MLB Best Bets Today May 29

Wednesday brings us a very full dance card on the MLB side of the spectrum, as there will be 16 games, including a doubleheader in Detroit with both Jared Jones and Paul Skenes pitching for the Pirates. It could be a long day for Tiger hitters, but it will also be a long day for baseball bettors, as games get going at 12:40 p.m. ET and the last first pitch will be at 9:40 p.m. ET. Nine straight hours of first pitches, as more than a few day games are on the docket.

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Here are the MLB best bets today for May 29:

Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers (-135, 9)

2:35 p.m. ET

Sorry for throwing a fairly early day game at you to start, but I wanted to fade Dane Dunning in his start against Arizona and it will come today after it didn’t happen last night. Instead, the Diamondbacks had to deal with the return of Nathan Eovaldi and then a bulk appearance from Andrew Heaney.

They will get Dunning today and will send Ryne Nelson to the hill. Nelson’s traditional numbers are concerning with a 6.03 ERA in 34.1 innings of work, but he does have a 4.94 xERA and a 3.98 FIP. He’s running a .408 BABIP and just a 68.5% LOB%, so those are two areas of potential positive regression. His Hard Hit% is on the high side at 43.5%, but not .408 BABIP kind of high, especially with what is traditionally a good Diamondbacks defense in support.

I’m going to trust the Stuff+ and Pitching+ metrics on this one, as the data from Eno Sarris, Max Bay, and others supports a big improvement in the quality of Nelson’s stuff this season. He is getting more chases outside the zone and has cut down his walk rate, so those are two big positives that he hasn’t been rewarded for to this point.

Out of 153 pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched, Nelson’s Stuff+ is 102, so just above league average. He’s got a 105 Pitching+. Meanwhile, Dunning has just an 85 Stuff+ and a 93 Pitching+. This will be Dunning’s second appearance since coming off the IL and first in a week. He allowed five runs (three earned) over 3.1 innings last time out against the Phillies in his first MLB start in 18 days. He didn’t make a minor league appearance, so he’s made one start in the last 24 days. It is very hard to be sharp with that kind of schedule.

Dunning has allowed a 50.5% Hard Hit% with a 14.9% Barrel% this season, so he’s given up a ton of hard contact. He has a 4.43 ERA, but a 5.41 xERA and a 4.93 FIP. He’s generating more strikeouts this season, but also issuing more walks and allowing more homers.

The Arizona bullpen is extremely well-rested following Monday’s off day and only one reliever worked yesterday, as Brandon Pfaadt gave the team some length. So, even if Nelson and Dunning cancel out, I’ll take Arizona’s pen here at plus money when there isn’t a big difference between the two, if at all.

Pick: Diamondbacks +114

Philadelphia Phillies (-125, 8) at San Francisco Giants

3:45 p.m. ET

Matinee baseball at Oracle Park features Cristopher Sanchez and Kyle Harrison, as the Phillies and Giants wrap up their three-game series. It is a getaway day game for the Phillies, but after getting shut out last night, hopefully they’re looking invested and engaged on offense in hopes of avoiding a sweep and a fourth straight loss.

Here in the month of May, the Phillies rank second with a 113 wRC+ and the Giants rank fifth with a 111 wRC+. If we dig in a little bit deeper, it’s worth noting that these two offenses rank seventh and eighth in wRC+ against lefties here in May, with the Giants holding a 124 wRC+ and the Phillies holding a 119 wRC+, including a 10% BB%.

Furthermore, the Giants actually have the second-best wRC+ over the last 14 days at 132. Philly’s offense has tailed off a bit with a wRC+ of 104, but I think this is a decent matchup against the left-handed Harrison, who has allowed 11 runs on 14 hits over his last 15 innings. He’s also had two starts in his last five with five walks and has allowed a total of 16 walks in that span.

Harrison has allowed a 43.7% Hard Hit% and a 10.3% Barrel%. Obviously he’s been better at home than he has been on the road with a .290 wOBA compared to a .348 wOBA and a better K/BB ratio, but we won’t have the same marine air conditions with the afternoon sun and a little bit of a breeze blowing out.

Sanchez has definitely been good this season with a 3.15 ERA and a 2.62 FIP over 54.1 innings of work, but he’s allowed at least six hits in each of his last five starts and seven or more in four of them, so balls are finding holes. His .353 BABIP is a byproduct of a high ground ball rate coupled with a 41.1% Hard Hit%. Over his last six starts, Sanchez actually has a 45.9% HH% against.

Given how the Giants are swinging it against southpaws right now, I like those numbers for their chances in this one. The San Francisco bullpen has racked up some mileage this week as well and Harrison is a guy who typically doesn’t work all that deep into games.

Pick: Phillies/Giants Over 8 (-105)