MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, April 10th

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MLB schedule today has 14 games

It is a very busy Monday in the baseball betting world with 14 games. Only the Tigers and Blue Jays enjoy a day of rest, as 28 teams take the field in what will mostly be a slate of evening affairs. The lone day game is in the Twin Cities with the White Sox and Twins at 2:10 p.m. ET. (Tracking sheet)

 

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One stat that has a low stabilization point by sample size is BB% and it sure looks like we’re going to have a higher than normal walk rate this season. I would assume the pitch clock has a lot to do with this, but we saw a weekend BB% of 9.9% from Friday-Sunday and the full-season number sits at 9.3%. We had a 9.2% BB% in 2020 with the expedited Spring Training during the COVID season, but that is the only other season since 2000 with a BB% in the 9% range. The 2000 season (9.6%) is the highest since the late ‘40s and early ‘50s..

More walks and more baserunners have led to more offense and the warmer weather is only going to help if the ball is going to carry a bit better this season, which is what many are speculating to this point.

Here’s one more interesting thing and then I’ll get to today’s write-ups: the GB% is 42.8%, which is in line with each of the last four seasons. Early returns with the shift ban showed a noticeable spike in ground ball rate, but that has since stabilized. Much like BB%, stats like FB% (fly ball percentage), GB% (ground ball percentage) and LD% (line drive percentage) reach points of stabilization quickly. I expected an increase in ground balls, but that is not the case.

The Pull% has also stabilized as well, where it is higher than the last two seasons, but isn’t a huge outlier anymore at 40.7%. It is still the second-highest since 2010 and second only to the COVID year.

Check out a new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets coming your way this afternoon.

Here are some thoughts on the April 10 card (odds from DraftKings):

Miami Marlins (-130, 8) at Philadelphia Phillies

After an uncharacteristic start to 2023, Sandy Alcantara looked more like the pitcher we expected to see in his second start. The reigning NL Cy Young winner fired a complete game shutout against the Twins with just three hits and one walk allowed. He only struck out five, but the Twins had an average exit velocity of just 86.9 mph, so it was a pretty vintage Alcantara effort.

Now he hits the road for the first time this season to take on the Phillies. Alcantara was still great on the road last year, but he did see spikes away from home. At Marlins Park, he had a spectacular 1.64 ERA and held batters to a .191/.240/.291 slash with a .236 wOBA. On the road, he posted a 3.01 ERA with .235/.288/.361 slash and a .285 wOBA. Those are still great numbers, but Marlins Park certainly has a positive impact on his pitching. Still, he’s a hard guy to bet against because he’s so dominant.

Strahm went four innings against the Yankees last time out and neutralized a tough lineup by allowing just one hit and one walk to go with three strikeouts. That being said, he allowed two barrels and six hard-hit balls total out of 10 batted ball events, so the BABIP gods were shining favorably upon him. As I’ve mentioned, this is his first time as a starter since 2019 and it can be a tricky transition.

We’ll see how Strahm does here against a Marlins lineup that has scored 27 runs in 10 games. Suffice it to say that 2.7 R/G is not great, but at least you can get by when a dude like Alcantara is on the mound.

San Diego Padres at New York Mets (-135, 7.5)

The pitching matchup of the day is at Citi Field with Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer locking horns. Playing Sunday Night Baseball and then hitting the road is a lot easier now with faster games and even easier when you win 10-2 to have a happy flight to your next destination. It was a strong series for the Padres, who took three of four from the Braves and got the bats fired up. We’ll see if that continues drawing Scherzer in the series opener.

Scherzer has only allowed two total runs the first two times through the order, but he’s given up six runs and four homers when turning the lineup over for a third time. The Brewers hit back-to-back-to-back jacks in the sixth inning last time out and he gave up three runs in the sixth during his Opening Day start against the Marlins. It could be something, it could be nothing, but Scherzer does only have eight strikeouts out of 47 batters thus far in his 11.1 innings of work. 

He has given up 18 hard-hit balls and six barrels in 35 batted ball events with an average exit velocity of 93.2 mph. His Hard Hit% last season was just 33.9% and he’s never been higher than 36.3% in the Statcast era, which dates back to 2015. The most barrels he has allowed in a season is 34 and he’s already given up six in two starts? Again, a lot of the damage has come in the sixth inning of his two starts, but I can’t help but wonder if Father Time is creeping in.

As much as I’d like to fade Scherzer here, I’m not entirely sure what Darvish will bring to the table. He didn’t pitch much in the WBC and was even throwing a minor league game on Opening Day, so he wasn’t with the ballclub. He made his 2023 debut on April 4 and allowed one run on three hits with four walks against three strikeouts. He limited hard contact, but got virtually no swings and misses against the Diamondbacks. He didn’t get many chases outside the zone.

You wouldn’t expect to see a 7.5 with juice to the over on a 50-degree night in Queens with these two big-name starters. I think that might be a clue about how this game could go, but these two do have much higher ceilings than most pitchers, so it’s a leap I cannot take. But, it is really interesting and perhaps a sign that the books are already adjusting to higher totals.

Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves (-190, 8.5)

The Reds pushed Graham Ashcraft back a day to line him up against the Braves and this will be must-see TV for “Doug Day”. Ashcraft, whose first name is actually Douglas, shined in his first start against the Pirates with seven innings of one-run ball with a solo homer among four hits and six strikeouts against one walk. Eno Sarris’s Stuff+ model raved about the quality of Ashcraft’s stuff in that outing and now he draws a Braves lineup that will swing and miss a lot.

Ashcraft also employs a ground ball-heavy approach with a career GB% of 54.4% over 112 innings and some good home run avoidance. He’s not the pitcher with a 4.89 ERA that traditional baseball fans and observers may bypass. The 4.02 xERA and 4.21 FIP were better indicators of his talent and there are certainly more strikeouts in the arsenal of a guy with a 98 mph cutter and a slider that grades among the best in baseball.

For as hard as he throws, Ashcraft still only had a 36.3% Hard Hit% last season and only allowed 17 barrels in 355 events. There is the potential for a really, really special pitcher here, so long as he stays healthy. Among starting pitchers, Ashcraft ranks fourth in Stuff+ behind Jacob deGrom, Shohei Ohtani, and Hunter Greene in the early part of the season. This is a metric that a lot of sabermetrically-inclined bettors are incorporating into their handicaps. Ashcraft has only made one start, but he was a top-20 guy among 124 starters with at least 100 innings pitched last season.

The Reds draw Bryce Elder, who threw six shutout innings against a tough Cardinals lineup in his 2023 debut. He only allowed two hits with six strikeouts against three walks. He did allow eight hard-hit balls out of 12 events and one barrel, but the defense bailed him out. Elder had decent numbers in 54 innings last season with a 3.17 ERA and a 3.78 FIP over nine starts and one relief outing. He also had good numbers in the low minors, though his Triple-A stats are a little bit worse.

The impact of Great American Ball Park on the Reds is quite noticeable. Last season, they batted .246/.321/.397 at home and .224/.287/.348 on the road. They hit 22 more home runs at home and scored 86 more runs. The story was the same in 2021, where the Reds hit .263/.346/.470 at home and .236/.310/.394 on the road. They scored 110 more runs at home than on the road that season.

I like Ashcraft in this matchup against the Braves. Atlanta tries to elevate the ball, which is hard to do against Ashcraft and he should generate more swing and miss than usual. I also like to try and fade the Reds offense outside of GABP. The home/road offensive splits keep me away from taking a shot at Reds 1st 5 at +140, but I do like the 1st 5 Under 4.5. Elder is also a ground ball guy, so hopefully that means we’ll avoid the home runs that hurt when you have any under, but especially a 1st 5 one.

Pick: 1st 5 Under 4.5 (-105)

St. Louis Cardinals (-145, 11.5) at Colorado Rockies

Baseball can be really frustrating. After betting Over 11 in Thursday’s 1-0 game at Coors Field, each of the next three games went over with 15, 13 and 13 runs. We’ll see if the offense keeps coming with Steven Matz and German Marquez as the slated starters for the series opener on Monday. First-pitch temps will be in the 70s as this one gets going, which may provide a little boost for both ballclubs.

The Cardinals may also get a boost from Marquez at home. For his career, Marquez has a 5.08 ERA at Coors Field with a .278/.332/.458 slash against and a .338 wOBA. Those numbers are all significantly higher than what he’s done on the road. Last season may have had the starkest contrast between home and road performance. Opposing hitters slashed .317/.359/.563 with a .392 wOBA at home and .204/.288/.364 with a .289 wOBA on the road. That’s the difference between opposing hitters collectively being Freddie Freeman or Javier Baez from a wOBA standpoint.

Matz allowed four runs on 10 hits with a lot of loud, booming contact in his first start against the Braves. He did strike out seven, but also gave up a couple of homers. Matz had a 5.25 ERA last season over 48 innings, but his advanced stats looked a lot better with a 3.64 xERA and a 3.78 FIP. The problem, once again, was that he couldn’t stay healthy. One other concerning constant for Matz is the long ball. He has a career 16.5% HR/FB%, so for those that go the player prop route, that may be a thing.

I was hoping to fade Marquez here against a good lineup, but Matz is a tough guy to back in this environment, especially because the command profile is suspect and locating well in the thin air is hard to do. I think there’s a lot of player prop equity to a game like this, but nothing on side or total for me.

Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks (-140, 9)

The Diamondbacks have really settled nicely into the season with a 6-4 start having played only the Dodgers and Padres, who are expected to be two of the top teams in baseball this season. Now they get the NL Central-leading Brewers at Chase Field, but the pitching matchup is a big reason why they’re such a heavy favorite.

Zac Gallen gets the call for the Snakes and he’s been a betting market darling for a while. Wade Miley goes for the visitors and he’s been a guy that the market has actively looked to go against. That being said, we’re actually seeing some interest in Milwaukee here at the dog price. That is a really telling indicator for me. I always like to say that “Sometimes the line moves you don’t see are the most telling.” Bettors have long held Gallen in high regard and think very little of Miley, but we haven’t seen Arizona grow into a bigger favorite.

Perhaps it is because Gallen has had a couple of rough outings so far, as he’s allowed nine earned runs (10 total) on 13 hits in 10.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 10 and walked four in starts against the Dodgers and Padres on the road. Gallen has only allowed 12 hard-hit balls out of 35 batted ball events, so his .333 BABIP and 49.3% LOB% are definitely unfortunate outliers and two stats that should improve in his favor.

According to Statcast, his fastball velocity is down a full tick from last season. His spin rates look pretty fine to me, though, and he’s mostly held on to the upticks in rpm that he had last year in his first season with pitching coach Brent Strom, who was part of the Astros coaching staff prior to joining Arizona. I think it’s just a case where Gallen has faced a couple of good offenses and should be just fine.

Miley spun six shutout innings against the Mets in his return to the Brewers with five hits allowed and three strikeouts. It actually wasn’t that impressive of a start, though, as Miley only threw a first-pitch strike to 39.1% of batters, had very little swing and miss, and very few called strikes. The Mets fouled a lot of pitches off in that start.

I got close to laying the Arizona price here, but I want to see if Gallen can show a little more consistency. I do think Milwaukee is a fade team shortly. They’re overperforming to me, especially with all the power production they’re getting from the bottom of the lineup.

Los Angeles Dodgers (-150, 7) at San Francisco Giants

The other top pitching matchup of the night is here between the Dodgers and Giants, as Julio Urias and Logan Webb square off at Oracle Park. Webb has allowed eight runs on 13 hits with very little batted ball luck, as he’s struck out 16 and walked two in 11 innings of work. He had 12 strikeouts against the Yankees on Opening Day, but allowed four runs, including a couple homers. Against the White Sox, he dealt with a .500 BABIP against, despite a reasonable 38.9% Hard Hit%.

This was the problem I was looking at with some ground ball guys, though, specifically on a Giants team that just isn’t very good defensively. Webb actually got the benefit of the doubt last year with an ERA lower than his xERA and FIP, but his rotation mates weren’t nearly as lucky. If the strikeout bump we saw in his first start won’t carry over, that will be a big problem for this season.

But, look for some line moves on Webb if this continues. His ERA is almost double his FIP with a .423 BABIP against and a 57.4% LOB%. All of those are treated as indicators for positive regression in the betting markets and will be bet on accordingly. We’re not seeing it here today against the Dodgers and Urias, but we will down the line if the trend keeps up.

There just aren’t many reasons to fade Urias, who has a 2.80 ERA and a 3.40 FIP for his career over 611.2 innings of work. Urias has two solid efforts under his belt this season as well, allowing just two runs on nine hits in 12 innings with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. His velocity is down as he eases into the season, but there are no reasons to bet against him today. The Giants are incapable of scoring by any other way than the home run and Urias has a 9% HR/FB% for his career and has allowed just 60 home runs in over 600 innings.

In fact, I’m going to lay the Dodgers price today. The bottom of the Dodgers lineup is performing better than I expected, as James Outman and Miguel Vargas have been productive pieces. The Giants have only had 65 PA against left-handed pitchers, but have struck out in 40% of those plate appearances. There are a lot of swing-and-miss guys in this lineup and some of the more productive contributors are lefties. It hasn’t mattered to Urias whether a guy is a lefty or a righty, but he’s held lefties to a .281 wOBA and righties to a .271 wOBA.

The Dodgers pen is also in better shape here from a workload standpoint.

Pick: Dodgers -145

Chicago White Sox (-140, 7.5) at Minnesota Twins

The only day game is the only one threatened by a chance of rain, but it does appear that this game will go on as planned. I don’t have to say much about Dylan Cease, who has struck out 18 of the first 44 batters he has faced this season. He had five walks last time out against the Giants, but the only hit he allowed was a solo homer.

Cease has morphed into a truly elite arm and a Cy Young contender. He had a 2.20 ERA with a 3.10 FIP last season and may be on track to perform even better this year, as long as he can cut down a little bit on the walks.

Kenta Maeda had the swing-and-miss stuff going against the Marlins in his first start since having Tommy John surgery. He struck out nine of the 18 batters he faced over five innings with one run allowed on three hits. Like Cease, his lone blemish was a solo homer, but unlike Cease, Maeda didn’t walk anybody. 

I was a little bit surprised to see Cease at this cheap of a price this morning, since elite arms usually can’t be had at really low numbers, but that changed as we got closer to first pitch. The White Sox jumped 20 cents during the time I was writing the article.

New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians (-150, 7.5)

Domingo German and Shane Bieber are listed for the series opener in Cleveland between the Bronx Bombers and the Guardiac Kids. The Yankees eliminated the Guardians from the postseason in the ALDS last year, so there are some revenge factors here for Cleveland, but I really don’t think much about those in baseball as I might in other sports.

What I am thinking about here is the Guardians bullpen. Seattle’s Penn Murfee leads the league with seven appearances. There are 10 pitchers with six appearances and two are Guardians (Trevor Stephan, Enyel de los Santos). There are 48 pitchers with five appearances and five are Guardians. Cleveland used six relievers yesterday to escape with an extra-inning win over the Mariners. At least they had an off day on Thursday and were able to use some lesser guys on Friday, but they really need to find a way to start winning some games by margin.

Their relievers are being used a ton and four of yesterday’s six relievers threw at least 22 pitches. There is a lot of pressure on Bieber tonight to work deep into the game against a tough Yankees lineup. What also makes the Yankees a bit of a tricky matchup is that they’re willing to drive the ball oppo with their right-handed batters, which is the way you have to attack Bieber. He will give up some hard contact on his fastballs, especially if you are willing to hit them the other way.

Bieber has only allowed three runs on nine hits with a 10/1 K/BB ratio in his two starts, but he stranded a runner on third base four separate times in his first start against the Mariners. His velocity is down yet again, going from 94.1 mph in 2020 to 92.8 mph in 2021 to 91.3 mph in 2022 and now 90.6 mph in 2023 per Statcast. His offspeed stuff and his command are so elite that he hasn’t been bothered by it, but it is still something I endlessly monitor.

German allowed four runs on four hits in his 2023 debut with eight strikeouts out of 18 batters faced against the Phillies. The issue for him is the long ball and he gave up two of those in that start. He’s allowed 30 homers in his last 175.1 innings of work. He’s also had some injuries and a domestic violence suspension to take him out of commission.

I expected to go into this handicap liking the Yankees, given that Cleveland doesn’t really hit for power (5 HR so far) and that is German’s biggest issue. However, the Yankees pen had a bit of a taxing weekend themselves. If this comes down to a bullpen game, it’s anybody’s guess how it plays out.

Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles (-180, 8)

JP Sears is a guy that I won’t touch on the road, but a guy that I could back at home. He gets the start here at Oriole Park, which should be a decent road venue for him, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a serviceable start. Sears allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts against the Guardians at home last week. He only allowed three hard-hit balls, but batted balls found holes and made his final stat line uglier than it should have been.

Mount Walltimore in left field has taken away a lot of power production for right-handed batters in Camden Yards, so the southpaw Sears may be able to have a fine start here, assuming he has a little bit more batted ball luck. Even if you have a good projection on Sears, though, you still need the A’s offense to hold up its end of the bargain or the bullpen to come through.

The Orioles will send Kyle Gibson to the bump for his first home start. Gibson has allowed six runs on 12 hits in 12 innings with road starts in Boston and Texas. He gave up two solo homers in Texas and had some unfortunate batted ball outcomes at Fenway Park. He’s only walked one so far and Orioles, not surprisingly, have tinkered with his arsenal in hopes of making him more effective against left-handed batters.

Gibson’s changeup usage is the highest of his career and he’s throwing fewer sinkers than ever before. These are changes to help the platoon advantage that hitters have, but also likely a way to counteract the shift ban for a guy who has historically been a ground ball arm. As is the case for most ground ball guys, Gibson has a platoon split, as lefties have a .337 wOBA and righties have a .312 wOBA. The changeup is one way to try and neutralize that. So far, it has worked well.

Gibson is also one of many guys throwing a “sweeper”, which is a new pitch classification for Statcast. He attacks lefties with the changeup and cutter and goes after righties with the sweeper and sinker. Baltimore should optimize his arsenal as the season goes along and keep having success with pitchers.

No play here, but I wanted to shed some light on these two starters and what I’m looking for out of them moving forward.

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (-155, 8.5)

I think there will be a lot of interest in the Red Sox today, simply because the Rays are finally playing a real team. Tampa Bay has started the season 9-0 with nine wins by four or more runs by facing the Tigers, Nationals, and Athletics. Now they draw a team with a pulse and some hope in the Red Sox.

It will be Nick Pivetta for Boston and Jalen Beeks for Tampa, as Beeks is expected to be the opener for Josh Fleming. It’s rare to see back-to-back lefties with the opener concept, but that will be what the Rays go with in this one.

A lot was made of Pivetta’s AL East vs. non-AL East numbers last season and the Rays were part of that equation. He allowed 15 runs on 22 hits in 19.2 innings of work against the Rays across four starts. He struck out 16 and walked 11. He was also quite bad against the Yankees and the Blue Jays. In his lone start of 2023, Pivetta allowed three runs on three hits against the Pirates, but only one of the runs was earned. He did allow two home runs, though and 10 hard-hit balls for a 76.9% Hard Hit%. He also gave up FIVE barrels. He allowed 47 barrels all of last season in 47 batted ball events.

This will be the third appearance for Beeks, but his first in six days, which is pretty rare for a reliever. I saw some Twitter chatter about the Rays bullpen and how lucky it has gotten with some strong defensive plays in support. Those guys haven’t had to pitch much in high leverage either. Certainly this start is impressive, but for Beeks and the boys in bullpen, I’ll be really curious to see how things play out moving forward against actual competition.

Beeks has allowed a solo homer and a couple other hits in three innings. Fleming went three innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits in three innings against the Nationals. I think Washington will be a decent offense against LHP, but that was a really ugly showing from Fleming, who had a 6.43 ERA with a 4.43 FIP in 35 innings last season and a 5.09 ERA with a 4.27 FIP in 104.1 innings back in 2021.

One thing to watch today is that Adam Duvall, who has been a star for the Red Sox to this point, hurt his wrist trying to make a catch yesterday. If he is out, he’s a big loss for a left-handed-heavy lineup going up against two southpaws.

With Duvall and Pivetta’s awful command in his first start, I can’t bet the Red Sox, but the Rays are really stepping up in class finally.

Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers (-175, 8.5)

About the only thing Zack Greinke and Andrew Heaney have in common is starting this game. The right-handed Greinke made his debut in 2004 and has 3,258.1 MLB innings to his name. The left-handed Heaney debuted in 2014 and has just 709.2 MLB innings on his name, with only one season of at least 130 innings. Greinke has 16 of them, including nine seasons with at least 200 innings.

Greinke doesn’t really miss bats anymore and that’s the best part of Heaney’s game, but the Royals starter still finds ways to get by. He’s allowed three runs on 14 hits through two starts this season over 11.1 innings. He’s faced two pretty good lineups with the Twins and Blue Jays and has a 34.2% Hard HIt% and has only allowed three barrels. Heaney, meanwhile, gave up seven runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings to the Orioles in his 2023 debut.

Heaney was all out of sorts with three barrels and six hard-hit balls. He also didn’t have much velocity at 92 mph, a full tick below last season with the Dodgers. He really ramped up his slider usage, but didn’t find much success with it, as he allowed a homer, double and two singles. He did get a lot more swings and misses with that than anything else, as he had zero on 29 fastballs and eight changeups.

This line might be a little steep now, but we did see a noteworthy move on the Rangers overnight and into this morning. Either somebody with market influence got involved or we’ve got a crowdsourced fade of Greinke and the Royals, who have been bet against a lot already this season. Some bettors with some sway have been betting against them almost every game and have been rewarded so far, as they’ve lost seven of 10.

Houston Astros (-180, 7.5) at Pittsburgh Pirates

Framber Valdez and Roansy Contreras are the slated starters for this one at PNC Park, as the Astros come in with a record 2.5 games behind the Pirates, which is a weird thing to type. The Pirates did suffer a big blow yesterday when Oneil Cruz was hurt on a really awkward play at home plate. He suffered a fractured ankle and he’ll be out for a while, so the Pirates will have to soldier on without him for the next 10-12 weeks.

Valdez has allowed 14 hits in 12 innings, but he’s only given up three runs, with just two of them earned, against the White Sox and Tigers. He’s struck out 13 and only walked one, but he’s been really fortunate to strand a high rate of runners with all these balls finding holes. He’s also already given up 16 hard-hit balls through two starts. As one of the league’s most extreme ground ball guys, he was definitely under the microscope about the shift ban and we’ve seen some impacts on him already.

Contreras was effective in his first start against the Red Sox with one run allowed on three hits in 5.2 innings of work. He only struck out two, but pitched well at Fenway Park and seems ready to build off of his solid 95-inning showcase at the MLB level last season with a 3.79 ERA and a 4.38 FIP. This might be a good time to catch the Astros as well, since they are only batting .240/.319/.363 with a slow start to the season. They just don’t seem overly engaged as of yet.

The Pirates have also gotten some brilliant relief work, while the Houston pen has struggled a little bit. Pittsburgh actually leads the league in reliever fWAR and ranks in the top 10 in ERA and FIP. Houston is 18th in fWAR and has a 4.46 ERA and 4.44 FIP in the early going.

On the offensive side, Houston is uncharacteristically striking out a lot with a 24.5% K%. The Twins are racking up punchies left and right, so maybe it’s just a byproduct of opponent, but Houston has been among the league leaders in K% basically every season for a while now.

I’ll take a shot with the Pirates tonight. They stack up okay against lefties and I think there’s a rallying cry kind of moment here without Cruz for a while. Furthermore, Valdez has been fortunate that all the hits he’s allowing have mostly been stranded and a correction should be coming in that department. Contreras has really good stuff and the capability to face this lineup and have success. I also love where the Pirates bullpen is at right now and Houston’s is having some issues.

Pick: Pirates +155

Seattle Mariners (-150, 8.5) at Chicago Cubs

The Mariners fell just short of a sweep in Cleveland, as they blew multiple leads late in the game and were a Teoscar Hernandez catch away from winning in regulation. Now they’re on the road to battle the Cubs with ace Luis Castillo on the bump. Chicago counters with Drew Smyly, who was not sharp in his 2023 debut.

Smyly allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings of work against the Reds. He wasn’t exactly smacked around with an average exit velocity against of 82.1 mph and just four hard-hit balls, but the BABIP gods were not on his side. He also struggled after sitting for longer half innings, as he twice gave up three runs right after the Cubs offense scored three runs. His velocity was down a bit, but it was honestly bad luck and bad timing, especially the fact that the one barrel he allowed was a three-run homer.

Castillo has been surgical in his two starts with 12 strikeouts in 11.2 innings and no runs on just three hits. He actually seems to be a fan of the pitch clock because he has been in rhythm and getting a bunch of whiffs. He’s given up some hard-hit contact, but it has mostly been on the ground and you can deal with that. It’s the line drives and loud fly balls that are a problem. 

Much like what I talked about with Cleveland above, the Mariners have played a ton of close games early and their bullpen is very taxed. Justin Topa and JB Bukauskas were called up from Triple-A prior to yesterday’s game and both ended up pitching in extremely high leverage in extra innings. Penn Murfee has worked three straight days and four of the last five. Paul Sewald, Matt Brash and Trevor Gott have all worked two of the last three.