MLB Best Bets Today May 24

It is Friday and that means all 30 teams are slated to take the field and every game will be at night. There are a couple of games strongly threatened by the weather, so I’m not sure we’ll see all 15 scheduled games completed, but you never fully know what Mother Nature has in store.

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Here are the MLB best bets today for May 24:

Toronto Blue Jays (-125, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

6:40 p.m. ET

When taking my initial run through the card on Thursday night, I circled this game between the Blue Jays and Tigers. At the time, DraftKings, along with most of the market, had -110 both ways for the matchup between Alek Manoah and Matt Manning. When I woke up on Friday morning, Manoah and the Jays had been pushed out to -125.

Shop around because there are better numbers in the market here, but I do agree with the move and do like the Blue Jays. Manoah’s swagger is back, as he hasn’t given up an earned run in either of his last two starts. He gave up three unearned runs on a Carlos Santana homer in the seventh inning back on May 12, but shoved with seven shutout against the Rays on May 19.

Usage changes have been a big part of the equation, as Manoah is burying sinkers in on the hands of righties and leveraging his slider more effectively thanks to improved tunneling. The Tigers offense has absolutely improved in the month of May on the whole, but their 23.2% K% and 7.3% BB% against righties are well below average marks.

On the Detroit side, Manning comes in with a 4.88 ERA and a 4.19 FIP. He just doesn’t have enough margin for error, as he has 23 K in 27.2 innings against 12 walks and has allowed a .329 BABIP, including BABIPs of .450 or higher in his last two starts since getting recalled. He’s allowed 19 hits in 10.2 innings. That means that Toronto should have chances to score runs and play from in front in this one.

Against the Diamondbacks in his last start, Manning had just a 5.8% SwStr%. He was at 11.1% against the Marlins, but they swing a lot and strike out a lot. There are some flaws with the Blue Jays offense, but they make a lot of contact, so Manning is at the mercy of his defense and the BABIP gods here.

Both bullpens are rested, but I believe it will be Toronto with a lead to protect in this one.

Pick: Blue Jays -125

Milwaukee Brewers at Boston Red Sox (-135, 9.5)

7:10 p.m. ET

The Brewers and Red Sox square off at Fenway Park tonight with a matchup between Bryse Wilson and Kutter Crawford. Crawford has had an excellent season for the Red Sox to this point with a 2.17 ERA and a 2.88 FIP in his 58 innings across 10 starts, but I think this is a tough matchup for him.

Milwaukee’s lineup has done an outstanding job against spin this season. By Statcast Pitch Type Run Values, the Brewers lead all of baseball against sliders at 16.9 and rank sixth against cutters at 3.8. The Red Sox have found a lot of pitching success this season by having their pitchers throw fewer four-seam fastballs and more breaking balls, but that plays right into what Milwaukee has excelled at this season.

The Brewers also boast a top-10 offense in the month of May against righties with a 110 wRC+. Boston, meanwhile, ranks 24th in wRC+ against righties this month as they head into the matchup against Wilson.

Admittedly, there are a lot of regression signs in the profile for Wilson, who comes in with a 2.79 ERA, 4.94 xERA, and a 4.95 FIP, but the Brewers are sixth in Outs Above Average per Statcast as a team, so they play really well defensively and Wilson has had double-digit SwStr% in each of his last three starts and was at 9.9% four starts ago. As he’s going deeper into his bag, he’s generating more whiffs. The Brewers are quite good with developing pitchers or maximizing fringe guys and we’re seeing it here with Wilson as a starter after seeing it as a reliever last season.

Like so many Brewers, Wilson has developed a cutter on their watch and the Red Sox have not been nearly as successful against spin, ranking 24th in Pitch Type Run Value against cutters. I’d expect a cutter-heavy approach from Wilson in this one.

As a result, I like the Brewers as an underdog. They are seventh in wRC+ on the whole in May, while the Red Sox are 22nd and going to a place like Fenway Park should only boost the Brewers’ offensive prowess.

Pick: Brewers +114

Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Angels (-110, 7.5)

9:38 p.m. ET

The only AL game with two left-handed starters will be at The Big A, as Cleveland starts a quick road trip to Anaheim and Colorado with a late game in California. It will be Logan Allen and Patrick Sandoval in this one, as the Guardians look to start the roadie on the right foot.

Let’s start with the bullpens here. If you’re going to give me Cleveland’s bullpen in a virtual toss-up game, I’m going to be very interested. The Angels pen has had a very rough week and simply isn’t a very good group, whereas the Guardians may very well have the best bullpen in baseball and it is an extremely deep group, with everybody capable of pitching in leverage situations.

So, that’s the start of this one for me. If the two starters mostly cancel out, as the line implies, who has the advantage late? Well, it would be Cleveland, especially with an off day for travel.

It seems like the Guardians have recalibrated Allen. He gave up seven runs three starts ago to the Tigers and has not allowed a run in his last two starts against the White Sox and Twins. His fastball velo ticked up a bit in his last outing against Minnesota and he had seven strikeouts with his highest SwStr% of the season at 13.5%. That was on the heels of his previous high of 12.6% against the White Sox, which doesn’t sound impressive, but Chicago is a middle of the pack team in terms of whiff rates and K%.

Sandoval is having another long year in an Anaheim uniform. Admittedly, he has pitched way better than his 4.59 ERA would indicate, especially relative to his 3.06 FIP and 3.61 xERA, but I’m not sure things get markedly better with the Angels. He has a .351 BABIP against because he has the fourth-worst infield defense by Outs Above Average behind him at -12. He can, and will, exacerbate those problems by issuing walks. He also works a lot of deep counts and struggles to work deep into games.

He’s been substantially better here in May, but I think this is a challenging matchup. The Guardians make a ton of contact, which, as I just addressed, is typically bad news for him. Also, the Guardians are likely to run out at least seven right-handed bats. Righties own a .282/.342/.392 slash with a .327 wOBA in 199 PA. That leaves the potential for a lot of baserunners and Cleveland is a good baserunning team and also an aggressive one.

I’ll ride with The Land tonight.

Pick: Guardians -110