Saturday MLB Betting Notes: Will Darvish Find His Form Against Milwaukee?
Yeah, we know it’s “Moving Day” at Augusta National, but there’s also a lot of baseball to dive into on Saturday.
All 30 teams are in action — Mother Nature, please cooperate — but we’ve highlighted a couple of eye-catchers on the slate, four of which are divisional matchups and the other is the Twins vs. the Mariners.
Why you ask? Well, Minnesota’s Jose Berrios certainly has our attention after his complete-game goose egg in his first start, so let’s see if he can back that up against the M’s.
- New York Mets (+135) @ Washington Nationals (-160), 1:05 p.m. ET
- Baltimore Orioles (+218) @ New York Yankees (-245), 1:05 p.m. ET
- Tampa Bay Rays (+150) @ Boston Red Sox (-175), 1:05 p.m. ET
- Seattle Mariners (+141) @ Minnesota Twins (-156), 2:10 p.m. ET
- Chicago Cubs (-140) @ Milwaukee Brewers (+126), 4:05 p.m. ET
New York Mets (+135) @ Washington Nationals (-160) | O/U: 8
1:05 p.m. ET
Steven Matz (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
G-Unit: Since being traded to the Nationals before the 2012 season, Gonzalez is 16-6 on the moneyline against the Mets (+7.1 units), his most profitable opponent as a National. – Evan Abrams
Gonzalez twirled a great start in his 2018 debut, allowing one run, striking out seven, and walking just one Cincinnati Red. However, he was a big regression candidate in my mind before the season began and still is despite that nice start. In 2016, he was a bit unlucky and pitched to an ugly 4.57 ERA. That luck turned around in a big way last year, as his sub-3 ERA was far better than some of the advanced metrics suggested it should have been. He’s in line to at least keep those strong numbers going today as he has a solid track record vs. the Mets and the breeze is blowing in. – Mark Gallant
Bounce Back: The Nats have lost three straight. Home teams on a losing streak of three or more games have gone 531-350 (60%) in their next home game since 2005. If they are favored, the record improves to 458-267 (63%) straight-up since 2005. – John Ewing
Baltimore Orioles (+218) @ New York Yankees (-245) | O/U: 9
1:05 p.m. ET
Chris Tillman (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
No, Seriously: If you were wondering who the most profitable starting pitcher has been since 2005, look no further. It’s not Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke or anyone else good. It’s Chris Tillman. Risking a unit on every Tillman start would have yielded more than 35 units so far, but I would not advise betting on him. Or rostering him. Or touching him with a 39-and-a-half foot pole.
Tillman had a comically bad 2017 season, posting a 7.84 ERA over 93 innings. That’s not just bad, it’s historically bad. He obviously didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, but it was the worst single-season ERA of anyone who pitched at least 93 innings this millennium. It’s the second-worst mark since 1950 in a sample size that features over 10,000 games … yikes. On DraftKings, he averaged a horrendous 3.01 points per start, good for a Plus/Minus of -8.9. Naturally, his 2018 debut was also garbage, as he posted -5.6 DK points in his four-inning start that featured a WHIP of nearly three. – Mark Gallant
Early Bird: Over the last three seasons, Chris Tillman is 11-3 on the moneyline (+8.2 units) when pitching a game that starts at 1 p.m. ET or earlier, including 5-0 on the road, winning by 2.8 runs per game. – Evan Abrams
Tampa Bay Rays (+150) @ Boston Red Sox (-175) | O/U: 8.5
1:05 p.m. ET
Jacob Faria (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-0, 1.69 ERA)
Veintidós: In 2016, Rick Porcello won the Cy Young largely due to his handsome 22-4 win-loss record. Porcello’s underlying numbers weren’t bad by any stretch — he had a 3.89 xFIP and a 7.63 K/9 — but his back-of-the-baseball-card stats certainly flattered him. Last year, Porcello went 11-17 on the year, and his underlying numbers naturally regressed thanks to a .324 BABIP and a 14.7% HR/FB. – Michael Leboff
Young Guns: Faria has had success against the Red Sox during his brief career, allowing just two runs over 13 innings in three appearances. However, this will be the second time the dormant Sox offense has seen him in a week, and Boston is “due” to break out. One guy in particular who is set to bust out is Rafael Devers. Of his balls put into play this season, 60% have been “hard hit” (one of four guys in the league at 60% or higher), 40% have been “medium hit,” and none has been “soft hit.” Yet, the 21-year-old stud has a Weighted Runs Created Plus of 96 (100 is average) and no homers. The unimpressive back-of-the-baseball-card stats may lead to him being overlooked, but Devvy Dingers, aka the Dominican Doughboy, is going to be legit sooner rather than later. – Mark Gallant
Since Rick Porcello won that Cy Young award, he has struggled against divisional opponents. The Red Sox are 6-12 on the moneyline in divisional games when Porcello pitches and 11-5 when they face a non-divisional opponent. – Evan Abrams
Going Streaking: After losing on Opening Day, Boston has won six in a row. Teams on winning streak of six or more games have gone 304-208 (59%) straight-up in the next game when facing a division opponent. – John Ewing
Seattle Mariners (+141) @ Minnesota Twins (-156)
2:10 p.m. ET
Mike Leake (1-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Berri-O’s: Berrios was an intriguing Cy Young option in the preseason, but I didn’t feel the 30-1 odds provided enough value. Perhaps I was wrong. Berrios went out and tossed a shutout at Camden Yards last week, but obviously, we can’t expect his .125 BABIP to hold up. I think the biggest thing holding him back is his relatively low K/9 rate, which sits at 8.2 for his career. His ground-ball rate has also sat below 40%, and you don’t see many great pitchers who aren’t strikeout or ground-ball guys. He’s going to have to deal with bitter temperatures in the mid 20s this go-around, which should be interesting to see considering it is one of the lowest temps we have on record dating back to 2005. – Mark Gallant
Love ’em or Leake ’em: Mike Leake is a pro’s pro. At least that’s what they’ll tell you on the broadcast. It’s honestly impressive that Leake has made millions of dollars as a pitcher because his stuff isn’t all that impressive. Over 1453.1 innings, the 30-year-old has a career 6.12 K/9 and a 13.6 HR/FB%. His saving grace is his ability to induce ground balls. He boasts a 51.1% ground-ball rate in his career. – Michael Leboff
Home Sweet Home: The Twins have won their past eight home games pitched by Jose Berrios dating back to June of last season. Minnesota has definitely produced the offense to get the wins, scoring 5.9 runs per game, but Berrios also has an ERA of 2.36, with a WHIP under 1.00 in the eight starts. – Evan Abrams
Chicago Cubs (-140) @ Milwaukee Brewers (+126) | O/U: 8.5
4:05 p.m. ET
Yu Darvish (0-0, 10.38 ERA) vs. Zach Davies (0-1, 9.53 ERA)
The A-Side: I mean, I don’t have a grudge against the guy, but Darvish did kind of ruin my Dodgers preseason World Series ticket last year. Obviously, I expect him to be better than his debut against the Marlins went. His high strikeout rate has made him a great pitcher and solid DFS asset over the years, as he’s averaged 11 K/9 in his career. The Brewers sit in the middle of the pack this season, but struck out the highest percentage of any team last year at 25.6%. If Yu can get his Ks, the rest of the numbers should fall into place for him. – Mark Gallant
Darvish has pitched in 62 divisional games in his MLB career as a starter. When Darvish opens a series against a divisional opponent, his teams are 13-3 on the moneyline, winning by 2.3 runs per game. When Darvish pitches at any other point in the series, his teams are 20-26 on the moneyline, losing by 0.2 runs per game. – Evan Abrams
The B-Side: Obviously, Darvish is the headliner in this tilt, but Davies is an interesting hurler. He’s not big, doesn’t throw hard and isn’t a strikeout artist. Yet, here he is putting together a decent little career for Milwaukee. His 2.8 WAR in 2017 left him tied with Sonny Gray and Berrios and was better than those put up by Jon Lester, Rich Hill and Masahiro Tanaka. Davies gets his outs the old-fashioned way … he changes speed and uses deception to get hitters to chase out of the zone. – Michael Leboff
Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports