MLB Expert Picks For Friday, August 12: Breaking Down 14-Game Slate, Including Phillies vs. Mets, Diamondbacks vs. Rockies
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Ketel Marte
- Friday's slate is loaded with premium matchups and our MLB expert has you covered.
- Below, you'll find a breakdown of how B.J. Cunningham is betting every game today.
- Continue reading for full analysis of those picks, including underdogs, totals and more.
We have a 14-game slate this Friday night in the dog days of August, but there are some intriguing matchups like the Yankees vs. Red Sox, Guardians vs. Blue Jays, and Brewers vs. Cardinals
Be sure to check out our MLB odds page for up-to-the-minute odds changes across multiple sportsbooks, and our projections page which helps you find the best value across the board.
Follow all of B.J. Cunningham’s bets in the Action Network app! Click here.
Braves vs. Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET
Jake Odorizzi vs. Pablo Lopez
Jake Odorizzi makes his second start as a member of the Braves on Friday night. So far on the season, he’s pretty average: 3.91 xERA, 4.68 xFIP, .251 xBA against and .309 xwOBA against, per Baseball Savant. He’s a heavy fastball pitcher, which should work against the Marlins, who have a -21.3 run value against fastballs.
Pablo Lopez is starting regress, as his last four starts, he’s allowed 16 earned runs. The biggest problem for him in this matchup is he mainly has two pitches that he utilizes, a fastball and a changeup, well the Braves have a combined +44.8 run value against those two pitches.
I have the Braves projected at -131 and a total of 7.22, so this one is a pass for me.
Padres vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
Mike Clevinger vs. Cory Abbott
Juan Soto returns to face him former club only a few weeks after being traded.
The Padres are overvalued at -225 on the road, but I have no interest in playing this current version of the Nationals because Cory Abbott is going to be an opener and then we will get into the seventh worst bullpen in terms of xFIP. No thank you.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET
Cal Quantrill vs. Jose Berrios
These two starting pitchers have been horrendous this season.
Jose Berrios has an xERA of 5.48, which is the worst mark among qualified starting pitchers this season. He’s allowing a .278 xBA, .500 xSLG, a 45.1% hard hit rate and .430 xwOBACON, all of which are in the bottom 10% among MLB pitchers.
Cal Quantrill’s xERA is sitting at 4.59, but he doesn’t get very many swings and misses, as his whiff and strikeout rate are in the seventh percentile among MLB pitchers. He’s mainly a sinker/cutter pitcher, which is one reason why he doesn’t get many swings and misses. That isn’t going to work against a Blue Jays lineup that has a +15 run value against those two pitches and is second in MLB in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching.
I have 5.6 runs projected for the first five innings, so I like the value on Over 5 runs at -105 (BetMGM) or better.
Pick: First Five Innings Over 5 runs (-105)
Orioles vs. Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET
Austin Voth vs. Corey Kluber
Austin Voth is a positive regression candidate, as his actual ERA is sitting at 5.53, but his xERA is over a full run lower at 4.43. However, that is still way below average. He has a three-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball and cutter, which should have some success against the Rays considering they have a combined -6.3 run value against those three pitches.
Corey Kluber has been the definition of average in his first season in Tampa Bay. His xERA is 4.05, his xFIP is 3.83, but his BB/9 rate is an impressive 1.03. Kluber is heavily reliant on a cutter, curveball, sinker combination, which will be a tough matchup against the Orioles lineup who has a +8.2 run value against those three pitches.
I have this game projected dead on with the market at -152 with a total of 8.1, so I will be passing.
Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET
Domingo German vs. Nathan Eovaldi
Domingo German has some pretty bad advanced metric in his four starts since returning to the Yankees’ rotation: 6.61 xERA, 4.77 xFIP, 2.04 HR/9 rate and .313 xBA allowed. It is a small sample size, but FanGraphs has him projected at a 4.66 ERA pitchers. He mainly has a three-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball and changeup, which are three pitches the Red Sox have had success against (+15.1 run value).
Nathan Eovaldi has been the only bright spot in the Red Sox rotation. He has a 4.28 xERA, 3.32 xFIP, and only a 4% BB rate, which is one of the best marks among MLB starting pitchers. Most importantly, he throws the one pitch that the Yankees have a negative run value against: splitfingers. Eovaldi has a nasty one too, as it’s only allowing a .225 xwOBA and has a 41% whiff rate.
Nathan Eovaldi, Nasty Splitter…and hesitation/messing with timing. 😨 pic.twitter.com/ki9ds3NvUD
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 23, 2022
I have the Red Sox projected at -117 for the first five innings, so I like the value on Eovaldi -102 (FanDuel) or better.
Pick: Red Sox First Five Innings (-102)
Phillies vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET
Ranger Suarez vs. Max Scherzer
Should Max Scherzer be this big of a favorite? I say no.
Scherzer’s been fantastic since returning the Mets‘ starting rotation, posting a 2.92 xERA and 3.13 xFIP. He did face the Phillies back in May, which was his worst start of the season, giving up four earned runs in five innings. The Phillies are 12th in MLB in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching and have a +28.8 run value against the five pitches in Scherzer’s arsenal (fastball, slider, changeup, cutter and curveball), per Baseball Savant.
Ranger Suarez has been pretty good this year. His xERA is 3.83, he’s only allowing a 31.5% hard hit rate, and opposing hitters only have a .304 xwOBA against him. The Mets are also pretty average versus left-handed pitching ranking 15th in wOBA.
I only have the Mets projected at -140, so I like the value on Philadelphia at +172 (FanDuel) and would play it down to +162.
Pick: Phillies +172
Tigers vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET
Daniel Norris vs. Michael Kopech
This is an interesting game because of Daniel Norris. He’s been in the bullpen for the past three years and he’s been a sub-4.50 xERA & xFIP pitcher, which isn’t bad. However, when he was a full-time starter for the Tigers back in 2018, his xERA was above five and his K/9 rate was down at 7.79, when as a reliever, he’s posted above nine for the past three years.
Does he go more than two innings? Is he effective when he has to see the lineup multiple times? Those are questions that need to be answered. Plus, he’s facing the best lineup in baseball against left-handed pitching.
Michael Kopech is a negative regression candidate, as his ERA is sitting at 3.38, but his xERA is at 4.00. He’s also having some control issues because his BB% is at 11.7%, which is in the bottom 10% among MLB starting pitchers. He’s also allowing a 41.7% hard hit rate and a 9% barrel rate, per Baseball Savant.
The gap between these two bullpens isn’t really that big: DET 3.98 xFIP vs. CHW 3.78 xFIP, DET 71.3 LOB% vs. CHW 69.8% LOB%, and DET 2.50 K/BB vs. CHW 2.59 K/BB.
I only have the White Sox projected at -132, so I like the value on Detroit at +205 (BetRivers) and would play it down to +158.
Pick: Tigers +205
Mariners vs. Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET
George Kirby vs. Josh Sborz
In his first season in the big leagues, George Kirby has been outstanding, but this line is a little crazy. Yes, he has a 3.52 xERA, 3.42 xFIP, and an extremely low 1.25 BB/9 rate. However, he’s in the bottom 25% among MLB pitchers in hard hit %, barrel rate allowed and average exit velocity allowed.
The Rangers are opening with Josh Sborz, which means it will be a bullpen game for them. Texas‘ bullpen isn’t really that bad, it’s just average. The Rangers have a 4.02 xFIP, 70.9% LOB% and a 2.42 K/BB ratio, all of which are around the MLB average.
I only have the Mariners projected at -131, so I like the value on the Rangers at +165 (PointsBet) and would play it down to +147.
Pick: Rangers +165
Dodgers vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET
Tony Gonsolin vs. Daniel Lynch
Betting against the Dodgers has not been a fun venture over the past few weeks.
The Dodgers have now won 🔟 straight on the runline 🤯 pic.twitter.com/UmHk0fxpl6
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) August 11, 2022
Now they get to put their best pitcher on the mound up in Tony Gonsolin and are once again overvalued in the market.
With that being said, Daniel Lynch hasn’t been that great this season, posting a 4.31 xERA and the Dodgers lead MLB over the past 30 days in xwOBA and are top five in wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Athletics vs. Astros, 8:10pm ET
Adam Oller vs. Luis Garcia
This line is a little crazy for Luis Garcia, but Adam Oller and the A’s lineup have been so bad. Oller has over a 6.50 xERA and xFIP in a little over 40 innings and A’s offense is second to last in baseball in terms of wOBA and wRC+.
Yes, he’s been really good, posting a 3.34 xERA & 3.72 xFIP. Opposing hitters only have a .218 xBA & 2.99 xwOBA against him. But, -325 is an extremely high price for one nine inning baseball game, so I will be passing.
Brewers vs. Cardinals, 8:15pm ET
Eric Lauer vs. Jordan Montgomery
I am not so sure Jordan Montgomery should be this big of a favorite.
Montgomery overall for the season has been pretty average, as his xERA is at 4.03 and his xFIP is at 3.66. He’s been pretty fortunate to this point because opposing hitters only have a .231 batting average against him, but his expected batting average allowed is at .263. However, the Brewers have been terrible against left-handed pitching, ranking 25th in wOBA.
Eric Lauer has numbers that are very close to Jordan Montgomery: 4.01 xERA, .237 xBA allowed and .312 xwOBA. The problem is he’s going up against the number one of the best lineups in MLB against left-handed pitching. The Cardinals are tied with the Yankees for the best wOBA in baseball at .343 and have the second best wRC+ at 125.
Even though I do project a little value on the Brewers, the matchup is terrible at the plate, so I am passing.
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, 8:40pm ET
Zach Davies vs. Antonio Senzatela
This line is a little crazy given how bad Antonio Senzatela has been for the Rockies this year.
Senzatela has a 5.34 xERA and is near the bottom in just about every single advanced metric for MLB pitchers.
image via Baseball Savant
He is also a heavy fastball pitcher, going to it over 53% of the time and is allowing a .325 xBA and .451 xwOBA on it. Fastballs are the only pitch the Diamondbacks have a positive run value against, ranking 14th in MLB at +6.8, per FanGraphs.
Zach Davies is actually having a career year in Arizona. His xERA is at 4.08, which is his best mark since 2016. Opposing hitters only have a 31.4% hard hit rate and average exit velocity of 86.8 mph, both of which are in the top 10% of the league.
So, I have no idea why the Rockies are favored, even though it’s at Coors Field. I have the Diamondbacks projected at -132 for the full game and -153 for the full game. So I am doubling up on the Diamondbacks full game at +106 (FanDuel) and first five innings at +112 (BetRivers).
Picks: Diamondbacks First Five Innings (+112) & Full Game (+106)
Twins vs. Angels, 9:38pm ET
Tyler Mahle vs. Patrick Sandoval
This line is way too short for the Twins.
Tyler Mahle was pretty good for the Reds over the first half of the season. He’s also is due for some positive regression. His actual ERA is sitting at 4.49, but his xERA is 3.27. He’s heavy on using his fastball and has been really dominant with it, considering opposing hitters only have a .172 xBA against it. The Angels are still without Mike Trout in their lineup and excluding him, they have a -19 run value against fastballs.
Tyler Mahle, 10th K
All 10 on Fastballs. pic.twitter.com/KrjNYRpDKR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 9, 2022
Patrick Sandoval has been pretty average and nowhere near Tyler Mahle’s level. He’s currently sitting with a 4.40 xERA and a pretty high 4.26 BB/9 rate. The Twins are an above average team against left-handed pitching in terms of wOBA and BB%.
I have the Twins projected at -143 for the full game and -171 for the first five innings. So I am going to double up on Minnesota and take it at -120 for the full game and for the first five innings at -120 (BetMGM).
Pick: Twins First Five Innings (-120) & Full Game (-120)
Pirates vs. Giants, 10:15pm ET
Bryse Wilson vs. Carlos Rodon
The starting pitching matchup in this one is a little too big of a mismatch.
Carlos Rodon has been pitching at an elite level in San Francisco: 2.77 xERA, 11.29 K/9 rate, .262 xwOBA allowed and a .207 xBA allowed. He’s been dominant with his fastball, allowing only a .218 xBA and a .281 xwOBA, which is huge considering he goes to it over 60% of the time. The Pirates are the third worst team in baseball against fastballs (-28.9 run value) and is in the bottom five in terms of wOBA and wRC+ against left handed pitching.
Bryse Wilson has been pretty bad this season, posting a 5.52 xERA with some pretty horrible advanced metrics.
image via Baseball Savant
However, the price on the Giants is way too high, so this one is a pass for me.
Follow all of B.J. Cunningham’s bets in the Action Network app! Click here.
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