We were so close to a four-game sweep. We cashed on our totals some of the easiest winners of the year. The A’s vs. Royal’s total ended at 20 runs; we had over nine. The Guardians vs. Twins game and then the Mets vs. Rockies game combined for three total runs. We took the under at 8.5 on both. Hunter Greene allowed two home runs, equaling five runs. That was enough for the White Sox to beat a Reds team who got out to an early three-run lead. It was a tough loss, but I’ll take a 3-1 day.
Today, we have two game picks and a PrizePicks entry. We typically fade rookie pitchers making their debut on the road, which JP France of the Astros falls into today. I researched it all morning; I’m unsure how long he goes. He hasn’t been a full-time start in the minors, so I don’t expect him to last very long. The weather is also calling for an under in that game, and line movement is not on our side. We are passing, but if you want to play the Mariners through the first five, you have my blessing. However, I will not today; I’ll be on more totals and a PrizePicks entry.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 50-42 (+4.69 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. Atlanta Braves @ 7:15 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Kyle Bradish vs. Spencer Strider
In the last five years, few pitchers have garnered as much respect from the market as Spencer Strider. It was Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom for multiple years, but now it’s Spencer Strider. It’s no accident. On a per-game basis, he might be the best pitcher in the sport. At least, that’s how the market prices him.
Max Fried, one of the best left-handers in the league and off to an incredible start, was a -200 favorite against Dean Kremer, who is a whole notch below Kyle Bradish. Today, Spencer Strider is a -250 favorite against a solid pitcher in Kyle Bradish after the Orioles won 9-4 yesterday. Will the Braves win? I would assume so, but the best play in the game is backing the starting pitching and bullpens.
Last night’s game was filled with offense. The Orioles pounced on Max Fried and then piled on against Joe Jimenez. The Orioles have been destroying left-handed pitching this year and continued against Fried. Baltimore has a 129 wRC+ and a .823 OPS against lefties this season, but that number drops to a 106 wRC+ and a .748 OPS against right-handed pitchers. They’ll have their toughest matchup to date with Spencer Strider.
Describing how good Strider is right now would waste our time. I actually love that he had a rough start against the Mets in his last appearance, which means the extra focus will be on a bounce-back. He historically struggles against the Mets, so I put almost zero stock into that five-inning, four-run performance. Behind him will sit a top-five bullpen in the game, with every arm ready to go.
Kyle Bradish has not had a great start to the year, but the underlying metrics point to some bad luck. His 6.17 ERA is not indicative of his skill level. He’s supporting a .383 BABIP, which is unsustainable and should only regress to the mean. His 4.88 xERA, 4.86 FIP, and 4.17 xFIP all utter the same sentiment; he’s much better than his ERA says he is.
The Braves’ offense also drops off against righties compared to lefties. Against Southpaws, they have a 144 wRC+ and a .915 OPS. Against righties, they drop to a .761 OPS and a 106 wRC+. That’s a sizeable difference.
The Orioles will also have everyone in their bullpen available, and they rank as the number 3 bullpen in baseball by most metrics. Truist Park also has 7-10 MPH winds blowing straight in, making it tied for the fourth lowest run-scoring environment at -10%. This should be a battle of pitchers after a high-scoring game yesterday.
The Pick: Orioles vs. Braves Under 8.5 (-115) 1.15 U to win 1 U
Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels @ 7:10 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Reid Detmers
Two pitchers I’ve wanted to back face off in matchups they’ve succeeded in before. Both are due for positive regression based on underlying metrics, and both are throwing against teams in their worst split. This should be a pitcher’s dual.
On one side, we have Reid Detmers. Detmers has a lower xERA, FIP, and xFIP than his 4.85 ERA. He’s also sustaining a .328 BABIP, which should regress closer to the .277 mark he put up last season. His velocity is way up; he threw his slider at 90 MPH this season compared to 86 last year. His fastball is averaging 94.8 MPH compared to 93.2 MPH last season. He’s had some unlucky bounces, but I expect a stellar start from the talented left-hander at home.
The Rangers have destroyed right-handed pitchers this year. They have posted a 121 wRC+ with a .797 OPS. Against lefties, both numbers drop. The OPS falls to .749, and the wRC+ falls to 110. Still very solid, but Detmers has had their number. Through 53 PA against the Rangers’ current roster, opponents have a .191 batting average, a .259 xwOBA, and a .296 xSLG while striking out 31.2% of batters.
The Angels’ bullpen needs some respect. They have posted a 2.85 ERA this season, good for third in baseball. They will have everyone available today outside of Jamie Barria, who gave them 58 pitches yesterday.
Nathan Eovaldi is also a significant candidate for positive regression. His 3.93 ERA doesn’t tell the whole story, as his xERA is 2.93, FIP at 2.07, and xFIP at 3.16. He’s also rocking a .356 BABIP, which should regress closer to the .311 career BABIP. His velocity is strong, and he’s rocking the highest strikeout rate of his career combined with his lowest posted walk rate.
He’s also had plenty of success against the Angels’ current roster. Through 114 PA, he’s rocking a .235 opponent batting average, a .274 xwOBA, and a .323 xSLG.
Against left-handed pitching this season, the Angels are one of baseball’s best. They have a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. Against righties, which they will face today, the OPS falls to .739 and a 104 wRC+.
The Rangers bullpen is average by ERA and FIP standards, and they should have everyone available outside of Will Smith, who allowed three runs yesterday. Brock Burke did throw two innings yesterday but kept the pitch count to 21. There is an outside shot he’ll be available. I’d rather the righties come out of the Rangers bullpen anyway, which they have plenty of.
Angels Stadium is projected as the third worst run-scoring environment of the day at -12%. This game should be a low-scoring battle; nine runs is too many.
The Pick: Rangers vs. Angels Under 9 (-110) 1.1 U to win 1 U
First Leg: Dustin May Over 2.5 Walks
This is a pretty large number for a reason. Dustin May’s big issue this season has been the free passes. He’s rocking a 10.3% walk rate which has him sitting in the 34th percentile. The Padres have the highest walk rate in baseball against right-handed pitching at 12.1%. The Padres are an extremely patient team, and they know the scouting report on May. He’s posted a 14.1% walk rate against the Padres in his career against them. We should see 3+ walks from May today.
Second Leg: Tommy Henry Under 4 Strikeouts
No team in baseball strikes out less against left-handed starters than the Washington Nationals. They are one of two teams to strike out less than 17% and are at 15.3%. Tommy Henry is not a strikeout pitcher, not even close. His 9.2% strikeout rate sits in the second percentile in Major League Baseball. He’s a pitch-to-contact pitcher and doing a great job of that. That’s the game plan, short counts, get your groundball or weak flyout. He should have a fine day today, but not by the strikeout.