Tuesday’s MLB Best Bets: 8 Top Picks, Including Diamondbacks vs. Giants
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images. Pictured: Logan Webb (Giants)
A doubleheader between the Guardians and White Sox gets Tuesday’s MLB action started this afternoon, but there’s a solid 15 other games taking place under the lights, and our analysts are all over it.
We’ve got bets to recommend for seven games tonight, including a plethora of first five picks, as well as a total, run line and more.
Here are our best bets from Tuesday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Pirates vs. Marlins
Tony Sartori: The first game of this series went under this total, and I am expecting more of the same tonight.
The under has been a strong trend for each team as the Pirates have seen eight or fewer total runs scored in seven of their last nine games (78%) while the Marlins have seen eight or fewer runs in nine of their last 13 games (69%). These trends have been an indictment of just how bad each lineup has been, which should continue in this contest.
Pittsburgh is slated to go against left-hander Daniel Castano. Since June 1st, the Pirates rank just 28th in the league in BA, 23rd in SLG, 27th in OPS and 27th in wOBA when facing left-handed pitchers.
On the other side, Miami is slated to go against right-hander Chris Stratton. Stratton is a relief pitcher and will be making his first start, so I do not expect him to go further than three innings.
That being said, he could shut down Miami for the first third of the game as he has been solid lately. Over his last 8 1/3 innings, Stratton has allowed just three runs on 10 hits.
While the 10 hits is a lot, five of those were in one poor outing against the Nationals which also accounted for two of those three earned runs. This will be a bullpen game for the Pirates, which they can get away with as the Marlins have struggled recently.
Over their last 10 contests, the Marlins are averaging just 3.1 runs and 2.6 extra-base hits per game. With these two offenses, I am backing the under trends to continue.
Mariners vs. Nationals
Anthony Dabbundo: The Mariners are one of the two hottest teams in baseball right now and the market is now overvaluing them on the road in Washington.
Chris Flexen ranks 99th out of 116 pitchers in K-BB%, among those with at least 60 innings pitched this season. His xFIP and SIERA are sitting at 4.90, which is almost a full run higher than his 4.00 ERA.
Flexen also ranks well below average in barrel rate and hard hit rate, so it’s not like he’s a weak contact guy who’s pitching around his mediocre stuff and strikeout numbers. He’s allowing a good amount of hard contact and the Nationals lineup is actually pretty underrated generally in the market.
Washington’s problem has been its pitching, but Josiah Gray is one of the few solid starters it does have. Gray has above-average stuff and ranks 41st out of 116 pitchers in K-BB%. He’s had problems with homers and barrels too, but he has much more upside than Flexen and his xERA and xFIP put him below 4.30.
He’s the solidly better starting pitcher here and the Mariners will be without star center fielder Julio Rodriguez due to suspension. His absence hurts the Mariners’ offense at the top of the lineup and the defense in center field.
I’m selling high on the Mariners and buying Gray here, but only in the first five innings. Seattle’s bullpen is elite and should be able to shut down run production in a close contest.
I like Washington in the first five innings at -130 or better.
White Sox vs. Guardians Game 2
Doug Ziefel: The White Sox will hand the ball to their ace in Game 2 this evening, but this pick has not entirely based on Dylan Cease. Instead, it is a fade of his counterpart. Rookie left-hander Konnor Pilkington has had his share of rough outings since transitioning to the rotation.
Pilkington enters this start with a 4.08 ERA that should be close to five when you factor in his underlying metrics. The most startling one would be his barrel rate. Pilkington is among the bottom four percent of qualified pitchers in barrel rate, and that’s concerning even before you look at his matchup.
Along with having their ace going, the White Sox lineup should feast against Pilkington. They lead the majors in batting average and wRC+ against lefties this season. Seven men in the Chicago lineup are hitting over .300, with Tim Anderson leading the way, hitting .450.
Brewers vs. Twins
Sean Zerillo: Josh Winder (4.14 xERA, 4.70 xFIP, 4.62 SIERA) has helped to stabilize the back-end of the Twins’ rotation by providing major league-caliber innings. He’s not particularly impressive and is due for regression (3.12 ERA), thanks to a .272 BABIP, 77.6% strand rate and a 7.8% HR/FB rate; compared to league averages of .288, 72.2% and 11.5% in those three luck categories.
Still, I view Winder as a far superior pitcher to Jason Alexander (5.70 xERA, 5.03 xFIP). A group of 310 pitchers has thrown at least 30 innings in 2022, and among those qualifiers, Alexander ranks 309th in strikeout-minus walk rate, or K-BB% (1.2%).
The Brewers’ rookie owns a 17:15 strikeout to walk ratio in 36 innings and only gets bailed out of trouble when his defense can turn double plays (50.8% groundball rate). Still, batted ball data suggests that Alexander should have been hit a bit harder to this point.
Both clubs excel against right-handed pitching (117 wRC+ for the Twins, 4th; vs. 107 wRC+ for the Brewers, 7th), but Minnesota has the slightly superior lineup.
Defensive Runs Saved views Milwaukee as the superior defensive club (8th vs. 11th); however, Outs Above Average puts Minnesota ahead (20th vs. 22nd) for the season. Based on Tuesday’s projected lineups, I modeled the Twins as a slightly above-average defensive team and the Brewers as slightly below-average.
Tigers vs. Royals
Brad Cunningham: Beau Brieske has been an utter disaster for the Tigers this season. Sure, his ERA is sitting at 4.16, but his xERA is all the way up at 5.70. The main reason for that is because his hard hit rate allowed is over 40%, his barrel % allowed is over 11%, and he’s allowing a .303 xBA.
He’s been incredibly fortunate with his fastball this year, as on paper it’s only allowing a .345 wOBA, but the expected wOBA allowed to opposing hitters in up at .474, per Baseball Savant. So, it’s safe to say that he is due for some negative regression. he also recently faced the Royals on July 2nd, giving up six hits and three runs in six innings of work.
Kris Bubic has been pretty bad as well, but his main problem is he’s walking too many guys, as his BB/9 rate is over 5. He’s a heavy-fastball pitcher and even though his fastball hasn’t been effective at all, the Tigers are the worst fastball hitting team in MLB with a -35.5 run value on the season. Detroit is also below average versus left-handed pitching with only a .308 wOBA against them this year.
This a pure fade of Brieske, who is going to regress at some point and I’m betting on tonight being the start of it.
Tigers vs. Royals
Kenny Ducey: It’s not every day I bet on a game involving the Tigers or Royals, but this line is calling my name today.
Why? Well, first of all, both pitchers are pretty bad. Beau Brieske has pitched to an unsightly .423 xwOBA on contact and a 40.7% hard-hit rate, and Bubic checks in with an even-worse 6.27 xERA and .445 xwOBA on contact.
Now, I know what you’re thinking — why would that make this a good game to bet on? Well, as you can tell above, the pitchers are very evenly matched, which means we can dissect both offenses and figure out if there’s a discrepancy there.
Boy, is there a lot between the Royals and Tigers right now. Not only are the Royals 10th in wRC+ over the last two weeks and the Tigers 20th, Detroit is a terrible matchup for Bubic. The Tigers are 21st in wRC+ against left-handed pitching and in the bottom five in runs per 100 fastballs and runs per 100 changeups — the two pitches you’ll see Bubic throw all night long.
I’m slightly encouraged by the Royals’ performance at the plate in the last couple of weeks considering their sub-20% strikeout rate and above-average 8.9% walk rate. Sure, they’re not hitting bombs, but they’re having great at-bats — and they’ll be up against a guy who gives up bombs almost exclusively.
Astros vs. Angels
DJ James: Houston has been the best team in the MLB against right-handed pitching in the last month. The Astros own a 136 wRC+ and a .340 team OBP.
Noah Syndergaard and Luis García are essentially neck-and-neck, as far as ERA goes, but García has a 3.69 xERA against Syndergaard’s 4.23 xERA. Syndergaard has allowed at least two runs in each of his last three outings.
This does not bode well for the Angels, as run support off of righties has been a major issue for the club. They have a 71 wRC+, while slugging only .344. When a slugging percentage is basically the same as an opponents’ on-base percentage, expectations are not too lofty.
Houston’s bullpen has also been elite. The unit has a 3.07 xFIP in the last month against Los Angeles’ 4.11. The Astros’ bullpen is also striking out hitters at a 31.4% rate against the Angels’ 22% mark.
Diamondbacks vs. Giants
Jules Posner: After dropping the opening game of the series, the San Francisco Giants look to pull even with the Arizona Diamondbacks in game two on Tuesday night.
The Giants’ ace Logan Webb is on the hill and he has very quietly put together a very solid season for a team that has underachieved for the most part. Webb will get the ball at home, where he is at his best. This season, Webb has a 2.63 ERA, a 2.14 FIP and a 3.04 xFIP at home.
The Diamondbacks’ offense has been hot on the road against RHP over the past couple of weeks, but outside of one shaky Alex Cobb inning on Monday night, the Diamondbacks’ offense struggled to string together offense.
Dallas Keuchel and his 11.81 road ERA get the ball for the Diamondbacks and he may be just what the Giants’ offense needs to get back on track. Last season, the Giants pummeled LHP at home. This season, they’ve been relatively average and over the past month, they’ve been slightly below league average.
However, a pitcher who pitches for contact against a lineup that has a majority of it’s usual lefty killers healthy, might help the Giants’ offense get Webb his eighth victory of the year.