MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Monday, April 22, 2024

Two MLB Picks for Monday, April 22nd!

Ranger Suarez All-Star
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Ranger Suarez #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

That’s now two straight winning days! We still have plenty of work to do, but it’s nice to go on a little streak.

Yesterday’s winner was pure anxiety. We took the under in Twins vs. Tigers, and Louie Varland allowed four runs in three innings. It looked grim early, but Casey Mize’s six-inning shutout gave us a shot. It was 5-0 going into the ninth inning, but the Tigers made it 6-0 as we went to the bottom.

Austin Martin immediately homered, and Willi Castro doubled down the line on a squibbler with a .000 xBA. We had to get three outs without letting that runner score, and we did it. What a sweat.

I have two picks today that hopefully garner the same result but aren’t as anxiety-riddled.

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These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500.

2024 Record: 26-30 (-5.85 U)

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds @ 6:40 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Ranger Suarez vs. Hunter Greene

This is an excellent pitching matchup. Great American Ballpark is a massive hitters’ park, so I think this total would be at 7.5 if they were playing in an average-run environment.

One thing I know about Ranger Suarez; when he’s hot, you take him until he’s cold. He’s one of the streakier pitchers I’ve ever watched. If you go month-by-month with him, he’s either putting up an ERA in the high fives, or an ERA below two. He started the season red-hot, and I want to jump on board.

In 2021, Ranger had a 1.36 ERA over 106 innings. He was unconscious, and this year, he looks even better. His strikeout and walk rates are better than that year, and he’s allowing a 25.4% Hard-Hit rate, which is in the 93rd percentile in baseball. He’s rocking an absurd 63.5% ground-ball rate; by far the best of his career. Right now, there are few pitchers better than Ranger Suarez.

He’s facing a league-average offense against left-handed pitching today. The last time Ranger pitched in Cincinnati, he threw seven shutout innings. That was back in 2022, so it doesn’t mean he throws seven shutout today, but I like that he’s been on that mound before and had success in a smaller ballpark.

He’s also been a stud on the road. Ranger Suárez has yet to exceed 2.5 earned runs in six straight games on the road (1.0 earned runs/game average).

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Hunter Greene lines up on the other side. While the Phillies’ offense exploded against the White Sox, they are in for a rough go against Greene. While Greene is rocking a 4.35 ERA, much of it is unlucky.

To this point, his 2.55 xERA puts him in the 85th percentile of the game. His 133 Stuff+ is the second-best in baseball, only trailing Pirates starter Jared Jones. His fastball (133), slider (131), and changeup (117) all grade as above-average pitches.

He’s facing a below-average offense against righties today. They are in the bottom ten of almost every metric so far. The allure of the Phillies offenses often leads to inflated totals, which is why the under has hit 13 of their last 17 games.

Greene has also been solid pitching in his ballpark. Hunter Greene has gone under 2.5 earned runs in four of his last five games at home (2.0 earned runs/game average). He faced the Phillies last year in Philly and allowed two earned runs.

The Phillies bullpen is completely rested. They got loads of innings from their starters in the White Sox series, so we should get the best they have. The Reds bullpen isn’t in a great rest spot, but they do have pitchers like Buck Farmer, Justin Wilson, Emilio Pagan, and potentially Fernando Cruz. That should be enough to limit damage in the later innings. Farmer can go multiple innings as well and he’s the most rested of the group.

I lean toward Phillies ML in this one, but the Reds have the better offense, and if Greene is on, they can win this game. The under is also cheaper than taking the Phillies, so I’m rolling with that.

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The Pick: Under 8.5 Runs (-110) Risk 1.1 Unit

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St Louis Cardinals @ 7:45 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Brandon Pfaadt vs. Lance Lynn

We have bet on Brandon Pfaadt over his last three starts, and we are 0-3. If you’ve been reading my articles, you’re probably sick of hearing about him. I understand it has yet to go our way early, but I still value him as a solid pitcher.

He was fantastic against the Cubs, but the offense couldn’t hit. He was not great against these Cardinals, which we will discuss, and the Diamondbacks bullpen blew it against the Braves.

I’m back to the well with him after seeing he opened as an underdog against Lance Lynn. While his ERA is three runs higher, he is the better pitcher. I could point you to his 3.62 xERA compared to Lynn’s 4.67 xERA, or if you just watch how these two pitch, it’s clear to me.

Lynn genuinely doesn’t do anything better than Pfaadt. He has a lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate, allows harder contact, and has the lower Stuff+. By every single advanced metric we have, Pfaadt is better.

He’s also facing a bottom-ten offense against right-handed pitching this year. Pfaadt started poorly against them after he allowed two home runs. I’ll pay to see this lackluster Cardinals offense do it again. Pfaadt will make his adjustments and should have a cleaner outing this time.

Lance Lynn lines up on the other side, entering fade terrority. His 2.18 ERA is extremely lucky. All of his metrics remain unchanged from last year; he’s just had the benefit of the ball bouncing his way. That’s why his peripheral stats like FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA are all in the mid-high fours. He’s allowing the hardest contact of his career and his lowest strikeout rate.

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The Diamondbacks’ offense against righties is lacking, but they are better than the Cardinals in terms of wRC+, OPS, and hard-hit rate.

Both pitchers are home run prone, allowing four each this season. The Diamondbacks not only have the higher ISO and SLG, but they have also hit more home runs this year against righties.

The Cardinals have a slight bullpen advantage, but I still want to play it through the entire game. It’s cheaper than the first five innings, and the Diamondbacks can still mount a comeback if they are down. Both bullpens are solid and rested, so the advantage is slight. It’s not worth relying only on Pfaadt for this one.

The Diamondbacks are the better team, with the better starter, and better offense. As the slight underdog, I’m biting on the snakes.

The Pick: Diamondbacks ML (-105) Risk 1.05 Units