MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, August 22nd

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MLB schedule today has 15 games

The Tuesday MLB menu features 15 different options, as bettors get to pick from all 30 teams. It is also a dinner menu, as all of the games start at 6:40 p.m. ET or later. New series begin and series that started on Monday continue, as we’ll have four games in both the NL and AL and then seven interleague matchups. The division and Wild Card races are getting more and more interesting and every game is increasing in importance one way or another, even for those fighting for draft positioning.

 

With a lot of games and a lot to discuss, let’s get to it.

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Here are some thoughts on the August 22 card (odds from DraftKings):

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies (-135, 9)

Bettors seem very intrigued with Kyle Harrison, as the rookie makes his debut against Taijuan Walker. The Giants left-hander had a 4.66 ERA with a 5.25 FIP in Triple-A with a ton of strikeouts and a lot of walks. He’s struck out 105 batters in 65.2 innings, but also issued 48 walks and gave up 10 homers. That’s a 35.6% K%, a 16.3% BB%, and a 16.7% HR/FB%. Over 55% of the plate appearances against Harrison have ended with a strikeout, walk, or homer at the Triple-A level.

Harrison turned 22 just 10 days ago and was the second-ranked prospect for the Giants in the FanGraphs June update. He’s primarily a two-pitch pitcher right now with a slider and fastball per Eric Longenhagen and Tess Tarushkin’s scouting report, as the changeup is still a work in progress. He’s got a deceptive arm slot and he’s left-handed, which are two things I like out of debutants, but that 16% BB% is way too much for me to ignore here.

I’d also expect Harrison to have a short outing. He hasn’t worked more than four innings in the minors since June 15. The other interesting thing is that he was out for about 27 days and even got sent to the Complex League. In that start and his three Triple-A starts since, Harrison has only walked four batters over 11.1 innings, all of them coming in one start.

Walker has a 4.03 ERA with a 4.44 xERA and a 4.68 FIP in 131.2 innings of work. Walker lived up to his namesake last time out with six free passes over five innings against the Twins and he’s had some problems with control and command recently. He also has just 12 strikeouts over his last four starts. The big velo bump he had in June is gone, as he’s sat 91.5, 92.6, and 91.5 mph over his last three starts. I’m actually pretty concerned about that and may look to fade him moving forward.

I can’t today with Harrison and the state of the Giants bullpen, as they don’t have a well-defined long man to follow him. Sean Manaea and Sean Hjelle both threw 60 pitches yesterday, while Tristan Beck and Jakob Junis each threw over 40 on Sunday. Alex Wood threw 19 on Sunday and isn’t really stretched out. The Over 9 might be the play here if the Giants can take advantage of Harrison’s walks and hit a multi-run homer or two, but I’m not supremely confident in that.

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (-135, 10)

Former teammates square off here, as Adam Wainwright and Johan Oviedo get the call. The Cardinals are really hoping for something good out of Wainwright, who bought himself at least one more start with a good outing last time out. Waino allowed three runs on four hits over six innings. It was his first “quality start” since June 17, though he only had two strikeouts against three walks and did not record a single swing and miss out of 93 pitches.

It has been a really sad season for Wainwright, who has allowed an 11.6% Barrel% and has an 8.42 ERA with a 6.06 FIP. He only has 41 strikeouts out of 356 batters faced. The Cardinals were thinking about moving him to the bullpen prior to his last start, but he was serviceable enough to get another crack, as he needs two wins to get to 200 in what has been a Hall of Fame-level career.

Oviedo has a 4.55 ERA with a 4.57 xERA and a 4.41 FIP in 140.1 innings of work. He was in the Cardinals org from 2016-22 and has now thrown 171 innings for the Pirates at the MLB level. I am worried about Oveido as we go forward with his 140.1 innings. He threw 117.1 innings last season, 116.2 innings in 2021, and only 24.2 innings in 2020 during the COVID year. Oviedo has not thrown this many innings since 2019 and those innings were split between High-A and Double-A.

He’s allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in his last two starts with seven strikeouts against seven walks in nine innings pitched. He had his lowest fastball velocity of the season last time out at 94.2 mph. Since July 1, Oviedo has a 5.40 ERA over nine starts and has allowed five or more runs five times. I really want to take a shot with the Cardinals here, but it is impossible to trust Wainwright. He is wholly dependent on batted ball variance and he hasn’t had much success with it.

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (-225, 10.5)

Tylor Megill and Bryce Elder are the listed hurlers here as the Mets and Braves do battle at Truist Park. Megill comes in with a 5.53 ERA, 6.34 xERA, and a 5.14 FIP in 86.1 innings of work, while Elder has a 3.46 ERA with a 4.29 xERA and a 4.27 FIP. Elder has worked 138 innings across 24 starts and 144 innings total. He threw 159 last season, so he’s still doing okay, but he’s another young pitcher to monitor as the workload mounts.

He has had some blow-ups lately as well. He just threw seven shutout, one-hit innings against the Yankees, but had allowed 12 runs over his previous two starts and has allowed at least seven runs three times in his last seven starts. The biggest thing for me of late is that Elder only has 20 strikeouts out of 135 batters faced in the second half with a 5.06 ERA and a 4.77 FIP. As a result, we see a balloon total of 10.5 here.

Megill worked five decent innings last time out, but did walk four batters against five strikeouts. Still, it was an upgrade over his previous two starts when he allowed 11 runs on 18 hits in 10 innings, including a start against Atlanta back on August 11. He’s only made three starts since returning to the MLB club and they have been collectively uninspiring. 

Nothing here with that high total and Atlanta a big favorite behind a starter who hasn’t been the same as he was earlier in the season.

Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres (-180, 7.5)

The Padres beat old friend Ryan Weathers and got another solid start from Michael Wacha last night to take down a 6-2 victory. They’re in a heavy favorite role again tonight, as their slim playoff hopes remain on life support. They are 5.5 games back with 36 games to play, so crazier things have happened, but they’ve yet to really hit their stride. They are one of four teams in the Wild Card chase with a positive run differential and only the Cubs have a better one, but they’ve lost too many close games.

We’ll see if we get a close game here, as Jesus Luzardo and Blake Snell do battle. I have concerns about both guys here. How could I possibly have concerns about Snell? He’s got a 1.29 ERA with a 2.92 FIP in his last 16 starts with 128 strikeouts in 91 innings pitched. He’s only allowed five homers, but has allowed one in each of his last three starts. He’s also walked 26 batters in his last six starts. He only walked two last time out against the Orioles, but he’s been walking a tightrope at times.

The upshot is that Snell has really done an incredible job of limiting hard contact. Even in these six starts with all the walks, he has allowed a 27.6% Hard Hit%. So, he’s been able to limit the damage of not making guys hit their way on base. As long as that continues, he’ll be in good shape, but he does have a 2.45 ERA with a 4.57 FIP in his last six starts, so that concerns me.

But, I’m way more concerned about Luzardo. Not only did he hit a wall, but he’s backed up and crashed into it a couple more times. He’s allowed 21 runs in his last four starts over 17 innings. He’s only got 16 strikeouts against nine walks and has allowed eight homers, all in his last three starts. He’s allowed a 47.6% Hard Hit% and a 14.3% Barrel%. His velocity and spin rates look fine, but he’s just not locating the ball where he wants to and he’s getting hit very hard.

Luzardo’s 137.1 innings are 37 more than he’s ever pitched at the MLB level. He maxed out at 124.1 innings in 2021, with 95.1 of those at the MLB level.

Then there’s the other concern about Luzardo – his road splits. Luzardo has a 3.69 ERA with  a .308 wOBA at home in 85.1 innings of work. He has a 29.1% K% and a 3.61 FIP. On the road, though, he has a 4.85 ERA with a .361 wOBA against in 52 innings. His slash line is +52/+38/+96 on the road by BA/OBP/SLG and his K% drops to 25.4% with a 4.46 FIP.

The Padres only have 124 plate appearances against lefties in August, but have a .383 wOBA and a 146 wRC+ in that split. They are second in baseball with a .383 wOBA and a 146 wRC+ in 327 PA in the second half.

After lighting up lefties in the first half of the season, the Marlins have a .290 wOBA with an 83 wRC+ in the second half against southpaws. I spent a good bit of time deciding between the 1st 5 Over 3.5 at -130 (most books were 4) and the Padres 1st 5 Run Line -0.5 and -110. The deciding factor was that Miami has walked 4.2% of the time against lefties in the second half over 333 plate appearances. For the full season, the Marlins have the lowest BB% against lefties at 6.1%.

Snell is hard to square up and he stays off the barrel really effectively. The walks are the concern, but everything else in the profile looks pretty good. So, I’ll fade Luzardo with the Padres for the 1st 5 Run Line. The full-game run line at +114 is okay as well, but at least this one ensures the two teams bat the same amount of times. This game also has a low-scoring expectation, which, in theory, should make it harder to win by margin. I’ll stick with the 1st 5 and lay a number. Shop around. You should find a better price on this at a non-DK book.

Pick: Padres 1st 5 Run Line -0.5 (-125)

Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles (-118, 8)

What a pitching matchup we have here. The reborn Grayson Rodriguez and arguably the hottest AL pitcher on the planet in Yusei Kikuchi. Since getting recalled on July 17, Rodriguez has made six starts and has a 3.03 ERA with a 2.96 FIP. He only has 30 strikeouts in 35.2 innings, so he isn’t just gassing dudes. He’s actually working through his arsenal to limit hard contact, keep the ball on the ground, and has all but eliminated the major problems he had earlier in the season.

He’s allowed one home run and a 35.8% Hard Hit% with a 4.2% Barrel%. He allowed a 52.2% Hard Hit% and a 12.7% Barrel% in his first 10 starts of the season, allowing 13 homers in 45.1 innings of work. His K% in that sample was 26.5%, but he also had a 10% BB%. His K% is 21.9% now, but his BB% is 8.0% and he has a 56.4% GB%, which has helped him stay away from the long ball. He’s allowed a total of eight runs in his last five starts.

In six second-half starts, Kikuchi has a 1.29 ERA with a 2.15 FIP in 35 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in a start and has only allowed two runs in a start once. He’s got a 36/8 K/BB ratio with zero homers allowed and a 49.5% GB%. He has only allowed a 28.6% Hard Hit% and a 2.2% Barrel%. Out of 14 batted ball events last time out against the Phillies, the hardest-hit ball was 94.4 mph. The hardest-hit ball by Cleveland two starts ago was 98 mph.

I’m not sure what sort of devil magic the Blue Jays conjured up, but Kikuchi has never had a run like this in his career. It’s actually been really fun to follow, given how much he’s struggled at times since coming over from Japan in 2019. He’s never had lower than a 4.41 ERA, but he sits at 3.44 this season, even if his advanced run estimators aren’t as bullish on his performance the rest of the way.

Great game, great pitching matchup, but I’m not sure there’s a betting edge. The Blue Jays haven’t hit many worthwhile righties in the second half and Rodriguez fits that description, so this could be another low-scoring affair, but I won’t be involved in the total.

Seattle Mariners (-155, 8.5) at Chicago White Sox

The Mariners kept right on rolling along last night with a laugher against the White Sox. The M’s scored five in the first and never looked back, as Luis Castillo really settled in after a long delay between warming up and taking the mound for the bottom of the first led to a run. It was a big win, not only by the score and the standings, but the bullpen had a rare light night. Seven relievers were used on Sunday and a lot of guys had been used a lot in recent weeks.

Bryan Woo returns for the M’s after a stint on the IL for forearm tightness. He is making his first start since August 3. Woo actually had his best start of the second half in that outing against the Angels, but he allowed 16 runs on 23 hits in four starts before getting a rest for a bit. He had only allowed a 25.4% Hard Hit% and a 4.8% Barrel% in those starts, so he fell on the wrong side of luck with men on base in those outings.

Woo only threw a 30-pitch bullpen session six days ago and I assume he threw a bit on the 19th, but I wouldn’t expect him to work all that deep in tonight’s game unless he’s uber-efficient. Of course, that’s very much possible against a White Sox team that swings early and often and isn’t very selective.

Mike Clevinger goes for the ChiSox here, as he’s quietly had a solid season in between IL stints. He’s got a 3.26 ERA with a 4.29 xERA and a 4.42 FIP in 85.2 innings of work. This will be his fifth straight start since returning on June 29 from the latest stay in the trainer’s room. He’s allowed five runs on 16 hits over 23 innings with an 18/6 K/BB ratio in that span. He’s faced Cleveland twice, the Yankees, and the Cubs in that stretch, so we’ll see if he can cool off the Mariners.

Nothing from me here, as Woo is a bit of a wild card in his return and Clevinger has been throwing the ball well.

Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros (-148, 9)

The Astros got another subpar start from Cristian Javier, who had problems maintaining his velocity throughout the game, but also jumped all over left-hander James Paxton for a 9-4 win. They just find ways, man. It’s what they’ve done several years in a row now. We’ll see if they find a way today with Justin Verlander on the bump.

The future Hall of Famer has a 3.36 ERA with a 3.55 xERA and a 3.83 FIP in 112.1 innings of work. In three starts with the Astros, he hasn’t found his groove with a 4.50 ERA and a 3.93 FIP, as he only has 13 strikeouts in 18 innings and just gave up five runs on nine hits to the Marlins. He only has a 6.3% SwStr% and only had a few whiffs in that start against Miami, so we’ll see if he can add some here against a Boston lineup that does not strike out very much.

Tanner Houck returns to the big leagues after getting hit in the face by a line drive back on June 16. He had a 5.05 ERA with a 4.21 FIP when he hit the IL and comes back after three rehab starts at Triple-A with two runs on five hits in 8.2 innings. He struck out 10 and walked three in his quest to come back. 

Houck is really good against righties, so I think this will be an interesting matchup. Righties own a .224/.300/.272 slash against him with a .262 wOBA on the season. Lefties have a .262/.313/.500 slash with a .342 wOBA. For Houck’s career, he’s been substantially better against righties, holding them to a .206/.281/.260 slash and a .248 wOBA in 475 PA, while lefties have a .243/.325/.401 slash with a .314 wOBA in 405 PA.

The Astros are 13th in wOBA at .328 and have a 109 wRC+ against righties in the second half, while the Red Sox are seventh with a .336 wOBA and a similar 109 wRC+. I think Boston is live tonight. It’s a bummer not having Jarren Duran, but Wilyer Abreu is getting called up and could make his MLB debut. He’s slashing .274/.391/.538 with a .401 wOBA in Triple-A and has 22 HR. He’s also batting .424/.528/.949 with nine homers in August.

I think Houck matches up well with Houston’s lineup and Verlander just doesn’t seem fully right at this point. It feels like Houston is trying to make a good number of adjustments on the fly and I think that might be to Verlander’s detriment as they try to find his strikeouts and decreased velocity.

Pick: Red Sox +124

Kansas City Royals (-122, 8.5) at Oakland Athletics

I don’t have much to say about this game because I genuinely don’t know who will start. Angel Zerpa is currently scheduled, but Zack Greinke is coming off of the IL and it could be him. Oakland has not named a starter, but it seems as though Hogan Harris will either start or bulk. I probably wasn’t going to have a bet in this series no matter what and today’s mess is easy to gloss over.

Colorado Rockies at Tampa Bay Rays (-265, 8.5)

This is a big price for Zack Littell, but the market seems content with laying it, as this line has even grown a little bit overnight and this morning. Littell comes in with a 3.99 ERA, 4.69 xERA, and a 3.56 FIP in 47.1 innings of work, as the Rays have worked their magic to turn him into a viable starting pitcher. This will be his fifth straight start and he has a 2.78 ERA with a 3.22 FIP over those 22.2 innings of work.

I’m not really buying it, as I don’t think his 1.1% BB% is sustainable, nor do I think a 78.1% LOB% is sustainable for him with a 16.9% K%, but it’s the Rays and their pixie dust is truly special. Littell has allowed a 45.2% Hard Hit% and a 9.6% Barrel% in these four starts, which is another reason why I’d like to sell his stock, but not against Colorado.

Ty Blach has a lot of concerning signs in his profile with a 4.14 ERA and a 5.02 FIP and just 15 strikeouts out of 162 batters faced, but I’ve backed him in his last two starts. I had the Rockies when they blew a save back on August 15 and then I had him +2.5 against the Dodgers in a 2-1 loss back on August 10. This will be Blach’s sixth consecutive start and he has only allowed seven runs on 22 hits over 23.2 innings in that span. However, he has only struck out two batters per start, so that’s worrisome. He has a 2.66 ERA with a 4.96 FIP and a 5.33 xFIP as a starter.

The Rays haven’t hit lefties for a while now, so we’ll see if Blach can stave off that negative regression. Tampa Bay has been picking it up slightly, as they now have a .285 wOBA with an 84 wRC+ in the second half after being among the league’s worst for a while.

I’d need better than +105 on the +1.5 line for Colorado and -160 on +2.5 just doesn’t do it for me.

Chicago Cubs (-125, 9) at Detroit Tigers

The Cubs and Tigers continue their series in the Motor City after an interesting series opener that fell 7-6 in Chicago’s favor. I mentioned that there were some bullpen concerns for the Cubs and those came to the forefront last night. Michael Fulmer was awful being used a third time in four days and a fourth time in six days. Adbert Alzolay was unavailable, so Mark Leiter Jr. threw 25 pitches working a third straight day for the save. David Ross had to go way down the depth chart for innings.

Today’s starter is Drew Smyly, so I don’t love the situation for the Cubs. He has a 4.92 ERA with a 4.15 xERA and a 5.03 FIP as his season took a major turn in mid-June. He was even removed from the rotation after his August 7 start in which he allowed seven runs on eight hits to the Mets. Smyly has a 7.35 ERA with a 6.64 FIP in his last 49 innings. He’s only worked three innings in relief, but they have all been scoreless, as he allowed 42 runs in 46 innings as a starter from June 14 to August 7.

Fortunately for Smyly, the Tigers are 28th in wOBA at .275 with a 76 wRC+ against lefties in the second half, so we’ll see if he can navigate his way through a few frames. 

The Tigers will counter with Reese Olson, as he comes in with a 4.83 ERA, 4.92 xERA, and a 3.99 FIP in 63.1 innings of work. He has allowed at least four runs in four of his last five starts, so he’s not in great form either. He has a start of six shutout innings against the Twins among his last five starts and still has a 6.20 ERA with a 4.77 FIP.

I assumed I’d like the Tigers given the situation for the Cubs and with Smyly starting, but I’m not sure I can trust Olson in this situation either. The Cubs are also still the best lineup in baseball against righties in the second half, so that makes it even tougher to trust Olson.

Washington Nationals at New York Yankees (-180, 8.5)

Carlos Rodon will get back in the saddle for the Yankees here as they open up a series against the Nationals. New York could really use a lift from Rodon, as the season is slipping away. They’ve dropped eight in a row and are 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. Rodon’s first season has been a total bust. He’s only managed to work 27 innings at the MLB level and has a 7.33 ERA with a 5.40 xERA and a 7.38 FIP over six starts.

Washington is 11th in wOBA at .336 with a 110 wRC+ against lefties in the second half and remains a top-10 offense in that split for the full season. Rodon did not make any rehab starts this time around and this will be his first start in 16 days. He did throw a five-inning sim game last week and reportedly didn’t allow any runs, so there’s that.

It will be Josiah Gray for Washington, as he comes in with a 3.96 ERA, 4.72 xERA and a 4.81 FIP. The regression signs have been there throughout the season for Gray, who has a 79.1% LOB% with a 20% K%. He also has a 10.9% BB% on the season, so he’s had some major control concerns. The regression seems to have arrived, as he’s allowed 14 runs on 15 hits in his last 11.1 innings of work. 

His velo has been under his season average in each of his last three starts and it seems like he’s wearing down a bit. He’s 19 innings under last year’s career-high at the MLB level, but the Nationals have given him a couple of extra days prior to this start, so we’ll see if he’s able to right the ship.

I would’ve taken the underdog Nationals had Gray’s numbers not been so bad recently, but it does appear that the correction is happening for one reason or another.

Los Angeles Dodgers (-198, 9) at Cleveland Guardians

One of the saddest things I’ve seen in baseball this season was Noah Syndergaard’s postgame media availability after his last start against the Reds. Syndergaard spoke about not being able to enjoy anything else in his life because of his performance on the field. He allowed six runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work and has now posted a 5.06 ERA with a 7.30 FIP in four starts for the Guardians.

Syndergaard has allowed six homers and 13 runs on 25 hits. He only has 11 strikeouts out of 97 batters faced. It really is sad to see for a guy who used to pump triple digits past dudes. That guy is long gone and now we’ve got one just trying to hold on. At this point, I’m just rooting for Syndergaard to somehow get to 10 years of service time to get his pension.

He and the Guardians are big home underdogs to Bobby Miller and the Dodgers, as Thor faces off against his former team and draws a very difficult assignment on Tuesday night. Miller has a 3.70 ERA with a 3.73 xERA and a 3.48 FIP in 75.1 innings of work. I mentioned how it’s been a tale of three seasons at the MLB level for Miller, who allowed two runs in his first 23 innings, 20 runs in his next 22 innings, and now 10 runs in his last 31.1 innings since the All-Star Break.

Miller has a 2.59 ERA with a 3.17 FIP in the second half and 28 strikeouts against seven walks with just two homers allowed. He draws a Cleveland team that just looks lifeless at this point. The Amed Rosario trade was pretty jarring and the team looked more like a seller than a buyer at the Trade Deadline. The carryover from that has been ugly and the youngsters that are playing key roles are going through a lot of growing pains.

Cleveland also badly misses Josh Naylor in the lineup. He went out with a strained oblique on August 1 and the team has gone 6-12 in August without him. The Guardians got no-hit on August 1 to fall two games behind the Twins. They are six back now.

I think the only consideration here is the Dodgers run line, but it’s -122 and that’s a steep price to pay. The Dodgers did get out of town and arrived in Cleveland last night, as they found a different 757 at LAX instead of flying out of Burbank like normal. They should win and probably should sweep this series, if we’re being honest, but I don’t know about laying the “double minus” here with -1.5 and -122.

Minnesota Twins (-115, 8.5) at Milwaukee Brewers

Those who have been with me throughout the season know that I’ve spoken negatively about the Brewers a lot. They are 25th in wOBA at .303 for the season and 26th in wRC+ at 88, so 12% below league average when adjusted for park factor and the league run environment. They are 11th in ERA at 4.00, 18th in FIP at 4.32, and 18th in FIP as a starting rotation at 4.42. I can’t figure out how this team is 68-57. They have a +5 run differential and just swept the Rangers in Arlington.

They are an elite defensive team, so there’s that and William Contreras has been among the best pitch framers in baseball. They’re just really good in one-run games and that’s why they’re doing what they’re doing, but it really doesn’t feel like it has a lot of staying power to me.

Then there’s the Twins, who have had the best or second-best rotation in baseball all season and they’re just now pulling away from the Guardians in the pathetic AL Central. And even then, they’re 5-5 in their last 10 games, but have a six-game lead. They’re only five games over .500. 

All that to say these two teams will battle it out tonight and tomorrow for the completion of their interleague “rivalry” as close geographic foes. Wade Miley goes for the Brew Crew and he has a 3.05 ERA with a 4.57 xERA and a 4.53 FIP in 82.2 innings of work. He’s a pitch-to-contact left-hander who has benefited greatly from Milwaukee’s elite defense with an 82.4% LOB% despite a 16.3% K%.

Bailey Ober gets the nod for the Twins, as he’s had a rough go of it lately. He’s got a 5.52 ERA with a 5.11 FIP in six starts since the All-Star Break. He has a .400 BABIP against and has allowed eight homers, with at least one in every game. He hasn’t exactly faced good offenses either, facing the Mariners, White Sox, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Tigers twice.

He doesn’t get a very good offense here either, but I have no idea how this game plays out. I’d look at Miley as a big regression candidate by the numbers, but team defense is one of those things that can really help a pitcher and it has helped Miley and the bullpen.

Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Angels (-148, 9.5)

We will run it back with Graham Ashcraft and Lucas Giolito here, as the teams play a doubleheader tomorrow. Here’s what I wrote yesterday (slightly edited) about this game before it was officially postponed:

Graham Ashcraft and Lucas Giolito are the slated starters in this one. The Reds need a good start from Ashcraft after Hunter Greene’s return was a dud two days ago in the loss to the Blue Jays. Ashcraft has given them a lot of good starts lately, as he has only allowed 14 runs in his last nine starts. Ashcraft has a 2.17 ERA in that span, but a 4.49 FIP, as he only has 38 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched, but has a .241 BABIP against and a 90.6% LOB%. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start, but a lot of his peripherals point towards regression.

If Ashcraft is good tonight, the primary relievers for the Reds are all in good shape, so they should be able to set the game up the way they’d like. Ashcraft has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts.

Giolito comes in with a 4.44 ERA, 4.54 xERA, and a 4.78 FIP in 142 innings pitched. He’s made 25 starts, but only four of them with the Angels and they have not been great. Giolito has an 8.14 ERA with a 6.74 FIP over those 21 innings. He’s only had one quality starts and allowed 19 runs on 24 hits with a 19/9 K/BB ratio. He’s allowed six homers and nine total barrels. He did give up nine runs to Atlanta, so that skews the numbers a bit, but he hasn’t been very sharp since leaving the White Sox.

There was probably some added pressure on the Harvard-Westlake product with the Angels in a playoff race, but with those aspirations all but gone, perhaps he can settle down a little bit.

I’ve got nothing in this one. Fading the Angels has been hugely profitable in August, but Ashcraft’s negative regression signs are really staring me in the face here.

Nothing has changed about my opinion. Ashcraft’s negative regression signs are quite a concern. The Angels have been dealing with a lot, on and off the field, so who knows what they look like tonight. Tough game.

Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks