MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Saturday, May 4, 2024

Jared Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in his MLB debut in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park.
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 30: Jared Jones #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in his MLB debut in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on March 30, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

A 2-1 day yesterday! We needed it after a reverse sweep on Wednesday.

The Dodgers battled until the end and won in extra innings over the Braves. The A’s got a three-run lead over the Marlins and never looked back. It would have been a sweep if the Blue Jays bullpen didn’t allow eight runs to lose us the under in Washington.

Today, I have four picks, but I’m not laying juice. I’ll explain why. However, I do love this card. May the fourth be with us.

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

2024 Record: 39-43 (-5.44 U)

Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates @ 4:05 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Austin Gomber vs. Jared Jones

As soon as I saw this pitching matchup, I knew what side I was on. The issue is the Pirates offense has been so bad lately, but I think this is a good matchup to get the bats going.

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Austin Gomber lines up for the Rockies. Weirdly enough, his numbers have been slightly better at home over his career, continuing into this season. His ERA is 3.68 at home, but he has a 6.00 ERA at Coors Field. The only reason I’m bringing this up is to let you know he’s not one of these Rockies pitchers who only gets hit at Coors Field.

Gomber’s xERA is only 4.62. I say “only” because it’s much better than in previous years when he was one of the worst-qualified pitchers in baseball. It’s on the backs of a 36.9% Hard-Hit rate, putting him in the 60th percentile in baseball. His strikeout and walk numbers remain relatively unchanged.

I think the Pirates can get to him. The Pirates’ offense has been abysmal against right-handed pitching, but they can hit a lefty. Over the last two weeks, they have a 144 wRC+ against lefties. Over the entire season, this Pirates team is in the top ten in wRC+ against lefties. We like the Pirates against lefties; we don’t against righties.

Here comes Jared Jones. He’s freaking awesome. Every advanced numbers are fantastic, and when you watch him, he looks the part. It’s 100 MPH at the top of the zone, with a devastating slider garnering a 41% whiff rate. His curveball and changeup are also getting plenty of swings and misses, both in the zone and forcing hitters to chase.

The Rockies have the third worst offense against righties overall, and the second worst over the past two weeks. They also strike out a ton. It’s a terrible offense.

I can’t trust this Pirates offense enough to lay the juice. I like the matchup, but watching them doesn’t look great. Keep this to a unit play, but the pitching matchup is so lopsided that it has to be played.

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The Pick: Pirates First 5 Innings -0.5 (-125) Risk 1 U

Miami Marlins vs. Oakland A’s @ 4:07 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Trevor Rogers vs. Paul Blackburn

If you give me a decent price against the Marlins, I’m taking them. Will the clubhouse rebound after trading away their best hitter, or will it crumble? My bet is that it will continue to crumble.

The starting pitching matchup is a wash. That might surprise some people, as Blackburn has the better ERA and longer track record, but Rogers has better stuff. We faded Blackburn against the Orioles and came out on top, and I’m still not very high on him.

With all of that said, the A’s should still win. They have the better offense and the better bullpen. The A’s have a 91 wRC+ against lefties over the last two weeks and a 90 wRC+ over the entire season.

The Marlins have a 78 wRC+ against righties over the last two weeks, and an 84 wRC+ over the entire season. Now they lose Luis Arraez, who was hitting .325 against right-handed pitching.

The A’s still have Mason Miller available, but Lucas Erceg won’t. Erceg is the only reliever who won’t be available today for the A’s, which is where the edge grows exponentially. Declan Cronin has been the Marlins’ best reliever, and if he does pitch, he’s not rested. Tanner Scott is also very solid, but he’s the closer, so we should only see him if the game is tied or the Marlins are winning.

Everyone else in the Marlins bullpen is fair game for runs.

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The starting pitching matchup is a wash; the A’s have the better offense and bullpen, and the Marlins stink. Because I’m not a Blackburn believer, I’m limiting it to a one-unit play.

The Pick: Oakland A’s ML (-120) Risk 1 Unit

Toronto Blue Jays vs Washington Nationals @ 4:05 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Kevin Gausman vs. Jake Irvin

I hope this game gets played. It’s raining down there in Washington. The word is “the entirety of game hours will see rain, never heavy but wet. I don’t know if they’ll attempt to play this one.”

I’ll keep this one short. The Blue Jays bullpen is a disaster. Jordan Romano is a solid closer, but that’s about it. I had faith they could come in and limit damage, even though it has yet to go well for them. Nope. Instead of relying on them to bounce back, I’m fading them.

I am also still concerned about Kevin Gausman. His 5.77 xERA sits in the 12th percentile, and his velocity is down across the board. His strikeout rate has been nearly cut in half from last year. The one thing Gausman is doing at an elite rate is getting batters to chase, but the Nationals have a league-average chase rate. They aren’t a free-swinging team always fishing for that splitter.

The Nationals offense has been poor lately, with a 79 wRC+ in the last two weeks against right-handers. However, they have a 99 wRC+ over the entire season, about 6% better than the Blue Jays.

Jake Irvin’s xERA is 4.69, which is a full run better than Gausman’s. He keeps the ball on the ground at a similar rate and even has a higher strikeout rate. He’s facing a Blue Jays offense in the bottom ten of most metrics against right-handed pitching, including the 21st-ranked wRC+ at 93. Just in the past two weeks, that wRC+ has fallen to 86.

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The Nationals have been the better offense overall against righties; they have a home-field advantage and a better bullpen. Blue Jays bullpen ranks 26th in ERA while Nationals rank 16th.

It’s still Gausman, and the Blue Jays are the better team so they should bounce back, but I’m taking a stab at the Nationals to win another one at home.

The Pick: Nationals ML (+145) Risk 0.69 U to win 1 Unit

San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies @ 6:05 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Keaton Winn vs. Ranger Suarez

When Ranger Suarez pitches, I pay attention. He doesn’t have great numbers against the Giants, but he can limit the damage with their hitting. Keaton Winn has also been excellent for the Giants, and the Giants bullpen is set up well for this one. Factor in heavy wind moving sideways, and we should get a sleepy under.

I want to take the Phillies but will give the Giants credit for their matchup today. They have solid numbers against Ranger, but you don’t think twice when Ranger is on a heater.

His 2.01 xERA is in the 96th percentile. His 62.2% ground-ball rate is one of the best in baseball. His 27.8% strikeout rate and 3.5% walk rate are career highs. His 27.6% Hard-Hit rate is in the 92nd percentile. Everything he’s doing right now screams elite.

He’s facing a reeling Giants offense. In the past two weeks, they have a 68 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, suitable for sixth worst in the league. Over the full season, they sit with a 94 wRC+, good for 18th in the game. This is not a lineup that hits lefties all that well, and they are facing a pitcher who is on a tear right now. They give Ranger a bit of trouble, but I don’t see more than two runs over six innings.

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Keaton Winn is a solid arm for San Francisco. His one weakness is hard contact, but his 60.7% groundball rate keeps him out of trouble. That’s a better mark than Logan Webb this year His 3.95 xERA is very solid, but it’s higher than it should be due to the hard-contact. His 3.95 xERA is also better than what Logan Webb is doing. This is an underrated pitcher that I want to back.

The Phillies offense is great, but they will be without Trea Turner. He said he’ll be “out a couple of days” after tweaking his hamstring. He’s not the best hitter on the Phillies, but I think they’ll miss his speed and his .852 OPS. He’s also been better against right-handers, putting up an .881 OPS.

The Giants have their three best relievers, Ryan Walker, Camilo Doval, and Tyler Rogers, ready for this one. The rest of their bullpen is pretty gassed, so it’s almost certain we’ll see them unless the game is out of hand. If it is, that means we probably lost anyway. I have full faith in all three.

The Phillies bullpen will have Jeff Hoffman, Gregory Soto, and Seranthony Dominguez available. They are a little scary to back, but when we have Ranger going six to seven innings, we shouldn’t need much of them. Hoffman is an absolute stud, so if we get two innings from Soto and Dominguez, we escape with one run scored between them.

I don’t see eight runs or more here. We have two pitchers at the top of their game with bullpens in a good spot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants take this one, but my favorite pick is the under.

The Pick: Under 7.5 (-110) Risk 1.1 Units

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