MLB Best Bets: 7 Top Picks for Tuesday’s Slate, Including Pirates vs. Nationals & Orioles vs. Mariners
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Santander (Orioles)
It’s another great day for baseball and another great day for betting on baseball. Including a doubleheader between the Guardians and Twins, we’ve got a loaded 16-game slate with value across the board.
Here are our best bets from Tuesday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Pirates First Five and Full Game ML
Sean Zerillo: The Nationals are 3-12 in games started by Patrick Corbin this season. I have bet against the southpaw in most of those outings and will continue to do so until he shows signs of improvement — or until the market catches up with him.
Relative to the Nationals’ World Series run in 2019, Corbin’s strikeout minus walk rate or K-BB% has halved (from 20% to 9.9%); his swinging strike rate has fallen by 5% (from 14.2% to 9.3%), and his ERA indicators have vastly inflated (4.06 xERA, 3.59 xFIP, 3.88 SIERA in 2019; as compared to a 6.60 xERA, 4.34 xFIP, 4.41 SIERA in 2022).
While Corbin is due for some positive regression in both his BABIP (.367 vs. .313 career) and strand rate (60.8% vs. 72.3% career), his hard hit rate stands at a career-high (44.4%).
Corbin’s entire Statcast page is painted blue. He ranks in the bottom 1-3% of pitchers in xERA, xBA, xSLG and xWOBA; and he’s in the bottom 20 percent for strikeout rate, whiff-rate hard-hit rate, spin rate and barrel rate.
Moreover, the Nationals’ porous defense has exacerbated his issues — ranking dead last both per Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Outs Above Average (OAA).
Conversely, the Pirates play slightly better defense (18th per DRS, 23rd per OAA) and have superior top-end relief pitchers.
Moreover, Jose Quintana has been having his best season (4.63 xERA, 3.86 xFIP, 4.12 SIERA) since 2018 while throwing his changeup (24%) more than double his career average (10.1%). While Corbin’s metrics have regressed, Quintana’s swinging strike rate (11.9%) and chase rate (35.4%) are both at career-best marks, so there’s some optimism that he can continue to pitch well moving forward.
I projected the Pirates as favorites in both halves of this matchup. You can bet their first-five innings or F5 moneyline down to -105; and their full game moneyline at +102 or better.
Athletics First Five
Brad Cunningham: Frankie Montas has been one of the bright spots for a very bad Oakland squad this year. He’s posted a 3.22 xERA, 3.09 xFIP, and is only allowing a .298 xwOBA to opposing hitters.
He has a four-pitch combination of fastball, split finger, sinker and slider, which hitters have had a lot of trouble making contact against considering those four pitches have a 34% chase rate, which is in the 91st percentile for MLB starting pitchers, per Baseball Savant. Also, his sinker is the only pitch allowing an xwOBA above .300.
The Yankees’ lineup does have a +29.6 run value against Montas’ top four pitches, but 21.8 of it is Aaron Judge, so if he can work around Judge in the lineup he should be able to have some success.
JP Sears is the Yankees’ 23rd-ranked prospect and has only pitched seven total innings in the big leagues, so there’s not much we can take away from that sample size.
FanGraphs does have him projected as a 4.71 FIP pitcher, which is not too flattering, but he did have an xFIP around 3.00 in Triple A the past two years. So even though Oakland has one of the worst lineups in baseball, it’s kind of crazy that a Triple-A pitcher is this big of a favorite.
I have Oakland projected at +100 for the first five innings, so I think there is tremendous value on Montas at +150 and would play it down to +115.
Charlie DiSturco: The fact that I’m going back to the well with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night makes me sick to my stomach, but the price here is too good to pass.
No longer am I putting any faith in the Oakland bullpen — the late blown leads against Seattle and New York were laughable to say the least — rather, I’m looking toward backing Frankie Montas over the first five innings.
Montas has been a breath of fresh air for the A’s in 2022. His expected indicators sit right around his actual ERA, he’s forcing more ground balls than previous years and is limiting both hard contact and barrels.
Opponents have a .242 xBA against the right-hander who enters fresh off an eight-inning shutout of the Mariners last week.
Opposite of him is JP Sears, a rookie who wasn’t highly rated in the Yankees’ organization, and absolutely should not be this big of a favorite as a starting pitcher at the big-league level.
I know the Bronx Bombers are always scary to fade and they have voodoo magic working for them with these consistent late-inning comebacks, but I think this is the perfect hold your nose spot to back Montas and the Athletics over the first half of Tuesday night’s game.
Juan Yepez Total Bases
Jules Posner: Juan Yepez is yet another Cardinals hitter who comes up from the minor leagues and starts to contribute immediately. He’s put together a solid season so far, but he’s been particularly hot on this recent homestand.
Over the first four games of the home stand, he’s hitting .313 with a .625 ISO. He had a multi-home run performance on Monday night, giving him three home runs in his last two games, but he’s also been raking LHP at home over the past month as well.
Over the past month, Yepez is 3-for-7 against LHP at home and all of his hits have gone for extra bases. He seems to have gotten very comfortable in the Cards’ DH spot.
Braxton Garrett gets the start for the Marlins and over his past two road starts, right handed hitters are hitting .296 and slugging .481 against him. Additionally, three of the eight hits he’s surrendered to right-handed hitters in those starts have gone for extra bases.
Yepez has cleared 1.5 total bases in three of his last four games and his total bases odds sit at +140. Paul Goldschmidt was another option at 1.5 at -120 odds, but the value on Yepez is too good to pass up. Play this as long as it’s in plus money.
Orioles Team Total
DJ James: Robbie Ray has had a pretty sharp month. In fact, he may be starting to live up to the contract the Seattle Mariners dealt him before the season. He is not without his shortcomings, though. His average exit velocity against is 90.2 mph and his hard hit rate is 40%, which ranks in the 40th percentile of the MLB.
On Tuesday, he will face one of the hottest team in baseball against left-handed pitching. This Orioles own a 159 wRC+ off of southpaws in the month of June with a .374 team OBP and .528 slugging percentage. The O’s have eight hitters over a .340 xwOBA and five over a .400 xwOBA.
In fact, of those hitters, five are over an average exit velocity of 90 mph, so the Orioles should have plenty of opportunities to go over their team total.
Seattle has had one of the best bullpens this month with a 3.53 xFIP, but it is not without issues. This team total should be closer to 4, so take the over from 3 (-120) to 4 (-110). Baltimore should be able to hit it with Ray still in the game.
Anthony Dabbundo: Baltimore has been consistently undervalued because its pitching has been significant improvements year over year when compared to the 2021 Orioles.
Look no further than Dean Kremer, who has made significant improvements with his command and hard-hit rates. Kremer had walk issues in his first two stints in the majors, but he’s cut his walk rate from 10.2% to 5.8% this season. He’s also cut his barrel rate down significantly to the point where he’s better than league average on 66 batted balls, a small but not insignificant sample.
Kremer relies heavily on his changeup to pitch to contact and get outs and the Mariners are mediocre against the change this season. Throw in the injuries that have further weakened Seattle’s lineup and I like the matchup for Kremer on Tuesday night.
Robbie Ray is not a ground ball pitcher, he’ll face a lot of right-handed bats on Tuesday and the wind is blowing straight out for this game. The Orioles are still in their much better platoon split when facing a southpaw on the mound. This should be especially true on the road where the left field wall at Camden Yards is less of a factor.
These two starting pitchers are overall not that far apart, given Ray’s expected metrics are right around 4.00. The Orioles have their best bullpen arms available too — Felix Bautista and Jorge Lopez — and are thus too big of an underdog on Tuesday. I’d play Baltimore down to +130.
Tony Sartori: Baltimore won Monday’s matchup 9-2, and I expect to see more of the same on Tuesday night as right-hander Dean Kremer is slated to take the mound for the Orioles. Through four starts this season, Kremer is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
Over those four starts, Baltimore has won in three of those outings (75%). While It is almost as small of a sample size as you can get, it is worth noting that this Mariners lineup is a combined 0-for-9 with five strikeouts against Kremer.
Following Kremer is one of the hottest bullpens in baseball. Since May 1st, the Orioles’ relief pitching ranks fourth in the league in ERA, 12th in BA, eighth in SLG and eighth in wOBA.
This pitching staff should also get plenty of run support as the Orioles are slated to go against left-hander Robbie Ray. Through 15 starts this season, Ray is 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
Through 102 career plate appearances against Ray, this Baltimore lineup boasts a .302 BA, .552 SLG and .379 wOBA. The trends in this matchup also back the Orioles as they have won eight of their last 11 games (73%) while the Mariners have lost seven of their last 13 games (54%).
I would play the Orioles ML down to (+130).