MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Royce Lewis of the Minnesota Twins looks on during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 13, 2024 at the Lee County Sports Complex.
FORT MYERS, FL- MARCH 13: Royce Lewis #23 of the Minnesota Twins looks on during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 13, 2024 at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

How about those Twins? We took them at -110 against the Mariners, and it almost slipped away from us. The Twins deserved every run they scored, while the Mariners didn’t even deserve to score. So many bad plays on defense had us sweating, but Trevor Larnach hit a big-time home run to give us the win.

Two wins in a row get us on the right track, but we have much work to do. We can’t make it all back in one day, but these two picks put us on the right track.

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

2024 Record: 72-81 (-13.06 U)

New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals @ 6:45 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Sean Manaea (3.89 ERA) vs. DJ Herz (5.48 ERA)

This game is all about the splits. The Mets have dominated left-handed pitching, while the Nationals have not. I was intrigued by the first five, but the Nationals’ bullpen is one of the worst units in the game, and they aren’t on a good rest schedule. The Mets hold every advantage in this game except home field and are well worth the price as road favorites.

DJ Herz takes the bump for Washington. It was a bumpy road for him over his first two starts, but he abused the Marlins for six shutout innings with 13 strikeouts. He dominated the worst offense in baseball against left-handed pitching. If we take out that start, he has pitched more than 4.1 innings, averaging 3.25 earned runs per start.

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The first start of his career was against the Mets, and it didn’t go well. He allowed four runs in four innings while surrendering seven hits. The Mets offense has only gotten better since Herz last saw them.

I’m not surprised that MacKenzie Gore rebounded against the Mets. Left-handers who mainly throw four-seamers, curveballs, and sliders rank 13th in xwOBA. Left-handers who throw four-seams and changeups are a much, much better matchup. They are the third-best team in baseball against those two pitches, rocking a .363 xwOBA (elite). If we include cutters and sliders in our search, his lesser-thrown pitches, the Mets are still in the top five.

Against lefties in general, the Mets are fantastic this season. They have the third-best wRC+ over the entire season, so it’s not just that they are hot right now; they’ve been destroying lefties all year. While they’ve been hot in June, this is the number one offense against lefties in baseball, with an absurd 168 wRC+. The following best is the Twins, who we will discuss later.

Over the last two weeks, the Mets have had a 168 wRC+, the second-best to the Minnesota Twins. It’s an offense firing on all cylinders against southpaws, and they crush this pitch mix. Mets offense should thrive.

Sean Manaea is a professional. He knows his job. Throw five innings and keep your team in the ballgame. I highly doubt he dominates, but he does have an easy matchup. The Nationals have the 28th-ranked wRC+ against southpaws this year. Since June began, they have ranked 27th in wRC+. Over the last two weeks, they rank 26th.

They had a chance to destroy David Peterson, whose xERA is above six. He threw 6.1 innings of two-run ball. The Nationals rank 27th against his pitch mix in xwOBA. Compared to Manaea’s pitch mix, they rank 25th in xwOBA. While the Nationals rank slightly higher, it’s the same number at .308. We should get five innings of two-run ball.

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The Mets should hold a lead and continue to pile on. The Nationals have four solid relievers: Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Derek Law, and Dylan Floro. They all threw yesterday and have thrown at least 30 pitches in the last three days. The only pitcher not available for the Mets is Tyler Jay, who was the one to blow it yesterday.

I’m not a massive proponent of favorites, but when it feels this lopsided in every direction, I will take it—especially when I don’t respect the home-field advantage here. The Mets are 20-16 on the road this year compared to 21-25 at home. The Nationals are three games under .500 at home and on the road. It’s public, I know, but one unit has to be placed on Grimace.

The Pick: Mets ML (-135) Risk 1 Unit

Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins @ 7:40 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Tarik Skubal (2.32 ERA) vs. Simeon Woods-Richardson (3.41 ERA)

I have a Cy Young ticket at +1000 for Tarik Skubal from before the season started. As many of you know, I think the world of him. He’s phenomenal. However, this might be his toughest test of the year, and just because he’s fantastic doesn’t mean the Tigers win this game as the favorite. The wrong team is favored here.

Skubal is impressive, but he has an insanely tough matchup. Simeon Woods-Richardson is pretty good, and he has a cake-walk matchup. The Twins bullpen is better, the offense is way better, and they are at home. Skubal will have to absolutely dominate to win this game, and I’ll bet against that.

When we look at the best teams against lefties, two teams are crushing them right now, and they have been doing so for the entire season. That’s the Mets and the Twins. The Twins have a 125 wRC+ against lefties this season, ranking second in the league. Over the last 30 days, that wRC+ has risen to 158. Over the last two weeks, we are looking at a 189 wRC+, which is 31 points better than second place.

That’s what I need to fade Skubal. He needs to be on the road (2.98 ERA vs 1.74 Home ERA), and it needs to be against a scorching hot offense. We have both today. Skubal threw five shutout innings against this Twins team when they were cold. He was at home, and the strikeouts weren’t there. It wasn’t an impressive five-inning shutout.

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They get a rematch, but it’s at home this time, and now they are firing on all cylinders. I don’t expect them to crush Skubal, but he has allowed nine runs over his last two road starts. If he allows more than two runs, the Twins should cruise.

Simeon Woods-Richardson is… good? He doesn’t allow hard contact, keeps the ball on the ground for the most part, doesn’t walk too many guys, and has a respectable strike-out rate. That means the Tigers should have a rough time, because they can’t hit anyone right now.

The Tigers have the 25th-ranked wRC+ against right-handers this season (88). Over the last 30 days, that wRC+ has dropped to a 69, ranking 28th in the league. In the previous two weeks, that wRC+ has fallen to 48, which is by far the worst in the league. Without Kerry Carpenter, this offense revolves around Riley Greene, and that’s it. Riley Greene is 0-6 with two strikeouts against Woods-Richardson.

The Tigers have a .304 xwOBA against right-handed four-seamers, sliders, changeups, and curveballs. That’s the pitch mix they’ll see today. We’ve backed SWR before, and I need the team to struggle against sliders so I can be confident in him. That’s his go-to-pitch, his bread and butter, some may say. The Tigers stink against righty sliders, ranking 25th in xwOBA. His three worst starts; A’s, Astros, and Blue Jays, all rank in the upper half against righty sliders.

I like Jason Foley a lot in this Tigers bullpen. That’s about it at this point. Many of them have regressed, and that’s why they sit with a 4.40 bullpen ERA in June, ranking 21st. The Twins on the other hand rank 9th in ERA at 3.45, but when the good arms come in, say goodnight.

Jhoan Duran (3.51 ERA). Griffin Jax (1.98 ERA). Jorge Alcala (1.88 ERA). These guys are a three-headed monster that no team has hit all year. If SWR only goes five innings, we have Steven Okert (3.46 ERA), who can easily throw a zero on the scoreboard.

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The Tigers have the superior pitcher, but the Twins own every other advantage by a wide margin, much larger than the difference in starters. The Twins have been fantastic at home, going 23-16, and have dominated teams under .500, going 30-12. The Tigers are 19-24 on the road and 17-27 against teams over .500.

The Twins should be a -130 favorite here, so take them to -120. Anything above that lowers your total risk to 0.75 Units up to -135.

The Pick: Twins ML (-105) Risk 1.05 Units