MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Hunter Brown
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 05: Hunter Brown #58 of the Houston Astros delivers during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on September 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

If you told me the Twins scored seven yesterday, I would have made my largest wager ever that they would win and win through the first five. The Rays offense came to play against Pablo Lopez; the league’s worst power team hit three home runs.

At least we didn’t lose both. I am back again today for another pick.

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

2024 Record: 63-74 (-14.72 U)

Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox @ 8:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Hunter Brown vs. Garrett Crochet

Garrett Crochet gives the White Sox the best chance of winning, but that doesn’t mean his team will do it for him. This is a classic buy-low, sell-high spot. We are buying Hunter Brown when he still has an ERA over five, and we are selling Garrett Crochet at the market’s peak.

This bet is not an indictment on Garrett Crochet. He’s been fantastic, but he still plays for the White Sox, which is the worst team in the league by a lot. Hunter Brown has been just as good lately, and the Astros have the offense and bullpen advantage after both starters exit.

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The Astros’ offense against left-handers is solid. Since June began, they have had a 112 wRC+, which is good for 11th in the league. Even in Tucker’s absence, they have proven formidable against left-handed pitching. Over the entire season, they have a 108 wRC+, good for tenth in baseball.

A key reason this offense sets up well against Crochet is its ability to limit strikeouts. No team strikes out less against lefties than the Houston Astros, at 15.5%. His last four starts have all been against teams in the top ten in strikeout rate. That will tend to lead to more base runners, and the White Sox’s horrific defense will have to step up. If the Astros go 0-for with runners in scoring position like they did yesterday after seven hits, I’ll tip my cap.

Crochet’s ERA is higher than his peripherals, and until he leaves Chicago, I don’t see him achieving it. The White Sox are known for having pitchers with far worse expected numbers because they can’t play defense behind their pitchers.

Rather than a straight fade of Crochet, this is a testament to Hunter Brown. He had an ERA over 11 in April, which crushed his full-season stats. Over his last five starts, he’s allowed six earned runs in 31 innings (1.74 ERA), and every opponent he’s faced is superior to the White Sox.

His xERA is 3.61 for a few reasons. His strikeout and hard-hit rate are well above average, and his 50.8% ground-ball rate is in the 84th percentile. The White Sox have a top-ten strikeout rate against righties, the lowest Hard-Hit rate, and the lowest wRC+ against righties.

Since June began, the White Sox have had the 27th-ranked wRC+ and Hard-Hit rate while striking out at the third-highest rate. This is a perfect matchup for Brown to continue his 13-inning scoreless streak.

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While the White Sox did win last night, their offense was horrible. They only had two hits the entire game and scored both runs on a fielder’s choice. The Astros were shut out yesterday, but historically, it’s a good time to back them now as favorites (58% since 2016). Yordan Alvarez was away for a family matter, so hopefully, he’s back in the lineup. Even if he isn’t, I still like the Astros.

Hunter Brown is juiced towards the over 17.5 pitching outs, and with how well he’s been pitching, we can project him to throw that long. After him, we get a rested Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader. I know they all haven’t been elite, but this is the White Sox we are discussing. If those three blow a lead against this offense, we might have to send the Astros to Triple-A.

The White Sox are 5-24 in their last 29 games as an underdog. Let’s remember how horrible they are, even though Crochet is pitching. The White Sox are still 7-8 when he’s on the mound this year.

Hunter Brown is pitching at the top of his game and has a rested bullpen behind him, and while Garrett Crochet is excellent, the Astros aren’t his ideal matchup. Both starters’ lines indicate a similar start: six innings of two-run ball. If it’s tied, and I have the Astros offense and bullpen against the White Sox, I take them as a short favorite any day of the week.

The Pick: Astros ML (-120) Risk 0.6 Units