MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Saturday, July 6, 2024

Nick Castellanos #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JUNE 22: Nick Castellanos #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park on June 22, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Sharp pick on the Phillies yesterday, square pick on the Reds. Thankfully, we came away with 0.1 units of profit. Not much, but better than being in the red!

I was worried about the Phillies; they left six on base in the first three innings. Trea Turner said enough of that and hit two home runs to lead us to victory as a +120 underdog.

I got duped with the Reds. I bought into them turning the corner and getting hot, but it was clearly a let down spot after a sweep of the Yankees. I can admit when I was on the wrong side. The Reds at least made it fun at the end. Would I have liked to see them tie it with a runner on third and less than two outs? Sure, but we haven’t gotten a break like that all year, so why start now?

We have to earn our wins around here. We will earn this one today, but you have to have a strong will to tail this one.

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

2024 Record: 76-83 (-10.70 U)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners @ 7:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Yariel Rodriguez (4.63 ERA) vs. Emerson Hancock (4.79 ERA)

We were doing some line reading here. Anyone remember that three game slate five days ago? Hunter Brown was a slight favorite (-120) against Yariel Rodriguez and the Blue Jays. It seemed like a strange line, but credit to the Jays, they kept it close until the end, and it was off the backs of a stellar start from Rodriguez. Now, they are +105 underdogs against a young pitcher with an xERA over six and coming off an injury?

I wouldn’t say I like the Blue Jays as a whole, but this is a complete overreaction. The Mariners still have the lesser offense, and their crucial bullpen arms have thrown two straight days. The Blue Jays have the better offense and pitcher right now, and they have their key relievers ready to go. I know it’s gross, but the weekends can be weird, as we all know.

Emerson Hancock has had a bumpy road this year. He started the season in the Mariners rotation, putting up a 5.87 ERA with a well-below-average strikeout rate. He got sent down after back-to-back rough outings, and then was called up for a spot start against the White Sox. He threw seven innings of two run ball, but the White Sox still won, and they put up a .283 xBA with plenty of hits.

After that start, he was put on the IL with a right shoulder strain. In his last rehab start, it was scoreless, but he only struck out two, and allowed five hits and three walks in 5.1 innings. Now he makes his return, and I have little confidence in him against any offense.

Hancock’s ERA predictors are in the fives or sixes. He’s allowed a 48.6% Hard-Hit rate, which is in the second percentile. His 13.5% strikeout rate is in the third percentile. That would be fine if he was keeping the ball on the ground; he isn’t. His groundball rate has fallen to 36%, sitting in the 20th percentile. When he was fully healthy, he was really struggling, and now this is his first start back off a shoulder strain.

I’m not jumping for joy to back Yariel Rodriguez, but he has upside in this spot. He gets to pitch in the best pitchers’ park and face a reeling offense.

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We’ve faded the Mariners before, taking righties who are fastball/slider/curveball dominant against them. They have struggled all year against this mix, putting up the third-worst xwOBA in the league. He also throws a sinker and splitter, so against this mix as a whole, they have the 24th-ranked xwOBA.

The Blue Jays have the better offense. Over the entire season against righties, they have the higher wRC+, OPS, wOBA, walk rate, lower strikeout rate, batting average, OBP, SLG; you name it.

If we look at the last two weeks, the difference is even more significant. The Blue Jays have a 98 wRC+ compared to Seattle at 78. The Mariners have a 32.6% strikeout rate in that time, by far the most in the league. The Mariners are hitting .197 compared to the Jays at .210. The Jays have a .682 OPS compared to the Mariners at .601. The Blue Jays offense is by no means electric, but it’s an average offense taking on a terrible offense.

The Jays also come to play in day games. They have a .714 OPS during the day compared to a .656 OPS at night. The Mariners OPS during night games is .662, day games it drops to .654. At home, the Mariners have a .640 OPS, compared to the Jays with a .677 OPS on the road.

We faded the Blue Jays bullpen hard when they were without Chad Green and Trevor Richards. Luckily, they are both ready to go today. I also don’t mind Brendon Little or Nate Pearson coming in, both have xERA’s under four. I genuinely have more faith in these guys holding it down than the Mariner’s offense breaking out.

Andres Munoz has thrown in two straight, so he’s likely to be unavailable unless it’s a prime save situation. Ryne Stanek and Austin Voth both threw in back-to-back games, albeit not much, but three times in a row is not easy. Saucedo threw 26 pitches a few days ago as well. The 13th ranked bullpen by ERA without a good rest schedule doesn’t scare me.

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The Jays have the better pitcher and better offense. With

The Pick: Reds ML (-110) Risk 1.1 Units

Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves @ 7:20 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Aaron Nola (3.43 ERA) vs. Max Fried (2.91 ERA)

This is the series the Braves get it together… right? Right??? I’ll pay to find out.

Yes, the Phillies are without Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. I wonder if anyone told the rest of the Phillies offense because they’ve won six of their last ten games, and the offense has still been well above average. The Braves offense still needs to be more impressive and has been terrible over the last few weeks. While the Braves have the better starter, these two pitchers have seen these offenses a million times, so I’m not putting much stock into Fried’s superiority over Nola.

Max Fried is fantastic, but the Phillies are fine with facing him. Over 119 PA against the Phillies’ current roster, they are hitting .343 with a .330 xwOBA and an 18.5% strikeout rate. That does not include JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, or Kyle Schwarber.

Also, it’s not like we need Harper and Schwarber facing off against a lefty to still like the Phillies. Harper is hitting .276 against Fried, and Schwarber hits .190. We will miss JT, who is hitting .342, but again, those overall stats against Fried are without those three hitters.

Without those three guys, the Phillies’ offense is still above average. Since June began, the Phillies have a 109 wRC+ against lefties. Over the last two weeks, that number has climbed to 113, 13% above the league average.

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The Braves are without Ronald Acuna Jr. and Michael Harris, and they are still underperforming. Since June began, they have an 83 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, ranking 24th. Over the last two weeks, Atlanta has a 71 wRC+, ranking 28th, just above the Marlins and Rockies.

Nola doesn’t have incredible numbers against the Braves, but they are better than Fried in every metric and the sample is three times the size. Through 341 PA, Nola has a .269 batting average against, a .307 xwOBA, and a 27.9% strikeout rate.

These pitchers faced off on March 30th, and both were destroyed. Fried didn’t get out of the first inning and allowed three runs, while Nola allowed six earned runs in four innings. Nothing really to gain from that.

In terms of the bullpens, it’s a wash. With bullpens this good and rested, it’s challenging to find an edge. We know the Phillies have the hotter offense, so I’ll always play through the entire game with that unless one side has a transparent edge.

Haters of the Phillies love to hand their hats on a softer schedule. The Phillies are 15-9 against teams over .500, while the Braves are 18-17. The Phillies are also 24-16 on the road, while the Braves are 27-16 at home. The Phillies play good teams well, and they perform on the road. There is also a run differential-difference of 66 runs in favor of the Phillies.

I priced this game at -105 for the Phillies. I understand them being the underdog against Fried, who is the better overall pitcher versus Nola. However, with their strong track record against him and the Phillies playing better baseball, the price on them is too good to pass up.

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This game is much closer to even than the price indicates. Take the Phillies to +105.

The Pick: Phillies ML (+120) Risk 1 Unit