MLB schedule today has 15 games
A busy Tuesday in the big leagues features eight interleague games and all 30 teams on the field. Today is something of a rare day for MLB, as there is only one -200 or higher favorite. What isn’t rare is that the enormous underdog is the Oakland A’s. Otherwise, we’ve got what looks to be a slate full of competitive games to dig into on June 6.
VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.
Here are some thoughts on the June 6 card (odds from DraftKings):
The Nationals are a sizable home dog today against a left-hander, but they’ll be sending Jake Irvin to the mound against a terrific Diamondbacks squad. Tommy Henry is the southpaw in question on the bump in D.C. against a Nationals offense that ranks fourth in batting average and seventh in wOBA against lefties this season.
Henry comes into this start with a 3.73 ERA and a 5.21 FIP over his 41 innings of work. He’s got a .244 BABIP and an 80.3% LOB%, so he’s run on the right side of the “luck” stats that dictate ERA. He is coming off of seven shutout innings at home against the Rockies with seven strikeouts. He actually went nine days between starts, but made a quick relief cameo on May 7 with 1.1 scoreless innings.
Henry has just a 25/16 K/BB ratio on the season, but he’s only allowed four runs twice, with one of those outings coming at Coors Field. Otherwise, all of his other outings feature three or fewer earned runs and he’s got just a 32% Hard Hit% against. Over his last three appearances, his HH% is just 22.2%.
Irvin has a 5.67 ERA with a 5.80 FIP in 27 innings of work with a similarly bad K/BB of 22/17. He’s allowed at least four runs in three of his last four starts and doesn’t really look like a big leaguer at this point. But, the Nationals are obviously in a position to be patient and see what he figures out. Irvin has allowed all four of his homers over his last three starts and has more walks (9) than strikeouts (8).
The Nationals at this price against a pitch-to-contact lefty is at least somewhat interesting, but not with Irvin on the other side.
While we only have one -200 or higher favorite, this line is close, as the Dodgers and Tony Gonsolin take on the Reds and Luke Weaver. Gonsolin is a big negative regression candidate at present, as he has a 1.77 ERA, but a 4.83 xERA, 4.60 FIP, and a 5.18 xFIP in his 35.2 innings of work. He’s got a .155 BABIP against and an 84.5% LOB% while running just a 17.7% K% with a 9.2% BB%.
He’s only allowed 10 runs total, but seven are earned over seven starts. He’s only struck out nine batters over his last three starts and allowed just four runs on seven hits. He’s very likely to have a big blow-up soon. Could it come in a good hitter’s park against Cincinnati’s offense? Possibly. It could also come with Elly De La Cruz officially called up to make his MLB debut today after posting a .297/.398/.633 slash with a .437 wOBA and a 152 wRC+ in Triple-A.
Oh, yeah, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand is coming soon. He has a .342/.397/.690 slash with a .457 wOBA and a 164 wRC+ and not many people are talking about him because of De La Cruz.
Weaver owns a 5.36 ERA with a 4.19 xERA and a 5.39 FIP in his 43.2 innings of work. He has a pretty solid K% at 22.5% and a great BB% at 4.8%, but he’s allowed 11 homers in his eight starts. He’s been a bit better lately, allowing eight earned runs over his last four starts after giving up 18 runs in his first four starts. He’s got a 21/2 K/BB ratio with a 3.32 ERA and a 3.56 FIP in that span against the Marlins, Yankees, Cardinals, and Red Sox.
The Dodgers are one of the league’s premier offenses and rank third in wOBA against righties, so this is a tough matchup for Weaver. The Gonsolin regression signs are hard to ignore and they’re plenty capable of coming at any point in time, even as a big favorite here, but I don’t have enough trust in Weaver to take a gamble.
Carlos Carrasco and Bryce Elder are the listed starters for this big series between the Mets and Braves. Elder is another regression candidate on today’s card. He has a 1.92 ERA with a 4.16 xERA, 3.42 FIP, and 3.64 xFIP. His 57.6% GB% has allowed him to avoid those regression signs to this point and he’s only allowed four homers in 65.2 innings of work. His xERA is elevated because of a 47.3% Hard Hit%. His ERA is low because of an 87.4% LOB%.
In a post-shift world, Elder has allowed a lot of hard grounders to the pull side, but he’s gotten really fortunate with the results. His .236 BA comes with a .262 xBA and his .288 wOBA comes with a .319 xwOBA. His slider, which he throws 38.5% of the time, is a legitimate pitch with a high ground ball rate, a decent Whiff%, and a .149 BA against. His xBA on the pitch is .190, so that’s where the difference comes in.
His fastballs have actually both been hit pretty well by opposing batters. But, despite a 91.4 mph average exit velocity on his slider, he’s only allowed that .149 BA with a .213 SLG. Even with all the hard, pull-side contact, lefties have a .206/.283/.333 slash and a .276 wOBA. Lefties actually have a 16% IFFB% as Elder works in a four-seam fastball against them.
Unfortunately, Carrasco’s presence makes it tough to fade Elder today. Cookie has a 5.74 ERA with a 5.44 xERA and a 6.09 FIP in his 31.1 innings of work. His K% is down to 13.9% and his BB% is up to 9.5%. He has made a couple of nice starts in a row after giving up five runs to Cleveland in his return from the IL. He’s held the Cubs and Phillies to a solo homer each over 12.2 innings with eight strikeouts against three walks.
After some weekend success, the Braves are up to a 101 wRC+ against righties and now rank 11th in wOBA at .324, so they’ve improved a bit in that department over the last few days. I’ll be frustrated if this is the day where Elder blows up, but I don’t have enough faith in Carrasco to take a stab.
John Brebbia opens today for the Giants, who will also likely use Sean Manaea and possibly Tristan Beck, who was recalled on Sunday. Brebbia has only allowed two runs in his last 12.1 innings of work dating back to April 30, including one solo homer in three starts. He has a 3.80 ERA over 23.2 innings for the season with a 2.48 FIP. Opposing batters own a .281 wOBA in 16 plate appearances when he opens.
Have the Giants fixed Manaea? Since getting taken out of the full-time rotation after his May 10 start, he’s allowed one earned run on eight hits in 10.2 innings of work with 16 strikeouts against three walks. His Hard Hit% allowed in that split is just 26.1% on 23 batted ball events. He’s faced the Phillies, Twins, Brewers, and Pirates, so a couple of the league’s worst lineups against lefties and another that grades well below average. But, still, given where he was, that’s a huge upgrade to his previous performance level.
The Rockies are 29th in wOBA at .289 and dead last in wRC+ at 65 against lefties. The Rockies have even struggled at Coors Field against lefties with a .315 mark (21st) and a 69 wRC+ (30th).
Dinelson Lamet’s return to the rotation didn’t work out very well. He allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings against the Diamondbacks. He allowed an average exit velocity of 93.9 mph and six hard-hit balls in 12 batted ball events. He had four strikeouts, but only had a 5.6% SwStr% over 71 pitches. He’s up to a 13.17 ERA in 13.2 innings of work with a 5.33 FIP and a 5.05 xFIP in 73 plate appearances. His Hard Hit% is 45.5% and lefties have done most of the damage with a .394/.447/.636 slash and a .456 wOBA in 38 plate appearances. He also has as many walks to righties as he has strikeouts.
Not really sure how this is going to work out long-term for the Rockies, but it doesn’t look very good. Manaea seems fixed by a really smart Giants organization and Brebbia should be solid in his opener appearance. I’ll lay the price with the Giants, who get Joc Pederson back off the IL and hopefully get Michael Conforto back in the lineup.
Pick: Giants -140
Louie Varland and Zach Eflin start off the AL portion of the card, as division leaders battle at the Trop. After firing seven shutout frames against the Astros last time out, Varland will look to shut down the Rays. He’s got a 3.51 ERA with a 4.89 FIP and a 3.66 xFIP in his 41 innings of work. He’s allowed nine homers overall, but six in six starts since he was recalled on May 3. In that span, he has a 3.34 ERA and a 4.43 FIP, as he has a 31/7 K/BB ratio and an 85.9% LOB%.
There are some regression signs in the profile for Varland and the Rays are the most prolific power-hitting offense in baseball, so this may not be the best of matchups for him. His last start was the first of the season without allowing a barrel and he actually allowed a lot more ground balls than usual. We’ll see if that change sticks, as more grounders to cut into the HR rate would be a good idea.
Eflin is having a fine season with a 3.30 ERA, 2.98 xERA, and a 3.57 FIP in his 60 innings of work. He, too, has allowed a few homers at times, but he’s got a strong K/BB ratio and the best GB% of his career at 54.3%. He has a 57/8 K/BB ratio in 10 starts and an 11% SwStr%, which should play up against a Twins bunch that strikes out more against righties than any other lineup.
If Varland had a better command profile, I might be interested in the under, as low as it is. This should be a really good matchup for Eflin.
Slowly but surely, it would appear that the Yankees have figured out how to fix Clarke Schmidt. Since the start of May, Schmidt has a 3.52 ERA with a 2.73 FIP and a 3.70 xFIP in six starts and that even includes a seven-run blow-up against the Rays on May 14. He’s allowed five earned runs in five starts otherwise and has a 33/12 K/BB ratio with just one homer allowed in that span.
After giving up seven homers in six April starts, he’s done a much better job of limiting hard contact and also inducing ground balls. The Yankees increased the usage of his cutter and sinker while cutting back a bit on the sweeper, which I’m not sure I agree with, since his sinker’s been battered this season, but he’s been more effective. He has elite spin rates on his pitches, so it felt like only a matter of time before he put it all together. He has a really good chance to keep it rolling against a White Sox team that ranks 27th in wOBA against RHP.
Lucas Giolito has had a couple rough outings in a row, as he’s allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 8.2 innings against the Tigers and Angels. He walked seven Tigers two starts ago and then gave up a couple homers to the Angels. Giolito has now allowed a homer in six straight starts and his ERA is up to 4.08 with a 4.45 FIP. He allowed 10 hard-hit balls to the Angels in 14 batted ball events and now has a 50.7% Hard Hit% over his last five starts.
In the last two starts, Giolito has allowed an average exit velo of 96.9 mph and a Hard Hit% of 68%. Very small sample size, but add that to the nine walks and clearly something is a miss. The Yankees should be able to take advantage, but they may have to do so without Aaron Judge and that ends my interest in this game. Judge is getting additional testing for a toe injury that may result in an IL stint. They just got Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton back and now this.
A dynamite pitching matchup north of the border features Hunter Brown and Kevin Gausman. I think we can all assume that Gausman’s start will go better than Alek Manoah’s did yesterday, as he didn’t even escape the first inning, but Gausman does have the rare blow-up. One of them actually came against Houston back on April 17 when he allowed eight runs over 4.2 innings of work. The other came against Boston on May 4. Those two starts account for 15 of his 23 earned runs allowed.
Gausman has a 2.76 ERA with a 2.38 FIP in 75 innings of work. He got to 100 strikeouts for the season with 11 punchies in 6.2 innings against the Brewers last time out. He has only issued 18 walks and six homers on the year. He has allowed a 44.1% Hard Hit%, but has mostly worked around it. He also has just a 1.72 ERA and a .247 wOBA against in 36.2 innings at Rogers Centre this season.
Brown had a rocky outing last time out against the Twins, as he fell victim to some bad luck and batted ball variance. He struck out eight over 4.2 innings, but allowed five runs on six hits. He only allowed four hard-hit balls in 12 batted ball events, but the contact that the Twins made wound up being well-placed. He’s actually allowed a 44% Hard Hit%, but mostly worked around it. He has a .342 BABIP with a 69% LOB%, so he’s fallen on the wrong side of those two stats most of the season, but still has a 3.61 ERA with a 3.66 xERA and a 2.90 FIP. He honestly deserves even better numbers.
Not to keep harping on Elder, but Brown’s peripherals are better and his GB% is nearly 54.1%, but his ERA is nearly two runs higher. That speaks to the importance of sequencing luck. We’ll see what kind of luck he has today. The Jays do have a top-five offense against righties, so this is a good, stiff test for him, even if they haven’t done much damage at Rogers Centre, as I outlined yesterday.
Nothing from me here, but an interesting game nonetheless.
We got our second blow-up in two weeks from Shane Bieber, who allowed seven runs on eight hits to the Orioles last time out on May 31. He’s gotten a couple extra days of rest now with some returns to the rotation and some off days, so we’ll see if he can get back on track. He’s got a 3.72 ERA with a 4.89 xERA and a 4.14 FIP in his 75 innings of work.
Bieber’s K% is down to 16.9%, over 8% below last season’s mark. Somehow, despite allowing the highest Hard Hit% of his career, his BABIP is only seven points higher than last season and actually 11 points lower than his career average. He actually got a bit unlucky against Baltimore because it was his best start of the season from a HH% standpoint at 25%, but he’s still at 47.3% for the season.
In his start against Boston at Fenway Park earlier this season, he allowed two runs on five hits with an average exit velocity of 95.5 mph and a 57.1% HH%. He had a 5.1% SwStr%, which is still his lowest of the season. The unfair irony for Bieber is that his start in Baltimore featured his highest fastball velo of the season at 92 mph. His decreased velo has been a huge talking point.
The question is whether or not the Red Sox, who rank 21st in road wOBA, are able to take advantage of the lesser version of Bieber. Over the last 30 days, Boston is only 19th in wOBA at .313 and has a 93 wRC+.
The Guardians offense has shown a few signs of life recently heading into this start against James Paxton. Paxton has a 4.26 ERA with a 4.64 xERA and a 4.28 FIP in 19 innings since making his return on May 12. He had a really nice bounce back start against the Reds last time out with eight strikeouts over five one-run innings. Through four starts, he has allowed six barrels and a 41.3% Hard Hit%. He draws a Guardians offense that ranks 28th in wOBA against lefties and also 28th in wRC+.
I thought of a few different approaches to betting this game, but I’m ultimately staying away. I do not trust Bieber at all and I’m not sure how much I trust Paxton. However, these two offenses haven’t been great for a while and Boston’s home/road numbers starkly contrast. Both bullpens have had some major issues as well.
Zack Greinke and Jesus Luzardo get the interleague portion of the card started, as we’ll see two very different starting pitchers here. Greinke actually finds himself on a nice, little run, as he’s allowed five earned runs over his last four starts. His ERA is down to 4.19 and his FIP sits at 4.34, as he only has 47 strikeouts in 62.1 innings and he’s also given up 10 homers. That’s another part of this recent run, as Greinke has allowed three homers in his last six starts.
Luzardo has hit a bit of a rough patch. Over his last three starts, he has allowed 12 runs on 17 hits over 15.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 23 against just three walks, but has given up a 47.4% Hard Hit%, so when he’s made mistakes, they’ve been hit hard. Kansas City has a .319 wOBA and a 99 wRC+ against lefties on the season, which is way better than their numbers against righties.
Still, Greinke is such a wild card with all the balls in play that he allows and this Royals bullpen is pretty trash.
Tyler Alexander and Taijuan Walker are not very exciting names to get this game started. Alexander will serve as the opener for bulk reliever Garrett Hill, so the Tigers will open with a lefty against a lineup that struggles with them, but then bulk a righty.
Alexander has a 6.38 ERA with a 4.45 FIP, so maybe limiting his exposure isn’t a bad thing. He’s given up eight earned runs over his last 8.1 innings and 11 runs total, so he’s not exactly throwing the ball all that well at present. Hill was just recalled from Triple-A Toledo where he had a 4.78 ERA with 37 strikeouts against 18 walks in 26.1 innings of work. He was sent down after five ugly appearances in April at the MLB level. He has a 4.68 ERA with a 5.36 FIP in 67.1 innings of work.
Walker doesn’t have a profile that I like either, as he is up to a 5.65 ERA with a 5.39 FIP in his 57.1 innings of work. He has a 10.6% BB% and the Tigers are capable of drawing some walks, so we’ll see if they can get some extra traffic out there against him. He’s allowed six runs on 12 hits in his last two starts over 10.2 innings of work with three strikeouts against four walks. He gave up 10 hits two starts ago to the Braves and only three runs.
This is a messy game and I don’t see any reason to be invested.
Not really much to say here, other than the fact that the Pirates are about as big of a favorite as we’ve seen in the last decade. James Kaprielian has an 8.12 ERA with a 5.58 xERA and a 5.83 FIP in his 37.2 innings of work at the MLB level this season. Meanwhile, Mitch Keller has become a stud with a 3.25 ERA, 3.15 xERA, and a 2.85 FIP.
According to Ralph Michaels (CalSportsLV on Twitter), the Pirates are a -200 favorite for the first time since June 2019, a span of 534 games.
If we call it -250, the Pirates haven’t been that big of a favorite since October 2, 2015 when Francisco Liriano faced off against Keyvius Sampson. Enjoy that trivia note with your pals at the bar today.
The Orioles send Kyle Gibson to the hill tonight in hopes of setting the tone for this three-game series. Baltimore took two of three over the Giants to start the roadie and had Monday off, so they’ve had two off days in the last five days, which is really important with the construction of their bullpen.
Gibson has a 3.89 ERA with a 4.64 xERA and a 4.06 FIP in his 71.2 innings of work. He hasn’t really racked up many strikeouts, but he’s been great about avoiding home runs and keeping the ball on the ground. Gibson has a 2.93 ERA with a 3.58 FIP over his last five starts after running into a rough sixth inning against the Royals back on May 3. He has only allowed one homer in that span and a 36.2% Hard Hit% with just a 3.2% Barrel%. He’s been able to command the ball well, even facing the Rays, Blue Jays, and Yankees in that span.
On the flip side, Freddy Peralta has really been struggling of late. He’s allowed 16 earned runs in his last four starts, but has actually allowed 22 runs overall, as he gave up 10 runs against the Giants two starts ago, but only four of the runs were earned. Peralta has just a 15/11 K/BB ratio in that span and has allowed six homers to the Cardinals, Rays, Giants, and Blue Jays. He has allowed 10 barrels in that stretch with a 14.7% Barrel%.
You always worry about some underlying injury concerns with a guy like him and that could be a factor right now. He’s not getting a lot of chases outside the zone and the stuff just seems to lack life.
Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista are both nice and rested for the O’s, as they bring a quality bullpen in an underdog role, something that my colleague Steve Makinen has written about recently. I’ll take a look at the O’s in a dog role today against a slumping Peralta and a Brewers team that ranks 28th in wOBA over the last 30 days. Shop around, as you can find +115s out there.
Pick: Orioles +110
Matthew Liberatore draws a tough assignment today as the Cardinals try to get back in the win column after losing in walk-off fashion to the Rangers on Monday. Liberatore has allowed six runs on six hits in three appearances since getting recalled from Triple-A. He allowed four runs on five hits against Cleveland last time out with just two strikeouts against two walks. He hasn’t pitched since May 26, so it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from him here.
The Rangers are the best offense in baseball over the last 30 days by wOBA, third in wOBA against lefties, and fifth in wOBA at home against lefties. Given Liberatore’s inconsistent schedule, along with an inexplicable one-inning relief appearance on May 21, it is hard to buy into the Cardinals in this one, even if the Rangers show some regression signs, particularly with runners in scoring position.
Dane Dunning has been a standout for the Rangers this season. He has not allowed a home run in 48 innings pitched with a 2.06 ERA and a 2.82 FIP. He has a 4.07 xERA, as he’s allowed a decent amount of hard contact with a 40.1% Hard Hit% and doesn’t have a lot of strikeouts. Nevertheless, he’s been really solid overall, though he, too, is in a bit of a weird spot. He’s only made one start since May 22 and allowed three runs on seven hits to the Tigers over five innings.
There’s a lot to unpack with this game. I think a lot of people are going to look at Texas and say the line looks cheap. I tend to agree with that more than I’d want to take St. Louis, but it’s still a strange spot.
Hayden Wesneski and Tyler Anderson meet up here in Wesneski’s second start since getting recalled. He allowed one run on one hit with four strikeouts against a couple walks in his May 31 relief outing against Tampa Bay. He went down to the minors and allowed one earned run on two hits over nine innings with nine strikeouts against six walks in a couple of “get right” outings. He was sent down after allowing seven runs, including four homers, to the Twins.
Wesneski was originally supposed to come up and be a bullpen option, but Justin Steele got hurt and now he takes his place. He’s got a 4.81 ERA with a 5.66 FIP overall in 43 innings. He’s given up 10 homers and only has 32 strikeouts, but he had a good run before giving up seven runs to the Twins, so he’s shown he can stick at the MLB level.
Anderson heads into this start with a 5.47 ERA, a 4.99 xERA, and a 5.35 FIP in his 52.2 innings of work. He just allowed six runs on six hits to the White Sox after a stretch in which he allowed 10 earned runs over his previous five starts. There was definitely some regression bubbling up under the surface, as he had a 3.14 ERA with a 4.54 FIP and a 5.95 xFIP in that five-start stretch. He only had six strikeouts against seven walks over the last three starts, so a blow-up against the White Sox wasn’t a big shocker.
He has induced a ton of weak contact this season with a 30.3% Hard Hit% and has only allowed five barrels in his last seven starts after having some major command issues to start the year. The Cubs are second in wOBA against lefties on the road this season at .367 with a 131 wRC+, so this is a tough assignment for Anderson.
The Angels are ninth in home wOBA against righties at .327 with a 105 wRC+ on the season. They are also ninth overall with a .326 wOBA against righties. Lots of balls in play here make me think we could see some runs. I wish it was going to be warmer in Anaheim, but temps are only going to be in the low-to-mid 60s. I’m going to stay away here.
Is Joe Musgrove back to being the pitcher that we expected him to be? The Padres righty has allowed one earned run on nine hits in his last 12.1 innings of work with nine strikeouts against three walks. He has only allowed a 32.1% Hard Hit% on the season and has allowed just 10 hard-hit balls in his last 52 batted ball events. He still isn’t generating the same rate of swings and misses that we’d expect to see, but he’s getting chases and inducing a lot of weak contact.
Today may be the day where we see that SwStr% come back up a bit, as the Mariners are striking out a lot this season. They have a 25.6% K% against righties that ranks fourth and they are also 18th in wRC+ and 24th in wOBA in that split. The stage seems set for Musgrove to have a good outing.
It could also be set for Logan Gilbert to have a bounce back outing. Gilbert allowed seven runs on seven hits in four innings against the Yankees last time out. Only five of the runs were earned, but that was still a season high for him. He may have been building up towards one of those starts, as he had allowed eight barrels in the previous three starts. Now we’ll see if he can get back on track against a Padres lineup that ranks 25th in wOBA and 22nd in wRC+ against righties.
Gilbert has only issued 11 walks in his 64 innings of work, which is a big positive going into a start against the Padres, who have a 12% BB% against righties on the season. They haven’t had much luck at all with the contact that they’ve made and have just a .257 BABIP in that split.
The 1st 5 under was a consideration for me here, but Gilbert will give up some homers with his fly ball style, so that worries me a bit. He also spoke about his mechanics being a little off following his last start, so I’d like to see that he’s fixed.