MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Wednesday, May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Gunnar Henderson #2 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 08, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

A split day on Monday. We took George Kirby to go over 17.5 pitching outs, and he cleared it with a seven-inning shutout. We took the Brewers against the Pirates on Monday, and they lost 8-6.

We took the day off yesterday because nothing was jumping out at me from the MLB slate. Today, I have two picks that definitely jumped out.

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

2024 Record: 47-57 (-11.01 U)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles @ 12:35 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Yusei Kikuchi vs. Kyle Bradish

You take the Orioles in day games against lefties. We have too.

The Orioles have been destroying left-handed pitching. In the last two weeks, they have a 165 wRC+, an absurdly high mark that ranks second behind the Rays in that span. In the previous month, the Orioles rank first with a 168 wRC+. Over the entire season, they have a 138 wRC+, ranking second in the league. It’s a prolific offense against left-handed pitching.

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During day games, baseball has no better offense than the Baltimore Orioles. They have a .816 OPS during day games compared to a .696 OPS during night games.

We get a double whammy today, as the Blue Jays elected to go with Yusei Kikuchi instead of Chris Bassitt. I understand why; it’s his turn in the rotation due to yesterday’s rain-out. While he is better than Chris Bassitt, you put the Orioles in their preferred split (138 wRC+ vs LHP, 100 wRC+ vs RHP).

Kikuchi could have been better against the Orioles last season when they didn’t have as good of a lineup as they do now. He threw 20 innings over four starts, posting a 4.05 ERA and allowing nine runs. He couldn’t make it past the fifth inning in three of those starts.

He’s been great so far (2.78 xERA), but he has yet to face an offense this good. The Dodgers have a 124 wRC+ this year, worse than the Orioles, but put up four runs over six innings against Kikuchi.

Through 145 PA against the Orioles’ current roster, Kikuchi is rocking a .280 xBA, a .376 xwOBA, and a .533 xSLG. Needs improvement. This will be his most challenging task yet.

Kyle Bradish (2.61 xERA) lines up on the other side. He’s thrown two excellent starts since returning from the IL, and after throwing 90 pitches, he looks like he’s at full strength. For Kyle Bradish to take the next step into the ace threshold, he needed to ditch his four-seamer and throw more sinkers. That he has, cutting the usage in half down to 11%.

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He threw twice against the Blue Jays last year, totaling seven innings in both. Over 14 innings, he only allowed four runs. Being right-handed puts the Jays in their lesser split.

Over the entire season, the Blue Jays have a 93 wRC+ against right-handers, putting them in the bottom ten in baseball. It’s only gotten worse over the past two weeks, and they have an 81 wRC+, ranking 24th in the league.

Both teams got off yesterday, so we should see solid arms from both sides today. We have a top-ten bullpen by ERA and the 28th-ranked bullpen by ERA. The Orioles have the better bullpen. The Jays bullpen isn’t as bad as the numbers say, but it’s not as good as the Orioles’.

The Orioles were -150, with Chris Bassitt slated to start; then they dropped 25 points because Kikuchi is the much better pitcher. However, he has a worse matchup, I wouldn’t have changed the price by more than ten cents. Take the Orioles to -140.

The Pick: Orioles ML (-125) Risk 1 Unit

Oakland A’s vs Houston Astros @ 8:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Aaron Brooks vs. Framber Valdez

The A’s had to call up Aaron Brooks from the minor leagues because Joe Boyle exited his start against the Marlins with lower back pain. This isn’t a top prospect making an anticipated; it’s a spot start for one of their older arms in the minor leagues.

Aaron Brooks is a minor-league pitcher. I don’t want to bash the guy; it’s fantastic when guys get opportunities like this. However, this is his first big league appearance since 2022, where he put up a 7.71 ERA and 10.18 xERA.

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He features four pitches: a four-seamer (92-94 MPH), a sinker (91-93 MPH), a changeup, and a slider. None of his pitches grade above average or even average. He only struck out 32 batters in 43 innings this year in triple-A, and his WHIP was 1.43. He allows a lot of hits because he’s in the zone a lot. With below-average stuff, mixed with nerves, I don’t see that going well.

We never truly know what we’ll get from a guy like this, but we do know he wasn’t in the original plans and is not a top prospect. He’s a 34-year-old with a career of 6.55 ERA in parts of 2022, 2019, 2018, and 2015 seasons. He has yet to stick in the majors, and I don’t expect that to continue on the road against this Astros team. Today, he has sizeable blow-up potential that could lead us to this over just with the Astros bats.

I also want to put Valdez in this bet. He’s allowing the hardest contact of his career while striking out the fewest. It’s early, but the regression signs are there. He’s also had some trouble in Minute Maid Park as of late. Framber Valdez has exceeded 2.5 earned runs in eight of his last nine games at home (3.9 earned runs/game average).

The last two times he’s faced the A’s, he’s allowed seven earned runs in 12 innings of work.

Over the season, the A’s have been at the league average against left-handed pitching. It’s alright, but it could be better too. However, they’ve been crushing them to a 133 wRC+ in the past two weeks. Even over the last month, they have a 109 wRC+. This is a fine offense that’s seen Framber plenty of times. I’m not saying they crush him, but I could easily see a couple of runs scattered over five innings.

The A’s have a good lineup against lefties. Gelof is back, as is Esteury Ruiz. Outside of JJ Bleday, who may not even play, every hitter that should be in this lineup has better splits against lefties.

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Brooks could get us here on his own. Framber is also vulnerable and could be the guy to keep his streak going and allow three runs or more. I think the whole game over hits, mainly due to Houston’s lack of rest in the bullpen, but I think the over hits because of these starters. Play this to -115.

The Pick: First Five Innings Over 4.5 (-105) Risk 1.05 Units

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