MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday, May 20th

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MLB schedule today has 14 games

All 30 teams were scheduled to take the field on Saturday, but the game between the Guardians and Mets was called around 11:15 a.m. ET, so we’re down to 14 games. Mother Nature isn’t threatening any of the other games too badly, so it should be all systems go around the rest of the league.

 

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I was once again treated to an excellent Jason Collette tweet this morning, as he looked at the month-over-month offensive differences thus far. Stolen base success rate and attempt rate are both down slightly, as pitchers and catchers seem to have adjusted to the rule changes. Starters are getting pulled a little earlier and not turning the lineup over as much, so they’ve seen a modest decline in ERA from 4.55 to 4.36.

As Collette notes, relief pitching is getting worse. The wOBA allowed by relievers is up 10 points in May and the K%-BB% is down 1.3%. K%-BB% is a really popular metric in the stats community that measures the difference between a pitcher’s strikeout rate and his walk rate. A decline could mean any number of things, from usage and fatigue to injury and the replacements having worse stats. There are plenty of things to keep monitoring as the season goes along. (Tracking sheet)

Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live.

If you missed any editions of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets, now is a good time to catch up, as the next new episode comes out on Monday.

Here are some thoughts on the May 20 card (odds from DraftKings):

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies (-155, 9)

The Cubs coasted to an easy win for us yesterday and they’ll look to secure a series victory in an underdog role on Saturday. It will be Jameson Taillon for the Cubs and Aaron Nola for the Phillies, as the home team faces quite a juicy number.

Nola has a 4.53 ERA with a 4.09 FIP in his 55.2 innings of work. It has been an odd season for Nola, whose K% is down 9.9% from last season, yet he’s managed to only go up 19 points in batting average against and has actually seen a 22-point decrease in his BABIP. His 3.65 xERA is a sign of his contact management prowess with a 33.3% Hard Hit% and a 7.7% Barrel%. His 9.6% SwStr% represents a pretty big decline from past seasons and his high mark for a game this season is 13.3%, with only three of his nine starts in double digits. He hasn’t had a season under 10.8% since 2016 in the SwStr%.

He’s allowed a homer in five straight starts and has allowed four or more runs four times in nine starts. I’m not sure where the strikeouts have gone, but the lack of punchouts has led to a 63.9% LOB%. Aside from a notable decrease in fastball velocity, I don’t see any big changes to his pitch mix or spin rates that would indicate a reason why the strikeouts have gone away.

It has been a rough year for Taillon, as he goes into this start paying tribute to Iron Maiden with The Number of the Beast as his ERA (6.66). He’s got a 3.75 FIP, though, and a 4.31 xFIP. Taillon has fallen on the wrong side of variance with a .370 BABIP and a 56.2% LOB%. He’s got 26 strikeouts against seven walks in 24.1 innings of work, but hasn’t had much of any batted ball luck, despite holding opponents under 90 mph in average exit velocity in all six starts. His 39.5% Hard Hit% is right in line with the league average, though his 11.8% Barrel% is high.

Taillon missed a couple weeks due to injury and it seems like he’s fighting to find his command a bit. Since returning on May 4, he’s allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in just 10.1 innings of work. Rain could be a factor here and it doesn’t look like a great day for hitting, otherwise I’d think about the over.

Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants (-165, 7.5)

The Giants draw a left-hander in this one as Braxton Garrett takes the hill for the Marlins. Garrett has a 5.40 ERA with a 4.20 FIP and a 3.63 xFIP in his 36.2 innings of work, with one egregiously bad start skewing all of his metrics. He allowed 11 runs on 14 hits in 4.1 innings to the Braves back on May 3 and that has thrown all of his numbers out of whack. In six other starts and a three-inning relief appearance, he has allowed 11 runs on 35 hits and given up only two home runs.

Garrett actually allowed four runs on seven hits in the follow-up to that Braves start, but is coming off of his best performance of the season with one run allowed over five innings and eight strikeouts against the Reds. Garrett has absolutely earned his high .377 BABIP with a 48.3% Hard Hit% and a 10.8% Barrel%. The high barrel rate is skewed by the Braves start when he allowed five, along with a 65.2% Hard Hit%, but he hasn’t had the greatest command all season long.

The Giants are 24th in wOBA against lefties at .297 with an 86 wRC+, so it remains a problematic split for them. They have a 26.7% K% and a 6.1% BB%, so that could give Garrett some hope today.

The Marlins will need Garrett to be as good as he can be because they draw a tough assignment in Logan Webb. Webb has a 3.20 ERA with a 3.75 FIP and has not allowed more than two runs in a start since April 17, coincidentally, against the Marlins. Over his last five starts, he has allowed eight total runs and gone at least 6.2 innings in every one of them. Webb allowed four runs in each of his first four starts, but he’s been tremendous since, despite a clear lack of swing and miss. He had a 13.7% SwStr% against the Cardinals on April 26, but only has an 8.1% SwStr% over his last five starts and bottomed out at 5.1% last time out against Arizona.

Nothing from me here, but two pitchers to continue to follow for future opportunities.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates (-150, 8.5)

“[Gallen has] actually allowed 26 hard-hit balls in his last three starts, including his two highest average exit velocities of the season in his last two starts. I’m not saying that the Pirates offense, which has mustered all of 28 runs in 14 games this month, is going to light him up, but there are some signs that maybe a rough outing is coming.”

That is a direct snippet from yesterday’s article regarding the Diamondbacks and Pirates game with Zac Gallen on the hill for the Snakes. He gave up eight runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work with four walks and just two strikeouts. Sometimes the signs are there and we play them. Sometimes the signs are there and we don’t. All I know is that I saw them, but it was still stunning to see Pittsburgh break out of its offensive funk in such a manner.

The reward for crushing Gallen is Brandon Pfaadt, who allowed 13 runs on 16 hits in his first 9.2 innings as a big leaguer, but rebounded nicely against the Giants and allowed just a solo homer last time out with three walks and five strikeouts. Pfaadt has an 8.59 ERA with a 9.23 FIP to this point and has allowed seven home runs in 65 plate appearances. He gave up 21 hard-hit balls and four barrels in his starts against the Rangers and Marlins before locating better in his third start. He threw more sliders and curveballs to the Giants and a better pitch mix seemed to help.

But, I have no idea what we get from Pfaadt in this outing. The Pirates awoke from their slumber and nearly had a 50% increase in their run-scoring total for the month. Was that the catalyst needed to get them going?

Mitch Keller now has a 2.38 ERA with a 2.63 FIP in his 56.2 innings of work. Pittsburgh has unlocked the magic, as he has a 1.00 ERA with an 0.85 FIP in his last four starts with 39 strikeouts against three walks. On the heels of a complete game shutout of Colorado, Keller struck out 13 Orioles over seven innings last Sunday to give his team a much-needed victory.

Keller is running a ridiculous 27.1% Hard Hit% and even allowed an 18.2% Hard Hit% in his Opening Day start when he allowed a season-high four runs on just five hits. He did walk four in that game and has only walked 10 in eight starts since. His new cutter has been a great weapon, along with improved fastball command. The Pirates have increased the usage of anything with horizontal movement for their starters and it has paid some big dividends.

A lot of people will probably ride the Keller train today at a short price, especially with Pfaadt’s numbers. I won’t be one of them, as this Pirates offense still scares me, despite what we saw yesterday, but we’ve seen one line move already on Pittsburgh and I anticipate we see more.

Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals (-110, 9)

It will be a battle of pitch-to-contact starters here, as Noah Syndergaard and Miles Mikolas look to pitch their teams to control of this four-game set. The Cardinals won the first game 16-8, but were shut out 5-0 by Tony Gonsolin and the bullpen yesterday. This game is lined as a virtual coin flip, which makes sense given the variance for both starters.

Syndergaard went four innings against the Twins last time out with two runs allowed on four hits and five strikeouts with zero walks. He had his previous start cut short by a cut on his index finger after he had been skipped the previous turn through the rotation to work on some mechanical issues. All in all, he has a 5.94 ERA with a 4.67 FIP in 36.1 innings of work. He’s only allowed six homers, but does have a BABIP against of .331 and a LOB% of 65%. 

He doesn’t really deserve the high BABIP with a 37.1% Hard Hit% and an 8.9% Barrel%, but it’s the chance you sometimes take as a pitch-to-contact guy. He only has 26 strikeouts across 158 batters faced. He actually had zero strikeouts in 23 plate appearances against the Cardinals back on April 30 before he was skipped.

Mikolas has a really similar profile. He’s got a 4.91 ERA with a 4.56 FIP in his 47.2 innings of work. He’s got a .353 BABIP against and a 74.8% LOB%. Mikolas gave up 16 runs in his first three starts of the season coming out of the WBC and has a 2.70 ERA with a 4.08 FIP in his last 33.1 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since and has a .290 BABIP with an 83.3% LOB% in those six outings.

However, Mikolas still has a 40.8% Hard Hit% in that span with well below a strikeout per inning. I don’t see a great edge on this game with two pitch-to-contact guys in a high-variance environment, but I do think it’s interesting how Mikolas has pitched around hard contact recently, while Syndergaard hasn’t had the same level of success. Also, Mikolas had zero strikeouts in 23 batters faced over six innings against the Red Sox last time out.

Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox (-195, 9)

To the American League we go, starting with Jordan Lyles vs. Lucas Giolito in this Royals/White Sox matchup. Lyles has arguably been the worst starting pitcher in baseball this season. He has a 7.14 ERA with a 5.60 xERA and a 6.39 FIP over nine starts covering 51.2 innings of work. He is 0-7 in his nine starts and has given up 14 home runs. He’s actually had two starts with zero homers allowed, but has allowed multiple homers in a start on six different occasions.

Lyles has allowed at least four in each of his last eight starts and at least four earned runs in seven of them. This is about as bad of a command profile as it gets, but because home runs don’t count towards BABIP because they aren’t balls in play, he has a .244 BABIP, which has perfect symmetry with his 2.44 HR/9. Lyles has a 49.6% LOB%, so he has gotten a little unlucky on that front because home runs do clear the bases off, yet he’s still not stranding runners.

What’s weird is that he only has a 36.5% Hard Hit%, but 22 of those 62 hard-hit balls have been barrels. He actually threw a complete game last time out against the White Sox on May 9 with four runs allowed on six hits. He followed that up with seven runs in 2.1 innings against the Brewers. I’m trying to think of a scenario in which I’d back Lyles, but nothing is coming to mind.

Giolito is having a really nice bounce back season, as he heads into this start with a 3.86 ERA and a 3.74 FIP. He fell victim to some unfortunate sequencing and batted ball luck last year, but he’s back on track now and has 56 strikeouts in 53.2 innings of work. He’s only walked 11 and only allowed seven homers. Seven of his 23 earned runs came back on April 7 against the Pirates, so he actually has a 2.82 ERA with a 3.52 FIP in his last 44.2 innings of work.

That was really the only thing to look at in this game – is there a reason to bet the over? The answer appears to be no.

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (-140, 9.5)

I’d say this is the most interesting matchup of the card so far. Grayson Rodriguez and Alek Manoah are the slated starters here, as you’ve got two guys that have had all sorts of control and command issues. Rodriguez is coming off of his worst start as a pro with eight runs allowed on nine hits in 3.1 innings of work. Three starts ago, he allowed six runs on eight hits over 3.2 innings to the Royals. In between, when I bet against him, he survived 5.2 innings against the Rays.

But, Rodriguez is all out of sorts right now. He has 44 strikeouts in 37 innings, but only 10 strikeouts over his last three starts in 12.2 innings of work. He’s allowed seven home runs in those three starts to go along with a ton of hard contact. His Hard Hit% is 50.5% for the season and his Barrel% is 10.1%. Furthermore, in his last three starts, his SwStr% is just 7.8%, well below his 10.8% season mark. His last three starts have all been his lowest SwStr% marks of the season.

Both lefties and righties have pummeled Rodriguez, but lefties have definitely been better with a .328/.406/.639 slash and a .442 wOBA compared to a .297/.356/.484 with a .363 wOBA. Rodriguez has allowed a .403/.465/.714 slash and a .498 wOBA with the bases empty. Seems like there’s something mechanically wrong from the windup to say the least.

However, as bad as Rodriguez has been, this line is requiring you to lay an uncomfortable price with Manoah, who has a 5.40 ERA with a 7.00 xERA and a 6.45 FIP in his 45 innings of work. He’s walked 32 batters against 35 strikeouts for a 1.4% K%-BB%. Last season, he was at 16.4%, so his strikeout rate has plummeted and his walk rate has skyrocketed. His BABIP is 60 points higher this season at .304 and his Hard Hit% is up nearly 10% at 41.3%. How are you supposed to bet into this profile with this favorite role?

Certainly everything about these two starts points to an over, but Rogers Centre has averaged 7.6 runs per game, even with some ballpark changes that were supposed to help offense. Another game where I just don’t see a great edge.

Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros (-295, 8.5)

Yesterday’s A’s/Astros game could not have been more frustrating. The game ended 5-1, so it never sniffed the over, but the teams combined to go 3-for-22 with RISP, including 1-for-9 in the first three innings, so I knew it was sort of dead from that point forward. Collectively, the teams stranded 19 runners.

JP Sears and Hunter Brown are today’s starters, as the Astros are an enormous favorite. Sears has a 5.27 ERA with a 4.72 xERA and a 5.50 FIP in his 42.2 innings of work. He’s struck out over a batter per inning with an outstanding walk rate, but he has also allowed 11 home runs. Sears has a 44/9 K/BB ratio, but he’s still given up enough homers for FIP to dislike his performance. He’s only allowed a 36.9% Hard Hit%, but he has allowed an 11.5% Barrel%, which is going to happen as an extremely extreme fly ball guy.

Not surprisingly, Sears has allowed a .309 wOBA in 22 innings at home and a .373 wOBA in 20.2 innings on the road, where seven of his 11 home runs have been hit. Here’s the thing, though. The Astros have only hit 39 homers this season in 44 games and only 20 at home. That ranks 23rd. The teams below them are in bad ballparks for hitting or cold-weather cities. 

Hunter Brown has a 3.43 ERA with a 3.48 FIP in 44.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 47 against 17 walks and has been able to work around a .336 BABIP as a byproduct of a 45.4% Hard Hit%. He’s actually allowed a 56.8% Hard Hit% and six barrels over his last three starts against the Giants, Angels, and White Sox. He’s given up nine runs on 20 hits in 14.1 innings of work in that span.

As I mentioned yesterday before they scored one run and had just one hit with RISP, the A’s are a pretty good road offense. They are sixth in wOBA at .329 and have a 108 wRC+. They are also sixth in road wOBA against righties at .330 with a 109 wRC+.

Sears and the A’s are clearly a risk, but any +245 wager is a risk. I don’t like Brown’s command profile the last few starts and Sears is a guy whose only glaring problem is the long ball. It’s obviously a big deal, but the Astros aren’t really driving the ball this season. I think this is a decent chance to take on a big underdog, especially when looking at how the Astros have  seemed bored or disinterested at times against bad teams.

Pick: Athletics +245

Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels (-120, 8.5)

Louie Varland and Patrick Sandoval are the slated starters at the Big A for this one, as the Angels came away with a 5-4 decision on Friday night. A rested Mike Trout should be back in the lineup after getting last night off against Joe Ryan. Keep in mind that the Angels are giving Trout a “steady diet of off days” in hopes of keeping him healthy, so you’ll have to try and figure out when those might be.

Varland now has 49 MLB innings to his name and has a 4.04 ERA with a 4.69 FIP across nine starts. So far this season, Varland has faced the Yankees, White Sox, Padres, and Cubs with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings, but he’s allowed six homers, so he has a 5.12 FIP to go with a 4.30 ERA. Varland has only walked six of 95 batters, but he hasn’t been able to evade the long ball and has a 41.9% Hard Hit% with a 12.9% Barrel%. 

Sandoval has actually done an excellent job of limiting hard contact this season with a 33.3% Hard Hit%, but that number is climbing. In his last two starts against the Astros and Guardians, Sandoval has allowed 23 hard-hit balls for a 48.9% Hard Hit%. When you consider that the Guardians make very little hard contact, it is a staggering number, even if in a small sample size.

For the season, Sandoval has a 3.22 ERA with a 3.99 FIP and a 4.61 xFIP. He’s been helped by a .239 BABIP, but also hurt by a 68.3% LOB%. He’s only given up three home runs, which makes the .239 BABIP that much more of an outlier. Unfortunately, Sandoval is racking up regression signs heading into a start against a Twins team that ranks 28th in wOBA against lefties at .289.

My hope here is that Sandoval can string together one more serviceable start with a high Hard Hit% and we can bet against him next time out. Those last two starts represent his two highest average exit velocities of the season and his only two starts over 90 mph.

It will be balmy tonight in Anaheim with high humidity and temps in the upper 60s at first pitch with a breeze blowing out. A higher-scoring game isn’t out of the question here, but I’m not jumping on 8.5 with juice.

Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals (-115, 9.5)

I was very wrong about this game yesterday, though the Nationals at least made it interesting with three runs in the sixth and three in the seventh, but the comeback attempt stopped there. Matthew Boyd actually took a perfect game into the sixth, though he lost it very quickly in that inning.

Today’s game features Alex Faedo up against the resurgent Patrick Corbin. Faedo has made two MLB starts this season and allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits over 10.2 innings of work. He has allowed four homers in those outings against the Mariners and Cardinals. He did strike out seven Mariners over six innings in his last start, but Seattle has one of the highest K% in baseball.

As I’ve talked about a lot, the Nationals are way better against lefties than righties, but they have the league’s lowest K%. They just haven’t driven the ball for any power against RHP this season. We’ll see if that changes in this game or any upcoming games, but they are 27th in wOBA against righties and barely 28th in SLG.

Corbin rides a streak of six straight starts with three or fewer earned runs allowed into this one. He’s been dancing around some hard contact, though, and I think his fortunes will reverse soon. He’s got a 45.2% Hard Hit% against over his last five starts and he’s nearly at 45% for the season as a whole. He has a .290 BABIP against in those last five games, but he’s managed to run a 76.4% LOB% despite a 14.3% K%.

I don’t have any bet in this game. Corbin’s teetering a little bit and the Nationals are pretty bad against righties, but I’m not getting a good enough price on a wild card like Faedo.

Colorado Rockies at Texas Rangers (-190, 8.5)

Jon Gray faces his former team in this one as the Rangers right-hander squares off against southpaw Kyle Freeland. It seems that Gray has figured out whatever plagued him early in the season, as he has allowed one run on seven hits in his last 15 innings with 13 strikeouts against two walks. Gray had a run of four straight starts with just two strikeouts, but it looks like the numbers are about to be on the rise.

He’s actually done a really good job this season of limiting hard contact and has a 3.15 ERA, but the lack of strikeouts and a few home runs have left him with a 5.14 FIP and a profile that screams regression. To be fair, running an 84.1% LOB% with his well below average strikeout rate should scream exactly that. But, it looks like Gray has made a mechanical tweak to get a little more tilt on his slider per media reports and we could see some more swing and miss going forward.

That being said, while the Mariners had a season-high 21.1% SwStr% two starts ago, Gray was back to not really missing bats against the A’s with a 6.3% SwStr%. I think he’s kind of a complicated guy because he does have just a 33.1% Hard Hit% against, so the low BABIP has some degree of sustainability to it, but it’s still hard to buy into that LOB%.

Of course, it’s a little easier in a start against the Rockies, who are a bad offensive team. That means Freeland will have to keep a dangerous Rangers lineup at bay. Freeland has a 3.16 ERA with a 3.81 xERA and a 4.54 FIP, so there are some regression signs in his profile as well. He’s got an 80.8% LOB% and a .257 BABIP against, which are the two clearest signs. Like Gray, he’s done a good job of limiting hard contact (36.8% HH%) and that has allowed him to strand a lot of runners despite a low K%.

This may be the start where the reckoning happens for Freeland because Texas is fourth in wOBA against lefties at .350. It is a little odd that the Rangers have been awesome offensively at home, but are only 12th in home wOBA vs. LHP. We’ll see how this one plays out, but neither the side nor the total sem worth pursuing.

New York Yankees (-140, 10.5) at Cincinnati Reds

Jhony Brito is slated to make the start here in this one as the Yankees battle the Reds in some matinee action at Great American Ball Park. New York used opener Jimmy Cordero in front of Brito last time out, but it seems as though Brito will get the straight start in this one. He allowed four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings last time out, but only one of the runs was earned, as his defense didn’t do him any favors.

Brito has a 5.20 ERA with a 5.44 FIP on the season in 36.1 innings of work. He only has 24 strikeouts, so a low K% has definitely been a hindrance. He has done a decent job with a 37% Hard Hit%, but he’s given up 14 barrels for an 11.8% Barrel% and has allowed six homers, with five in his last four appearances. To be fair, he’s faced some pretty good offenses recently, with the Rangers, Rays, road A’s, and Blue Jays in his last four starts. Cincinnati is definitely not on that level.

It should be a pretty good day for hitting in Cincy, which should help the Yankees against Luke Weaver. Weaver has allowed 19 runs on 32 hits in 27.1 innings of work, as this experiment has not worked out for the Reds. He managed to limit the damage to one run last time out against the Marlins, but he did allow seven hits in that game. Weaver has allowed a 47.6% Hard Hit% and 11 barrels in 84 batted ball events.

In two home starts, he’s allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in 11.2 innings and three home runs. This looks like a Yankees or nothing spot. Brito does have a 3.63 ERA aside from that giant blow-up against the Twins back on April 13 when he allowed seven runs in just 0.2 innings of work. This is a step down in class from the lineups he has recently faced.

I don’t see Weaver as a MLB-caliber pitcher. I think Brito can be one. I like the Yankees today. I think the run line is reasonable here as well, but the -140 isn’t bad at all with a surging offense that ranks second in wOBA over the last 14 days.

Pick: Yankees -140

Milwaukee Brewers at Tampa Bay Rays (-200, 8.5)

It will be Eric Lauer and Zach Eflin here as the Rays are a big favorite against the Brewers. Tampa Bay was actually held at bay by Adrian Houser yesterday, as Shane McClanahan was busy dominating the Brewers lineup. It came down to the pens and the Rays snuck away with a 1-0 decision.

The Brewers are back to facing a righty today, but it’s a good one in Eflin, who has a 3.38 ERA with a 3.50 FIP in his 40 innings of work. He has 44 strikeouts against five walks on the season. Eflin has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts against the Orioles and Yankees, but he continued to limit hard contact, much like he has done throughout the season. He’s allowed a 38.5% Hard Hit% on the year, but he has allowed a 10.1% Barrel%.

Lauer has a 4.54 ERA with a 5.97 FIP and he’s been really fortunate to get by in a lot of his starts. He does have 39 strikeouts in 39.2 innings, but he’s given up 10 home runs and a 44.2% Hard Hit% with a 12.4% Barrel%. Lauer’s had a big velocity decrease this season to go with shoddy command and a 10.6% BB%.

There is no way I’d want to bet on Lauer’s profile. The Rays should be able to take care of their affairs again here, but I’m still wary of laying the big prices given some of the bullpen regression signs in that group’s statistical profile. Their ERA is up to 3.81 with a 4.50 FIP, 4.78 xFIP, and a low .249 BABIP that is rising little by little.

Seattle Mariners at Atlanta Braves (-135, 9)

Logan Gilbert gets the call for the Mariners in this one against Jesse Chavez, who gets the start in what is officially a bullpen game for Atlanta. Gilbert has a 3.91 ERA with a 2.67 FIP in his 46 innings of work. He has only allowed four home runs on the season and has 54 strikeouts against nine walks. His 10.7% SwStr% is a little low for his strikeout rate, but he’s able to get ahead early in the count and then subtly expand the zone with his deep arsenal of pitches.

Gilbert has allowed a 40% Hard Hit%, but he’s only given up seven barrels on the season. Every one of Gilbert’s offerings has a 20.6% or high Whiff% per Baseball Savant. The Braves have the ninth-highest O-Swing% per Statcast and the second-highest SwStr% per Baseball Info Solutions. Gilbert also has 100th percentile Extension, so he’s releasing the ball about as close to home plate as you can, which I think is really tough for a team that hasn’t seen him before.

Chavez starts the Johnny Wholestaff game for the Braves and he’s been solid this season with a 2.50 ERA and a 2.57 FIP in 18 innings of work. He’s maxed out at 1.1 innings, so we’ll see how far he goes here, but he does have a 22/5 K/BB ratio in his 21 appearances. I would presume we see Michael Tonkin or Lucas Luetge after Chavez. Luetge is left-handed and, while his numbers aren’t very good this season, the Mariners have been putrid against southpaws on the year.

Tonkin has racked up fewer strikeouts, but has a 2.01 ERA with a 3.92 FIP. There are some regression signs in his profile, but he could be a bulk guy since he’s worked at least two innings seven times this season. In his extended relief appearances, he’s been solid with two runs allowed on five hits over those seven outings.

Rain is forecasted for later in this game and this is one of those interleague series where making up a game is just a hassle. I think they’ll start this one and race the rain. The Braves are only a league average offense against righties with a 100 wRC+ and they rank 11th in wOBA at .323. The Mariners are a below average offense against everybody and the Braves bullpen has the fourth-highest SwStr% against a Seattle lineup that strikes out a lot. The Mariners are second in K% at 25.5%.

I like the Under 9 in this one. It could tick up to 9.5 and that would obviously be a preferred bet.

Pick: Under 9 (+100)

Boston Red Sox at San Diego Padres (-125, 7.5)

A really good pitching matchup at Petco wraps up today’s card with a battle between Chris Sale and Joe Musgrove. I was premature this season in calling Sale done, as he’s really turned his season around and become a viable starting pitcher. He allowed 16 runs in his first 12 innings, but he has a 3.16 ERA with a 2.34 FIP in his last 31.1 innings of work. He’s got 35 strikeouts against just five walks and has only allowed one home run in that span. 

This isn’t smoke and mirrors or BS at all. He has a 28.7% Hard Hit% in his last five starts with only four barrels allowed against the Twins, Orioles, Guardians, Phillies, and Cardinals. The Padres are loaded with talent, but they’ve been a pretty big disappointment off