MLB Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Phillies vs. Mariners, Rockies vs. Giants & More (Monday, May 9)
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper.
- Our staff of MLB writers has identified four games for its five best bets tonight.
- After starting with A's vs. Tigers, we have four picks from three games on the West Coast on Monday.
- Check out our five best bets for Monday night's slate of baseball below.
It’s West Coast Night here at our daily best bets.
Monday is a baseball bettor’s dream, starting with two afternoon games on the East Coast as the Royals faced the Orioles and the Yankees hosted the Rangers. Then we move onto the games we like most.
First is Athletics vs. Tigers in Detroit before we head to the desert, where the Marlins will face the Diamondbacks. Then it’s north for the Phillies’ rare visit to Seattle and a National League West matchup between the Rockies and Giants.
MLB Odds & Picks
Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers
DJ James: Paul Blackburn might be one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball right now because he is pitching for the A’s. He owns a 2.87 xERA while only walking 3.3% of hitters and going at least four innings in each appearance. For a modern-day pitcher, there is not much more a team could ask for.
He will face off with Michael Pineda, who has feasted off good fortune for the Detroit Tigers. He has a 5.91 xERA compared to a 3.77 ERA. He ranks in the ninth percentile in strikeout percentage and although he may also not walk hitters, opponents are demolishing his pitches at an average exit velocity of 93.1 mph. His Hard Hit Rate eclipses 50% over his four starts.
Yes, Oakland is an abysmal offensive team. Its 70 wRC+ is laughably bad against right-handed pitchers, but I believe Pineda’s shortcomings somewhat negate those faults. The A’s have three active hitters above the .330 xwOBA mark when facing righties so far. Steven Vogt being hurt puts a damper on this lineup.
However, Oakland ranks in the middle of that pack at an Average Exit Velocity of 88.7 mph. Its Hard Hit Percentage ranks in a similar place.
Miami Marlins vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
William Boor: The past two weeks have been very good for the D’backs, and I’m backing them to stay hot against the Marlins.
Arizona took two of three from Colorado over the weekend and has won seven of its past 10 games, including a sweep last week in Miami. Starting pitching has led the way recently, and the D’backs are second in all of baseball with a 2.21 ERA among starters.
Humberto Castellanos will get the ball Monday night and although he has a 4.12 ERA through six appearances (four starts), he’s pitched better than that (2.64 xERA) and could be the latest Arizona starter to spin a gem. He threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins last week and although another outing like that would go a long way toward cashing this bet, he won’t need to be perfect.
The over/under for the game is set at eight, so runs are expected to be scored. The D’backs scored 18 runs over three games against the Marlins last week, including five over four innings against Elieser Hernandez, who will get the start for Miami. Hernandez has pitched to a 6.66 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season and given up three or more runs in four of his five starts.
Not only does Arizona have the pitching edge, but it will also be playing at home against a tired Marlins squad that has lost seven of its past eight and will be playing its 14th game in as many days. Take the D’backs at plus money on the moneyline and play it down to -110.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Seattle Mariners
Anthony Dabbundo: The situational spot is not good for Philadelphia, who played a doubleheader at home against the Mets on Sunday and now has to travel cross country to play the Mariners. But the pitching matchup difference is enough for me to play the Phillies here in the first five innings. I’m going to avoid the massive edge for the Mariners, who project as a top eight bullpen against the Phillies inconsistent unit.
I’m targeting the starters, where Chris Flexen has a 3.10 ERA for Seattle but some very troubling underlying numbers. He’s never been a strikeout pitcher, but his K% has dipped below 15% this season and he’s not missing enough barrels. Flexen had a 6.3% barrel rate in 2021, but that’s risen to 10.3% this season. His stuff+ rating, per Eno Sarris of The Athletic, has fallen all the way to 79. One hundred is average, and few pitchers have seen a drop like Flexen this season.
Ranger Suárez has seen a decline in his numbers for Philadelphia this season as well, but he’s excellent at producing ground balls. His stuff+ rating sits considerably higher at 94 and I have more belief in Suárez bouncing back than I do in Flexen on Monday night. Philadelphia has the much better lineup, and I’m ignoring Seattle’s bullpen edge.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Seattle Mariners
Kenny Ducey: It turns out that Flexen’s great first half last season was just that — a great first half. It was not a sign that a guy who’s been a below average pitcher for his entire career had suddenly figured it all out at 26 years old. The right-hander finished up the year with a 4.21 xERA and has had similarly damning underlying numbers in 2022 despite his 3.10 ERA.
Flexen’s strikeout rate has cratered even lower this season at 14.8% and he’s giving up barrels at a 10.1% rate with a .418 xwOBA on contact. If those numbers sound foreign to you, they rank at least in the bottom 30% of the league and would indicate he’s toast against a team which can clobber the ball.
The Phillies fit the bill here. They’re fourth in hard-hit rate thanks to the additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos over the offseason and have produced a barrel in nearly 6% of plate appearances. Strikeouts have been an issue for Philly at times, but against a guy who will primarily pitch to contact this team should be well positioned for a victory.
On the other side of this matchup, the Mariners have been ice cold at the plate with three or fewer runs in six of their last seven games. The beginning of the season offered plenty of reasons to believe, but Seattle’s 82 wRC+ in the last week is very concerning. Suárez hasn’t been sharp this year, but it’s not like the Mariners have been making quality contact with the baseball. I’d make the Phillies favorites here.
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
Jules Posner: The Rockies are starting to return to earth, and the Giants may be returning to form. After a five-game skid, San Francisco split its series at home against the Cardinals.
Austin Gomber has the start on the road for the Rockies tonight, and he’s pitched well on the road so far in 2022. The lefty posted a 2.70 ERA, 2.24 FIP and 2.90 xFIP so far, but that is not who he has been on the road historically.
Before 2022, Gomber has a 5.17 ERA, 4.77 FIP and 4.51 xFIP. Although he may have turned a new leaf, this could be more of a nice streak than an evolution.
Additionally, the Giants offense seems to be taking form. Especially against LHP. The Giants’ offense struggled at home the first two weeks of the season. They were 16th in Runs scored, 64 wRC+ vs LHP, and 3rd in K% at home.
Since 4/23 the Giants are fourth in runs scored, 146 wRC+ vs LHP and 25th in K%. Health is a big factor, but it’s also the law of averages starting to balance out.
Also, Carlos Rodón is on the mound and he’s been a monster at home. He has a 1.64 ERA, 1.35 FIP and 1.56 xFIP.