MLB Best Bets Today April 11

We’ve got just five games on the betting board today, as the Brewers and Reds, plus the Twins and Tigers, called it very early with lots of rain in the forecast. Three of the games start before Noon PT, so it is an early start for me out here in Vegas time. With that, I’ll motor through the intro and get to the games.

Article runs Monday-Saturday, lines current from DraftKings at time of publish, SHOP AROUND for the best odds.


Top MLB Resources:

MLB Odds | MLB Betting Splits | MLB Matchups | Parlay Calculator | Tracking Sheet

Here are the MLB best bets today for April 11:

Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies (-148, 9)

6:40 p.m. ET

Jared Jones and Ranger Suarez fire up the four-game Commonwealth Clash for bragging rights in the Keystone State. The 22-year-old Jones has been incredible in his first two starts. He’s allowed five runs on nine hits in 11.2 innings and has 17 strikeouts against just two walks. Jones has 43 swings and misses, which is tied for the most for a pitcher in his first two starts since 2008. The guy he’s tied with? Shohei Ohtani.

Jones is pumping some seriously nasty high-90s cheddar past dudes with a 42.3% Whiff% on the heater, but he’s also racked up a 47.5% Whiff% on his slider according to Statcast. He is a two-pitch pitcher and that’s something he’ll have to work on as the season goes along, though I do like the movement profile on his curveball. Hopefully that will emerge as a weapon going forward.

Admittedly, it is early, but the Phillies rank 26th in wOBA at .224 on pitches of 95+ mph. Philly is off to a slow start with a .234/.316/.342 slash and an 84 wRC+. They do have a 10.7% BB% to prop up the numbers a bit, but Jones has a 66.7% first-pitch strike rate and he’s getting a lot of chases because he’s been ahead in the count so much. In two starts, Jones has only thrown 44 balls out of 169 pitches (26% Ball%). He doesn’t profile as the type of guy to allow a lot of walks.

The Pirates pen has had its moments, especially David Bednar, but they are rested following yesterday’s off day and everybody outside of Bednar has been really solid.

Suarez has stared down some great pitchers in his career, especially in the postseason, so hopefully it will bring out the best in him. I’ve already seen something I really like from him this season that should make him even more effective. I’m going to get super nerdy, so bear with me.

This season, the vertical movement for Suarez on his sinker and changeup is basically identical. The changeup has a lot more horizontal movement to it, but it would seem that Suarez has been more effective at tunneling his sinker and change this season. As a result, hitters are off to a .158 start against the sinker with a .316 SLG. They batted .289 with a .409 SLG last season. He’s also scaled back the usage of his four-seam fastball, which hitters had a .304 BA and a .478 SLG against last season.

More sinkers and fewer four-seamers looks to be a good change for Suarez, but the changeup is still his money pitch and I think we’ll see more of that going forward. His velo is down a little bit this season, but I don’t pitch that with more of a pitch-to-contact sinker because it has more time to move on the way to the plate. I distinctly recall former sinkerballer Jake Westbrook talking in the past about how he didn’t like being “too strong” with the sinker because it moved less.

To this point, Suarez has shelved last season’s cutter experiment for the most part, as that pitch had a .340 BA against and a .585 SLG. Thus far, Suarez has allowed just a 28.6% Hard Hit% through two starts. He’s always been well above average in that category, but has taken it to an extreme this season. His average exit velo against is just 84.9 mph, so he’s been locating extremely well.

I see regression coming for the Pirates offense with a .332 BABIP and I’m not sure how sustainable their 10.9% BB% is, plus Suarez is pretty stingy with the walks. I know the wind is blowing out tonight, but Suarez is a ground ball guy with some excellent home run prevention numbers and Jones is a strikeout artist, so it’s not as much of a factor as it could have been.

Pick: Pirates/Phillies Under 9 (-102)