|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|08-17-19||Giants v. Diamondbacks -123||Top||11-6||Loss||-123||10 h 12 m||Show|
10* Arizona (8:10 ET): Perhaps it was apropos for San Francisco to pass Arizona in the standings w/ a 10-9 win last night in extra innings. After all, that's how the Giants have been winning most of this year, particularly in the second half. But for me, last night's result was not a pleasant one as the D'backs happened to be my Game of the Year. Twice they rallied, including from five runs down in the bottom of the eighth, but it was not to be. I still maintain that Arizona is the far superior team though and will back them again Saturday. No matter what has happened the L2 days, numbers don't lie and all the numbers suggest the D'backs are having the superior season.
Let's start w/ run differential. Though San Francisco is 62-61 and Arizona is 61-62, the Giants have actually been outscored this season (by 52 runs) while the D'backs have a YTD run differential of +66. Consider that the D'backs run differential is actually the second best in the entire National League. The Giants is 4th worst (only the three last place teams worse). In terms of actual vs. expected wins, Arizona has drastically underachieved this season (by 7 games) while SF has overachieved (by 6 games). Run differential suggests Arizona has been about 12 games better than SF, not the one game worse that they are in actuality.
The key for the Giants this year has been extraordinarily good fortune. They are 29-11 in one-run games and 12-2 in extra innings. Both are easily MLB's best records in those situations. Obviously, there is some overlap between the two records. In the second half alone, the Giants are 8-0 in extra innings and they have 11 one-run victories. It is because of all these numbers that I am sticking w/ the D'backs in this series as the fact both teams are starting Triple-A callups on Saturday has virtually no bearing on my opinion. 10* Arizona
|08-17-19||Indians v. Yankees -160||Top||5-6||Win||100||5 h 39 m||Show|
8* NY Yankees (1:05 ET): The Yankees evened this series up at a game apiece w/ a 3-2 win Friday. Though they got two of their runs in the first inning, the Yanks outhit the Indians 10-4 for the game. This on the heels of being crushed 19-5 Thursday, which doubled as Cleveland's best win and the Yankees worst loss of 2019 (in terms of margin). Despite what happened there, New York remains a very strong home team and has now produced 27 consecutive winning seasons. That's the 2nd longest streak in MLB history, behind only the 39 straight they delivered from 1929 to '64. This year's edition is doing quite fine as they've won 15 of their last 18 and now are +152 in run differential for the year.
Cleveland has been on quite the run in its own right as they've gotten back into the AL Central race by going 45-21 since June 1st. They also happen to lead the Wild Card. But let's be sure to point out how the Tribe has really taken advantage of a boatload of games against the Royals and Tigers. They're a combined 20-3 against those two teams, meaning they're still just 25-18 against "everyone else" the L2+ months. Thursday's offensive explosion (season-best 24 hits) looks to be an aberration considering they were held to only four last night
James Paxton hopes to get the Indians offense from last night as opposed to Thursday. He's certainly capable of keeping the Tribe in check considering he's 3-0 in his L3 starts w/ a 2.89 ERA and 0.964 WHIP. It's a nice turnaround from what most Yankees fans would consider a disappointing season. Now Cleveland's Zach Plesac has a 7-0 team start record his L7 starts, but his ERA and WHIP during that time aren't exactly indicative of a dominant pitcher. Plesac's WHIP over his L3 starts is 1.562, which isn't good at all. His last start was won on a walkoff HR by Carlos Santana. 8* NY Yankees
|08-16-19||Giants v. Diamondbacks -128||Top||10-9||Loss||-128||15 h 53 m||Show|
10* Arizona (9:40 ET): The Giants came into Arizona Thursday and shut the D'backs out 7-0. That shocked me. As I said in yday's analysis, this is a matchup I've been waiting for some time now. It pits one of MLB's most underrated teams (Arizona) against one of its most overrated (San Francisco). Despite a .500 (61-61) record and the loss last night, Arizona has outscored its opponents this year by 67 runs this season. That's still the second best run differential in the entire National League. Compare that to the Giants, who have the same .500 record (61-61), yet have been outscored by 53 runs (4th worst run diff in NL). I'll make the D'backs my biggest MLB play of the year Friday!
In terms of actual vs. expected wins, Arizona is baseball's biggest underachiever right now as that run differential is indicative of a 68-win team. Meanwhile, San Francisco's run differential is indicative of a 55-win team. So while the two NL West teams are tied, run differential says Arizona has played like a team that should be a 13 games ahead! The key for the Giants has been extremely fortunate record in one-run games (28-11) as well as in extra inning games (11-2). (Obviously, there's some overlap there). The Giants started the 2nd half of the season on a 13-4 run, but were really lucky to do so as seven of those wins came in extra innings and eight were by just one run (again, some overlap)! Since then, the team is two games below .500. I believe further regression is set to take hold.
Arizona has had no such luck this year, but there's still almost two months to go and they're only 3.5 games back of the Wild Card, same as the Giants. What they do have for Friday is starting pitcher Mike Leake. He struggled his last time out, but that was against the Dodgers. His TSR in his four starts prior was a perfect 4-0, three of those coming w/ Seattle and the other being his D'backs debut. Jeff Samardzija goes for San Fran tonight and while he's been sharp since the All-Star Break, he still has a 6.35 ERA in two starts vs. Arizona in 2019. The Giants have lost 22 of the last 27 times the former Notre Dame wide receiver has started the second game of a series. 10* Arizona
|08-16-19||Brewers v. Nationals -150||Top||1-2||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
8* Washington (7:05 ET): We'll get to the pitching mismatch momentarily, but let's start w/ the fact that this is also a revenge spot for the Nationals. Back in early May, they were swept in a three-game series at Miller Park. Back then, the Nats weren't playing very well. That three-game sweep left them at 14-22 on the young season. Now they're 65-55, meaning they've gone 51-33 ever since. They're also now in the top Wild Card spot after sweeping Cincinnati to start the week. We were on Wednesday's 17-7 win and will back them again at home tonight. Oh, sweet revenge!
Milwaukee is one of those teams that consistently confounds me. They too are in the WC race, but they really don't deserve to be as they've been outscored by 21 runs over the course of the season. They do have a nice home record, but the road is a different story as they're just 27-32. Having Adrian Houser start tonight's game appears to be of little assistance as he's got a 6.00 ERA and 1.641 WHIP in nine starts (3-6 TSR). Compare that to Washington starter Pat Corbin, who is 9-5 in 24 starts w/ a 3.41 ERA and 1.151 WHIP.
With this game taking place in the Nation's Capital, the pitching matchup becomes even more lopsided. Corbin has the second best home ERA in MLB (1.78 in 11 starts) to go along w/ a super 0.885 WHIP. His TSR here is 9-2. Meanwhile, Houser's numbers predictably get worse on the road (7.04 ERA and 1.783) and he's winless in those five outings. Washington's offense has totaled 34 runs during a four-game win streak and this is a team making good on my preseason prognostication for improvement (loss of Bryce Harper was overrated). I'm still not sold on the Brew Crew even though they've won six of the last eight. Revenge and an edge in starting pitching will have the Nats in the winners circle tonight. 8* Washington
|08-15-19||White Sox v. Angels -167||Top||7-8||Win||100||23 h 46 m||Show|
7* LA Angels (10:07 ET): It's been tough times recently for the Angels. The only real "highlight" was taking B2B games in Boston at the end of a nine-game road trip. But seeing as they lost the first seven games of said trip, it certainly wasn't a success. Nor was their last series, despite it coming at home, as they dropped two of three to the lowly Pirates. The win did come yday though, 7-4, and you shouldn't be surprised if the Halos are able to finally turn things around this weekend as the White Sox pay a visit. Chicago's 54-65 record is definitely not good, but it also fails to paint an accurate picture as to how awful this club has really been. They've been outscored by 114 runs over the course of the season, a worse margin than the 43-78 Royals!
In terms of actual vs. expected (based on run diff) wins, the White Sox are baseball's biggest overachiever. Again, that may sound strange for a team that's already 11 games below .500. But that -114 run differential is indicative of what you'd expect from a 47-win team at this point of the season. Only three teams - two of them the historically bad Tigers and Orioles - have worse YTD run differentials than the White Sox do. Coming off last night's stunning 13-9 home win over the Astros (were +275 on the ML!), they are ripe for a letdown on the road Thursday.
Tonight's starter, Reynaldo Lopez, has a 2.65 ERA his L3 starts for the White Sox and the team has won his last two times out. But that 2.65 ERA is misleading in that Lopez's WHIP is 1.707 over the same three starts. That means he's gotten away w/ putting a lot of guys on base. There's absolutely nothing in Lopez's profile to suggest he'll pitch well here. He has a 5.31 ERA and 1.50 WHP in 11 road starts. The Angels have scored seven runs in B2B games. I can't say that their starter (Andrew Heaney) is all that great, but he'll certainly benefit by facing the team that is 28th in MLB in runs scored. This is the first meeting of the season between these teams and you can look for the Angels to pick up the 'W.' 7* LA Angels
|08-15-19||Giants v. Diamondbacks -146||Top||7-0||Loss||-146||11 h 53 m||Show|
10* Arizona (9:40 ET): This is a matchup I've been waiting for some time now as it pairs one of MLB's most underrated teams against one of its most overrated. The former is Arizona, who despite losing yday, did manage to take two of three from Colorado. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised considering how the D'backs have performed on the road this season (better than at home!). Despite being just a game over .500 (61-60), Arizona has outscored its opponents this year by 74 runs. That's the second best run differential in the entire National League. In terms of actual vs. expected wins, they are baseball's biggest underachiever right now as that run differential is indicative of a 68-win team.
Meanwhile, the Giants' profile is just the opposite. They are only one game back of the D'backs (60-61) despite having been outscored by 60 runs over the course of the season! That's the 4th worst differential in the Senior Circuit w/ only the three last place teams worse off. So while the gap in the standings might only be a single game, run differential says the D'backs are actually 14 games better than the Giants! I'm really surprised that they are not higher on the money line for tonight, especially after an overnight pitching change by the visitors.
San Francisco is a team I was fading regularly earlier this month and it's time to go back to that. Instead of Jeff Samardzija going for them tonight, it will be Dereck Rodriguez, who was recalled from Triple A. That's quite the severe downgrade as Rodriguez has not performed well at the big league level this season w/ a 5.14 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 10 starts. His last outing saw him allow seven runs in just three innings. While the numbers indicate Arizona does play better on the road, they still are outscoring opponents here at Chase Field for the season. They were three outs away from sweeping the Rockies yday and I like what I've seen so far from Thursday's starter Alex Young, particularly a 0.812 WHIP at home. 10* Arizona
|08-14-19||Reds v. Nationals -162||Top||7-17||Win||100||6 h 26 m||Show|
10* Washington (4:05 ET): So far, this series has been a nice bounce back for the Nationals after they dropped two of three to the surging Mets this past weekend. Today they look to finish off a three-game sweep of the Reds and this looks to be an extraordinarily low price on Stephen Strasburg pitching at home. Yes, he'll be opposed by Trevor Bauer, but Bauer has been up and down all season. While he shined against the Cubs his last time out, Bauer was less than stellar in his Reds debut. Strasburg leads the NL in wins (w/ 14) and has a superb 0.986 WHIP at home. I'm calling for the Nats to finish off the sweep.
Strasburg was rocked on 8.3 in Arizona, but bounced back w/ a quality effort against the Mets his last time out. The team still lost, 7-6, but don't blame Strasburg for that as he gave up only three runs in 7 IP. It was the Nats' bullpen that was responsible for the loss as Sean Doolittle allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth. Strasburg isn't the only player on the team that enjoys games here in the Nation's Capital. The Nats are 26-13 their L39 here in the Beltway. They've also won six of eight overall.
I fully expect Washington to be a playoff team. Can't say the same for Cincinnati, though they actually own a similar YTD run differential. Part of the problem for the Reds is they simply don't score enough runs. They currently rank in the bottom third of runs scored in all of MLB and only three teams in the NL have scored less. On the road, their record is just 23-34. Bauer has not made it out of the fifth inning in either of his L2 road starts, giving up a total of 11 runs on 16 hits.. Cincy is just 3-16 vs. Washington since the start of the 2017 season. 10* Washington
|08-13-19||Cardinals -203 v. Royals||Top||2-0||Win||100||13 h 4 m||Show|
6* St. Louis (8:15 ET): The Cardinals took advantage of a weak opponent over the weekend, sweeping the Pirates at Busch Stadium. Now they get another in the renewal of the I-70 series w/ Kansas City. Earlier in the year (back in May), these teams split a pair of games (doubleheader) in St. Louis. But there's no disputing who the better team is here as the Cards have won five straight times here. Something I haven't seen discussed at all is how the National League is on the verge of snapping a 14-year losing streak to the American League in Interleague Play. They are currently 158-142 in IL play in '19. St. Louis has always been one of the better teams in IL play as they have the highest all-time win percentage among NL teams. They win big Tuesday.
Heading into tonight, the Cardinals are two games back of the Cubs in the NL Central. But the Cubs are in the midst of a 10-game road trip right now and we know how inferior they are away from Wrigley. So the Cardinals need to continue to take advantage of these weak teams on the schedule. Truthfully, the Redbirds aren't exactly a powerhouse away from home either. But they are a perfect 4-0 the L3 seasons when priced at -175 or higher on the road. The Royals are just 22-35 at home this season.
We also have a massive starting pitching mismatch on our hands for this game. The Cardinals go w/ Jack Flaherty, who has been "lights out" of late w/ a 0.94 ERA his L6 starts. He's allowed just four runs in 38 1/3 IP. Despite this, Flaherty is only 1-1 during this stretch w/ a 3-3 TSR. So he's due for a win. Can't say the same for Kansas City's Glenn Sparkman though. He's been downright brutal over his L3 starts, posting a 10.56 ERA and 1.956 WHIP. Last time out, he allowed more runs in 4 2/3 innings than Flaherty has allowed in those last 38+ IP. The Cardinals also get Yadier Molina back in the lineup tonight. 6* St. Louis
|08-13-19||Mariners v. Tigers -156||Top||11-6||Loss||-156||12 h 59 m||Show|
10* Detroit (7:10 ET): I have to admit that it seems strange to have such a strong feeling about a team like the Tigers, who have the fewest number of wins in MLB (35) and the 2nd worst run differential (-228). But an early line move definitely "caught my eye" here as that's pretty rare for the Tigers. They also have revenge for a prior sweep where they dropped all four games in Seattle. That series just took place at the end of July. Now it's time for Detroit to exact a little revenge. They have their best pitcher going Tuesday. Seattle is 19-35 on the road and has lost eight of nine overall.
The Mariners did start the season 13-2. But I basically called them a fraud and all but guaranteed they would regress. That is exactly what has happened. They're just 35-69 overall since and now in last place in the AL West at 48-71 w/ a -117 run differential. This is one of the few teams that can be a very winnable matchup for the Tigers. Starting Tuesday for Seattle will be Yusei Kikuchi. He has a 5.34 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 24 starts. Those numbers get slightly worse on the road. His last road starts saw him give up six runs in just four innings.
Boyd can be hot and cold, but he's also pitching for a bad team and that's the primary reason why he has an 8-16 TSR. He did give up five runs in only 2 2/3 IP his last start, but the team actually still got the win, 10-8 over Kansas City. He was coming off three straight starts where he'd allowed two runs or less. He did face Seattle in the last series and gave up just one run on three hits in 6 1/3 IP. His numbers are better at home. The Mariners have not scored more than four runs in any of their last eight games and have been held to two runs or fewer in half of those. Twice they've been shut out. 10* Detroit
|08-12-19||Diamondbacks v. Rockies -112||Top||8-6||Loss||-112||12 h 22 m||Show|
10* Colorado (8:40 ET): I've previously called the D'backs "underrated" and they are, as evident by their +67 run differential, which is third best in the entire National League. But the bottom line is they only have a .500 record on the season after losing to the Dodgers 9-3 yday. As for the Rockies, they're finally back home now after a terrible road trip which saw them go 1-5 overall. But they did win yday - 8-3 over San Diego - and have some major revenge here after being swept down in Arizona last month. Before that, they'd previously beaten the D'backs seven straight times, sweeping them twice in a row. There's no place like Coors Field for the Rocks and they win this series opener.
At some point, I won't have to point out Colorado's home vs. road splits anymore. But they are as dramatic as ever in 2019 w/ the Rockies averaging 6.5 runs per game at home as opposed to just 4.2 on the road. Conversely, they also give up a lot more runs here in Coors. But I really like this lineup's chances against Arizona starter Merrill Kelly, who has a 10.68 ERA and 1.814 WHIP his L3 starts, all of which have been team losses. Kelly has faced the Rockies twice this season and lost both times, giving up 10 total runs in 12 2/3 IP.
Peter Lambert has had some similar struggles of late for the Rockies. Both of Monday's starters have 1-8 TSR's their last nine outings! So something is going to have to give Monday. Lambert does have a slight edge in that Arizona has never faced him while Colorado is already familiar w/ Kelly. The Rockies did win the last time Lambert started at home, beating San Francisco 5-4. Lambert has been the better pitcher (compared to Kelly) most of the year. Arizona has lost five straight here in Denver. 10* Colorado
|08-11-19||Indians v. Twins -140||Top||7-3||Loss||-140||6 h 56 m||Show|
8* Minnesota (2:10 ET): The Twins were able to stop the bleeding w/ a 4-1 win over the Indians last night, thereby reclaiming first place in the AL Central for themselves. This is a division that they've led going back to late April. At one point, they were up by as many as 11.5 games on the Indians and the advantage was 7.5 games coming out of the All-Star Break. But that advantage is basically now gone w/ Cleveland having gone 41-17 their L58 games, which is MLB's best record during that stretch. The four-game losing streak that the Twins snapped yday was a season-worst. They still have a run differential that's much better than Cleveland though and look to have the edge in starting pitching Sunday. I'll call for the Twins to eke out a split of this critical series.
The Twins' breakout season began with them hosting the Indians in the very first series. Jose Berrios started Opening Day and pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings of two-hit ball, striking out 10 in the process. He's subsequently faced the Tribe two more times, both in Cleveland. It was another quality start on June 6th as he again allowed only two hits, this time over six innings (did allow a run). After losing to Berrios twice, the third time was finally the charm for the Indians on July 14th. However, it should be noted that Berrios allowed only three runs in that 4-3 loss. He's off his worst start of the year here, but I have him bouncing back in a major way.
Cleveland certainly had its chances at the plate last night, but went 1 for 12 w/ RISP and left 10 men on base. This team did a tremendous job in pulling even w/ Minnesota going into yday, but that was a "tall hill to climb" and you have to wonder if they'll now be able to get over the proverbial "hump." It's Aaron Civale starting Sunday, just his third start of the year. The first two have gone well w/ Civale allowing only one run in 12 IP (13 K's). But both starts came at home and were against Detroit and Texas. Let's see how he does vs. the Twins, who are #3 in all of MLB in runs scored. 8* Minnesota
|08-10-19||Rockies v. Padres -190||Top||5-8||Win||100||13 h 7 m||Show|
6* San Diego (8:40 ET): I rode the Padres to an easy 7-1 victory last night and they're even larger ML favorites today. There were two key factors that made San Diego an attractive bet Friday and those were Colorado's offensive decline on the road and the starting pitching matchup. Well, the Rockies definitely didn't show much at the plate last night and the starting pitching matchup for Saturday seems even more heavily slanted in favor of the Padres. As discussed in yday's analysis, while the Rockies average 6.5 rpg at home (#1 in MLB), they drop to 4.2 rpg on the road (28th!). Back the Padres yet again Saturday.
It will be Chris Paddack starting today for the home team. Though he was roughed up in his last start (for six runs), that was against the Dodgers, who are the best team in baseball for my money. Prior to that, Paddack had given up 3 ER or less in seven consecutive outings. He has a 3.19 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 19 starts overall this season. He's been even more dominant at Petco Park w/ a 2.28 ERA and 0.739 WHIP in eight starts. The Padres have gone 6-2 in those eight games as well. In this his rookie season, Paddack has yet to face Colorado. But for the reasons outlined above, getting them in San Diego for the 1st time is a huge advantage.
The Rockies are in pretty bad shape right now as they've lost four straight while giving up 41 runs in the process. San Diego is no offensive juggernaut, yet they've scored 16 runs in two games. Starting for Colorado tonight will be Chi Chi Gonzalez. Whereas opposing hitters are batting just .191 vs. Paddack, they are batting .289 vs. Gonzalez. This will be just the 5th start for Gonzalez this year. He has a 1.729 WHIP. His ERA on the road is 6.75. Furthermore, the Rockies have lost all of his previous four starts. This is a mismatch. 6* San Diego
|08-09-19||Rockies v. Padres -131||Top||1-7||Win||100||15 h 30 m||Show|
10* San Diego (10:10 ET): We all know what happens when you take the Rockies out of Coors Field. Scoring, both their own and from the opponent, drops precipitously. This year, the split has been even more striking than usual. Their own scoring drops from 6.5 runs per game to 4.2 while they allow 2.3 rpg less (7.0 to 4.7) on the road. But we're not playing the Under here as we have so many times previously w/ this Rockies club. Rather, this is a fade as they lost 9-3 to San Diego last night and it should be a similar story here w/ the starting pitching matchup heavily slanted to the Padres.
Five unearned runs in the sixth inning largely provided the difference for San Diego last night as they scored at least nine runs for the third time in four games. That kind of offensive production is the last thing Colorado wants to hear right now, not just because of their own anemic offense on the road, but also due to who they are sending out to start this game. Kyle Freeland is having a truly miserable campaign w/ a 7.24 ER and 1.61 WHIP in 19 starts. Needless to say, he's unlikely to limit the scoring the way Rockies pitching usually does on the road. Rather, this should be somewhat reminiscent of what they allow at home.
Freeland has a 2-6 TSR on the road this year. The team had lost his last four starts before beating San Francisco w/ him on the mound on Sunday. I actually took Freeland & the Rockies in that spot, but it was more of a fade against the Giants. In my opinion, Freeland just doesn't "stack up" against Padres' start Cal Quantrill, who has a 1.65 ERA and 1.041 WHIP his L3 starts. Quantrill started a wild 16-12 win over the Rockies at Coors Field in June, which was the last time he faced them. He allowed "only" four runs in that start, so don't be fooled by the final score. He'll pitch better tonight and with the Rockies having allowed a total of 34 runs the L3 games, it should be an easy win for the home team. 10* San Diego
|08-07-19||Phillies v. Diamondbacks -139||Top||1-6||Win||100||14 h 56 m||Show|
10* Arizona (9:40 ET): I used the Diamondbacks yday and they poured it on late en route to an 8-4 victory over the Phillies. The analysis made it pretty clear how I view these two teams. Though they have similar records (Phillies actually better), I believe Arizona is the far better team. While only .500 for the year, they have outscored their opponents by 71 runs, which is now the SECOND best differential in the entire National League! Meanwhile, the Phils have actually been outscored by 21 runs over the course of the year despite being 59-54. Stick w/ the D'backs tonight!
Most teams struggle on the road, but Philadelphia has been downright atrocious when priced in the +125 to +175 range (ML) outside of Citizens Bank Park. They're just 3-12 this season and 26-52 the L3 seasons. Arizona actually has a better record on the road than at home, but they have outscored their opponents for the season here at Chase Field. This game is huge for the D'backs as a win would pull them within 1.5 games of the Phillies (who currently occupy the 2nd Wild Card spot).
Tonight's starting pitching matchup features a couple hurlers that were acquired at the trade deadline. Jason Vargas made his Phillies' debut last week and looked good, but the end result was still a loss to a bad White Sox team. Vargas has had problems w/ Arizona in the past, posting a 6.82 ERA in six career starts and it's been a decade since he beat them. Vargas has also struggled on the road this year w/ a 5.03 ERA. The D'backs are going w/ Zac Gallen, who was a fantastic pickup from Miami and could potentially replace the departed Zack Greinke as the ace of the rotation. In seven starts this year, Gallen has a 2.73 ERA and the last three have seen him post a 1.40 ERA and 0.879 WHIP. This is no surprise considering how he dominated the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) w/ a 9-1 record and 1.77 ERA in 14 starts. Moving from a bad Miami team to Arizona will make all the difference for Gallen, in terms of wins and losses. 10* Arizona
|08-06-19||Phillies v. Diamondbacks -125||Top||4-8||Win||100||14 h 8 m||Show|
10* Arizona (9:40 ET): When they dealt Zack Greinke to the Astros last week, the conventional wisdom was that the D'backs were throwing in the towel on the 2019 season. I don't know if I agree with that. While a 7-3 loss to the Phillies last night dropped them to a game below .500, they are by no means "out of it" when it comes to a wide-open Wild Card race in the National League. One positive thing they have going for them is a +67 run differential, which tells me they've played MUCH better than their record. In fact, in terms of actual vs. expected wins, they've underachieved the most at -7 games. Look for them to bounce back Tuesday night at home and beat the Phillies.
While Arizona has underachieved this season, Philadelphia ought to feel pretty good about their 59-53 record. They've actually been outscored by 17 runs over the course of the season! But they are where a lot of NL teams would like to be right now and that's tied for a WC spot. Still, there are eight teams in the NL w/ better run differentials, Arizona obviously among them. In fact, the D'backs' YTD run differential ranks third best in the Senior Circuit, trailing only the Dodgers and Cubs! Arizona is 5-2 off its last 7 losses while Philly is 1-4 off its previous five wins.
Last night, the starting pitching matchup was NOT in Arizona's favor, but it looks to be today. Mike Leake is making his D'backs debut here after coming over from Seattle in a trade last week. Leake posted a 2.91 ERA and 0.969 WHIP his L3 starts for the Mariners, which includes a complete game one-hitter. He should pitch better here in the National League and certainly better than Merrill Kelly did yday. Meanwhile, the Phillies got seven very strong innings from Vince Velasquez last night, but Tuesday starter Jake Arrieta hasn't gone that long in a start since Memorial Day. He has a 5.25 ERA and 1.611 WHIP his L7 starts overall. 10* Arizona
|08-05-19||Cardinals v. Dodgers -161||Top||0-8||Win||100||26 h 36 m||Show|
8* LA Dodgers (10:10 ET): With a 16.5 game lead, the Dodgers are all but assured of winning the NL West again. They are also seven full games ahead of the rest of the National League, meaning the playoffs will very likely be going through Chavez Ravine. But don't think for a second that Dodger Blue will be lacking for motivation down the stretch. They proved that Sunday by coming from behind to defeat the Padres 11-10. They're now 43-15 at home this year. Motivation shouldn't be lacking on Monday either as they welcome in St. Louis for a three-game set. The Cardinals previously swept them, but that was back in April and in St. Louis. As we saw yet again over the weekend, the Cards simply aren't the same team on the road.
The Redbirds were beaten in both games out in Oakland over the weekend and that dropped them from 1st place in the NL Central. I can't really say that they were worthy of that 1st place distinction either; they have a +19 run differential compared to the Cubs' +76. The somewhat telling home vs. road splits St. Louis experiences are perhaps best exemplified by the starting rotation as virtually all of the pitchers see their numbers go up outside of Busch Stadium. Monday starter Michael Wacha simply isn't that good to begin with as he has a 5.05 ERA and 1.575 WHIP in all 14 of his starts this year. He's been working out of the bullpen for the last month and lasted started a game on 7.4. He started against LA earlier in the year and didn't last long (3 2/3 innings) as he gave up seven runs.
The Dodgers have a really strong rotation, but it will be an unfamiliar name going here in rookie Tony Gonsolin, who starts in place of Hyun-Jin Ryu (who was placed on the DL). Gonsolin's only previous start this year came on 6.26 vs. Arizona. Admittedly, it didn't go all that well w/ him allowing six runs. But he did recently throw at the big league level (as in last week) and held Colorado to one run in four innings and that was at Coors Field. As we saw yday, Gonsolin should get plenty of run support here. The Dodgers got to Wacha when they faced him in April, only to still lose 11-7. It'll be a different story this time around. 8* LA Dodgers
|08-04-19||Giants v. Rockies -130||Top||2-6||Win||100||6 h 53 m||Show|
10* Colorado (3:10 ET): The Giants won yday and of course it was by just a run (6-5). Since July 18th, all but one of the team's nine victories have come by that exact margin. At least they didn't win in extra innings Saturday, a scenario which has seen them go an extraordinarily fortunate 7-0 since the Break. If it sounds like I'm being bitter, yes I did have the Rockies last night, but it goes beyond that. San Francisco is a total fraud as they are a game over .500 this year despite being outscored by 51 runs. I'll gladly fade them again Sunday just as I have four of the last five days (won the first three times).
It's very surprising to see that Colorado has scored just five runs in each of the first two games of this series. After all, they lead all of MLB in runs per game at home (as per usual) w/ 6.5. They dug an early hole last night, falling behind 4-0 in the first inning, but were able to climb out and eventually take a 5-4 lead going into eighth. That's when the Giants' Buster Posey struck w/ a pinch-hit, 2-run double to give his team the lead and eventual win. The Giants have won 5 of their last 6 in Coors Field, but again I remain highly skeptical as going by YTD run differential, they are the biggest overachievers when it comes to win expectancy in the entire National League.
The Giants won't have Madison Bumgarner on the bump today. Rather, it will be Tyler Beede, who has a 5.57 ERA and 1.571 WHIP on the road this season. Coors Field is obviously the toughest place to pitch in all of baseball (high altitude) and this will be Beede's first time ever starting a game here. The Rockies go w/ Kyle Freeland, who has struggled this year after a tremendous 2018. But he's always pitched well against the Giants w/ a 3.09 ERA in 10 starts. I've made my feelings about San Francisco well-known and am not about to come off that position. 10* Colorado
|08-04-19||Marlins v. Rays -164||Top||2-7||Win||100||5 h 15 m||Show|
7* Tampa Bay (1:10 ET): Look for the Rays to finish off the quick two-game sweep here and make it six (wins) in a row overall. Honestly, I've been a bit surprised to see TB continue to win at their current percentage. Key for them was sweeping the Red Sox earlier in the week, in Boston. Yesterday's win allowed them to stay one-half game ahead of Oakland, who is also hosting a short two-game interleague set this week. Of course, we know the Rays are better than the Marlins. Their Floridian rivals are clearly the worst team over in the National League w/ a .389 win percentage, -102 run differential and they are the lowest scoring team on the Senior Circuit as well.
Tampa won yday's game w/ some offense, prevailing 8-6. They homered four times. Miami simply isn't built to win games like that as they are averaging only 3.5 runs per game on the road. Meanwhile, the Rays are holding visitors to an average of only 3.9 rpg here at home. So yday should be considered a "missed opportunity" for the Marlins. Don't expect Rays pitching today to be so generous. Starting will be Yonny Chirnos. While he's off a rough outing in Toronto, Chirnos' still has really solid numbers for the season and should bounce back here.
Not known for their offense, the Rays have scored a total of 50 runs in their L6 games. That's bad news for Miami starter Caleb Smith, who often struggles on the road. Contrast his 2.28 ERA and 0.972 WHIP at home w/ a 4.17 ERA and 1.027 WHIP on the road. Smith did finish July w/ a 5-0 team start record, all but one a quality start. But he's up against a really strong opponent here. The Rays are now 3-0 vs. the Marlins in 2019 and 9-4 in all interleague contests. They've won 22 of the last 32 times they've been a home favorite of more than -175 on the moneyline. 7* Tampa Bay
|08-03-19||Giants v. Rockies -122||Top||6-5||Loss||-122||20 h 15 m||Show|
10* Colorado (8:10 ET): The Giants got a taste of their own medicine last night, losing a one-run game here in Colorado, 5-4. For the Rockies, it was sweet revenge as they'd previously been swept by San Francisco here at Coors Field, last month. Now why did I call it a "taste of their own medicine" for the Giants, you ask? Well this is a team that has completely overachieved by going a MLB-best 26-11 in one-run games this year (very lucky!), including 8-2 since the All-Star Break. They've also somehow managed to go 7-0 in extra inning games since the Break. Anyone who's been privy to my analysis lately should know which way I'm going Saturday. Take the Rockies.
With Madison Bumgarner on the hill Saturday, most are not going to want to fade the Giants. But I have no hesitation fading a team that has been outscored by 52 runs this season, which is the third worst differential in the entire National League! Thus, it's almost improbable that the team has managed a .500 record to this point. At previous points in the season, there have been several other teams (Tigers, White Sox, Pirates) that I've decided to start fading regularly when their won-loss record and run differential don't "jive." The Giants are just the latest on the list. In terms of actual vs. expected wins, the latter based on run differential, SF is tied (w/ the White Sox) for being the biggest overachiever in all of MLB.
Bumgarner was supposed to start Friday, but got pushed back a day. That definitely helped the Rockies last night as "MadBum" has a 3-0 TSR against them this season. But this is a team that averages 6.5 runs per game at home and two of those three losses came on the road. They counter w/ Jon Gray in this spot & he's got a 7-3 TSR this season at Coors w/ surprisingly good numbers given the nature of the park. Last time out, Gray went eight innings against the Dodgers and allowed just one run on three hits. Just a tremendous performance. He's allowed 3 ER or less in seven of his past eight starts. 10* Colorado
|08-02-19||Giants v. Rockies -133||Top||4-5||Win||100||10 h 30 m||Show|
10* Colorado (8:40 ET): Oh, do I love this play. Let's start w/ what we've previously discussed about the Giants. Their 2nd half record of 14-6 is a complete fraud as they've gone a ridiculously fortunate 7-0 in extra inning games and 8-1 in games decided by one-run. While they are currently a game above .500, they've actually been outscored by 51 runs over the course of the season and that's the third worst differential in the entire National League! The Rockies have revenge here as they were swept by the Giants last month, right here in Coors Field. Not this time, folks.
I played every game of the Giants last series, which was in Philadelphia. I won twice w/ the Phillies, once as my top play for July, and once w/ the Under (which was my 10* Total of the Month). The Giants did win that game where I had the Under, 5-1, but that was their first and only win in the last two weeks by more than a single run! The pitching change for the Giants here certainly works to our advantage as it will be Shaun Anderson going instead of Madison Bumgarner. Anderson has a 5.06 ERA and 1.487 WHIP in 14 starts this year and the numbers have only gotten worse since the All-Star Break. I shouldn't have to tell you that Coors Field is the toughest place to pitch in all of MLB. Anderson was rocked for five runs in just 4 1/3 innings here last month.
But homefield advantage didn't matter the last time these teams met as the Rockies would go on to turn in a terrible month overall. They finished July at 6-19, pretty much ending their playoff hopes, but getting a measure of revenge in this series could keep them afloat. Starter Peter Lambert has an 0-7 TSR his L7 times out, but he's been better of late, reminiscint of the pitcher who opened his big league career w/ B2B wins over the Cubs. The Rockies should certainly supply Lambert w/ adequate support as they are averaging 6.5 rpg here at home this season. They had yesterday off while the Giants were in Philly, which is another advantage. 10* Colorado
|08-02-19||Brewers v. Cubs -140||Top||2-6||Win||100||7 h 4 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (2:20 ET): For the third straight series, the Cubs are not only facing an opponent from within their own division (NL Central), but one they are also battling for playoff position. The Cubbies dropped two of three in each of the previous two series and I was "lukewarm" on them in both, even going against them in Tuesday's loss to St. Louis. The reason being is that they were on the road (where they are now just 21-33 for the season). But now they're back in Wrigley (where they're 36-18) and looking for revenge after dropping 2 of 3 in Milwaukee last weekend. This time, I back the Cubs in a series opener.
While these teams are only a game apart in the standings and scored a nearly identical number of runs over the course of the year, those two metrics do not tell the full story here. The Cubs have ALLOWED 79 fewer runs this season than have the Brewers. They are especially stingy here at the Friendly Confines where they allow just 3.8 rpg, which is 4th fewest in all of baseball. They did lose two low-scoring games at Miller Park last weekend before winning the finale 11-4. I fully anticipate the Brewers struggling to score again in this series, starting w/ today's matchup vs. lefty Jose Quintana, who has a 3-0 TSR his L3 starts. He was the starter for that 11-4 win over the Brewers last Sunday.
Though the Cubs just dropped two of three at both Milwaukee and St. Louis, they still have a much better YTD run differential than those two division foes. In fact, the Brew Crew have actually been outscored this season in spite of a 57-53 record. They are sub-.500 on the road after dropping 2 of 3 in Oakland to start the week. The schedule makers are doing them no favors here, making them go from Oakland to Chicago w/o a day off. Starter Zach Davies has struggled in B2B starts, giving up 14 runs in just 9 IP, seven of them to the Cubs last Sunday. Look for Quintana to beat Davies for the 2nd straight time. 8* Chi Cubs
|08-01-19||Padres v. Dodgers -195||Top||2-8||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
6* LA Dodgers (10:10 ET): The last time these NL West rivals met was the start of last month, right here at Chavez Ravine. The Padres actually took the final three of that four-game series and the Dodgers' last two home games in July (both coming against the Angels) were also losses. Expect those losing streaks to come to a screeching halt tonight though as LA is a heavy favorite w/ Clayton Kershaw on the mound. And for good reason. The Dodgers are still 40-14 at home this year and #1 overall in my own personal power rankings. They've won 14 of Kershaw's 18 starts as well. Truthfully, they should be much higher on the money line. Back them in this series opener.
The Padres had dreams of contending in 2019 after signing Manny Machado in the offseason. But Machado is just one player and those dreams have since faded. The team comes into Thursday having dropped 12 of 17 games since the All-Star Break and I certainly don't think tonight's starter, Joey Lucchesi, is the one to turn this ship around. Especially facing a team like the Dodgers. Lucchesi has struggled on the road all season w/ a 6.48 ERA and 1.416 WHIP in eight starts. He's also struggled recently w/ a 5.28 ERA and 1.566 WHIP his L3 starts overall. He has a 6.75 ERA in five career starts vs. the Dodgers.
Kershaw's resume needs little in the way of introduction as he continues to be one of the best pitchers in the game today. His season started later than normal and truthfully he initially wasn't quite as dominant as we're used to seeing. But everything is "back to normal" now w/ four consecutive quality outings where he's allowed only five runs in 25 IP. He also has 35 strikeouts during that time. As you might expect, Kershaw has dominated the Padres throughout his career, going 19-6 w/ a 2.00 ERA. He's faced them twice in 2019 and both were quality starts w/ him allowing just five runs total on 11 hits in 13 IP (15-2 KW rate). 6* LA Dodgers
|08-01-19||Mets -160 v. White Sox||Top||4-0||Win||100||7 h 50 m||Show|
8* NY Mets (2:10 ET): Somebody break up the Mets! All of a sudden, they've won six in a row and believe it or not, they're only five games back of the Wild Card. Of course, facing the White Sox helps. This is a team (Chicago, this is) that we've recommended fading numerous times over the last couple months as the have a dismal YTD run differential (now -118), which is third worst in all of MLB. Quite frankly, the Sox were very lucky to have stayed a few games within a few games of .500 for much of the season. But 2019 is "all over but the shouting" for them now. You can only beat the teams on your schedule and the Mets have taken advantage of a weak slate on this win streak of theirs. Look for them to finish off a 2nd straight sweep this afternoon!
Zach Wheeler will pitch today for New York, looking to follow up on a win his last time out where he had seven strikeouts and no walks. It was the 4th time in his last 5 starts that Wheeler gave up three runs or less. Facing a lineup this bad should certainly result in that streak continuing. Chicago is hitting just .216 in its last seven games w/ an average of only 2.1 rpg scored. The White Sox also rank 28th overall in runs scored. The Mets have done well against the American League teams on their schedule, now at 9-4 for the year.
White Sox starter Dylan Cease has really struggled since a solid big league debut back on July 3rd. His L3 starts, all occurring after the Break, have seen him go 0-3 w/ a 7.31 ERA and 1.625 WHIP. He's had a nasty penchant for giving up the "big inning" and that's cost him. Remember, theoretically, the Mets lineup is stronger now w/ a DH. Perhaps the most fraudulent thing of all about the White Sox is how they have a .500 record here at Guaranteed Rate Field despite being outscored by 1.4 rpg! They are also just 16-30 in day games. 8* NY Mets
|08-01-19||Giants v. Phillies -140||Top||2-10||Win||100||4 h 49 m||Show|
8* Philadelphia (1:05 ET): It shouldn't be much of a surprise which side I'm taking in this rubber match as I've been very vocal in recent weeks about how fraudulent the Giants' second half of the season has been. Give them credit for winning 5-1 yesterday, though that was their first win by more than one run since beating Colorado 11-8 on July 17th. That's a two week span. In between, all seven Giants' wins were of the one-run variety, five of them coming in extra innings. How fortunate is that!? Despite being two games over .500, San Francisco has still been outscored on the year by 43 runs, making them massive overachievers in terms of their won-loss record. As I did Tuesday, back the Phillies this afternoon.
The Phillies took the series opener 4-2 before losing 5-1 yday. I had the Under last night, which was my 10* Total of the Month and the Phils were my 10* Game of the Month on Tuesday. So I've been pretty "plugged into" this series. For this rubber match, Philly would seem to have a considerable edge on the mound w/ Jake Arrieta pitching. While he stumbled in a 9-2 loss to the Braves last weekend, Arrieta had looked good in each of his previous two starts. The Giants offense, while better on the road, still ranks 27th in MLB in runs scored, 28th in batting average and 28th in OPS. The Phillies are also a strong 23-13 in day games this season.
Going here for the Giants will be Dereck Rodriguez, an overnight change from originally scheduled starter Shaun Anderson. Rodriguez has been used sparingly in the starter's role, making only one since May 10th. It was back on July 15th and an impressive showing as he allowed just one run in five innings at Coors Field. But I still wouldn't read too much into that. He'd really struggled his three times starting previous to that, giving up 18 runs in 13 IP. Perhaps I'm being stubborn, but I'll continue to fade the Giants after they overachieved greatly in July. 8* Philadelphia
|07-30-19||Cubs v. Cardinals +111||Top||1-2||Win||111||13 h 38 m||Show|
8* St. Louis (8:15 ET): I'm not convinced that the Cardinals are a better overall team than the Cubs or that they will end up winning the NL Central. The Cards and Cubs enter this series tied for 1st in the division, both sporting 56-49 records. The Cubs have the better YTD run differential (+71 vs. +19), but St. Louis has the all-important homefield edge in this series and the home team has won all nine previous meetings here in 2019. The Cubs aren't a good road team (20-31 record) and I believe the Redbirds are going to exact some revenge here for a three-game sweep they suffered at Wrigley Field last month.
The Cards will be giving the baseball to Adam Wainwright tonight. He, like most of St. Louis pitchers, perform a lot better here at Busch Stadium. His ERA and WHIP are 2.33 and 1.204 at home, compared to 7.54 and 1.721 on the road. So you can see why it's so important for St. Louis to get this series at home. When they swept the Cubs here back in late May/early June, Wainwright tossed a gem in one of those three games, going eight innings w/o giving up a run. He allowed just two hits. His last home start (7.14 vs. Arizona) saw him toss seven shutout innings in a 5-2 victory.
The Cubs have Yu Darvish on the mound here and he's given up 4+ runs in four of his last six outings. There were two good ones (where he threw 13 consecutive scoreless innings), but both came at home. Darvish has started twice against St. Louis this year. Ironically, the one time at home went worse for him. But considering the Cubs have a 3-7 record in Darvish road starts, I wouldn't fret. This is their third consecutive road series and they've dropped five of seven overall, a stretch where they've hit a putrid .198 collectively. 8* St. Louis
|07-30-19||Giants v. Phillies -124||Top||2-4||Win||100||11 h 28 m||Show|
10* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): OK, so we have reached a point w/ the Giants where they clearly are going to regress moving forward. At least that's what all the numbers say. This team has gone an extremely fortunate 7-0 in extra inning games since the Break and their last seven wins overall have all been by one run (5-0 in extras)! While now two games above .500 (54-52), the Giants have still been outscored by 45 runs, a differential that's indicative of a team w/ a 48-58 record. Even in winning 7 of their L10 games, they've been outscored. They are a MLB-best 26-10 in one-run games for the season, which again, is very lucky. Combine all of the above w/ the Phillies desperately needing wins to stay relevant in the playoff race and you have my strongest MLB play for July. Take the Phillies.
Philly dropped two of three to Atlanta over the weekend (here at home), but they are still only a game back of the 2nd Wild Card spot in the National League. Do I think the Phils will end up as a playoff team? Probably not. But they're certainly more viable that this overachieving Giants team. Drew Smyly makes his second start for them tonight. His 1st really could not have gone any better as he pitched six innings and allowed only one run in a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh. The Giants have never faced him before.
These teams have yet to meet this season, but last year saw the home team win all seven times they played. The Giants have dropped six straight games here in Philadelphia. Tyler Beede will get the nod for them tonight and he's coming off his worst showing of the season, having allowed a season-high 10 hits in just 5 2/3 IP. Three of those 10 hits were home runs as the Giants lost 4-1 to the Cubs. Those numbers (see above) for the Giants are really damning as this is a team I'm going to look to regularly fade in August. They'll also be my biggest fade for July! 10* Philadelphia
|07-29-19||Braves v. Nationals -143||Top||3-6||Win||100||11 h 11 m||Show|
8* Washington (7:05 ET): For much of the first half, the Nationals' season had to be considered a "disappointment." Certainly by me, as I had pegged them to be one of the NL's most improved teams this season. Injuries and a shaky bullpen really hurt early on, but then the club finally caught fire right before the All-Star Break by winning 10 of 12. The second half of the season has brought its own challenges, namely in the starting rotation as Max Scherzer has missed his last several turns. The Nats were able to avoid getting swept at home (by the Dodgers) over the weekend by winning Sunday. One starter that they can count on though is Pat Corbin, who goes Monday in the opener of this all-important series w/ 1st place Atlanta. I'll back him in this spot.
While Washington was able to avoid getting swept on Sunday, Atlanta failed to finish off a sweep. They lost to the Phillies 9-4 yday, a game where I cashed the Over. The first two games had seen the Braves score 24 runs and they remain one of the NL's highest scoring teams. The starting rotation was thought to be solidified last month when Dallas Keuchel was brought in, a big free agent signing that signaled the Braves were "all in" for 2019. But Keuchel's TSR so far is just 3-4 and he lost (as a big home favorite) his last time out to Kansas City. He hasn't been that effective on the road either w/ a 4.24 ERA and 1.585 WHIP. That includes a loss here in D.C. back in his first start for the Braves, which dropped Keuchel to 0-2 w/ a 4.71 ERA in four career starts vs. the Nats. Current Washington hitters have combined to go 41 for 111 (.369) against Keuchel w/ a .974 OPS.
Meanwhile, Corbin has excelled in the past against the Braves. He's gone 5-1 w/ 1.84 ERA in 10 career appearances. That's his best win percentage against any opponent he's faced more than once. Corbin has also excelled here at home this season where he's 5-1 w/ a 1.68 ERA and 0.876 WHIP. Two Braves' hitters he won't have to worry about tonight are Nick Markakis and Darby Swanson, both of whom are injured and out of the lineup. Currently sitting 5.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East standings, this is a huge series for the Nationals and they open it w/ a win. 8* Washington
|07-28-19||Yankees v. Red Sox -175||Top||9-6||Loss||-175||11 h 44 m||Show|
10* Boston (7:05 ET): I think it's fair to say this was the Red Sox biggest series to date and they've responded in kind by taking three straight from the Yankees. While I'm not sure they'll be able to catch their rivals for first place in the AL East, a Wild Card berth would suffice for the reigning World Series Champs and they enter Sunday tied w/ Oakland for the second WC spot. Just as important, they are looking to finish off a four-game sweep. While Boston came into this series just 1-6 head to head w/ NY this season, none of those games were played here at Fenway where they're now averaging 5.8 rpg. I'll call for them to finish off the sweep tonight on ESPN.
Yankees pitching has absolutely been annihilated this past week, giving up an average of 10.4 runs the last seven games. Rarely do you see an average that high over a week's time. This series has seen Boston score 38 runs in three games, starting w/ a 19-3 win on Thursday. The Red Sox have scored at least nine runs in all three games, so good luck to Domingo German, who gets the start tonight for the Yankees. German's TSR on the road this season is 7-2, but that's misleading as it comes in spite of a poor 5.65 ERA. In his last start, German gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings as the Yanks ended up beating Minnesota 14-12.
Speaking of misleading records, Boston has Chris Sale on the mound here. The Red Sox record w/ him on the mound this year is just 8-13, which is kind of shocking, but he's pitched better than the record indicates. We're looking a 1.084 WHIP in 21 starts, which is sixth best in the American League. He's also third w/ 182 strikeouts. Sale has been sharp of late w/ B2B quality starts that saw him allow just two runs in 12 IP w/ 22 K's. It is not often you can play him below -200 on the money line here at home. I'll jump at the opportunity. 10* Boston
|07-27-19||Giants v. Padres -124||Top||1-5||Win||100||11 h 33 m||Show|
10* San Diego (8:40 ET): So the Giants have become my least favorite MLB team, for reasons I'll get into right now. They have gone 12-3 since the All-Star Break, which is commendable, but it's been about as fortunate a streak as I've seen in recent memory. It's not like this is a good team; they've still been outscored by 42 runs this season. But they are a lucky team. Since the Break, they are now a perfect 7-0 in extra games, which includes last night's 2-1 win in 11 innings. That record is pretty ridiculous as is their MLB-best 25-10 record in one-run games this season. Their last six wins have all been by exactly one run, five of those coming in extra innings. Incredible.
On the other side of the ledger, we've got the Padres, who just dropped their eighth straight home game last night. It was also a failed attempt to exact revenge for a three-game sweep they suffered at the hands of the Giants at the beginning of the month. Full disclosure - I had the Padres last night and am none too happy about the result as it was a top play (10*). I thought it was time to "sell high" on the Giants going into their previous series (w/ the Cubs), but it turns out that hasn't been the case (yet!) as their only loss since then came in a game where there was a pitching change and thus my fade had to be ruled "no action."
Speaking of "lucky," how about the fact Giants starter Shaun Anderson has a 3-0 TSR his L3 starts in spite of a 7.54 ERA and 1.675 WHIP? (Do you sense a theme here?) Anderson has not factored into any of the decisions as he did last longer than five innings in any of the three games, all of which were come from behind efforts by the team. The bottom line (as I'm sure you can tell by now!) is I simply do not respect the Giants. I'll trust San Diego w/ Cal Quantrill on the hill to get it done today. Quantrill hasn't allowed any runs his last two appearances, giving up only five hits in 11 2/3 IP. The Padres are due for some revenge (and a win at home!) while the Giants are set to regress. 10* San Diego
|07-27-19||Twins -174 v. White Sox||Top||1-5||Loss||-174||12 h 0 m||Show|
7* Minnesota (7:10 ET): The White Sox are a sinking ship, not that I didn't see this coming. This is a team that has had a very poor run differential all season and the fact they were able to stay within a few games of .500 was always highly misleading. In terms of actual vs. expected wins, they are still baseball's biggest overachiever in 2019, which is saying something as their won-loss record is only 45-56. But a run differential that's now -107 (3rd worst) is indicative of a 39-win team, a gap of six games from what's normally expected. They've been outscored 16-5 by the Twins in the first two games of this series and are set to lose again tonight.
Now 63-40 on the season, Minnesota continues to lead the AL Central, but Cleveland (just two games back) is hot on their heels. The Twins are considered a surprise success story in 2019, but their own run differential (+119) indicates that this is a very legitimate contender. They are averaging 6.1 runs per game on the road, which is a really impressive number. That's a big reason why they are 32-19 away from Target Field. So I expect them to "tee off" against Ivan Nova, who has a 6.02 home ERA this season. Nova did just toss a complete game his last time out, allowing only one run, but that was against a Miami team that is among the lowest scoring in all of MLB.
Minnesota hit five home runs last night, becoming the fastest team to 200 (home runs) in a season - ever. Back on June 29th, Nova gave up a pair of long balls in a 10-3 home loss to the Twins. That last start simply is not indicative of how Nova has pitched over the balance of the year. Martin Perez will get the baseball for the Twins and he's 3-1 in four previous starts vs. Chicago. Consider that the White Sox are averaging only 2.7 runs over the last seven games while batting .196. Minnesota is averaging 7.7 rpg its last seven games while batting a collective .300! This is a huge mismatch. 7* Minnesota
|07-26-19||Giants v. Padres -136||Top||2-1||Loss||-136||15 h 55 m||Show|
10* San Diego (10:10 ET): The Giants are a team I've been looking to "sell high" on all week. Unfortunately, thanks to a pitching change Wednesday, I was not able to seize the opportunity. I was all set to take the Cubs in San Fran, but starter Jon Lester was a late scratch, thus rendering my play a "no action." For what it's worth, the Cubs did win anyway (4-1), snapping the Giants' three-game in streak. A large reason why I've been so eager to fade the Giants is they're clearly overachieving at this point. Despite being a game over .500, they've actually been outscored by 43 runs this season. I won't miss this chance to fade them in what's a huge revenge spot for the Padres.
Unlike SF, San Diego played yesterday. They were shutout, 4-0 by the Mets, but the good news is that they typically bounce back well from such defeats. They're a perfect 2-0 this year off a shutout loss and 19-8 in that situation the L3 seasons. Starting the series opener for the Padres will be Joey Lucchesi. While he struggled in his last start (at Wrigley Field), Lucchesi has been far better at home. He's gone 6-2 here at Petco Park w/ a 2.83 ERA and 1.037 WHIP. I like him in this spot obviously.
Many will look at Jeff Samardzija's recent numbers and be impressed. But a string of three straight quality starts ended last week when he allowed four runs in just five innings to the Mets. The Giants lost that game 11-4. I mentioned earlier that this is a revenge spot for the Padres. They were swept here at home by San Francisco at the start of this month. That's what began a stunning 16-4 run by the Giants (best record in baseball this month), but be aware that they have gone an extremely fortunate 6-0 in extra inning games during that time. Their last five wins have also all been of the one-run variety. It's time for them to regress and the Padres to get revenge. 10* San Diego
|07-26-19||Pirates v. Mets -168||Top||3-6||Win||100||12 h 55 m||Show|
7* NY Mets (7:10 ET): Yesterday, I offered up a rare endorsement of the Pirates. In the analysis, I noted it was rare because I'm simply not a believer in the team long-term, nor have I been for some time now. Basically all season long, they've had a run differential indicating they've played about as badly as any team in the NL, at least this side of Miami. The reason for playing Pittsburgh yday afternoon was that they were faced w/ a situation where home teams usually respond positively - needing a win to avoid a four-game sweep. Well, they got swept (by St. Louis) and now the endorsements will get even rarer. In fact, today I'm recommending that you fade them.
While the Pirates were losing their fifth in a row yday, the Mets were busy shutting out the Padres 4-0. New York has had a disappointing season as well, but they're a better team than the Pirates. This weekend will be the 1st time these teams have played in 2019. It's actually been almost a full year since they last met. The Pirates are in bad shape, not only losing their last five games, but also 11 of their last 13. The Mets took two of three from the Padres to start the week.
Zach Wheeler will make his return to the mound tonight for the Mets. He has not pitched since July 7th. The subject of trade rumors, it appears as if Wheeler may be sticking around in Queens. The Mets have actually done alright when he pitches here at home, going 6-3 and Wheeler has a 1.186 WHIP in those starts. As for Pittsburgh starter Dario Agrazal, he's actually been a nice addition to the banged up Pittsburgh rotation. But the way his team has played in the second half, that hardly matters. The Pirates have lost 16 of their last 21 road games to teams that have winning home records. Back to fading them. 7* NY Mets
|07-25-19||Cardinals v. Pirates -111||Top||6-3||Loss||-111||5 h 35 m||Show|
10* Pittsburgh (12:35 ET): Endorsements of the Pirates will be few and far between on this end. It was months ago that I pointed to the team's poor run differential as a sign that they would decline and sure enough, that's exactly what has happened. They've dropped 9 of 11 since the Break and now find themselves in last place in the NL Central. But the reason I'm making an exception on the Bucs today is all about the situation. They find themselves in the rare predicament of possibly getting swept in a four-game series at home. I'll call for them to avoid the sweep.
St. Louis won the first two games of the series 6-5 and 4-3. Following those two one-run decisions, it was a much easier 14-8 victory yesterday. While the Cardinals are seemingly surging (won 10 of 13), I'm still unconvinced that this is anything but a mediocre ballclub. They are below .500 on the road and today's starter, Miles Mikolas, has been downright horrendous away from Busch Stadium w/ a 7.04 ERA and 1.627 WHIP. He's dropped his last five decisions on the road to fall to 1-6 in 10 starts. With the Cards' bullpen having already been taxed in this series, there's a lot of pressure on Mikolas here and I don't think he's up for the challenge.
Joe Musgrove will go for the Pirates. While it hasn't been a great year for him, he looked great his last time out, allowing just an unearned run and two hits in a 5-1 win over the Phillies. Musgrove went six innings and matched a season-high w/ eight strikeouts. The team does have a winning record (6-4) w/ him on the mound at PNC Park this season. While Musgrove lost opposite Mikolas earlier this month, that game was obviously played in St. Louis. The Pirates are 5-0 in Musgrove's L5 home starts. 10* Pittsburgh
|07-24-19||Rangers -139 v. Mariners||Top||3-5||Loss||-139||8 h 11 m||Show|
|07-23-19||Cubs -111 v. Giants||Top||4-5||Loss||-111||12 h 41 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (9:45 ET): I concede that there are some warning signs here NOT to take the Cubs, such as their struggles both on the road and against left-handed pitching. The latter is exacerbated here by going up against Giants' ace Madison Bumgarner, who is unbeaten over his L5 starts w/ a 1.55 ERA. But, for me, this one boils down to a lack of belief in a San Francisco club that has been drastically overachieving in the second half w/ a 5-0 record in extra inning games. That doesn't even include last night's comeback where they rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
While the Cubs may only be 18-28 on the road, they can take solace in the fact that the Giants are an inept team offensively here at home (just 3.4 rpg). Also, as good as Bumgarner has been recently for SF, Yu Darvish has been better for the Cubs. Darvish goes tonight and has been lights out since the Break w/ B2B six shutout inning efforts where he allowed only two hits both times. He had 15 K's against just one walk in the two wins as well. Now both were at home, but I expect Darvish to pitch well here against what remains one of the weakest hitting teams in all of MLB. Even though they're now 10-2 since the Break, the Giants are still 26th in batting average and 28th in OPS.
Bumgarner has come on strong for the Giants and has had the Cubs number in the past. Off a complete game effort (his 1st of '19) his last time out though, I wonder how he'll follow. Again, the Giants have been really lucky of late and really all year. That might seem odd to say about a team that is over .500 for the 1st time all year. But they've still been outscored by 41 runs and would not be above .500 were it not for a MLB-best 23-10 record in one-run games. Their last four wins have all been by one run, three of them coming in extras. 8* Chi Cubs
|07-23-19||Red Sox -160 v. Rays||Top||5-4||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
10* Boston (7:05 ET): If I may offer a "peek behind the curtain," I've got the Red Sox finishing AHEAD of the Rays and grabbing the second Wild Card in the American League. If that projection is to come to fruition, then Boston has to make a statement (i.e. win!) this series as the Rays are currently reeling. The visitors got off to a great start last night, jumping out to an early 8-0 advantage and holding on for the 9-4 win in a game TB ended up using a position player to pitch the ninth inning. That's just the state of the team right now as the Rays have dropped six of seven while being outscored 41-17 in the process. I'm backing the Red Sox here.
I know he's struggled some in 2019, but this is a great price on Chris Sale, who is coming off a superb showing vs. Toronto. Not only did he strike out 12, but Sale held the Blue Jays scoreless for six innings and allowed only two hits. Granted, Toronto is bad, but TB isn't exactly hitting the cover off the baseball right now either. The Rays lineup has produced more than four runs in a game only one time since the Break. Plus, Sale's 1.92 ERA at Tropicana Field is the lowest for him at any park in which he's made at least five starts. Despite the poor ROI on him this season, Sale's WHIP is still 1.079 in 20 starts, which is not bad at all.
Tampa Bay obviously has pitching concerns if they're turning to a position player to pitch in a key division game. One could make the case that the game was already out of hand, but MLB rules state you're supposed to only use a position player on the mound if trailing by 6+ runs. On Tuesday, the Rays will start Yonny Chrinos, who didn't have a good time w/ the Yankees on Thursday as he allowed 5 runs in 5 IP. Considering that Boston is hitting a lot better than TB is right now, this would seem to be a mismatch. The Red Sox come in averaging nearly 6.0 rpg on the road this season! 10* Boston
|07-21-19||Cardinals v. Reds -102||Top||3-1||Loss||-102||6 h 31 m||Show|
10* Cincinnati (1:10 ET): The Reds finally got a win in this series by rallying for a 3-2 decision last night. They'd blown leads in each of the first two games, which is somewhat emblematic of the frustrating season that's taken place here in the Queen City as the team is +29 in run differential, yet eight games below .500 and in last place in the Central. The Reds' gap between actual and expected wins right now is -7, making them the biggest underachievers in baseball (at least relative to their run diff). But I think they are certainly capable of earning a series split w/ their mediocre division rival. Take 'em Sunday.
The Cardinals' Jack Flaherty has been much more effective at home than on the road this season. So that makes him a prime candidate to fade in this spot as he gets the starting nod Sunday. While Flaherty has a 3.22 ERA and 0.937 WHIP at Busch Stadium, those numbers jump to 5.96 and 1.544 on the road where he has a 3-6 TSR. What's interesting w/ Flaherty is that overall he was 4-3 his first nine starts, but is winless (0-3) over his L10. Yet his ERA is pretty much the same in those two stretches. He did throw seven shutout innings vs. Cincinnati back on April 28th, but that was at home.
It's also been awhile since Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani got a win. But in his case, he's long overdue considering he's allowed 3 ER or less in six of his last seven starts. The one bad one was on the road. DeSclafani did go 3-1 w/ a 3.08 ERA in June and has typically pitched very well against the Cardinals in his career. He's 6-2 w/ a 3.32 ERA against them in 13 career appearances. Though the Reds have struggled in day games this year, I think the Cardinals' problems on the road (Flaherty specifically) overrides that. 10* Cincinnati
|07-19-19||Brewers -130 v. Diamondbacks||Top||7-10||Loss||-130||13 h 37 m||Show|
8* Milwaukee (9:40 ET): While it may seem odd that Jhoulys Chacin and the Brewers are favored in this spot, the fact is that Arizona simply isn't a very good home team. That point was reiterated last night as the D'backs returned to Chase Field off two big offensive games in Texas, and scored just one run in a loss to Brew Crew. I think it goes beyond just the DH (which they got to enjoy having the previous two games) though. At home this year, the D'backs are now 20-23 and see a significant decrease in offensive production, down to 4.4 runs per game from 5.7 on the road. I'm siding w/ the surging visitors in this one.
Chacin may seem like a bit of a risk here given he's 0-6 his L10 starts and 1-8 on the road this year. He has a 6.38 ERA and 1.63 WHIP away from Miller Park, but recent performances have been much better and would seem to indicate a turnaround is forthcoming. Chacin has allowed just five runs total his L3 starts (16 IP) and has allowed only two runs in each of his past two road starts, including a quality effort at Cincinnati on 7.3. The problem in both of those starts is that the Brewers' offense was shutout. They've since turned it around w/ a three-game win streak, including a 13-run effort Tuesday vs. Atlanta.
Arizona's Taylor Clarke will be making his first start since July 2nd here. He's been on the DL the last 15 days, but I don't think just time off can cure all that ails him as Clarke has a very poor ERA (6.92) and WHIP (1.692) in his nine starts overall. Again, he shouldn't expect much run support here given the drop off we see from D'backs offense here at home. The Brewers are actually 6-1 vs. the D'backs since the start of last season and what's really incredible is that Arizona hasn't scored more than two runs in any of those seven contests! With Adrian Houser back in a relief role, I like Milwaukee's bullpen alot more now as well. 8* Milwaukee
|07-17-19||Giants v. Rockies -170||Top||11-8||Loss||-170||5 h 35 m||Show|
8* Colorado (3:10 ET): The Rockies are facing the prospect of getting swept in a four-game series in their home ballpark. They and the Giants played a doubleheader Monday and while the second game was certainly close (lost 2-1), the first was most definitely NOT (lost 19-2). Last night was closer than the 8-4 final suggests as the game went into extra innings after a three-run Colorado rally in the bottom of the ninth. But still, they gave up four runs in the 10th and lost for the fourth time in the last five games. I can't see the Rockies being swept though. Not by the Giants.
You do have to expect the hitting will start to improve for Colorado. They average 6.6 runs per game here at Coors, the highest scoring average at home of any team in baseball, which is not surprising given the repuatation of the park itself. Today, they face a rookie (Shaun Anderson) that will be pitching for the very first time in Coors. It's not as if Anderson's numbers are all that impressive as he's got 6.13 ERA and 1.772 WHIP his L3 starts, even though the Giants have won all three games. Their scoring is due to subside here as they rank 28th in batting average and 27th in OPS.
Jon Gray gives his team what I feel is a sizable edge today. He's actually 4-1 w/ a 3.26 ERA in eight home starts, which is very good all things considered. The team's record in those eight starts is 6-2 and seven of them have actually stayed Under. Gray's last start was here in Coors and was a quality one as he held the Reds to two runs in seven innings. He also beat Clayton Kershaw here, 5-3, late last month in another quality effort. Gray has faced the Giants twice this season, both times in San Francisco, and allowed only one run and nine hits in 12 2/3 IP. 8* Colorado
|07-16-19||Giants v. Rockies -128||Top||8-4||Loss||-128||10 h 58 m||Show|
8* Colorado (8:40 ET): The Rockies were totally embarrassed by the Giants yesterday, getting swept in a doubleheader and scoring only three runs in the hitter-friendly home park. The first game of the day-night twinbill was especially humiliating as they lost 19-2! The second game, while closer, was no less painful as it brought a 2-1 defeat. That brought the Giants to 19-10 in one-run games this year and 45-49 overall, masking the fact that this team has been outscored by 45 runs. This is a really good price on Colorado at home as they're out for revenge.
It wasn't that long ago that Rockies' starter Pete Lambert was being touted as a prized prospect. His first two big league starts (both against the Cubs) went really well as he allowed only two runs and seven hits across 12 innings. But in the four subsequent outings, the wheels have come off a bit. Two were against the Dodgers and three came here at Coors. I think it's far too soon to give up on this rookie though and the Giants have never faced him before. Also, while SF enters tonight on a three-game win streak, be aware that they are just 2-6 this season when on a streak of that length.
I just can't see the Rockies losing again here after being swept in a doubleheader yday. As much concern as there may be over Lambert, I can't foresee the Giants' Drew Pomeranz pitching well tonight. He has a 9.76 ERA and 1.988 WHIP on the road to begin with and Coors is obviously the toughest venue in the league to pitch. Five of Pomeranz's last six starts have come at home, including the last three. In his previous two road starts, he has allowed a total of 15 ER in just 5 2/3 IP. The Rockies are 8-3 their L11 home games vs. a left-handed starter. 8* Colorado
|07-14-19||Dodgers -104 v. Red Sox||Top||7-4||Win||100||11 h 60 m||Show|
10* LA Dodgers (7:05 ET): Though they've certainly had their share of issues beating the Red Sox, the Dodgers are the better team this year. They look to be an extraordinary value Sunday night w/ Hyun-Jin Ryu starting. Ryu was arguably the top starter in all of baseball in the first half, earning him starting honors for the National League in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. After going down in just five games in LY's World Series and dropping Friday's opener 8-1, the Dodgers got the best of the Red Sox last night, winning 11-2. Behind Ryu, they make it two in a row tonight and take the series.
Ryu's numbers from the first half were just incredible. He has a MLB-best 1.73 ERA in 17 starts as well as a 0.908 WHIP. Save for one bad start at the most hitter-friendly park in the game (Coors Field), Ryu has allowed 2 ER or fewer in EVERY start this season! His 1st half concluded with six shutout innings of three-hit ball against the Padres. While pitching at Fenway will present a greater challenge than most of his starts (there's a DH too), Ryu should be up for it. Something else to consider here is that Boston is now just 1-7 this season at home when they are priced between +125 and -125.
David Price came out on the winning end of Game 2 of LY's World Series opposite Ryu and has emerged as the de facto ace of the Red Sox starting rotation this year, primarily due to the surprising struggles of yesterday's loser Chris Sale. There's no denying that Price has pitched well in his own right; he's just not been as good as Ryu. Nor have the Red Sox been as good as the Dodgers in 2019. LA has not only the best record (61-33) in all of baseball, they also have the best run differential (+131). Boston actually has a losing record at Fenway (21-23) this year and is just +56 in run differential. 10* LA Dodgers
|07-14-19||Mets -205 v. Marlins||Top||6-2||Win||100||5 h 4 m||Show|
6* NY Mets (1:10 ET): The Mets finally beat the Marlins yday, 4-2, thanks to a tiebreaking two-run HR from Robinson Cano. They also got seven strong innings from Noah Syndergaard. They should again beat their division rival on Sunday as Jacob deGrom is starting. If you look at the early line movement for today's matchup, I think you'd agree that this number was set far too low. The thing is while the Mets had lost four in a row to the Marlins (prior to yday's win), they'd actually taken the season's first five head to head matchups. deGrom looks like a lock today. Take the Mets.
Somehow, the Mets have gone 19-31 w/ deGrom starting the L2 seasons. To call that "head-scratching" would be a mild understatement. deGrom won the Cy Young last year in spite of his team, but this year has somehow shaped up as even more disappointing as the Mets are just 5-13 in his starts. But deGrom continues to pitch relatively well. His numbers may not be as good as they were last year, but he still sports a 2.68 ERA and 0.979 WHIP over his last seven starts, all quality ones. He's allowed 3 ER or less NINE straight times, including a strong effort vs. Philly (gave up just two runs on three hits in seven innings) in his last start before the All-Star Break.
In the last series between these teams (back in May), which ended up being a 3-game Miami sweep, Sandy Alcantara tossed a complete game shutout. But don't let that fool you. It was easily Alcantara's best start of the season as he still has a 1.401 WHIP in 2019. The Marlins are just 6-11 when he starts, including 2-7 here at home. Alcantara's margin for error here is very small as Miami has the lowest scoring lineup in the entire National League set to face deGrom, who is long overdue for a win. 6* NY Mets
|07-13-19||Pirates v. Cubs -175||Top||4-10||Win||100||6 h 16 m||Show|
7* Chi Cubs (2:20 ET): Though the NL Central remains a crowded race (all 5 teams still alive!), the Cubs are simply a much better team than the Pirates. That's reflected in the odds here, but I have zero hesitation taking the Cubs in this price range. They took Friday's opener, 4-3, despite blowing a three-run lead and that may end up being the Pirates' best chance to steal a game in this series. Yes, the Bucs did take three of four last weekend from the Cubbies. But that was at PNC Park. Here at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley, the home team is 30-16 and holding visitors to 3.8 rpg (2nd fewest in the league). Like I said earlier, zero hesitation in backing the Cubs this afternoon.
Everyone else in the division lost yday, so the Cubs now have a 1.5-game lead on the field. They're 3.5 games ahead of the Pirates, but that's misleading considering the Cubs have outscored opponents by 56 runs this year (3rd best in NL) while the Pirates are looking at a -37 run differential (tied for 4th worst). The Cubs are now 16-5 as a home favorite of -125 to -175 this season and will send Jon Lester to the bump Saturday afternoon. Lester has a 7-2 TSR w/ a 2.42 ERA at home this season and the Pirates are a team he's generally pitched well against in his career (3.12 ERA in 19 starts).
Pittsburgh goes w/ Jordan Lyles, who was not pitching well before the Break. He has a 9.00 ERA and 2.077 WHIP his L3 starts after giving up seven runs to the Cubs on July 4th. Regulars may recall that I played against the Lyles & the Pirates that day and the result was the team's only loss of that series (11-3). Lyles allowed 3 HR's in the loss and has now allowed at least one long ball in five straight outing. The Pirates have been a pure fade on my end for the last several weeks and that's unlikely to change in the 2nd half. 7* Chi Cubs
|07-12-19||Giants v. Brewers -167||Top||10-7||Loss||-167||11 h 40 m||Show|
7* Milwaukee (8:10 ET): Perhaps the All-Star Break came at the WRONG time for the Giants considering they'd won six of seven. That has them over .500 since June 1st, but this is still a last place team w/ a lot of holes and the second worst run differential (-70) in the National League. They've been pretty fortunate to go 18-9 in one-run games so far, the 2nd best record in that situation, behind only division rival San Diego. Milwaukee may have limped into the Break having lost five of six, but they are the better team here and priced accordingly.
Almost everyone is alive in the NL Wild Card hunt and you can count the Brewers among those on the list. The Brew Crew were actually leading the NL Central before skidding into the Break. This despite a negative run differential on the year. But now they're back at Miller Park where they own a 27-18 record. Chase Anderson gets the nod Friday and he has pitched well in five of his six starts this year, including a quality effort in San Francisco back on June 16th. That was the Brewers only win in that series, but you should expect a better result after this weekend has concluded.
Another Anderson will start here for SF, that being Shaun, who has a high WHIP. This Anderson lasted all of four innings his last time out and gave up four runs. The Giants still won the game, 7-5 over Arizona, but don't credit the starting pitching there. Anderson has allowed between 2 and 4 ER in all 10 of his starts this year. His counterpart has a 3.00 ERA his L3 starts, having allowed just 5 runs in 15 IP. To me, Milwaukee is simply the better team here. They're at home and the Giants likely lost "momentum" by the Break coming at an inopportune time. The Giants are 53-112 their L165 road games vs. a team w/ a winning record. 7* Milwaukee
|07-12-19||Mets +106 v. Marlins||Top||4-8||Loss||-100||23 h 40 m||Show|
8* NY Mets (7:10 ET): So this is a revenge spot for New York. Back in May, they were swept in embarrassing fashion down here in Miami (shutout twice). Overall, it's been yet another wildly disappointing season in Queens as the Metropolitans are 10 games below .500 and went into the All Star Break as losers of 9 of their last 12. But based on the revenge angle alone, they are worth a look here as they are a better team than Miami, who is last in the NL East and last in runs scored in the entire National League. Despite the sweep back in May, the Mets are 5-3 against the Marlins this season and hold a 40-28 edge in runs scored in those eight head to head meetings.
The Mets will go w/ Jason Vargas as the starter to open the 2nd half. He's had plenty of recent success against Miami, beating them three times since the start of last season. He's got a 3.27 ERA in four career starts against them. As I already stated, Miami is the NL's lowest scoring team at just 3.5 rpg. They went into the Break averaging only 2.7 over the L7 games. Vargas has yet to allow more than 4 ER in any start this year and has allowed more than 3 ER only one time and that was back in April. The Marlins have been unable to score more than two runs off Vargas the L3 times they've faced him.
While Miami's Caleb Smith has pitched a lot better here at home than he has on the road, I still expect him to struggle some this evening. It was a successful return (sort of) for Smith as he started last week for the first time since spending a month on the DL. He gave up four runs in six innings, but the Marlins still managed to beat the Braves 5-4 as a big underdog. But the home run ball remains an issue for Smith as he gave up a pair vs. Atlanta and has now allowed seven in his L3 starts overall. Smith was a loser the only other time he faced the Mets this year. 8* NY Mets
|07-12-19||Nationals -134 v. Phillies||Top||4-0||Win||100||22 h 36 m||Show|
10* Washington (6:05 ET): The last time these NL East rivals faced off was last month and the Nationals swept the three-game series. It was in D.C. and the Nats won by scores of 2-0, 6-2 and 7-4. That's pretty indicative of how the last month or so has gone for each team. Washington, who I said would be one of the more improved teams this season, has gone 28-11 since May 24th to move into Wild Card position. The Phillies still occupy the 2nd WC spot, but they have gone just 14-21 their L35 games. Unfortunately for Philly, I see more of the same to open the second half of the season.
It wasn't necessarily a popular take to say the Nats would improve in 2019. After all, they lost Bryce Harper to the Phillies. But Harper has been overrated for some time now and is having a very disappointing campaign so far in the City of Brotherly Love. While he has the team lead in RBI's (62), Harper failed to make the All-Star team and has struck out 105 times (4th most) while batting just .253. Meanwhile, the Nationals actually scored more runs in the 1st half this year than they did in the 1H of 2018 w/ Harper in their lineup.
Stephen Strasburg starting Friday's opener is perhaps the biggest reason to like Washington in this spot. Not only has he won his L3 starts overall as well as going 7-1 his L9, but he's 12-2 (2.52 ERA) in 25 previous turns vs. the Phillies. His last start before the Break saw Strasburg strike out a season-high 14 batters while allowing just two hits in 7+ scoreless frames. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Nick Pivetta hasn't been anywhere near as sharp of late nor does he usually perform well vs. Washington. Winless over his last four outings (7.33 ERA), Pivetta is also 1-6 all-time vs. the Nats w/ a 10.80 ERA. He's 0-2 against them this season, both disastrous performances, as he's allowed 13 runs in 9 IP. 10* Washington
|07-07-19||Cubs -167 v. White Sox||Top||1-3||Loss||-167||7 h 37 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (2:10 ET): I took the Cubs yday as my biggest play of the 1st half of the MLB season and they delivered just as expected, beating the White Sox 6-3. The only reason we were able to get such a great price on the North Side contingent was due to the presence of Lucas Giolito on the mound for the White Sox. Having now beaten him, the Cubbies will have a far easier time today going against Ivan Nova, who has been very poor at home this season. A lot of the rationale for playing the Cubs Sunday will be similar to yday, only this time we're going against a much weaker starting pitcher!
As noted in yday's analysis, I am incredibly bearish on the White Sox moving forward. While it's surprising to see them within three games of .500, the fact is that they've been outscored this season by 73 runs. There's a big difference between their actual & expected number of wins, the latter based around their run differential. In terms of exceeding expected win total, the White Sox' gap is actually the largest in all of baseball. As for the Cubs, they are now 32-15 their L47 Interleague games and averaging a healthy 5.4 rpg on the road. With a DH at their disposal for this game, they should have little difficulty knocking around Nova.
Nova is 0-4 in his seven home starts this year w/ an 8.31 ERA and 1.731 WHIP. The Cubs have a little revenge on their minds here as Nova beat them at Wrigley back on June 18th. But you can certainly expect a different outcome today as the Cubs look to go into the All-Star Break in first place in the NL Central. They'll give the baseball to Kyle Hendricks, who looked fine on Tuesday in his return from the DL. Hendricks has a 10-2 TSR when starting on exactly four days rest. 8* Chi Cubs
|07-06-19||Phillies v. Mets -140||Top||5-6||Win||100||11 h 11 m||Show|
8* NY Mets (7:15 ET): The Mets have now lost five in a row to Phillies despite having the lead in all five games. The dubious achievement stretches back to a four-game sweep last week in Philly. Last night's setback was especially painful as it came despite the presence of Jacob deGom on the hill and a 2-1 lead entering the 7th. (Plus, *I* was on the Mets). The Phils struck for five runs in the top of the ninth against the Mets' much maligned bullpen. Tonight it's Noah Syndergaard's turn to try and turn the tide and I'm gonna ride him as the Mets are well overdue for a win in this NL East rivalry.
Syndergaard returned from the disabled list this past Sunday and led his team to a rare win, 8-5 over the red hot Braves, by allowing just three runs in 5 2/3 IP. I know it may seem like "playing with fire" taking the Mets, given their current state and the bullpen woes. But deGrom was able to hold the Phillies' lineup to just three hits in seven innings last night and I believe Syndergaard is more than capable of doing the same. The Mets did beat the Phillies in Syndergaard's only previous start against them this season (back on 4.15) and that was w/ him not even at his best. He did have nine strikeouts in that game, which is a season-high.
The Phillies have obviously been extremely fortunate to go 5-0 against the Mets over the last week or so. Otherwise, they are just 4-15 since June 9th. The Mets are one of only two teams in the NL with a worse overall record the last month. The Phillies still have a losing road record on the year and are 3-10 when priced between +125 and +175. The Mets still have a winning home record (22-18) and should find success against Jake Arrieta, who allowed five runs against them back on June 25th. Arrieta followed that start up by allowing four more runs in six innings last Saturday at Miami, who is the National League's lowest scoring team. 8* NY Mets
|07-06-19||Cubs -116 v. White Sox||Top||6-3||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
10* Chi Cubs (7:15 ET): This is a matchup that caught my eye a couple days ago when I was peeking ahead to the weekend MLB slate. I figured that we'd be able to get a more than fair price on the Cubs, Chicago's superior ballclub, due to Lucas Giolito being on the mound for the White Sox. Despite Giolito's exploits, I remain incredible bearish on the Southside contingent. Despite being two games within .500, they have been outscored by 70 runs over the course of the season. The Cubs are better than what they've shown lately and this is an incredible spot to take them.
I went w/ the Cubs on Thursday as they won for me 11-3 over Pittsburgh. It was a much needed result for the Cubbies as they'd dropped the three previous games in that series as well as six of their last eight overall. But now I believe they're set to head into the All-Star Break w/ some "momentum." Jon Lester gets the start tonight and he came out on the winning end against Giolito back on June 19th. Including that start, Lester has a 3.11 ERA and 1.153 WHIP his L3 trips to the mound. He is 10-6 in 18 career starts against the White Sox and has a 7-1 TSR his L8 interleague starts.
As a team, the Cubs have consistently handled their business against the American League, going 31-15 their L46 IL games. They are also 6-2 following an off-day. They certainly handled their business against Giolito the first time they saw him this season. They scored six times off him in just 4 1/3 innings, which was Giolito's shortest and worst stint of 2019. This time the Cubs will have a DH in their lineup, so theoretically it's an even stronger lineup that Giolito has to deal with. The Cubs are already one of the highest scoring road teams in baseball at 5.3 runs per game. Love the Cubs in this spot. 10* Chi Cubs
|07-06-19||Yankees v. Rays -130||Top||3-4||Win||100||6 h 9 m||Show|
8* Tampa Bay (4:10 ET): The Rays have now lost six straight times to the Yankees and are 2-9 against them for the season. The two losses so far in this series have come in excruciating fashion as both went extra innings and saw the Yankees turn in a big inning for the win. But if there was ever a time for TB to break through w/ a win in this AL East rivalry, it looks to be today when they'll send Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the bump. I gotta think this is the Rays' day.
Snell is the reason the Rays are favored this afternoon, though his last start against New York was a complete disaster. He got only one out before allowing six runs and was pulled in the first inning. The next start wasn't any good either as the Twins chased him after scoring seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. But last time out was a return to form for Snell as he struck out 12 batters in six innings and the Rays beat the Rangers 6-2 here at home. Notable is that those two previous awful outings both came on the road. Back at Tropicana Field, he allowed just two runs on three hits on Sunday.
CC Sabathia opposed Snell back on June 19th as the Yankees rolled to a 12-1 victory. But it won't go like that here in Tampa considering CC has not been good on the road this year. The hefty lefty has a 6.30 ERA and 1.666 WHIP in six starts away from home this season w/ the team ending up w/ a losing record. The Rays have deserved a better fate in this series and will get the elusive win over the Yankees (finally!) today. 8* Tampa Bay
|07-06-19||Orioles v. Blue Jays -150||Top||8-1||Loss||-150||5 h 6 m||Show|
8* Toronto (3:07 ET): Due to the number of plays I have going today (8) and the early start times involved here, analysis will be slightly more brief than normal. This is a revenge spot for Toronto after they dropped the series opener Friday, 4-1. Losing at home to Baltimore is no laughing matter as the Orioles have the worst overall record in baseball (not that it wasn't expected) and have been outscored by 167 runs over the first half of the season. Today's game is one that the Blue Jays should win rather easily.
Baltimore has actually won two in a row as they beat Tampa Bay 9-6 on Thursday. This puts the O's in a rare spot as they have not won three in a row since a four-game win streak back in early April. Last time in this spot was Sunday and they were shutout by the Indians. Incredibly, this is just the fifth time they've won B2B games since that four-game streak in early April! Today's starter Andrew Cashner has actually managed a winning record for this team, going 8-3 in 16 starts (10-6 TSR) and things couldn't have gone any better than they did in a 13-0 win over Cleveland last weekend. But don't be looking for a repeat of that here.
Toronto turns to Clayton Richard, who is off B2B quality starts, including an 11-4 win over Kansas City on Monday. The veteran southpaw faces an Orioles team that is 9-24 vs. lefty starters this season and is 10-25 in day games. This is all about being a great spot to fade Baltimore. 8* Toronto
|07-05-19||Rockies v. Diamondbacks -175||Top||0-8||Win||100||23 h 54 m||Show|
7* Arizona (9:10 ET): One of the more interesting "case studies" of MLB's 1st half resides out in the desert where Arizona has struggled far more than you'd expect at home this year. Their record at Chase Field is just 17-22 and playing a significant role in that was them getting swept here by the Rockies last month. They'll get a shot at revenge this weekend and Friday is an excellent time to strike w/ Zack Greinke being on the hill. I believe the D'backs are better than their overall record (43-45) states as they've actually outscored the opposition by 41 runs over the course of the season. Look for Greinke to lead them to a win in this series opener.
Of course, the Rockies home vs. road splits have been well-defined throughout the franchise's quarter-century existence. We know the offense is going to decline when they leave Coors Field. But the drop they are experiencing this season is as dramatic as ever. While they continue to lead all of baseball in runs scored at home (6.9 per game!), that average drops all the way to 4.4 rpg on the road. Facing Greinke tonight, you'd expect the struggle to score runs on the road to continue. After all, Greinke is top five among all NL starters in both ERA (2.90) and WHIP (0.94).
Neither team comes into this series playing well. Both are on three-game losing skids. But the D'backs are clearly in better position to bounce back here due to the revenge angle and Greinke getting to face the Colorado lineup outside of Denver. Greinke threw seven shutout innings last Friday at San Francisco, leading his team to a 4-3 win. He hasn't given up a run in three of his last five starts overall. While Rockies' starter Antonio Senzatela picked up a win in the last series w/ Arizona, his WHIP (1.622) remains a concern as he continues to walk far too many batters (14 in his L4 starts). Senzatela also has a 4.93 ERA in 10 previous appearances in this NL West rivalry. With the D'backs 36-17 in Greinke's last 53 home starts, this is a great spot to take them. 7* Arizona
|07-05-19||Phillies v. Mets -195||Top||7-2||Loss||-195||21 h 55 m||Show|
6* NY Mets (7:10 ET): Revenge is going to the common theme with the teams I am taking in this 3-game report Friday. Here, the Mets have plenty of it as they were swept in a four-game series at Philadelphia last week. That's part of a 2-8 slide by the Metropolitans coming into this series. But they did have the 4th of July off and Jacob deGrom starts today. That should be enough to turn the tide here against a Phillies team that isn't exactly playing good baseball either. Since sweeping the Mets last week, the Phils have dropped four of six, including a 12-6 loss last night in Atlanta.
The Phillies didn't have to face deGrom last week, but will have to deal w/ him this time around at Citi Field. While it's a crime against humanity that the Mets are just 19-30 in deGrom starts since the beginning of last season, he continues to pitch well. He's allowed 3 ER or less in eight consecutive starts as well as 11 of his last 12. Though the Mets and Phillies have played 10 games against one another this season, deGrom hasn't started any of them. That's been a big break for Philly, who has gone 7-3 in those games. DeGrom is 7-1 lifetime vs. the Phillies (2.20 ERA), so their luck runs out here.
Speaking of luck, the Phillies rallied from multi-run deficits to win all four games against the Mets last week. That doesn't happen often. In fact, such a feat had been accomplished only one other time in the last 35 years! While the Mets may have the NL's worst record since June 10th, the Phillies are tied for 2nd worst. DeGrom is the clear difference maker here as I just can't see Philly starter Vincent Velasquez (6.95 ERA L3 starts) being able to match him. Velasquez hasn't made it past the 5th inning in any of his L6 starts, which is a problem. The fact the Mets had yday off while the Phillies were in Atlanta is a big edge too. 6* NY Mets
|07-04-19||Yankees v. Rays +104||Top||8-4||Loss||-100||7 h 27 m||Show|
9* Tampa Bay (5:10 ET): This is a big revenge game for the Rays, who were humiliated up in the Bronx last month. Not only were they swept by the Yankees, they got outscored 21-4 in the process! That sweep - and the fact the Rays are just 2-7 overall vs. NY - has obviously has played a major role in them now being 6.5 games back in the AL East. But, starting Thursday, they have a golden opportunity to "chip away" at that lead going into the All-Star Break. With the very beatable J.A. Happ going today for the Yanks, this is the time to go w/ the revenge angle and the Rays.
The Rays have given up the fewest # of runs in all of MLB and only two teams - the Reds and Dodgers (both from the NL) - are within 50 of that number (315). Starting today will be Yonny Chirnos. Don't be fooled by his pedestrian 4-4 record, folks. Chirnos has a 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHI and h's allowed 3 ER or less in 10 of his 11 starts. He's already faced the Yankees three times this season and has a 2.84 ERA in five career appearances against them. As for Happ, he hasn't pitched since giving up eight runs to Houston (allowed 3 HR's) on 6.23. He now has a 5.23 ERA on the year.
The Yankees are hot as ever, having won 8 of of their last 10. But Tampa Bay has won 5 of their last 7 and should be entering this series on a five-game win streak. They failed to sweep the Orioles last night, losing in one of the more shocking ways possible, that is giving up six runs in the top of the ninth. As alluded to earlier, it's really atypical for them to allow that many runs, especially here at home. They are allowing only 3.6 rpg for the year. The Rays are 16-5 hosting teams w/ a .600 or better win percentage on the road! 9* Tampa Bay
|07-04-19||Cubs -115 v. Pirates||Top||11-3||Win||100||6 h 53 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (4:05 ET): What's happened to the Cubs in this series is a little shocking, at least from where I sit. They've lost three in a row to the Pirates, a team that I'd been mostly fading over the last 30 days or so. The primary reason I'd soured on the Bucs was their run differential. While the club has somehow always been able to stay withing a few games of .500, the bottom line is they've been outscored by quite a bit here in 2019. Even after winning six of eight, which has improved their YTD scoring differential by 38 runs, they are still -39 for the year, third worst in the NL and easily worst in the Central Division.
The Cubs have the Central's best run differential (+46) yet somehow trail a Milwaukee team that is -6 on the year. A big part of that has been the Cubs' struggles on the road as they're now 16-26 away from Wrigley for the season, including 13 of their last 16. Last night's 6-5 loss came in the most excruciating way possible as the Pirates rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth. While it's not a "must win" game for the Cubs today (it's only July 4th after all), I expect them to place the utmost importance on winning today. They need a win pretty badly right now.
To get that win, they'll hand the baseball to Jose Quintana. The last time the Cubs won a game happened to come w/ Quintana on the mound. He threw six shutout innings against Cincinnati on 6/29. That may have been Quintana's first win since May 5th, but he has a 2.31 ERA in six previous turns vs. Pittsburgh. The Pirates go w/ Jordan Lyles here. Somehow, Lyles' last three starts have all come against Milwaukee. All ended up as losses for the Bucs. He finished w/ a 6.00 ERA and 1.667 WHIP. 8* Chi Cubs
|07-03-19||Brewers v. Reds -133||Top||0-3||Win||100||21 h 12 m||Show|
10* Cincinnati (7:10 ET): With a come from behind victory last night, the Reds are well positioned to make it two in a row over the Brew Crew. Some of the "wind" was definitely taken out of Milwaukee's "sail" last night as they saw a 4-2 lead dissipate and turn into a 5-4 loss (in 11 innings, no less). Though in first place, it's not as if the Brewers have been a dominant team. They've actually been outscored over the course of the year! Meanwhile, last place Cincinnati has a YTD run differential of +38, not only 2nd best in the division, but also 5th best in the entire NL! I like the Reds at home tonight.
The Reds have won each of the L4 starts made by Sonny Gray, who toes the rubber tonight at Great American Ballpark. Gray isn't exactly having a great year, but there's been only one start where he's allowed more than 3 ER. Now that was two starts ago, at Milwaukee. But Gray "got away with it" (Reds still won 11-7) and he should pitch better at home, tonight. Gray has a 2.76 ERA in his three previous starts vs. Milwaukee and that includes a season-high 9 K's (in 6 IP) in a win back in May. Again, the Brewers are a pretty average team. They've hit a collective .214 over the previous week.
Jhoulys Chacin will oppose Gray tonight and things tend to NOT go Chacin's way when pitching away from home. He has a 1-7 team start record to go along w/ a 6.94 ERA and 1.707 WHIP. The last time he faced Cincinnati, Chacin gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings. That was at home too. He was pretty fortunate to escape w/ a no-decision that day (Brewers won 6-5), but I don't see him being as lucky tonight. Did you know that the Reds have allowed the fewest # of runs in the entire National League? They've allowed 50 fewer than all but one team (the Dodgers)! 10* Cincinnati
|07-02-19||Cubs -133 v. Pirates||Top||1-5||Loss||-133||11 h 14 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (7:05 ET): I'll roll w/ the Cubs again tonight, even though they lost for me (in humiliating fashion) last night. The fact they lost to Pittsburgh is one thing, but losing 18-5 was something completely unforeseen. The Piraters have had some big wins lately. They've scored 10+ runs in four of their last eight games, three of those seeing them win by 10+ runs. But the other four games in that stretch have seen them score a grand total of six runs. Last night was both the Bucs' biggest win and Cubs' worst loss of the season (in terms of margin). I expect a big bounce back from the Cubs here.
Now admittedly, there are some troubling signs for the Cubs right now. They are just 16-24 away from Wrigley this season, including 4-13 their L17. They've dropped 7 of 11 overall and are 2-5 their L7 games. But tonight's starting pitching matchup is decidedly in their favor. Kyle Hendricks returns from a stint on the DL for the Cubs and hoping to resume his winning ways. Before going on the DL, Hendricks had gone 6-1 over his L9 starts w/ a 2.57 ERA. He reportedly looked so good in his bullpen sessions that no rehab assignment (down at Triple-A) was needed. I'm sure he remembers LY's results vs. Pittsburgh where he went 0-3 despite a 2.81 ERA (poor run support each time).
I expect better run support this time around against Joe Musgrove, who I've successfully faded many times this season. Now the Pirates' starter is off B2B quality outings, including six shutout innings against the Astros last week. But he also allowed nine hits in those six innings and got plenty of run support. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Pirates should feel fortunate to be hovering close to .500. Even w/ some of the recent blowout victories, they've still been outscored by 43 runs over the course of the season, not what you'd expect from a 40-43 team. Despite falling out of first place in the Central, the Cubs still have the National League's 2nd best YTD run differential. 8* Chi Cubs
|07-01-19||Cubs -115 v. Pirates||Top||5-18||Loss||-115||10 h 33 m||Show|
10* Chi Cubs (7:05 ET): The Cubs have fallen out of first place in the NL Central again as they are now in a tie w/ Milwaukee. Yet despite the identical records, the Cubs have a far superior run differential compared to the Brew Crew (+64 vs. -4) and my view is that the Cubbies are the MUCH better team. Another team that the Cubs are clearly better than right now is Pittsburgh. The Pirates' ability to stay within striking distance of .500 has to be commended as they are -56 in run differential, the third worst mark in the entire National League. I like the Cubs to take Monday's series opener.
Over the weekend, the Cubs dropped two of three to a Cincinnati team that is much better than its record implies. Sunday's 8-6 loss saw a late comeback fall short and as a result the Cubs finished June at 14-15 overall, their 1st losing month since the 2017 season. Starting today for them will be Adbert Alzolay, whose first career start really couldn't have gone much better. It was last Tuesday and while he walked four, Alzolay allowed only one run in 4 2/3 innings. The Cubs failed to get the win (lost 3-2 to Atlanta), but don't blame Alzolay. Here, he'll be facing a Pirates' lineup that scored all of five runs in its last series.
That last series for Pittsburgh was against Milwaukee and saw them dump two of three. They also lost two of three in the only prior series with the Cubs this year (back in April). Both losses were shutouts. They're probably going to need to score plenty today w/ Trevor Williams on the mound and I just don't see that happening. Williams has allowed 11 runs in his L2 starts, including four HR's. For the year, he has a 6.00 ERA at home. The Pirates allow nearly 6.0 runs per game at home this year, which is tied for 4th worst in all of baseball. The Cubs average 5.3 rpg on the road, which is near the top. I just don't see the Pirates scoring enough to compete here. 10* Chi Cubs
|07-01-19||Royals v. Blue Jays -133||Top||4-11||Win||100||6 h 57 m||Show|
8* Toronto (1:07 ET): This is a "wrap around" game as the teams are actually finishing up a four-game series that started Friday. The Blue Jays won the first two games of the series, 6-2 and 7-5, before losing 7-6 yesterday. It would again appear as if the hosts have been underpriced here as the ML has already been bet up and I'm inclined to agree with the move. Kansas City is simply not a team that you can count on as they have the third worst record in all of baseball (29-45) and are tied for the fewest number of road wins (13). In the entire month of June, they had just one "win streak" - that being three straight from 6/16 - 6/18. Other than that, they were 0-6 off a win. Look for the Blue Jays to bounce back on Canada Day.
Toronto isn't exactly having a great season either, but they are 14-4 their last 18 times hosting Kansas City. They did have a 5-1 lead in Sunday's game before that quickly went away as the Royals answered w/ a five-run third inning. The lineup is theoretically stronger now w/ the return of Justin Smoak from the DL. Smoak even homered twice yday. Vlad Guerrero Jr was not in the lineup Sunday, but will be today.
The starting pitching matchup here would not seem to indicate an advantage for either team as both Glenn Sparkman (KC) and Clayton Richard (Toronto) gave up three home runs in their last starts. Somehow, Sparkman's team still won (8-6 at Cleveland), but his ERA and WHIP on the road are now 10.03 & 1.628 respectively. Richard's numbers at home (7.71, 1.714) are no better, but he's a lefty and the Royals have struggled in games vs. southpaw starters (8-15). They are also just 7-20 off their previous 27 victories. 8* Toronto
|06-29-19||Phillies -124 v. Marlins||Top||6-9||Loss||-124||8 h 26 m||Show|
10* Philadelphia (4:10 ET): Philadelphia dropped their fourth in a row to Miami last night, losing by a score of 6-2. The Phils were probably "due" to lose considering the previous series against the Mets was a very misleading sweep in the sense that they actually trailed in all four games by 2+ runs. But now they're "due" to beat the Fish after being swept at home by them last weekend and losing again last night. Miami still has the worst record in the entire National League, mind you, and also has scored the fewest number of runs.
After yday's performance at the plate, you have to think the Marlins are in line for an "off night" considering they average only 3.2 runs per game at home this season. That's certainly what Phillies starter Zach Eflin is hoping for here as he comes off an outing where he allowed a season-high 11 hits. Yet Eflin still got the win as his team supported him w/ 13 runs. That last start is not indicative of how Eflin has pitched this year as he'd been coming off three consecutive quality starts. He also has allowed 2 ER or fewer in 10 of his 15 starts overall. The Phillies have won five of Eflin's last six starts against teams that have a losing record.
Jordan Yamamoto has made three starts so far for Miami and needless to say things couldn't have gone much better. The rookie has a 0.95 ERA and 0.789 WHIP, twice shutting out St. Louis (over 16 innings) and then beating these same Phillies last weekend. But in that last start, Yamamoto began to show some cracks. He lasted just five innings and issued four walks. He also gave up two runs. Even w/ Yamamoto on the bump, it is difficult to trust a Miami club that is only 14-28 at home this year and 8-16 in day games. 10* Philadelphia
|06-29-19||Royals v. Blue Jays -166||Top||5-7||Win||100||7 h 13 m||Show|
8* Toronto (4:05 ET): Don't expect me to take Toronto too often this season, but as last night showed they are certainly capable of beating the Royals here at home. Friday brought a 6-2 Blue Jays victory in the first meeting of the season. The Royals not only have the second fewest wins in all of MLB (Baltimore), but also the worst road record (12-29). After a six-gamee road trip that had them playing both the Red Sox and Yankees, this series is just what the doctor ordered for the Jays, who are now 6-2 vs. KC since the start of last season.
Today's pitching matchup features two hurlers that have been performing better of late than per usual. Kansas City's Homer Bailey has a 4-0 TSR his L4 starts and has given up just one run in the last three, spanning 19 innings. But his season numbers would seem to indicate this impressive stretch is unlikely to last as he still sports a 4.61 ERA and 1.375 WHIP on the year. He's actually never faced Toronto before having spent so much time in the National League. Another issue for the Royals is that they are 0-8 their L8 Saturday games.
Of course, what I said about Bailey can also be applied to Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, who is similarly going through his best stretch of the season. Stroman has a 1.89 ERA and 0.947 WHIP his L3 starts, not quite as good as Bailey, but Stroman has the more reliable track record. In four previous starts vs. KC, Stroman is 3-1 w/ a 2.42 ERA. Toronto has been hitting much better of late as they have scored six or more runs in seven of their past nine ballgames. They also just got 1B Justin Smoak back in the lineup. They should win easily today. 8* Toronto
|06-27-19||Diamondbacks -102 v. Giants||Top||5-1||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
8* Arizona (9:45 ET): Arizona is a team that I feel is actually quite a bit better than its record. After taking two of three from the first place Dodgers to start the week (impressive!), they are now squared away at 41-41 on the year. But they have a run differential of +47, which is actually tied for third best in the entire National League (only teams w/ more positive RD are Dodgers & Cubs). A curious thing w/ the D'backs is what road warriors they've become. While they have a losing record at Chase Field this season (17-22), they are 24-19 on the road. Earlier in the year, they swept a series here in San Francisco. I think they'll beat the Giants again tonight.
Now, just last weekend, the Giants took two of three out in Arizona. That of course just plays into the interesting home vs. road split the D'backs are experiencing. But let's not lose sight of the fact the Giants are not a good team. They have the worst run differential in the entire National League (-93) due to some major offensive struggles, which have them bottom three in runs, batting average and OPS. Their week started by dropping two of three at home to Colorado, a series that saw them score all of seven runs.
The Giants are only averaging 3.2 runs per game at home, which is significantly less than what they average on the road. They're a little fortunate to not have the worst record in the NL as they've been propped up a bit some by a fortunate 17-8 record in one-run games. Speaking of fortunate, tonight's starter Tyler Beede somehow has a 5-1 TSR in spite of a 7.07 ERA and 1.786 WHIP. I'd say he's "due" to lose a decision. Arizona made a pitching change overnight and will now go w/ Alex Young, who will be making his big league debut. Let's not underestimate the element of surprise in this one. Also, the D'backs average 5.8 rpg on the road. 8* Arizona
|06-24-19||Royals v. Indians -162||Top||2-3||Win||100||11 h 34 m||Show|
9* Cleveland (7:10 ET): The Indians have done quite well for themselves of late, winning 8 of their last 10. Now it should be noted that includes a perfect 6-0 record against a really bad Detroit team, but the next opponent happens to be below even the Tigers in the AL Central standings. That is of course Kansas City, who comes in at 27-51 overall, including 11-26 on the road. This one is all about revenge for Cleveland as the Royals shockingly swept them out at Kauffman Stadium back in April. Look for the Tribe to gain a measure of payback Monday.
The Indians have won this division three straight years. But by standing pat this past offseason, it seems they have slipped a bit. Minnesota is far out in front, but a wise decision has been made to start relying on some youth as recent callups have paid off. Guys like Oscar Mercado and Bobby Bradley are producing, resulting in the team now being a season-best seven games over .500. Tonight they'll have Adam Plutko on the mound and he's pitched well in five previous starts, save for one forgettable outing. His L3 starts have produced a 0.98 WHIP. If he can work on limiting the home run ball, he'll be a solid member of this rotation.
Kansas City happens to be bottom five in all of baseball in # of HR's hit, so Plutko seems good in that regard. As for the Indians' hitters, they should feast on Brad Keller, who gave up seven runs his last outing and lasted only four innings. The Royals have lost the last five times Keller has started, not that it's all his fault, as he's been provided little in the way of run support. The offense has scored a grand total of six runs in those five losses, twice getting shutout and never scoring more than three in any one game. The Tribe gets its revenge. 9* Cleveland
|06-24-19||White Sox v. Red Sox -166||Top||5-6||Win||100||10 h 17 m||Show|
8* Boston (7:10 ET): This game immediately caught my eye for the line being so low. There obviously had to be a reason that Boston wasn't closer to -200 on the ML and that reason is that Lucas Giolito is starting for the White Sox. Giolito has been excellent in 2019 w/ a 2.74 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. But he did give up a season-high six runs in his last outing and pitches for - pretty clearly - the inferior team in this matchup. I know it wasn't a good weekend for Boston (dropped two of three to Toronto), but they'll bounce back tonight at Fenway Park.
I wrote about the White Sox overachieving ways in my analysis for their Saturday matchup w/ Texas. They ended up losing that game 6-5 and then they lost again Sunday 7-4. Despite being within cracking distance of .500 (36-39), this is a team w/ a YTD run differential of -62. That's worse than the last place Royals, who are 27-51 on the season. The gap between Chicago's actual (36) and expected (31) win total is actually tied for the largest in all of MLB w/ the latter number being based off their season run differential. Bottom line is that this is a much WORSE team than the record shows.
The Red Sox season got off to a slow start, but they've bounced back to get into Wild Card position and should be fine the rest of the way. Yes, they just dropped two of three (at home!) to a bad Toronto team, blowing a 6-0 in one of the losses. But they've still won 8 of their last 11 and have a run differential of +51 (5th best in AL) for the year. Starting tonight will be Eduardo Rodriguez, the team leader in wins (8) and he has an 11-4 TSR overall. He is 2-0 w/ a 2.66 ERA in four previous starts vs. the White Sox. He was on the right side of a 15-2 decision against Chicago last month, part of a series that saw the Red Sox take three of the four games. 8* Boston
|06-23-19||Padres -150 v. Pirates||Top||10-11||Loss||-150||16 h 35 m||Show|
10* San Diego (1:35 ET): These are two clubs that have found their way onto my mostly FADE list, but by rule somebody's got to win Sunday. The first two games of the series have gone to the Pirates, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are necessarily the better team here. Even after those wins, the Bucs' YTD run differential is still -73, second worst in the entire National League. What's interesting here is the Padres are 0-3 this season as road faves of -125 to -175. They'd been in that role just TWICE the previous two seasons. I think it speaks volumes that they are the betting favorite going into Sunday. Pittsburgh is 0-2 this year as a home dog of +125 to +175.
Starting pitching obviously has the biggest influence on the line and this is where you can see why San Diego is favored this afternoon. Joey Lucchesi has been very good for the Padres so far, most notably his last time out when he tossed seven shutout innings of three-hit ball vs. Milwaukee. One might try an make the argument that Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault has turned the corner seeing as he too didn't allow any runs in his last outing. But he was quite fortunate not to as he allowed eight hits in six innings. He was also facing Miami, the lowest scoring team in the N.L.
Neither of these teams are as good as their records, which frankly are pedestrian at best anyway. Yet I feel Pittsburgh's "true" level of play this year is further below their WL record than is the case w/ San Diego. The Padres are a league-leading 18-8 in one-run games this year. They are also 4-1 in Lucchesi's last five starts. Lucchesi has allowed 3 ER or less in seven of his last eight starts, one of those against Pittsburgh where he allowed just two runs and five hits in seven innings. That ended up being a hard-luck loss, but he also threw five shutout innings of one-hit ball in his lone start vs. Pittsburgh last year. While Lucchesi hasn't won a decision on the road this year, Brault hasn't won one at home either. 10* San Diego
|06-22-19||Giants v. Diamondbacks -135||Top||7-4||Loss||-135||11 h 59 m||Show|
8* Arizona (10:10 ET): The Diamondbacks appear to be headed south as they've lost five in a row, the last four all coming here at Chase Field to division rivals. Last night saw the Giants exact some revenge against them (for a three-game sweep by Arizona in SF last month) w/ an 11-5 win. These NL West foes have now met seven times in 2019 and the last six have all seen the road team prevail. I'm going to call for that streak - and the D'backs losing skid - to both come to an end Saturday night as Zack Godley returns to a starting rotation in dire need of some help.
Godley has not started in a month. The last time he started was against ... San Francisco. The D'backs actually lost the game, 8-5, with Godley allowing four runs in 3 1/3 innings. That was actually the start of the six-game win streak by the road team in this rivalry. The Giants have beaten the D'backs three straight times at Chase Field where Arizona has curiously struggled this season (only 14-20). This all being said, Godley's recent work out of the bullpen has been mostly good (w/ the exception of his last appearance!) and was enough to justify him starting this game. It may not be a long outing, but that's okay.
San Francisco has the worst run differential in the National League (-92). So even though they are already in last place (32-42), really things could - and should - be worse. Run differential says this is a 27-win team as only Baltimore and Detroit have been outscored more this season. Arizona, despite being a game under .500, actually sports a run differential of +41. That is the 5th best differential in the NL! Rookie Tyler Beede gets the start here for the Giants. He's coming off a surprisingly strong effort against the Dodgers earlier this week, but still has a 6.75 ERA and 1.708 WHIP on the year. He - and the Giants - revert back to "usual" form tonight, which is to say they'll lose. They are just 11-20 off a win this season. 8* Arizona
|06-22-19||White Sox v. Rangers -176||Top||5-6||Win||100||14 h 35 m||Show|
7* Texas (9:05 ET): This looks to be one of the more sizable pitching mismatches I've seen in recent weeks w/ Lance Lynn going up against Omar Despaigne. That's a good thing for the Rangers, who are looking to bounce back from last night's surprising 5-4 defeat (game went 10 innings). The White Sox have certainly improved from LY's 100-loss debacle, but don't let their 36-37 record fool you into thinking they're ready to start competing for a Wild Card spot. This is a team that's been outscored by 58 runs this season, a number nearly identical to last place Kansas City! Look for Texas to bounce back here behind Lynn.
The Rangers have also been a surprise this season, although they look to be more legitimate (+27 run differential) and are a Wild Card contender. They enter Saturday just 1.5 games back of Boston for the 2nd WC spot in the American League. Lynn has been a real catalyst in the team's surprising start as he's made eight straight quality starts and has a 3.17 ERA his L10. He's coming off a real gem too as he held Cleveland to one run (a solo HR) over seven innings and had nine strikeouts. Lynn has a 2.49 ERA in seven career starts vs. the White Sox, so I think he's poised for another strong effort tonight.
Despaigne has made two starts since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte. The last one went rather poorly as he allowed seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings. Now that was against the Yankees, but the Rangers happen to be one of only three teams averaging more runs per game than the Bronx Bombers. Again, I simply do not have the same optimistic outlook that others may have w/ this White Sox team. They now own the largest gap between expected and actual wins (-6) in all of baseball. Run differential says they're a 30-win team. 7* Texas
|06-21-19||Astros v. Yankees -148||Top||1-4||Win||100||9 h 7 m||Show|
8* NY Yankees (7:05 ET): Two of the American League's real "powerhouses" (pun intended!) are trending in very different directions of late as the Yankees are hot (won six straight) and the Astros are not (lost five straight). These recent disparate results can be directly tied to the respective health of the two ballclubs. Having gone 37-17 their L54 games, the Yankees are now as healthy as they've been all year as Aaron Judge returns to the lineup Friday. Houston's clubhouse currently resembles a M*A*S*H unit w/ George Springer, Aldemys Diaz and Carlos Correa all out. I think it makes a lot of sense to take the Yanks here.
The respective health of the two clubs is enough justification to take the home team here, but the pitching matchup is the cherry on top. James Paxton will be seeking to win B2B decisions for the first time all season, but pay no mind to that nor the fact his ERA & WHIP from the L3 starts are higher than what you'd expect. Paxton has pitched very well at home this year (2.15 ERA, 0.954 WHIP) and allowed only two runs in six innings his last time out, at Chicago. That was a 10-3 win for NY and they've kept rolling ever since. During the six game win streak, they've outscored the opposition 49-17!
Houston is having to rely on its pitching right now, but the starting rotation doesn't set up well at all for this series. Justin Verlander will go Sunday, but there's no Gerrit Cole. Tonight, Brad Peacock is on the mound and he'll have to contain a lineup now at full strength that has hit a HR in 23 consecutive games. The Yankees also just added Edwin Encarnacion. Peacock has a 5.51 ERA his L3 starts. He last started Sunday in a 12-0 loss to a Toronto team that is among the lowest scoring in all of baseball. The Yankees are 13-2 this season as a home favorite of -125 to -175. Houston is 0-2 as a road underdog in that same range and 3-9 the L3 seasons. 8* NY Yankees
|06-21-19||Mets v. Cubs -172||Top||5-4||Loss||-172||6 h 37 m||Show|
7* Chi Cubs (2:20 ET): The Cubs are back atop the NL Central, which is where they belong given that they are the division's best team. A six-run inning was all that they needed to beat the Mets last night and today's game should be just as easy. The Mets are in a real tailspin right now having dropped 7 of 10. The homefield advantage in this series would appear to be rather massive considering the Cubs' 26-12 record here at Wrigley while the Mets are just 15-26 on the road. Visitors are scoring just 3.5 runs per game this year at Wrigley. Take the Cubs here.
It was certainly NOT a great start to the season for Cubs' starter Yu Darvish. But we've begun to see signs of him turning things around. His last start was arguably his best of 2019 as he went seven innings and allowed only one run on two hits. That was on the road, against the Dodgers, no less. Darvish finished w/ 10 strikeouts and the Cubs rallied for a 2-1 win. He's now allowed 3 ER or less in six of his last eight starts. This Mets lineup doesn't pose much of a threat as they've been unable to top four runs in four of their last five ballgames. The Cubs have owned the Mets in recent seasons, going 11-3 head to head in the L14 matchups.
Jason Vargas has been solid if unspectacular for the Mets this season. More will be asked of him now though w/ Noah Syndergaard out. Unfortunately, Vargas was unable to "answer the bell" his last time out as he lasted just four innings and had to leave due to cramping in his left calf. The Mets are just 50-74 in day games the L3 seasons and are a team pretty clearly on the decline. They haven't hit well in day games this year (3.9 rpg) and won't today. Cubs win, Cubs win! 7* Chi Cubs
|06-20-19||Rockies v. Diamondbacks -169||Top||6-4||Loss||-169||7 h 23 m||Show|
10* Arizona (3:40 ET): This series has not gone according to plan for the home team as Arizona has dropped both games so far. They've had some major problems w/ Colorado this year, going 2-7 in head to head meetings, which is the primary reason why they're now two games back of their division rival despite having the superior YTD run differential. Arizona has outscored its opponents this year by 49 runs while the Rockies are only +21. I'd like to grab the D'backs this afternoon, but I actually think both teams are going to struggle to score in this one. Take the Under.
Colorado was able to score five runs in seven innings against Zack Greinke last night. It was the first time all season that Greinke lost at home and the Rockies' 11 hits were their most against him in 5+ seasons. But the news was not all good. Shortstop Trevor Story left the game after jamming his thumb on a slide. He's scheduled for an MRI today, so he won't be in the lineup. Story is one of only two players in all of MLB w/ at least 15 HR's and 10 steals. He also leads the league w/ 65 runs scored. His absence will be significant for a Rockies offense which obviously already sees a decrease in production outside of Coors Field (4.5 rpg vs. 6.9 rpg).
Robbie Ray has pitched better than it seems, at least recently, for the D'backs. While his ERA in his L3 starts is 4.58, his WHIP is 0.966, so the first number is a little misleading. Last time out, he gave up five runs on only five hits, which is quite unlucky. The two starts before that saw Ray allow just five runs total in 13 2/3 innings (w/ 19 K's). Colorado's Jeff Hoffman allowed just one run in five innings his last time out, but generally has NOT pitched well this season as is evident by a 7.04 ERA and 1.467 WHIP. The Rockies have lost Hoffman's last four road starts. Go w/ the home team to avoid the sweep today. 10* Arizona
|06-19-19||Angels -147 v. Blue Jays||Top||11-6||Win||100||11 h 5 m||Show|
8* LA Angels (7:07 ET): Time to cut bait with the Blue Jays, who just can't seem to beat the Angels. Last night's 3-1 loss dropped Toronto to 0-5 in the season series and things don't look any more promising Wednesday w/ Aaron Sanchez on the hill. Sanchez is 0-7 (nine starts) since the beginning of May. The Jays simply aren't hitting the ball well right now (only three hits yday) either. In fact, they have the lowest team batting average in all of MLB (.223), including a horrid .207 at home. Look for the Angels to make it three straight here.
Toronto got blitzed in Monday's opener, falling behind 7-0 after the second inning. Yesterday was a little different in that the game was closer (and lower-scoring), but the result was the same - a loss (3-1). Sanchez has done plenty of losing lately as have the Blue Jays. The team has lost 30 of its last 41 games and Sanchez certainly hasn't helped. He is 0-3 his L3 starts w/ a 10.20 ERA and 1.933 WHIP. As I said earlier, he hasn't won a decision since April. He has a 6.95 ERA during the losing streak and is also winless in five career appearances vs. the Angels (4.42 ERA). Toronto is 2-6 the L8 times they've dropped the first two games of a series.
The Angels go w/ Andrew Heaney tonight. Seeing as last night's starter Tyler Skaggs went a season-high 7 1/3 innings against this weak-hitting Blue Jays lineup, I expect Heaney to pitch well here. He has a 0.969 WHIP in four starts, so that 4.57 ERA is actually a little misleading as is the fact he's still winless. His first three starts saw him punch out 28 batters in 16 2/3 innings and last time out he allowed only one run and two hits in 5 IP at Tampa Bay. The bottom line is that Toronto has lost two-thirds of their home games (!) and is one of the worst teams in baseball. 8* LA Angels
|06-18-19||Mets -120 v. Braves||Top||10-2||Win||100||10 h 18 m||Show|
8* NY Mets (7:20 ET): The Braves are hot right now, but tonight they'll be running into reigning Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, who has a 1.86 ERA in 18 career starts against them. For a second straight year, deGrom is experiencing the hardest of luck as his team start record (TSR) in 2019 is 4-10 despite good numbers. Over his last five starts, he has a 2.38 ERA, yet is winless over that stretch. He has not allowed more than 2 ER in any of the five starts and has allowed 2 ER or less in 7 of his last 8 trips to the mound, not to mention all but four times this season.
Fresh off beating the Mets 12-3 yday, Atlanta sends out Julio Teheran, who has been "lights out" in his own right of late. His L3 starts, all Braves victories, have seen Teheran post a 0.53 ERA and 0.941 WHIP. During that time, he's allowed just two runs in 17 IP and one of them was unearned. But he also had more walks (3) than strikeouts (2) last time out and I simply do not see Teheran being as dominant as deGrom is. I say this knowing full well it's been eight straight starts for Teheran where he's given up 1 or 0 ER (3-0, 0.81 ERA in that stretch). He also has 2.35 ERA in 25 previous starts vs. the Mets.
While this may seem like it sets up as a good old fashioned pitcher's duel, the fact is deGrom is favored and deserves to be. Yes, the Braves have been red hot (MLB-best 13-3 in June) and lead the National League East. But I'm not sure I'm ready to buy them long-term. The offense is certainly set to slow down here facing deGrom and I think Teheran is set to slow down as well. 8* NY Mets
|06-18-19||Tigers v. Pirates -145||Top||5-4||Loss||-145||11 h 56 m||Show|
10* Pittsburgh (7:05 ET): What's this? A play on the Pirates? If you're a regular follower, then you know the Bucs are a team I've heavily targeted as a FADE in recent weeks due to them having a YTD run differential that was indicative of a team that should have a much worse record. Sure enough, the ship has been sinking fast here as they've lost 19 of their last 27 games, including 8 of their last 10. But after taking 2 of 3 from Miami over the weekend, the Bucs couldn't have asked for a better opponent to start the week than the Tigers, who have dropped 23 of 30, including four straight.
Like the Pirates, the Tigers have a very poor run differential. In fact, at -132, Detroit has the second worst run differential in the sport (Baltimore). Both of these teams probably should have fewer wins then, but run diff says the Tigers have played to the level of a team that should only have 20 wins. They've scored the fewest runs in all of MLB and now head to a National League park, which means the DH will be substituted for the pitcher coming up to bat. The Tigers are just 3-10 in interleague play this season and 15-37 vs. the NL the L3 seasons.
Over the weekend, Detroit got swept at home by Cleveland including a shutout loss on Sunday. They've scored more than four runs just one time in the L10 games. Daniel Norris will get the start for them in this series opener. Norris has lost both IL starts this season and the team is just 3-12 the L15 times he's taken the mound dating back to last season. Rookie Mitch Keller goes for Pittsburgh. While it's been a rough start for Keller (who was called into starting duty due to injuries in the rotation), this is the weakest lineup in MLB he'll be facing here. The Pirates are 7-2 vs. American League teams this season and 32-17 the L3 seasons. 10* Pittsburgh
|06-17-19||Indians -126 v. Rangers||Top||2-7||Loss||-126||12 h 12 m||Show|
10* Cleveland (8:05 ET): Turns out that the Tigers were just what the "doctor ordered" for the Indians. They swept them (in Detroit) and are now four games over .500 (37-33) heading into what shapes up as a pretty important early season series w/ Texas. The Rangers still hold the 2nd Wild Card in the American League, but I played against them yday and they lost 11-3 to Cincinnati. It's down to a one-half game lead over Cleveland for that last WC spot, but there's obviously still a lot of baseball to be played. The fact the Indians come in as a slight betting favorite for Monday's opener "tells a story" in my view and I'll back the Tribe here.
The Rangers are the 2nd highest scoring team in baseball (Twins) but will have to contend w/ an Indians pitching staff that is top five in fewest runs allowed. It may not be saying much, but the Indians outscored the Tigers 25-6 in the three-game sweep. That included an 8-0 shutout Sunday behind Trevor Bauer. Mike Clevinger will look to follow suit here as he returns from the 60-day DL (back) here. Clevinger made only two starts before the injury, but had looked very good. In 12 scoreless innings of work, he'd allowed all of two hits and had 22 K's. Most importantly, Cleveland won both games. I think Clevinger can be a tremendous asset on an Indians' pitching staff that is already quite good.
Texas has been one of the biggest surprises in the league so far. They lost 95 games last season. While a strong home team so far (24-12), it remains to be seen whether or not they can continue the current pace. Lance Lynn gets the start here. While he is unbeaten at home (4-0 in six starts), his ERA is 4.91 and his WHIP is 1.418. So it's not as if he's been dominant. Note Texas is 1-6 their L7 home games following a road trip of 7+ days. So, historically speaking, this has not been a good spot for them. 10* Cleveland
|06-16-19||Rangers v. Reds -160||Top||3-11||Win||100||7 h 1 m||Show|
8* Cincinnati (1:10 ET): The Reds are a team I've previously stumped for as being better than their overall record. But that wouldn't be apparent by watching this series. They've dropped two straight to the Rangers, who are clearly exceeding expectations at this point. But back to Cincy. They have outscored the opposition by 38 runs this season, yet are somehow eight games below .500. That run differential is fourth best in the entire National League and more than three times first place Milwaukee! According to run differential, the Reds should be eight games ABOVE .500, not below. I believe they avoid the sweep Sunday behind Sonny Gray.
Texas has been one of the biggest surprises in either league thus far. As of now, they'd actually be a Wild Card team in the American League! That's quite the improvement for a club that lost 95 games a year ago. But despite winning each of the last two days here at Great American Ballpark, the Rangers are still just 14-20 on the road. Let's not forget the loss of the DH by this being an interleague series. The Rangers really benefitted from three Reds' errors in yday's 4-3 victory. Not saying they wouldn't have won otherwise, but it's something that probably won't happen again today.
Gray has had past success pitching against Texas. He's 8-3 in his career against them w/ two shutouts and a 2.72 ERA in 13 starts. I expect him to outpitch Ariel Jurado, even though the latter has made four straight quality starts and won his last three. Jurado has allowed a HR in each of those L4 starts. Gray hasn't given up any in his L4 and also hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in any start all year. He's made 13 starts to Jurado's five. Lost in the fact Texas has scored the second most runs in all of MLB is that Cincy has allowed the second fewest (#1 in NL). 8* Cincinnati
|06-16-19||Red Sox -158 v. Orioles||Top||8-6||Win||100||5 h 26 m||Show|
8* Boston (1:05 ET): The Red Sox dug themselves an early hole by starting the season 6-13. But they've climbed out of it by going 32-21 since and can make it five straight wins today by beating the lowly Orioles. They're in position to sweep after a 7-2 win yday as they've now outscored the O's 20-4 the previous two days. A win today would also make it five straight over Baltimore dating back to a series from last month. Baltimore does have John Means starting here, which is why the ML is lower than you'd expect, but even he still has a 4-7 TSR as the O's remain the worst team in baseball.
Now Means has pitched well at Camden Yards, something you really can't say for any other Baltimore pitcher. The Orioles are giving up a ghastly 7.0 runs per game at home this season, which is easily the most rpg allowed by any team at home this year. Overall, Baltimore has given up the second most runs in all of baseball this year (Seattle). As I said, Means has pitched well here and he's been the team's most effective starter. But even so, they've still lost 7 of his 11 starts. The fact that he's gone longer than six innings only once is a big deal w/ the Orioles' bullpen being as bad as it is.
Baltimore is the only team in baseball not to have won 10 home games yet (9-27 at home) and eventually opposing hitters are going to figure out Means' changeup. Part of the reason Means hasn't gone deeper into games is that he has a tendency to run up his pitch count. Like I already said, the Red Sox have run up 20 runs in two games on Baltimore pitching. Meanwhile, the Orioles have scored just five runs total in their last three games vs. Boston. I know Brian Johnson isn't the most impressive arm the Red Sox could trot to the mound today. But he should pitch well enough for his team to finish the sweep. 8* Boston
|06-15-19||Cubs v. Dodgers -180||Top||2-1||Loss||-180||12 h 11 m||Show|
6* LA Dodgers (9:10 ET): The Dodgers have proven to be too strong for the Cubs thus far, taking the first two games of this series 7-3 and 5-3. As I said yday (took the Under and 'pushed.'), a pretty clear case can be made that this is the National League's best team. They have the best record (47-23) and best run differential (+111) w/ comfortable leads in both departments. At home is where they've really been dominant as their record at Chavez Ravine is now 27-7 and they're outscoring visitors by 2.3 runs per game! Save for Wednesday's win in Colorado (which I was on!), the Cubs have now dropped 9 of 10 away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
Making matters even more difficult for the Cubbies tonight is they have to go against Walker Buehler. They've already faced Clayton Kershaw & Rich Hill. Buehler will be no reprieve in this department and tomorrow they'll have to see Hyun-Jin Ryu. So this series really did not set up well from the start. Buehler is 7-1 in 13 starts w/ a 0.982 WHIP and the Dodgers have won each of the last four times he's taken the mound. He's gone a combined 15 innings in his last two starts and given up just one run. As the Cubs have found out the "hard way" the L2 days, it is difficult to score here at Dodger Stadium, at least when you're the visitor. Opposing teams are scoring just 3.4 rpg here. The Cubs' scoring average on the road (5.6 rpg) was due to take a hit anyway.
This could prove to be a challenging start for the Cubs' Yu Darvish. Last time he took the mound in this stadium was wearing Dodger Blue in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series and he basically cost his team the game. So expect a more fired up crowd here than usual for a game in June. Darvish has been a little better of late, but overall his numbers are still below par. The Cubs are just 1-6 as a road underdog of +125 to +175 this season. 6* LA Dodgers
|06-15-19||Padres v. Rockies -170||Top||8-14||Win||100||11 h 56 m||Show|
7* Colorado (8:10 ET): It was a wild one last night here at Coors Field w/ the Padres defeating the Rockies 16-12 in a game that went 12 innings. You'll get those kind of high-scoring results sometimes in the thin air of Denver, but the Padres scoring 16 runs in a game was abnormal to say the least. Keep in mind that they rallied for six runs in the ninth to tie the game at 11-11. San Diego had never overcome a deficit of 6+ runs in the ninth according to Elias nor had Colorado ever blown a lead of that size. I think the Rockies get some revenge Saturday.
I can't say that I'm sold on this Padres team, which has been outscored by 33 runs this season. Last night snapped a five-game losing skid, which included a 9-6 loss here in Denver Thursday night. Though they had lost five in a row before last night's miraculous rally, San Diego is a team that has experienced mostly good fortune in 2019, at least in close games. They have 16 one-run victories this season, which is the most in all of MLB. That aforementioned run differential speaks to this being a below average team. They were just 1-5 vs. Colorado before yday's win and are 1-3 after allowing 10+ runs the previous game.
Tonight's pitching matchup features two good starters, but I give the edge to German Marquez over Eric Lauer. Yes, the former has a much higher ERA and WHIP at home than on the road. But he still has a 7-1 TSR at Coors, so he knows how to win here. As for San Diego's Eric Lauer, he already has troubling numbers on the road (6.84 ERA), so Coors may not be for him. In fact, starting opposite Marquez here in May, Lauer gave up eight runs in only three innings. That was - by far - his worst outing all season. Marquez is unbeaten in three career starts vs. SD at home, posting a 2.93 ERA. 7* Colorado
|06-14-19||Phillies v. Braves -135||Top||8-9||Win||100||11 h 49 m||Show|
10* Atlanta (7:20 ET): The Braves are rolling right now as they've won seven in a row heading into this series w/ Philadelphia. As a result of that win streak, they've surpassed the Phillies in the NL East and now lead the division by 1.5 games. But don't think Atlanta will be lacking for any motivation this weekend. They have revenge on their minds after being swept in Philly back in late March (1st series of the season). Yes, the two teams Atlanta just swept (Miami, Pittsburgh) are two of the NL's worst. But I look for them to step up big on Friday and deliver a resounding win.
During the seven-game win streak, the Braves offense has scored a total of 49 runs or an average of 7.0 per game. They absolutely hammered Pirates pitching to the tune of 34 runs in four games. So that's what Phillies starter Nick Pivetta is up against here. While Pivetta has been pretty sharp lately (1.80 ERA in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A), let's not forget the reason he'd been sent down to Lehigh Valley. In his first four starts of the year, Pivetta posted an 8.35 ERA. Overall, the Phillies have dropped 8 of 13 and were shutout Wednesday (2-0) by Arizona.
Atlanta's rotation has been a real pleasant surprise in 2019 and Max Fried has been one of the main contributors to that. After struggling a bit in B2B starts, Fried bounced back by allowing only three runs over six innings against Miami on Sunday. The Phillies did not face him in the first series, so there's the unfamiliarity factor. Fried has pitched very well at home this year w/ a 2.75 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in six starts. I mentioned earlier that the Phils were shutout in their last game. That bodes well for Fried and the Braves as the last time Philly was blanked in a series finale (8-0 by the Dodgers on June 1st), they lost the opener of the next series (8-2) to San Diego. 10* Atlanta
|06-12-19||Cubs -133 v. Rockies||Top||10-1||Win||100||7 h 56 m||Show|
8* Chi Cubs (3:10 ET): The Cubs' sweep of the Cardinals this past weekend is rapidly becoming a distant memory as they are the ones now facing the same fate here in Colorado. They lost 6-5 on Monday, then 10-3 last night. That latter result was beneficial to me as I had the Over. The Rockies really poured it on late, most notably in a five-run sixth. But let's not forget what I talked about yday: the Cubs happen to be the NL's second highest scoring road team (now at 5.6 runs per game). I have them avoiding the sweep today behind Cole Hamels.
When these teams met last week at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Rockies were fortunate enough to avoid Hamels. He's pitched very well of late, including 15 straight innings w/o allowing a single earned run (allowed one unearned). Both starts that make up that stretch came against St. Louis. The last one saw him go eight innings and not only did he not give up any runs, he allowed only three hits and struck out 10. Hamels has a 3.79 ERA in six previous starts here at Coors Field, so he won't be intimidated by the thin air.
The Rockies obviously score a lot of runs at home (6.4 rpg), but they give up their fair share (6.1) as well. Anthony Senzatela is looking to make it four consecutive quality starts, but I do NOT see that happening here. He has a 5.21 ERA at Coors in five starts this year. Note the price range for this matchup as Colorado is 0-3 in 2019 when priced between +125 and +175 at home. The Cubs are a perfect 6-0 the L6 times Hamels has been coming off a quality start in his last outing. 8* Chi Cubs
|06-11-19||Padres -149 v. Giants||Top||5-6||Loss||-149||14 h 14 m||Show|
8* San Diego (9:40 ET): The Padres are far from my favorite side in MLB right now, but they always seem like a better bet when Chris Paddack takes the mound. Despite coming off B2B less than steller showings, the rookie Paddack has clearly emerged as the staff ace for San Diego w/ a 2.97 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. His TSR is 7-4, but curiously his own record is just 4-4 and he obviously deserves better. The two teams he recently faced were the Phillies and Yankees, both of whom field strong lineups. It'll be a drop in class tonight facing San Francisco, who has scored the third fewest runs in all of MLB.
Paddack has faced the Giants once before. It was actually his big league debut, back on March 31st. He limited them to one run over five innings. Paddack's first nine starts saw him give up no more than 3 ER, but in the last two he's given up 10 total. Again, the teams Paddack hasn't been as successful against this year are all in first place. When not facing a current division leader, his team start record is 7-1.
The Giants are in last place in the NL West and have the NL's worst run differential overall (-86). They've dropped four of five overall and not scored more than three runs in any of those games. They were shutout on Sunday and have scored just seven runs total in those L5 games. Tyler Beede on the mound doesn't seem like it'll help as he has an 8.78 ERA and 1.95 WHIP after three starts. He just gave up six runs - in five innings - last week to the Mets. The Padres haven't exactly played well recently, but they are a better team than the Giants and have a significant pitching edge today. They are also 5-2 vs. SF this season. 8* San Diego
|06-10-19||Dodgers -165 v. Angels||Top||3-5||Loss||-165||22 h 27 m||Show|
8* LA Dodgers (10:07 ET): The Dodgers have clearly emerged as the team to beat in the National League as their .682 win percentage is baseball's best. A 1-0 shutout of the Giants on Sunday made it 13 wins in the last 16 games. They have to be feeling pretty good about themselves today as they send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound in search of his 10th win. So do I. Ryu has been absolutely lights out this season in compiling a 9-1 record (13 starts) w/ a 1.35 ERA and 0.775 WHIP. His last start, which saw him toss seven shutout innings of three-hit ball vs. Arizona, was the 5th time in his L6 starts that Ryu did not give up any runs.
In fact, Ryu has yet to allow more than two runs in any start all season! Since May 1st, he's taken the mound seven times and given up a grand total of three runs in 52 2/3 IP. That's absolutely preposterous. That's a 0.51 ERA and 0.646 WHIP, for those keeping score at home. The Dodgers have won four of those last seven starts in shutout fashion, including the last two. By the way, Ryu is 2-0 in three career starts vs. the Angels w/ a 0.83 ERA. He's even held Mike Trout hitless in seven at-bats.
The Angels got beat up Sunday, losing 9-3 to Seattle. Consider the weekend a missed opportunity as the Mariners came in having not won a series of any kind since mid-May and none on the road since April. But they took two of three from the Angels, who must now step up in class to face the high-powered Dodgers. Griffin Canning has pitched well for the AL's LA team, but he won't be enough to beat the cross-town rivals as the Angels have dropped six of their last seven series openers. 8* LA Dodgers
|06-09-19||Pirates v. Brewers -181||Top||2-5||Win||100||7 h 38 m||Show|
6* Milwaukee (2:10 ET): Might as well call for the Brewers to finish off the sweep here as the Pirates' ship is sinking fast. I had the Over in Friday's opener, which Milwaukee won (10-4), then yday's free play on the Brew Crew was another winner. Just to rehash for anyone "late to the party," the reason I've targeted the Bucs as a clear fade is their very poor YTD run differential (now -75), which to me is a clear indication that this NOT a .500-level team. Expect them to finish last in the NL Central (where I predicted them to be at the start of the season).
They might have a 30-33 overall record, but Pittsburgh has now been outscored by 75 runs this year. That's the second worst differential in the entire National League (easily the worst in the division) and closing in on the Giants for the worst. That run differential is more indicative of a 24-win team. The Pirates' gap between actual & expected wins (+6) is the largest in all of baseball and a clear indication that they've actually overachieved to this point in the season. We've already seen the regression set in w/ the Bucs dropping 13 of their last 19 games.
Milwaukee is heading in the other direction. They've won three straight and are 37-28 overall. They send Chase Anderson to the bump today and he held Pittsburgh to two runs the last time he faced them. But the real key here is how the Brewers' offense has feasted on Pirates' pitching, scoring 46 runs against them this season in just six games. In three of the five wins, they've scored 10 or more runs. Injuries have decimated the Pittsburgh rotation, leading to arms such as Steven Brault being used on a regular basis. Brault has a 4.76 ERA and 1.706 WHIP in four starts. He needed 93 pitches to get through four innings his last time out, an ominous sign. 6* Milwaukee
|06-08-19||Nationals -147 v. Padres||Top||4-1||Win||100||14 h 5 m||Show|
10* Washington (10:10 ET): As I continually harp on, a team's won-loss record can be quite misleading sometimes. Take these teams, for example. Yes, San Diego has won the first two games (both by final scores of 5-4) and has the better record. They are now 33-31 on the season, but have been outscored by 25 runs. Washington, despite being seven games below .500 (28-35), actually has a slightly better YTD run differential (at -16). The key to the Padres season, as we've seen the past two days, has been an ability to win one-run games. Their 16-6 record in such contests is baseball's best.
Inevitably, that WL record in one-run games should begin regressing to the mean. Most teams finish w/ a record near .500 in one-run games over the course of a full season. A record like the Padres have should be considered extremely fortunate. Consider only one other team (Giants) has more than 12 one-run victories this season. Tonight is when the tide of this series should officially turn as the Nats send Max Scherzer to the mound. Despite still having a stunning 3-10 team start record this season, Scherzer has been pretty ridiculous of late.
Scherzer's L3 starts have have seen him allow only two runs and 14 hits in 20 IP (0.90 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) w/ a 30-4 KW ratio. Now San Diego starter Eric Lauer has been almost as good. He's got a 1.47 ERA and 0.709 WHIP his L3 starts. He's allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts, but the thing is that he's made it a full six innings only twice during that span. Scherzer has gone at least six innings eight straight times. He also has a 2.37 ERA in 10 previous starts vs. San Diego. The Padres have had to come from behind to win each of the last two days. Not today. 10* Washington
|06-07-19||Mariners v. Angels -170||Top||6-2||Loss||-170||14 h 32 m||Show|
8* LA Angels (10:07 ET): I don't need much reason to fade Seattle as I feel as I was way ahead of the curve on this one. The Mariners started the year by winning 13 of their first 15 games, but I implored anyone who would listen (or read) to not buy in as this is a team I'd earmarked for some serious regression in 2019. It's not like the front office didn't make it clear in the offseason that they weren't trying to be a contender this year. Plus, last year's 89-win team was a total mirage as it was actually outscored by 34 runs. They were due to regress this year and regress they have, winning only 13 of its last 51 games after winning 13 of the first 15! They are buried in last in the AL West, 5.5 games back of this weekend's opponent, Los Angeles.
These division rivals just met last weekend, up in Seattle, and the Angels took two of three. Starting for one of those two victories was Andrew Heaney, who has brought some much needed stability to this Halos' starting rotation. In two starts, he's allowed just five runs and that actually undersells his performance as he's allowed only seven hits and has 18 K's in 11 IP. He has a 0.727 WHIP. The Mariners are just 5-14 in games against left-handed starters this year and - just as I said it would two months ago - their offense has really begun to slow down. They are batting a collective .214 the L7 games.
The Angels lost yday, 7-4 to Oakland, one night removed from a 10-9 win where they rallied back from an early six-run deficit. But this is a worse spot for Seattle, who had to go 14 innings Thursday afternoon and lost 8-7 to Houston in a game that lasted 5+ hours. Though Friday's starter Marco Gonzales is 4-1 lifetime vs. the Angels (11 starts), including a 3.10 ERA in five starts here in LA, he was hammered for 10 runs by them last weekend. The team has lost seven straight times w/ him on the mound and scored no more than four runs in any of those games. 8* LA Angels
|06-07-19||Braves -185 v. Marlins||Top||7-1||Win||100||11 h 36 m||Show|
6* Atlanta (7:10 ET): Miami has been playing much better of late, but Atlanta was pretty clearly priced too low for this series opener, especially considering they'll have Mike Soroka on the hill. Thus far, Soroka has been pretty much lights out w/ a 1.41 ERA and 0.907 WHIP in nine starts. He'll be facing a Marlins team that has scored the fewest runs in the National League, even after winning 13 of its last 19. Yesterday saw the Fish revert back to their "usual ways" scoring only one run in a loss at Milwaukee. They average just 3.2 per game here at home.
Back on May 4th, Soroka faced Miami and permitted only a pair of unearned runs in seven innings. He allowed just three hits as well. Every start this season has seen Soroka allow 3 ER or fewer. In fact, the three he allowed in his last start (10-5 win over Detroit) were a season-high. Prior to that, he'd never allowed more than 1 ER in any start and had only allowed two total in two starts because of unearned runs. One of the clear front-runners for NL Rookie of the Year, Soroka went 3-0 w/ a 0.79 ERA in May (five starts). He last lost a decision all the way back on April 18th, which was his season debut.
There's a lot of buzz in the Atlanta clubhouse right now due to the impending arrival of another starter, Dallas Keuchel, who was just signed as a free agent. But it's Soroka that's key here going against this putrid Miami lineup. Also, starting here for the Marlins is Jose Urena, who has a 2-7 record and 6.07 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Atlanta. The Braves don't like Urena either as he threw at Ronald Acuna Jr last season. Urena has been better of late (5 straight quality starts), but he won't be able to outduel Soroka here. Miami 2-10 as ML home dog of +125 to +175 this year. 6* Atlanta
|06-06-19||Giants v. Mets -167||Top||3-7||Win||100||4 h 52 m||Show|
7* NY Mets (12:10 ET): The Mets blanked the Giants last night, 7-0, and now can take the series w/ a win Thurs afternoon. Last night was somewhat of a "bittersweet" victory for the Metropolitans as - just hours after his return from the DL - Robinson Cano was lost to a hamstring injury. Still, that hardly mattered w/ Jason Vargas tossing a CG shutout (his 1st in two years). The Giants aren't a good team as they now have the worst run differential (-77) in the entire National League. I have zero hesitation fading them in this spot. The Mets are now 10-2 their L12 home games.
Starting today for the home team will be Zack Wheeler. He has a 3-0 TSR his L3 starts and while his ERA is 4.22, his WHIP is 0.821. Despite winning all three starts, a case could definitely be made that Wheeler has been somewhat unfortunate to give up 10 runs in 21 1/3 IP. After all, he's allowed only 16 hits and three walks. The home run has been a bit of an issue (five allowed), but he has 23 strikeouts as well. The Giants are NOT a strong offensive ballclub as they are 28th in runs scored, not to mention 29th in both team batting average and OPS. Wheeler has a 3.03 ERA in six previous starts vs. SF.
The Giants will go w/ Shaun Anderson in this spot, hoping he can replicate the performance in his last start when he pitched a career-high seven innings and allowed just two runs for his first big-league win. But that was also at the expense of lowly Baltimore. Both bullpens have been overworked recently (well, not the Mets yday) and if that becomes a factor today, it's likely to be w/ the Giants, who are not getting many long efforts from their starters. Anderson didn't make it past the fifth in any of his first three starts. The Giants are 1-6 after allowing 5+ runs the previous game. 7* NY Mets
|06-05-19||Yankees -186 v. Blue Jays||Top||7-11||Loss||-186||10 h 28 m||Show|
6* NY Yankees (7:07 ET): The Yankees suffered a surprise loss last night to the Blue Jays. "Surprise" in the sense that they (NY) were heavily favored & the Jays came in riding a season-worst six-game losing streak. But that's over now as Toronto benefited from the rare "off-night" from the NY offense, though it's not like the team wearing pinstripes didn't have its fair amount of chances. They went 1 for 12 w/ RISP, leaving 11 men on base, and thus failed to score at least four runs for the first time in the L15 games. But I think they bounce back here.
Even w/ the win yday, Toronto still has lost 10 of its last 12. Remember what I wrote in yday's analysis ... "Toronto comes into the week ranked dead last in all of baseball in team batting average (.205) at home and they're also right near the bottom in both runs scored and OPS." They were fortunate last night in that an injury-riddled Yankees lineup didn't perform up to its usual standard. The Blue Jays have still been held to two runs or fewer 23 times this season, the most for any American League club. After a win this season, Toronto has gone just 7-14. Off a loss, the Yankees are 13-7 (and 101-57 the L3 yrs).
Making the challenge even tougher here for the Jays is the fact they have to go up against James Paxton. While recent efforts haven't gone long, Paxton still sports a 5-0 team start record in his L5 starts and hasn't given up an earned run in four of them. So, he doesn't need much run support, yet he figures to get more than Masahiro Tanaka did yday as the Yanks offense still averages over 6.0 rpg on the road. While just like yday, I like this game to go Under (see elsewhere in three-pack), the Yanks probably won't have much issue w/ Tyler Thornton (6.23 ERA, 1.577 WHIP, 0-3 at home) even though they've never faced him. This is the 1st time the Yankees have been off B2B losses since April 30th-May 1 (in Arizona). They haven't lost three straight since a five-game slide very early in the year (which included them being swept by Houston). 6* NY Yankees
|06-05-19||White Sox v. Nationals -173||Top||4-6||Win||100||5 h 13 m||Show|
7* Washington (1:05 ET): I've been incredibly disappointed by the Nationals' start to the season, but at least there are injuries to blame here. The good news is that there's still a lot of time left to rectify the situation and no one is running away w/ the NL East. The Nats are a team I earmarked for improvement in 2019, despite the defection of Bryce Harper to the division rival Phillies, as last year's team was better than the record showed. They did win yday, 9-5 over the White Sox, and should make it a sweep of this short Interleague series on Wednesday.
The White Sox are only two games below .500, but they've been outscored by 47 runs, which tells me bad times are ahead. Regular followers of mine know that I am firmly of the belief that run differential is a far better predictor of future outcomes than is a team's actual won-loss record. For the sake of reference, Washington is six games below .500 right now, but has only been outscored by 16 runs this season. That - and the homefield edge - explains why the Nats can be such prohibitive favorites in this one. The Nats have also won three straight overall and do have the "cache" as well.
There are few troubling trends for the White Sox heading into this one: (1) they are just 10-20 in day games this year (55-92 L3 seasons) and (2) they are 12-29 their L41 Interleague games. I know Dylan Covey pitched well for them his last time out, but that was at home. On the road, Covey has a 7.36 ERA and an 0-3 record. I know the Washington bullpen can be a pain, but starter Anibal Sanchez threw six shutout innings of one-hit ball in his last start and has allowed only 3 ER in his last 16 1/3 IP. 7* Washington
|06-04-19||Red Sox -176 v. Royals||Top||8-3||Win||100||13 h 51 m||Show|
8* Boston (8:15 ET): The Red Sox really struggled out of the gate in 2019, but that may very well have been a reflection of their lax approach to Spring Training. The reigning World Champs have climbed back over .500 (30-29) as they've gone 19-12 over the L31 games. They'd actually dropped four in a row prior to Sunday night's 8-5 win in New York, their first time beating the Yankees all season. But run differential (+31) indicates that Boston is "just fine" moving forward and should be at least a Wild Card when the playoffs roll around. I like the Sox quite a bit in tonight's series opener at KC.
The Royals probably aren't as bad as their 19-40 record, which is second worst in all of baseball, just one game ahead of Baltimore. But they simply can't seem to get out of their own way and this series looks to be a terrible matchup on paper for them. They come in on a three-game losing streak and have won only four times since mid-May. They're 1-6 the L7 games, averaging less than three runs per game. Thus, it's going to be very tough here to compete against a Boston offense that ranks 6th in runs per game and is 7th in OPS. Kansas City is 21st and 20th in those two categories. They are also a horrible 8-23 in night games.
The starting matchup would also seem to favor Boston here, even though Glenn Sparkman has the better numbers compared to Eduardo Rodriguez. But that's a real limited sample size for Sparkman (just two starts) and the last time we saw him was in the "opener" role and he gave up four runs in a single inning before getting ejected. Rodriguez is 5-1 w/ a 3.93 ERA his L9 starts (8-1 TSR) and is coming off perhaps his best outing of the year as he held Houston to 1 run in 6 IP and got the 'W' as a +155 ML dog. 8* Boston
|06-04-19||Braves -154 v. Pirates||Top||12-5||Win||100||12 h 41 m||Show|
8* Atlanta (7:05 ET): The Pirates have been a target of mine for some time now as their won-loss record simply does not "match up" w/ their YTD run differential. While sporting a 28-30 record, the Bucs have actually been outscored this season by a whopping 68 runs. That's third worst in the National League and a lot closer to the likes of Miami (21 wins) and San Francisco (24) than any of the teams in their own division. Bottom line is that no team has exceeded its "expected win total" (based on run diff) more than this one as they are +6. I expect the losing to continue Monday vs. Atlanta.
Pittsburgh just dropped three of four in their last series (w/ Milwaukee). Since I first wrote about this club's impending downfall (back on May 21st), they have gone 4-10 overall, including 2-8 here at PNC Park. It hasn't helped that they played 27 games in 27 days prior to Monday's off day. But they are now just 11-17 in home games for the year. A big issue that the Pirates are facing right now is injuries to the starting rotation. The team has had to turn to some less than stellar arms and the results are about what you'd expect. Tonight, it will be Steven Brault starting. While he does have a 3-0 TSR, that's very misleading as his ERA & WHIP are 5.54 and 1.615 respectively.
Atlanta has generally played well of late, winning 14 of their last 21 games. A big key here is the price range as they are 15-5 the L3 seasons as a road favorite of -125 to -175, including a perfect 4-0 in 2019. They send their own southpaw - Max Fried - to the bump on Monday. Fried has a 7-3 record in 11 starts w/ a 3.28 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. So his numbers are a lot better than his counterpart's. The Braves have a winning record on the road overall this season and have also fared better in games vs. LH starters than Pittsburgh has (10-5 vs. 6-9). It really can't be understated how poorly the Pirates have played at home as they're being outscored by 1.8 rpg here. That's the worst margin in the entire Senior Circuit. 8* Atlanta
|06-03-19||Phillies -128 v. Padres||Top||2-8||Loss||-128||15 h 16 m||Show|
9* Philadelphia (10:05 ET): It's the first time matching up this season for these two teams and quite frankly, neither is playing well right now. However, there is a big difference between getting swept by the mighty Dodgers (what happened to Phillies) and losing two in a row at home to lowly Miami (Padres' fate). San Diego has not played well of late (2-5 L7 games overall), a point that was driven home w/ consecutive 9-3 home losses to the Marlins over the weekend. The Padres are now below .500 at Petco Park this season and I don't see that changing after Monday.
A swarm of bees delaying yday's game for about 20 minutes was the only excitement for the home team yday here at Petco. The Padres' offense seemed rather lifeless w/ two of their three runs and two of their four hits not coming until the ninth inning. It figures to be yet another tough day at the plate tonight against Phillies' starter Aaron Nola, who comes in red hot. Nola has yet to drop a decision in 2019 (6-0 in 12 starts) and has gone 4-0 w/ a 2.96 ERA his L5 outings. The team has won each of the last six times Nola has taken the mound. In five previous starts vs. SD, Nola has a 2.65 ERA and 0.912 WHIP w/ the Padres batting only .180 against him.
The Phils were blanked 8-0 by the Dodgers yday, their 4th loss in a row overall. Yet they still lead the NL East w/ a 33-26 record. They were outscored 18-6 in the three games at LA, but this series is a drop in class from that one. San Diego, despite a winning overall record, has actually been outscored by 28 runs this season. The Bryce Harper-Manny Machado matchup will be hyped to death here, simply because of the salaries the two individuals commanded, but pay little mind to it. Harper's team is the better one. San Diego goes w/ Eric Lauer here and despite a recent string of quality efforts, he's still got a 4.45 ERA and 1.26 WHIP on the year as opponents are batting .259 against him. 9* Philadelphia
|06-01-19||Brewers -176 v. Pirates||Top||12-10||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
7* Milwaukee (4:05 ET): Those pesky Pirates managed to beat the Brewers last night by a score of 9-4. That was fine by me (as I had the Over), but my view of the Bucs still has not changed. This is a bad baseball team masquerading as a .500 club. They have the NL's third worst run differential (at -64). so the fact they have a 28-28 WL record is highly misleading. As I've written about previously, Pittsburgh has the largest gap between actual & expected win totals (+7) in all of MLB. I'm 2 for 2 in this series already (had Milwaukee Thursday) and look to make it 3 for 3 here as it's back to the Brew Crew on Saturday.
In the analysis for yday's game, I said to be wary of Jhoulys Chacin, who was starting for Milwaukee. He came into the game w/ a 1.625 WHIP his L3 starts and had poor career marks vs. the Pirates. Sure enough, he'd given up seven runs before the third innings was even complete. But I have no hesitation backing today's starter Brandon Woodruff, who checks in w/ a 7-1 record in 11 starts (9-2 TSR) to go along w/ a 3.22 ERA and 1.088 WHIP. Woodruff has been insane his L6 starts, allowing two or fewer runs every time out. He's allowed just six runs total in his last 38 IP. All six starts have resulted in Milwaukee victories.
Eventually, Josh Bell will be unable to continue carrying this Pirates' lineup. Bell finished May w/ 94 total bases, the most by any player in that month since the great Willie Mays all the way back in 1958. Perhaps having to face Woodruff, who allowed just one hit in his last start (went eight innings) will be the start of Bell's inevitable regression at the plate. Also, Milwaukee has a huge pitching advantage in this game w/ Nick Kingman set to go for Pittsburgh. Kingman hasn't won as a starter since last July and has an 8.53 ERA in the role this season (three starts). The odds tell you "all you need to know" for this matchup (compare them to yday) and I love the idea of fading the Bucs off a win. 7* Milwaukee
|06-01-19||Indians -110 v. White Sox||Top||5-2||Win||100||7 h 30 m||Show|
10* Cleveland (2:10 ET): What a terrible start to this series for the Indians, who happen to have been on each of the last two days. They've lost to the White Sox by scores of 10-4 and 6-1, which simply shouldn't be happening if the Tribe still fashion themselves as a true playoff contender. Yes, Chicago is playing its best baseball of the season right now (season-high five-game win streak), but three of those wins were against the last place Royals. While the White Sox have managed to beat Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer the L2 days, I still think Cleveland is an outstanding value in this spot.
The Indians actually scored the game's first run last night, on a Francisco Lindor HR, but that was it for them in terms of scoring. They did finish w/ nine hits, almost as many as the White Sox, but few got into scoring position and even then the team was 0 for 5 when they did. There were also four Cleveland errors, which didn't help. Look for the sloppiness to be cleaned up today though. I also like the Indians' hitters chances against the struggling Ivan Nova, who has a 6.52 ERA and 1.719 WHIP for Chicago. Nova was better his last time out (against KC), but there have been five starts where he's allowed 5+ runs.
Now Nova did pitch well against the Indians earlier in the year. But that was in Cleveland. At home this year, he has a 11.81 ERA and 2.312 WHIP, so that's where the majority of bad starts have come. It should mentioned the Cleveland starter Jefrey Rodriguez has been hit relatively hard in each of his L3 starts, all losses. But he too pitched well earlier this season when he faced off w/ today's opponent (allowed 2 runs in 6 IP). This boils down to the fact that the White Sox have still been outscored by 42 runs this year, so it's a little misleading they have the same record as the Indians (-17). 10* Cleveland
|05-31-19||Cubs v. Cardinals -114||Top||1-2||Win||100||11 h 23 m||Show|
10* St. Louis (8:15 ET): This is a big revenge spot for the Redbirds, who got swept out in Wrigley earlier this month. May has been mostly unkind to the Cardinals as they have lost 18 of 25. But they do return home on a positive note having downed the first place Phillies yday afternoon by a 5-3 count. Few, if any, will be happier to be back in the confines of Busch Stadium than today's starter Miles Mikolas, who has pitched quite well at home in 2019. He has a 3.15 ERA and 0.825 WHIP here in six starts, so it's a little surprising to see the team start record at only 3-3. Really, a compelling case can be made that the Cardinals are underachieving as a whole right now considering they have outscored their opponents this year, but are still a game below .500.
The Cubs were also able to avoid a sweep by winning yday. Theirs came at home, however, against the mighty Astros. They won 2-1, a real change of pace from recent games as the Over had hit each of the previous seven times the Cubs hit the field. As you might expect, they'd been giving up plenty of runs during that stretch, 50 total to be exact. Don't look for that to change here w/ Yu Darvish on the hill. Recently, Darvish had shown signs of improvement, but that was before he was hit hard by Cincinnati in his last outing, which saw him give up six runs and 12 hits. The Reds homered off him three times. The Cubs were very lucky to win that game 8-6.
Save for one bad outing (at Texas on 5.17), Mikolas has pitched pretty well this season. He's certainly well rested, having started just once in the last 13 days. That was exactly one week ago and he turned in a quality effort vs. Atlanta, giving up just three runs in 7 IP. Unfortunately, he did not have the same good fortune Darvish had in his last start and the Cards lost that game 5-2. But Mikolas has allowed more than 3 ER just twice in his L7 starts and I see him leading his team to a crucial NL Central victory on Friday night. 10* St. Louis
|05-31-19||Indians -158 v. White Sox||Top||1-6||Loss||-158||11 h 18 m||Show|
8* Cleveland (8:10 ET): My read on this matchup proved incorrect yday, but I'm still coming back w/ the Indians tonight. They are the superior side and while words such as "mercurial" and "inconsistent" could be used to describe Friday's starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, when he's at his best, he's one of the top starters in the game. The White Sox, even though they were able to win 10-4 yday, are not a very good ballclub. They actually own a slightly worse YTD run differential (-47) than the last place Royals (whom they swept earlier in the week).
Bauer has been subpar in five of his last six outings. That's pretty shocking for a pitcher that was considered to be on the "shortlist" for AL Cy Young candidates. One of the rougher outings actually came against these White Sox, at home, where he allowed seven runs in just five innings. But the good news for Bauer is that he's pitched better on the road this year than at Progressive Field. On the road, he has a 2.39 ERA and 1.064 WHIP. He also still has an 8-4 career record vs. the White Sox in 17 starts. Bauer has been a good "stopper" in the past for Cleveland as his TSR when the team allowed 5+ runs in its last game is 7-3.
Chicago's current four-game win streak is a season-high, but poised to end today. Good news for Bauer and the Indians is that Dylan Covey is starting here for the White Sox. It's been a tough stretch for Covey, who has bounced back and forth between the big league club and Triple-A Charlotte. Nowhere has he been effective as he's winless in his L4 starts w/ a 5.75 ERA. Furthermore, he has a 4.24 ERA in nine career starts vs. Cleveland (0-4 TSR L4). Last time out, Covey allowed four runs for the third time in those L4 starts. Cleveland is still 27-12 the L39 games in this AL Central rivalry. 8* Cleveland
|05-30-19||Indians -174 v. White Sox||Top||4-10||Loss||-174||13 h 37 m||Show|
7* Cleveland (8:10 ET): The White Sox may be coming off a three-game sweep here, but considering who the opponent was (Royals), that's really not all that impressive. The Southsiders remain a poor ballclub, which can quickly be confirmed by their -53 run differential that is tied for third worst in the American League. Things weren't looking so good for the Indians recently either as they followed a somewhat disastrous 4-7 homestand (three of the wins were over Baltimore) w/ a blowout loss in Boston (12-5 on Memorial Day). But the Tribe turned it around the L2 days w/ B2B wins at Fenway, including a big 14-9 win yday where they finished w/ a season-high 18 hits. I look for that to "carry over" into this weekend series.
With the Indians hitting better now, that should take some of the pressure off Thursday's starter Carlos Carrasco, who struggled his last time out. But that was against a quality foe in Tampa Bay. Prior to that, he'd been pretty impressive, not even giving up a single run in four of his previous six starts. Two of those were against these White Sox, whom he held scoreless for a total of 12 innings. The Indians won the two games 5-0 and 9-0, the former coming at home and the latter here in Chicago.
Both times the White Sox got blanked by Carrasco, it was Manny Banuelos starting for them. Don't look for the third time to be the charm for Banuelos as he carries a poor 9.49 ERA and 2.108 WHIP (six starts) into Thursday. In those previous two starts vs. Cleveland, he surrendered 10 runs in 8 1/3 innings and five home runs. Look for him to come out on the "short end of the stick" yet again as Cleveland is a perfect 2-0 this season priced as a road favorite of -175 or higher and 33-15 in that role the L3 seasons. 7* Cleveland
|05-30-19||Brewers -111 v. Pirates||Top||11-5||Win||100||12 h 32 m||Show|
10* Milwaukee (7:05 ET): We unsuccessfully went against Pittsburgh yday, but will fade them again today for virtually the same reasons. The Pirates may have a .500 record (27-27) on the year, but are actually playing to the level of a team that should have a .370 win percentage based on their very poor YTD run differential (-63). That run differential is 3rd worst right now in the entire National League, so I was very surprised that the Bucs were able to leave Cincinnati w/ a split of the four-game series. But this weekend finds them playing an even tougher opponent and this first game should be a loss.
The Brewers are in second place in the NL Central, only three games up on Pittsburgh, even w/ a vastly superior YTD run differential. A nice little edge for the Brew Crew here is that they had yday off. Their last series was a short one as they split two games in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Pirates have played four games in the last three days (doubleheader Monday, which does them no favors. Back to the run differential for a moment - as I stated yday, no team has a bigger gap between actual and expected (based on run diff) win total than Pittsburgh. Now they're not only overachieving (and set to regress), but also in a bad situational spot.
Milwaukee is 30-18 after an off-day and will send Chase Anderson to the bump Thursday night. Anderson has worked out of the bullpen and started four times. He has a 2.55 ERA as a starter and while he's yet to go longer than five innings in any outing, he's also never given up more than 3 ER. The Brewers have a good bullpen as well. Pittsburgh goes w/ Joe Musgrove, who I went against in his last start (vs. the Dodgers) and he gave up six runs in five innings. Musgrove now has a poor 6.10 ERA here at PNC Park. The Brewers are simply a better team here as I'm going to look to fade the Pirates regularly due to their poor run differential. 10* Milwaukee
|05-29-19||Mets v. Dodgers -187||Top||8-9||Win||100||14 h 58 m||Show|
6* LA Dodgers (10:10 ET): High price to fade Noah Syndergaard, but given the state of the respective TEAMS here, it's certainly justifiable. It's not like Syndegaard has pitched that well either. The Mets have lost the last two times he's taken the mound w/ the last start being a shockingly poor performance against Detroit, who brought the American League's lowest scoring offense to Citi Field, played w/o the DH and still scored six runs off Syndergaard in just 5 1/3 innings. Syndergaard now has a 4.93 ERA and 1.255 WHIP on the season. A matchup w/ the red-hot Dodgers is unlikely to change his current trajectory.
The Dodgers have the NL's best record right now at 36-19. That's after losing to the Mets last night, 7-3. LA is still hitting a collective .314 over the last week though and averaging 6.7 runs per game. At home is where they've truly been dominant this season. Dodger Blue is outscoring teams by 2.2 rpg here at Chavez Ravine and thus has gone 20-7 here. Tonight they send out Walker Buehler, who has been downright filthy of late and really all year. Over his last three starts, Buehler has allowed just five runs (in 19 IP) and three were unearned. He has 20 K's vs. just two walks, posting a 0.95 ERA and WHIP.
Buehler has gone seven straight starts w/o being charged with more than 3 ER and that streak is likely to continue here. The Dodgers are 8-2 this season as a home favorite of -175 to -250 and 64-27 in that same price range the L3 seasons. Furthermore, the Mets are just 2-7 in 2018 when priced at +125 or higher on the road. They are 31-66 the L3 seasons in that range. Off a loss, the Dodgers are 12-6 this year and they haven't dropped B2B games all month. A grand slam was the difference yday as the Mets won for just the third time in 17 tries against LA. That won't be happening again here. 6* LA Dodgers
|05-29-19||Pirates v. Reds -147||Top||7-2||Loss||-147||7 h 37 m||Show|
8* Cincinnati (12:35 ET): Last time we checked in on these teams was Monday when I played the Reds in the second game of a doubleheader. They won (after dropping the first game), 8-1, and then followed that up by winning 11-6 yday as well (led by Derek Dietrich's THREE home runs). As was heavily discussed in Tuesday's analysis, this is a series we had circled for a number of reasons, most of them based off the respective YTD run differentials (which hardly correspond to the respective records). I was unable to play yday's game (line not available until late morning/early afternoon), but will pounce on Cincinnati yet again this afternoon.
So the Reds are much better than their record. While they're currently last in the NL Central (26-29), they've actually outscored the opposition by 41 runs this season. That's the 5th best differential in the entire National League! Their offense has definitely woken up the L2 games and perhaps even more encouraging was the outing yday from Lucas Sims, who was called up and delivered career highs in strikeouts (9) and innings pitched (7 1/3). Today it will be Anthony DeSclafani on the hill. While he's struggled of late, I think like the rest of his team, he's in line for a resurgence. The Reds have still won 6 of his last 7 starts.
Pittsburgh has lost 7 of 9 and is now below .500 for the 1st time since May 3rd. Quite frankly, they should feel extremely fortunate to have been above .500 for so long. This is a team that has been outscored by 68 runs this season, the third worst differential in the NL and fifth worst overall. That run differential is indicative of a team that "should have" 19 wins, not 26. The Bucs' gap between actual and expected wins is currently the largest in all of MLB. Their rotation is in total shambles right now with another injury taking place last night. That brings us to Steven Brault, who gets the start tonight. While his TSR is 2-0, Brault has a 9.39 ERA and 2.086 WHIP. He and his team are due for a loss here. 8* Cincinnati