so he probably won’t be available. The Rangers will follow Perez with two more lefties, whereas the Cardinals are in their better split. They are fine relievers, but there is no guarantee they pitch well against the Cardinals.
You could take the first five over, but the full game is where I’m attacking. The model has this game at 10.5, so we see plenty of value at 9.5. I see this game soaring.
The Pick: Cardinals vs. Rangers Over 9.5 (-105) 1.05 U to win 1 U
PrizePicks Entry 0.2 U to win 0.4 U
First Leg: Shane McClanahan Over 1.5 Walks
Fading Shane McClahan in most ways this year has resulted in a losing ticket as he’s been one of the front runners for the AL CY Young. The only issue with him has been his walk rate, as it’s risen to the highest it’s ever been at 9.6%. His walks are juiced towards -140 on BetMGM, and it makes sense. The Red Sox have seen him plenty of times and know how to beat him is to be patient. The Red Sox are rocking the fourth-highest walk rate in baseball this season against left-handed pitching sitting above 10%. With the odds the way they are, and the familiarity, I think he walks at least two batters today.
Second Leg: Mike Brosseau Over 0.5 Bases
One hit, Mike, that’s all we need. He is anywhere from -130 to -140 to go over 0.5 bases, and again, it makes sense why. He’s only registered one hit in his last five games and has been terrible this year against lefties. What’s strange is Brosseau’s career splits against lefties are great; that’s what’s kept him in the league for the most part. He has a career of 113 OPS+ and .790 OPS against Southpaws, but he’s gotten off to a rocky start. Today, he’ll face Andrew Abbott, who has all the makings of a stud, but this is his first career start, and the ballpark is calling for runs. He should start hitting lefties again; today is a great day to get it started.