MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Yusei Kikuchi of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts following the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MARCH 30: Yusei Kikuchi #16 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts following the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on March 30, 2024 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

If you can believe it, we made money yesterday. We made a total of 0.015 units, earth-shattering.

Ben Lively’s under on pitching outs was the best sweat of the year. He was cruising, but when we came back out for the sixth inning, the Mets scattered a few hits and ran his pitch count up. We jumped for joy as Stephen Vogt relieved him of his duties at 17 outs.

We did lose on the Orioles. That was the wrong side. The only reason the Orioles scored was on two Masyn Winn errors, and then Gunnar did Gunnar things. Dean Kremer was terrible; go figure.

Profit is… profit? I’ll take it. Today, I have two player props. I am going to stick with what’s been working.

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

2024 Record: 52-62 (-11.74 U)

Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ 7:07 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Garrett Crochet vs. Yusei Kikuchi

I thought of taking the Jays on the ML today, but betting on that offense to show up is a crapshoot, especially against a pitcher as good as Crochet. I looked towards the under, but it’s extremely low. I researched the props market and found a line with a solid value.

I’ve faded Kikuchi a few times, and it rarely works. The Jays decided to move Bassitt’s start and throw him against the Orioles, and we took the Orioles ML. It hit at the end, but it was no fault of Kikuchi’s. Outside of a first-inning home run, he was fantastic against the best offense in baseball against lefties. He faces one of the worst offenses against lefties in his home ballpark.

Yusei Kikuchi has failed to exceed 5.5 hits allowed in six of his last seven games at home (4.7 hits allowed/game average).

Only one of the teams he’s faced where he went over this line came at home. That was against the Dodgers, third most hits against lefties. He went over this against the Orioles, who have the fourth most hits against lefties. The Rays rank 11th in wRC+ against lefties but 18th in hits due to a lack of ABs. The Nationals rank 14th in hits against lefties.

The White Sox rank 29th in hits this season against left-handed pitching. They have the lowest wRC+ in baseball and the fourth-lowest Hard-Hit rate. The White Sox are hitting .196 against lefties, which is the worst in the league. They had eight hits against Berrios yesterday, but they’ve been much better against righties than lefties.

Kikuchi has a career 4.55 ERA. He’s never been nearly as good as he is right now(2.74 xERA), so I don’t see the point of looking at stats that date back to last year. For what it’s worth, he faced the White Sox twice the previous year. He allowed four hits in his first start and eight hits in his second start. You guessed it, that four-hit performance was at home.

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The hits line is a bit higher due to his projected length in the game. He’s juiced toward the over on his pitching outs, and I expect him to go at least six innings. On average, this season, he’s allowing 0.82 hits per inning. If we project that out over six innings, that’s five hits. This is a much easier matchup in his home environment. Risk 0.6 Units up to -140.

The Pick: Yusei Kikuchi Under 5.5 Hits (-120) Risk 0.6 Units

Baltimore Orioles vs. St. Louis Cardinals @ 7:45 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Kyle Bradish vs. Lance Lynn

I’ve watched two of Kyle Bradish’s three starts this year in full, and I saw his start against the Nationals. I wanted to back him today, as his stuff has been phenomenal, but he lost control of the baseball in the later innings against the Blue Jays. Dean Kremer only had two strikeouts versus this Cardinals team, and the bats are hot with the wind blowing out. I believe those factors allow us to pounce on an excellent opportunity to back Bradish.

Kyle Bradish has some of the best stuff in the league. His slider has a 141 Stuff+ on his slider, on par with pitchers like Cole Ragans, Sonny Gray, and Camilo Doval. His curveball has a 124 Stuff+, seventh best in the league among starters.

Those two pitches have garnered a 30% whiff rate, but that will likely increase. He’s had a tough first three matchups when it comes to strikeouts.

He struck out five Yankees in his first start. They have the fifth-lowest strikeout rate in baseball against righties. He struck out nine Nationals, a team with a 21.9% strikeout rate this year, the 13th lowest in the league. Getting them to strike out is more challenging than the league-average team. He only struck out three Blue Jays, a team with the seventh-lowest strikeout rate in the majors.

Don’t be fooled by Kremer’s bad performance; this Cardinals offense struck out eight times against Nick Pivetta the game before. The Cardinals strike out at a 24% rate this year, tied for the ninth-highest rate against righties in the majors.

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Through his first three starts, he’s rocking a 27.9% strikeout rate, the highest of his career. He’s only racked up 12 ABs against five Cardinals hitters, but he has six strikeouts. Every batter that’s faced Bradish in the Cardinals lineup has struck out at least once.

The bats have been hot in May, but they are still striking out at a 22.8% rate, the 12th highest in the league.

Bradish has a higher strikeout rate against lefties in his career, which is twice as high this year. The Cardinals should feature Donovan, Nootbar, Burleson, Gorman, and Siani at the very least. Matt Carpenter may also play and don’t count out Brandon Crawford after Winn’s trouble in the field yesterday. If Siani doesn’t play, it will be another lefty in Carlson. That’s five left-handers at the very least, possibly more.

Kyle Bradish has exceeded 5.5 strikeouts in 9 of his last 15 starts (6.6 strikeouts/game average). I love the value at +145; I would play down to +120.

The Pick: Kyle Bradish Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+145) Risk 0.5 Units

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