MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday, August 9th

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MLB schedule today has 15 games

Three day games are on the board for today, but the majority of the card will take place at night, as we’ve got the full 15 games on Wednesday. The 6-6-3 format will be followed once again, just without a doubleheader on the schedule. We’ve got a lot of interesting pitching matchups and one 12:35 p.m. ET start with a couple more at 2:10 and 3:37, respectively, as we push through the middle of the week. 

 

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There’s a lot to get to, but there are quite a few big favorites on the betting card, so let’s see what the day has in store.

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Here are some thoughts on the August 9 card (odds from DraftKings):

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds (-122, 9.5)

Johnny Cueto and the resurgent Graham Ashcraft get the day started bright and early at Great American Ball Park. The teams have split the first two games in the series, so we’ll see what the rubber match has in store, as Ashcraft comes in with a 2.05 ERA over his last seven starts. He only has a 4.72 FIP and is running a 93.6% LOB% with just a 16.7% K% in that span, so regression signs are speckled throughout the profile.

Cueto returned after the All-Star Break and has allowed nine runs on 12 hits in 21 innings of work with an 18/5 K/BB ratio. He has allowed eight of those nine runs in his last two starts against the Tigers and Phillies. This will be just his second road start in that stretch, as he returned with three relief innings at Baltimore and then started games against the Rockies, Tigers, and Phillies at Marlins Park. This is a much different park factor, but Cueto has a .176 BABIP in large part because of a 29.6% Hard Hit% in that span.

Nothing on the early one here, but Ashcraft is a ticking time bomb, so I’ll look to go against him in his next start against a team that is average or better against righties. As you know, Miami has been much better against lefties all season.

Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers (-230, 9.5)

Not a whole lot to say about this early start at American Family Field, as the Brewers are heavy favorites against Chris Flexen and the Rockies. Adrian Houser gets the call today for Milwaukee, who is looking for a series victory. The Brewers rolled in Game 1, but lost 7-3 in 10 innings yesterday with three bases loaded walks in the 10th.

Houser has a 4.19 ERA with a 4.53 xERA and a 4.20 FIP in his 73 innings of work. He has done a good job of avoiding homers, but the rest of his peripherals are pretty weak with a low K% and a .338 BABIP against. He has allowed a 45.6% Hard Hit% on the year and actually allowed 12 hard-hit balls in 17 batted ball events last time out against the Pirates.

This will be Flexen’s third start with the Rockies after 42 poor innings with the Mariners. He had a 7.71 ERA with a 6.65 FIP in four starts and 13 relief outings for Seattle before they opted to move on. In two starts with the Rox, Flexen has allowed four homers, 14 hits, and nine runs over 8.2 innings. Only eight are earned, but he walked six in his first start at Coors Field and then didn’t walk anybody against the Cardinals in his next outing, but only struck out two over 23 batters faced.

The Brewers should be fine here, but that’s clearly a big price to pay.

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies (-192, 9)

Michael Lorenzen will make his second start for the Phillies as he takes on MacKenzie Gore and the Nationals. It was a long day at the yard for both teams yesterday with a doubleheader. The teams split the games, as the Phillies won 8-4 early and the Nationals won 5-4 late.

For those betting the Nationals in this one, I’d look at the 1st 5 over the full game. Monday’s rainout is the only day that Kyle Finnegan, Jordan Weems, and Andres Machado have had since Thursday. They’ve worked four of the last five days. Machado actually threw 30 pitches yesterday. The Phillies used their five primary relievers, but only two of them worked on Sunday and the other three worked on Saturday, so the Philly pen is in way better shape.

Lorenzen has a 3.48 ERA with a 4.14 xERA and a 3.89 FIP on the season in 19 starts over 113.2 innings of work. He has a low K% at 19.6%, but the rest of his peripherals all look good and he was excellent in his first start with a season-high eight innings with two runs allowed on six hits. It was the first time Lorenzen has topped 100 pitches on the year, but he is on an extra day of rest.

Since the start of July, Lorenzen has allowed five runs on 19 hits in 31.2 innings pitched. That’s a 1.42 ERA with a 2.80 FIP. He does have an 85.9% LOB%, so there are some clear regression signs in there, as you would expect with anybody on that kind of run over five starts. But, he’s in a playoff race now instead of whatever the Tigers are in, so he has to be excited about that.

The left-handed Gore has a 4.34 ERA with a 4.98 xERA and a 4.40 FIP in 112 innings pitched. His 26.9% K% is quite good, but he also has a 10.2% BB% and a .325 BABIP against, so he’s really needed those strikeouts to erase the baserunners he has allowed. He also has a 16.2% HR/FB% with 18 homers allowed in his 22 starts. 

He had a really rough outing when he effectively went 16 days between starts coming out of the All-Star Break, but he’s allowed five runs on 12 hits in his last 16 innings with a 15/8 K/BB ratio. The Phillies are eighth in wOBA at .340 with a 112 wRC+ against lefties in the second half. The Nationals are right behind them in both categories, but Lorenzen is right-handed and the Nats have a 93 wRC+ in that split.

Washington’s bullpen situation could create a live betting opportunity if the Phillies are trailing, but today does look like a decent spot for them overall.

Atlanta Braves (-285, 9.5) at Pittsburgh Pirates

Max Fried returned last week after missing nearly three months and looked great in his six-inning effort against the Cubs. Fried didn’t allow a run and struck out eight with just three hits scattered about and that was against a Cubs bunch that has been very good in the second half. Fried gets an easier assignment today against the Pirates, though Pittsburgh has done very well against Spencer Strider and the rest of the Braves pitching staff in this series.

The Braves could be without Ronald Acuna Jr., who left yesterday’s game after being hit on the elbow by a pitch. Not dealing with Acuna could help Quinn Priester, who needs all the help he can get. He’s allowed 19 runs on 21 hits in 19.2 innings pitched. He’s struck out 16, but walked 14, and allowed five home runs. He’s a pitch-to-contact sinkerball guy who hasn’t been able to consistently get the ball down enough in his four starts. Pitch-to-contact guys are very scary against Atlanta, even on a day when Acuna may not play.

Fried has a 1.69 ERA with a 1.98 xERA and a 2.58 FIP in 32 innings of work. The left-hander allowed five runs on 14 hits over 12 innings in four rehab starts with a 13/4 K/BB ratio before coming back and shoving against the Cubs. His final start before hitting the IL against the Orioles was a dud, but he had allowed one run in his first 20 innings prior to that.

The Braves are very costly today, although this price would come down probably 20-25 cents if Acuna isn’t able to go. Still, the run line price is really high as well and I’m not sure I could trust Pittsburgh to hold up its end of the bargain with an Over bet.

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets (-115, 9)

Kyle Hendricks and David Peterson are the slated starters at Citi Field in the rubber match of this series. The Mets won 11-2 on Monday night and the Cbs grinded out a 3-2 win yesterday. They’ll look for the series dub here with Hendricks, who has a 3.98 ERA with a 4.12 xERA and a 4.17 FIP in his 81.1 innings of work across 14 starts. Hendricks has only struck out 15.3% of opposing batters, but has also only walked 3.6% of them with a .264 BABIP against and 10 homers allowed.

Given the low BABIP and the slightly elevated HR total, his 63.3% LOB% is quite unfortunate, especially when you consider he’s allowed a .265 wOBA with runners in scoring position. Seven of the 10 homers have been solo shots and four of them came in one start against Boston back on July 14. Hendricks was just clubbed by the Braves to the tune of seven runs on eight hits five days ago and allowed two homers in that start as well.

Other than a couple of blips here and there, Hendricks has allowed a 32.1% Hard Hit% over his 14 starts. He’s allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 of his 14 starts. If he can do something similar tonight, the Cubs should be in good shape.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the Mets have tremendous incentive to lose so their draft pick doesn’t get shot down the board because of their high payroll. If they can finish with a top-six pick, then it will stay where it is. Players don’t actively tank, but there are some ways for the Mets to encourage that activity and the Trade Deadline was one example.

Another could be sending out Peterson against the Cubs. His advanced metrics are stronger than his traditional ones, as he has a 5.65 ERA with a 4.75 xERA and a 4.37 FIP, plus a 3.63 xFIP, but he’s mostly been used as a reliever recently. He went three innings and 12 batters against the Orioles in his first start since July 8 last time out and didn’t allow a run, but did walk three.

The Cubs are crushing righties in the second half, but only have a .312 wOBA and a 95 wRC+ against lefties. Only Atlanta has a better wOBA in the second half overall (.372 to .371), but the Cubs are on their weaker side of the split here. That said, the Mets only have a .304 wOBA and a 95 wRC+ in the second half against righties, so the two offenses wind up on fairly equal footing.

One team is more invested and engaged and winning series is always the goal for a team. As the Cubs make a playoff push and the Mets play out the string, I think that comes into play here today, along with the fact that I trust Hendricks more than Peterson. The Cubs pen should be fine, as Adbert Alzolay has worked four of the last six days, but he only threw nine pitches yesterday and Chicago has a scheduled off day on Thursday.

Pick: Cubs -105

Los Angeles Dodgers (-130, 9) at Arizona Diamondbacks

Bobby Miller and Merrill Kelly get this one going as Arizona did lose last night to fall down to .500 for the first time since April 7. The Dodgers are now up 10 on the D-Backs and also moved another game ahead of the Giants and lead by five. The Snakes are just freefalling right now and have lost 18 of 23 in the second half.

One bright spot in that stretch has been Kelly, who has allowed six runs on 17 hits in 17 innings since returning from a blood clot in his leg. Kelly has a 20/5 K/BB ratio in that span, though he has allowed a little bit of hard contact with a 44.9% Hard Hit% and an 8.2% Barrel%. He’s faced the Cardinals, Mariners, and Twins, so a couple of teams that do strike out a fair amount in his last two starts. 

For the season, Kelly has been excellent with a 3.21 ERA and a 3.90 FIP over 112 innings pitched. He missed about a month with that clot and came back throwing the ball well, but the Diamondbacks have had so many problems that they’ve lost two of those three starts.

Miller has a 4.26 ERA with a 3.65 xERA and a 3.54 FIP in his 63.1 innings of work. He started his MLB career like a ball of fire with two runs allowed on just 12 hits in his first 23 innings, but it was a different story in the middle. Miller allowed 20 runs in a four-start stretch heading into the Break. Since coming back, he’s allowed eight earned runs in four starts on 22 hits with a 20/2 K/BB ratio in 19.1 innings. He’s faced the Mets, Rangers, Reds, and Padres in that span and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any start, though he has failed to complete five innings twice.

It took him 82 pitches to get 11 outs in his last start, so we’ll see if he can be more efficient against Arizona here. Nothing from me in this one, as I do like Kelly, but I’m not sure he’ll get a whole lot of run support.

Texas Rangers (-285, 8.5) at Oakland Athletics

Jordan Montgomery will make his second start for the Rangers as they look for the sweep of the A’s. Texas has actually won eight in a row, as getting Corey Seager back gave the offense yet another jolt and the Trade Deadline was a very fruitful endeavor for the team. That includes Montgomery, who allowed two runs on six hits over six innings in his Rangers debut.

The impending free agent has a 3.40 ERA with a 3.75 FIP on the season over 127 innings of work with a bunch of solid peripherals, including a 10.1% HR/FB%, a K% near league average, and a 6.8% BB%. He’s a guy that I’ve always liked because he’s solid with a deep arsenal for a starter and he’s been a pretty durable dude since getting over some injuries in 2018 and 2019. He’s on track for his third straight season with 30+ starts and would be a great free agent signing for any team.

Austin Pruitt will start for Oakland here with a 3.35 ERA, 3.98 xERA, and a 4.32 FIP in his 43 innings pitched. Pruitt hasn’t started since July 15 when he allowed two runs against the Twins, but he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 9.1 innings since. Freddy Tarnok, who was acquired in the Sean Murphy deal with Atlanta, will be the bulk pitcher. He has allowed eight runs on nine hits in 10.2 innings with four homers allowed and a 10/9 K/BB ratio, so that doesn’t seem great.

Tarnok had allowed just four runs on 13 hits in 21.2 innings in the minors, but had a 13/12 K/BB ratio that he worked around. It’s harder to work around things like that at the MLB level.

Minnesota Twins (-162, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

Sonny Gray struck out 10 Tigers over six innings on Tuesday night, but got no help from his offense and the Tigers added on late for a 6-0 victory over the Twins. Bailey Ober takes the mound as a sizable favorite in today’s matchup, which is Game 3 of the four-game set. It will be Alex Faedo for the home underdogs.

This will be Faedo’s first MLB start since July 23. He had a 5.80 ERA with a 4.81 FIP when he was sent down, due in large part to a really ugly start on May 30 and then another hideous one in his return from injury on July 7. Faedo went down, made one rehab start with three runs allowed on six hits, and now he’s back.

The Tigers have to be careful with how they handle Faedo, as he’s missed all of 2020 and 2021. He threw 115.1 innings at Double-A in 2019 and that is the only time he’s thrown over 70 innings in a season. He’s getting close to that this season, I actually like a lot of Faedo’s underlying numbers. He’s allowed just a 36.2% Hard Hit% and has a decent 8.6% Barrel%. He has a 21% K% with a 5.6% BB% and he’s had a few games with a big SwStr%. He’s got a 69.9% F-Strike%, so he gets ahead in counts. There’s a lot to work with here, but there’s been some really bad luck with a 47.8% LOB% and the mistakes he has made have been hit out of the park with seven homers allowed in seven starts.

Faedo’s last MLB start was a good one, as he went six innings with just one hit allowed. He did walk four against the Padres, who have been among the league leaders in BB% against righties all season long, and he only had two strikeouts, but he deserves some good luck in the LOB% department.

Minnesota is a negative regression candidate offensively against righties right now. They have a .356 wOBA and a 130 wRC+ despite a 30% K% against RHP in the second half. They have a .350 BABIP against, so they’re really running well on balls in play. I’m keeping a close eye on this, as they’ve been really pedestrian offensively throughout most of the season because of strikeouts.

As far as Ober goes, he has a 3.21 ERA with a 3.76 xERA and a 3.83 FIP in his 103.2 innings of work. He’s struck out nearly 24% of batters with just a 4.4% BB%. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of his 18 starts. He gave up six runs to the Royals over four innings two starts ago, but bounced back with five solid innings five days ago against Arizona. Now he draws a really bad Tigers offense.

The Twins pen is extremely well-rested because of how the last few games have gone. The Tigers pen will be missing closer Jason Foley, who was placed on the bereavement list, but he had worked three of the last four days. It will be a pretty seasonable evening in Detroit with a bit of a breeze blowing in early. I like the Under 8.5 here, as I like Ober against a Tigers lineup that can’t hit righties and think Faedo has a strong chance of success against a Twins lineup that will swing and miss a lot. His stuff is low-key good and his numbers don’t fully reflect how he’s pitched since he has two bad starts in a sample size that isn’t big enough to overcome them.

Pick: Under 8.5 (+100)

Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles (-142, 9.5)

All you need to know about what’s happening with Cristian Javier can be seen with this line. The Astros are a sizable underdog heading to Baltimore to take on Jack Flaherty and the O’s. Javier has a 4.39 ERA with a 4.72 xERA and a 4.50 FIP in 112.2 innings of work over 21 starts. His K% is down over 10% and he has allowed as many homers (17) as he did in 148.2 innings last season.

He was shut down prior to the Break and has made four starts since with a 4.64 ERA and a 5.61 FIP. He’s allowed 11 runs on 12 hits in 21.1 innings with a 25/13 K/BB ratio. He is still missing a lot of bats, but isn’t really getting the same strikeout rate, though that has come up a bit since getting some rest. His command just hasn’t really been there and he’s allowed four homers and a 47.9% Hard Hit% with a 16.7% Barrel%.

Flaherty was terrific in his Orioles debut with one run on four hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked two against the Blue Jays, but we’ve also seen Toronto shut down by Gavin Williams and Tanner Bibee this week, so the Blue Jays are having major issues with right-handed starters. Still, I don’t want to diminish what Flaherty did and he also had a huge 20.7% SwStr% with a big uptick in his cutter usage. It isn’t surprising to me to see Baltimore make a quick change that helped and we’ll see if it sticks.

Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano both worked yesterday and Bautista had a rare blown save and threw 30 pitches, so he may not be available tonight after throwing 16 pitches on Sunday. The O’s also draw just their third right-handed pitcher in the last week, so they’ll be back to their regular lineup. There’s just a lot happening here and it’s an easy game to skip over.

Toronto Blue Jays (-170, 8) at Cleveland Guardians

Game 3 of four in this weekday set features Toronto ace Kevin Gausman against Cleveland southpaw Logan Allen. As I just mentioned in the previous write-up, Bibee and Williams have dominated Toronto in this series. The Blue Jays have only scored three runs in the first two games of the series, but Cleveland has only scored two, so offense has been hard to come by for both teams.

I would anticipate a resolution on Jose Ramirez’s suspension appeal today and would guess he’s probably forced to start serving something, so keep that in mind, as Cleveland may be missing the best hitter on the team. Josh Naylor is also already out with an oblique injury, so J-Ram’s absence, whenever it happens, will really hurt the offensive projection for this team.

Gausman has a 3.20 ERA with a 3.68 xERA and a 2.79 FIP in his 22 innings of work. He’s got a big K% at 32.8%, but Cleveland is among the league’s best at strikeout avoidance. That said, Naylor and Ramirez are big parts of that equation, so that could change as the day goes along. Gausman has allowed eight runs over his last 16.1 innings of work, including five homers, so he’s hit a little bit of a rough patch, but the full-season numbers are terrific.

Allen has a 3.65 ERA with a 4.50 xERA and a 3.95 FIP in his 86.1 innings pitched. The left-hander was recalled after the All-Star Break when Shane Bieber was ruled out for an extended period of time and it has been a bit of a struggle for Allen. He’s allowed 12 runs on 20 hits in 24 innings with a 22/8 K/BB ratio. He’s done okay in the contact management department, though he has allowed seven barrels in four starts. 

The other issue here is that the Blue Jays have a .404 wOBA against lefties and a 162 wRC+ in the second half. They’ve got a 12.6% BB% to go along with the highest SLG in the league in that split. I don’t really like this matchup for Allen, who is not able to overpower guys. He’s also faced the Pirates, Royals, and White Sox twice in that span. The Blue Jays represent an enormous step up.

Gausman can also efficiently work deep into games. The Jays pen had a heavy lift on Monday with six relievers deployed, but got an extended start yesterday out of Yusei Kikuchi and is in good shape going into tonight’s game.

I strongly dislike this spot for Cleveland and also think Ramirez could be out. Even if he isn’t, Gausman is a dominant pitcher and Cleveland, while good at avoiding strikeouts, isn’t good at taking advantage of the hard contact and the homers that he allows.

Pick: Blue Jays -1.5 Run Line (+100)

Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox (-225, 10.5)

Nick Pivetta gets the call to start tonight as the Red Sox host the Royals. Pivetta made a lot of headlines about his dominant relief work from May 21 to July 25, as he was removed from the rotation, but found himself as a reliever, both in a shutdown role and also in a bulk relief capacity. Well, he returned to the rotation on July 31 and allowed three runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts against the Mariners. Then he went back to relief and gave up three runs on six hits in four innings against Toronto with just two strikeouts.

He’s on short rest here, so this won’t be a full-length start for him, as we’ll probably see 3-4 innings and then the Boston bullpen for the rest of the game. He has a 4.19 ERA with a 4.26 FIP overall, but since he got removed from the full-time rotation, he has a 2.58 ERA with a 3.12 FIP in 52.1 innings of work.

Jordan Lyles has a 6.24 ERA with a 4.95 xERA and a 5.35 FIP on the season in 118.1 innings. He’s been the winning pitcher in each of his last two starts after the Royals lost 18 of his first 19 starts this season. He actually allowed five runs on eight hits last time out, but got a bunch of run support. Lyles had allowed 13 runs in his last 15.2 innings, so he’s back to really struggling.

This game doesn’t hold much interest for me, as Pivetta on short rest and as a starter lowers his projection and I’d never be interested in Lyles at Fenway Park.

New York Yankees (-120, 9) at Chicago White Sox

The Yankees seem to still be deciding what to do with Luis Severino tonight. Randy Vasquez could get the start or an opener could begin the game. Severino could start, but it’s been really ugly for him with a 7.74 ERA, 6.54 xERA, and a 6.56 FIP in 61.2 innings of work. He has allowed 14 runs on 15 hits in his last 7.1 innings. He’s allowed five or more earned runs four times in his last six starts.

He’s allowed a .354 BABIP and a 21% HR/FB% with 17 homers in just 13 starts. He’s just completely lost and a team trying to hold on to its playoff chances can’t spend time trying to help him find it. He doesn’t have any minor league options, so an injured list stint would be the only way to get him right in the minors.

Mike Clevinger starts today for Chicago. He has a 3.72 ERA, but a 4.59 xERA and a 4.74 FIP during an injury-plagued 2023 season. His peripherals look pretty suspect and he’s only making his third start back since spending a month and a half on the IL. He’s allowed four runs on 10 hits in 10 innings with five strikeouts against one walk in that span. Both starts were against Cleveland.

Most shops don’t even have a line out for this dumpster fire.

St. Louis Cardinals at Tampa Bay Rays (-155, 9.5)

Dakota Hudson gets the start here for the Cardinals, as they sent away Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery at the Trade Deadline. The Rays will send out Jalen Beeks, as their starting pitcher woes took another turn yesterday with the announcement that Shane McClanahan won’t pitch the rest of the season.

Hudson threw seven good innings against the Twins last time out with three runs allowed on a couple of hits with seven strikeouts against three walks. It was Hudson’s longest outing since last September when he went eight innings against the Reds in a winning effort. This is a huge opportunity for Hudson, who is arbitration-eligible next season and then a free agent after that. He’s allowed 13 runs on 26 hits in 26.1 innings this season and has thrown 93 and 94 pitches in his last two appearances, so the Cardinals have tried to stretch him out.

Beeks has a 6.27 ERA, but a 3.73 xERA and a 4.13 FIP in his 37.1 innings of work. The left-hander has made seven starts and 20 relief appearances. He hasn’t gone more than two innings since April 17, so this will be a Johnny Wholestaff Day for the Rays. Beeks actually hasn’t made an MLB appearance since July 4 and he has a 5.84 ERA down in Triple-A.

The Rays have won six of eight, so they’re finding ways to fight through all the adversity. Zach Eflin gave them a good start yesterday, so only Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks were needed coming out of Monday’s off day. The pen is in pretty good shape for this spot, especially with off days on Thursday and Monday. That’s about all you can ask for at this point.

Had a lean towards the Cardinals, at least for the 1st 5, but Hudson has allowed a 48.8% Hard Hit% with a below average K% and a league average BB%, so I can’t trust that kind of profile.

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Angels (-135, 8)

The Giants will send opener Ryan Walker to the hill and he’ll be followed by some combination of Sean Manaea and Tristan Beck after Jakob Junis threw 40 pitches yesterday and Alex Wood threw 59. The Giants basically MacGyver their pitching staff together on days when Logan Webb or Alex Cobb don’t pitch and today will be another one of those days.

Beck threw five pitches on Monday, so he’s fine. Manaea threw 25 pitches on Saturday, so he’s also a multi-inning option. Walker has been excellent with a 2.52 ERA, 2.54 xERA, and a 3.75 FIP in 39.1 innings this season. As an opener, he’s allowed four runs over 12 innings on 12 hits with a 16/6 K/BB ratio.

Beck has a 2.72 ERA with a 3.32 xERA and a 3.86 FIP while bouncing up and down a bit between Triple-A and the bigs. He’s worked 56.1 innings at the MLB level and has only allowed one run in his seven appearances. Manaea has a 5.25 ERA, but a 4.59 xERA and a 3.72 FIP, so there are some positive signs there. He has a 57.1% LOB% that has hurt his ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run in four straight appearances, but only one was an extended relief outing.

It is much simpler for the Angels, as Shohei Ohtani gets the start. Ohtani was pulled from his last start because of hand cramping after four shutout innings. He had thrown a complete game shutout in the game prior to that. He had allowed 15 runs on 18 hits in his previous three starts over 16.1 innings, but he’s been very good and looked stronger in his last two outings, at least until the cramping.

He’s already had 506 plate appearances and thrown 124.2 innings this season, so the Angels are really riding him hard before he hits free agency. The Giants are mildly intriguing with Ohtani’s recent rocky starts and concerns about his health, but I’m not that excited to fade the best player on the planet.

San Diego Padres (-148, 8.5) at Seattle Mariners

Emerson Hancock makes his MLB debut for the Mariners in this one, as the 24-year-old makes the leap from Double-A, much like Bryan Woo and Bryce Miller before him. Woo is on the IL with forearm inflammation, which is always scary to hear, but Hancock is the focal point today. He’s actually made 44 starts at Double-A, so he’s more experienced than Woo and Miller were when they got the call, but also hasn’t had the same dominant numbers.

Hancock has a 4.32 ERA and a 4.09 FIP in 98 innings over 20 starts down in Arkansas. FanGraphs considered Hancock the fifth-best prospect in the org coming into the season, one spot below Woo and five below Miller, who was the team’s top arm. The former Georgia Bulldog didn’t get the same lofty projection from Eric Longenhagen as his rotation mates, but he’s a guy that can miss bats and has 107 K in 98 IP this season. He also has a 9.2% BB%, so he can and will issue some walks and that’s a good thing for the Padres, as they draw a lot of them against righties.

Hancock has allowed nine runs twice, eight runs once, and six runs once in Double-A, so the majority of his starts have been pretty good, but he’s been really, really bad when he’s been off. So, I think it’s a tricky one to handicap today.

Yu Darvish goes for the Padres today with a 4.41 ERA, 3.65 xERA, and a 4.10 FIP in 114.1 innings of work. He’s been good in four of