Friday MLB Odds, Projections: BJ Cunningham’s Picks For All 15 Games (June 10)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Rockies teammates celebrate at home plate.
- Betting baseball on Friday night? You've come to the right spot.
- MLB betting analyst B.J. Cunningham breaks down all 15 games below.
- Continue reading for his expert analysis and picks before diving into tonight's MLB slate.
I’m taking a page out of Sean Zerillo’s playbook and breaking down the entire MLB Friday night slate, which is going to be run-heavy with not a lot of great pitching matchups.
First Five Innings
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
Zac Gallen vs. Kyle Gibson
Zac Gallen has been one of the more underrated pitchers in MLB for a long time now and is the better starting pitcher in this matchup. Gallen has made massive improvements this season on limiting home runs and getting more groundballs.
Zac Gallen 2022 vs. 2021
(stats via FanGraphs)
As you can see, his K/9 rate is down almost three strikeouts per 9 innings, but he’s improved his groundball rate almost 5%, sliced his HR/FB rate in half, and cut his hard hit rate allowed by 10%. That has lowered his xERA a full run since 2021.
The Phillies‘ lineup has actually been pretty average against right-handed pitching. A .314 wOBA and 101 wRC++ on the season is only good for 14th in MLB. Additionally, their +6.9 run value against fastballs is 16th in baseball, which is bad news against Gallen, who has been very sharp with his fastball, throwing it 48.5% of the time and only allowing a .204 xBA and .289 xwOBA.
Kyle Gibson has been having a stellar season in Philadelphia. At age 34, he has his lowest xERA of his career currently at 3.64. Why is that? Well, he’s reduced his BB/9 and HR/9 rate considerably from his time in Minnesota and Texas.
Arizona has been much better offensively over the past 30 days than in the beginning of the season, putting up a .320 wOBA with 37 home runs and have been hitting both sinkers and sliders well during that time frame.
I really like Gallen in this spot and I am showing some value on the Diamondbacks for the full game at +128 at FanDuel, but I would only go down to +125.
Pick: Diamondbacks +128; bet to +125
Cubs vs. Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET
Wade Miley vs. Luis Severino
Wade Miley versus the hottest lineup in MLB is not a recipe for success and this will probably end in complete and utter failure. He had one decent start in his three so far in 2022, going seven innings of shutout ball against the Pirates.
However, for a soft-tossing lefty going up against a lineup that has not only hit the second-most home runs against lefties, but also has a combined +32.3 run value against his top four pitches could be bad news.
Luis Severino has been amazing through his first 10 starts, posting the fifth-best xERA among qualified starting pitchers at 2.60. So this should be a Yankees rout, right? Not so fast my friend.
The Cubs lineup has some hope here. Chicago has been hitting the ball well over the past 30 days, posting a .335 wOBA, which is only slightly behind the Yankees at .337. The Cubs also are the fifth-best fastball hitting team in MLB at a +22.4 run value on the season, which is a pitch Severino goes to 47.8% of the time.
Finally, the Cubs bullpen actually leads MLB with a 3.33 xFIP and has the same LOB% as the Yankees’ bullpen that is currently without Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loáisiga and Chad Green.
I have the Cubs projected at +181, so I like the value on them at +210 at PointsBet and would play it down to +205
Pick: Cubs +210; bet down to +205.
Brewers vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
Aaron Ashby vs. Erick Fedde
Aaron Ashby is an incredibly exciting talent added to an already stacked Brewers rotation. The lefty is already putting up an xERA and xFIP below 3.00 in 77 2/3 innings. The reason is because he has some nasty pitches in his arsenal. He first has a sinking fastball that averages 96 mph with some insane movement.
Aaron Ashby, Elevated Frisbee 97mph Two Seamer…with Tail. pic.twitter.com/D4lsiZC3Ul
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 4, 2022
Then he backs it up with an insane slider that hitters have not been able to touch this season, as it’s sporting a 43.4% whiff rate and is responsible for 33 of his 60 strikeouts.
Aaron Ashby, Mean Sliders. 😤
11th and 12th Ks. pic.twitter.com/AAAGJo2dAS
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 31, 2022
The Nationals‘ lineup is very below average against left-handed pitching, ranking 21st with a .303 wOBA and only 92 wRC+. What is crazy is a lot of that has to do with Juan Soto, who has been awful versus lefties this year, going 9-for-75.
Erick Fedde has made improvements this year and has become a middle-of-the-road starter. His 4.37 xERA is the best of his career and lowering his HR/FB rate over 7% from last year has made a difference. He mainly relies on a sinker/curveball/cutter combination, with all three pitches being extremely average. allowing over a .325 xwOBA. The Brewers have a -5.5 run value against sinkers, -2.9 against curveballs, and -1.2 against cutters. So this isn’t the best of matchups for them.
Even though the Brewers have the better starting pitcher and bullpen, I am still showing value on the Nationals, given the edge they have offensively. I have Washington projected at +110, so I like the value on them at +155, which is currently available at Ceasers.
Pick: Nationals +155
Athletics vs. Guardians, 7:10 p.m. ET
Paul Blackburn vs. Triston McKenzie
Paul Blackburn has actually made some great improvements this season that has lowered his xERA from 5.44 in nine starts in 2021 to 3.41 in 11 starts in 2022. He’s lowered his HR/9 rate from 1.88 to 0.46, his hard hit % allowed is down more than 10%, but most importantly his barrel % allowed has been cut in half to only 3%, which is in the top 12% among qualified starting pitchers.
All of that is massive because he is a heavy sinker-ball pitcher with a changeup, cutter, and curveball as his secondary pitches. With three of his four pitches designed to be down in the zone and beneath the hitters’ sweet spot, these are all really encouraging signs to show that this performance over 11 starts is not a fluke.
Paul Blackburn, Mean Curveballs. 😡 pic.twitter.com/VwMX4LiN13
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 11, 2022
After a hot start to the season, Cleveland has cooled off offensively, with only a .290 wOBA in the last 30 days. Over that timespan, the Guardians been decent against cutters and changeups (+10.3 run value), but against sinkers and curveballs have a been a challenge (-7.1 run value). So look for Blackburn to stick to his top two pitches.
Triston McKenzie is starting to trend back to what we saw when he burst onto the scene in 2020, but there are still some concerning signs. His K/9 rate has plummeted all the way down to 7.60, his hard hit % allowed is at 43,3%, which is the highest of his career, and his fastball is allowing a .358 xwOBA, per Baseball Savant. So even though I have the A’s rated as the worst lineup in MLB, it’s not guarantee that McKenzie is going to mow them down.
I have the bullpen matchup pretty even as well because even though Cleveland has the third-best bullpen ERA at 2.92, its xFIP is up at 3.56, so it has been over-performing, while Oakland’s xFIP is sitting at 4.20.
Since I have the A’s projected at +130, I like the value on them at +150 at DraftKings and would play them down to +145.
Pick: A’s +150
Blue Jays vs. Tigers, 7:10 p.m. ET
José Berríos vs. Elvin Rodriguez
The starting pitching difference in this game is massive given how bad Elvin Rodriguez has been this season. This will be his fifth start in the big leagues and he’s coming off giving up 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees in his last outing.
There’s not really much to like about Rodriguez so far, yes, he’s not as bad as his current ERA, which is over 10, but an xERA and xFIP over five is pretty terrible by MLB standards. Now he has to face one of the most stacked lineups in baseball that is top six in wOBA against right-handed pitching and has a +19.1 combined run value against Rodriguez’s arsenal of fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball.
José Berríos has been bad in 2022, sporting a 6.58 xERA through 11 starts. However, if there ever was a time to find his form, this is the lineup to do it against. The Tigers are one of the worst fastball hitting lineups in baseball with a -29.9 run value. They also have a -12.5 run value against curveballs. So for Berríos who mainly relies on those two pitches, it should be a good matchup for him.
Pick: Blue Jays First Five Innings -0.5 (-140)
Pirates vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Roansy Contreras vs. Spencer Strider
In his brief time in the big leagues, Roansy Contreras has been an absolute stud. In 23 1/3 innings he has a 1.93 and 3.23 xERA, while also sporting a K/9 rate over 10.
He’s the Pirates’ No. 3 prospect and has a really nice three-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball and slider. His fastball has a ton of life, averaging 96.7 mph and is in the 87th percentile for spin rate and 92nd for velocity. He’s still trying to figure out how to control, but it’s a Major League-level fastball. His slider is absolutely wicked, allowing only a .139 xBA and has a 48.2% whiff rate.
Roansy Contreras, 3 First Inning Ks…with 2 Swords. ⚔️⚔️ pic.twitter.com/06nlcPgnfp
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 4, 2022
Sliders are a pitch the Braves‘ lineup has been struggling against this season, as they have a -6.7 run value against them. So Contreras could have a decent matchup.
Spencer Strider has been dealing this year with a 3.20 xERA in a little over 30 innings. He has some nasty stuff, which is why his K/9 is at 13.50. His fastball has crazy life with a 98.4 mph average and over a 20% whiff rate. He backs it up with a great slider and changeup that both have over a 40% whiff rate. However, he is having issues with control because his BB/9 rate is at 4.96. The Pirates have been struggling against sliders, but do have a positive run value against fastballs and changeups.
The Braves are a tad overpriced here with the starting pitching matchup being pretty even. Since I have the Pirates projected at +155 for the full game and +138, I love the value on Pittsburgh +185 at PointsBet for the full game and +165 BetMGM for the first five innings.
Pick: Pirates +185 & Pirates First Five Innings +165
Orioles vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET
Bruce Zimmermann vs. Jonathan Heasley
Really bad pitching matchup in Kansas City tonight. Both starters have an xERA over 6.00, so that means there are likely going to be a ton of runs. Baltimore does have a significant advantage in the bullpen with their xFIP at 4.01 with Kansas City dead last in MLB at 4.55.
Rays vs. Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET
Drew Rasmussen vs. Devin Smeltzer
The starting pitching matchup heavily favors the Rays in Minnesota. Drew Rasmussen has been incredibly solid in the middle of Tampa Bay’s rotation with a 3.87 xERA and 3.41 xFIP. He’s added a cutter to his arsenal this season, which has become his go-to pitch, throwing it more often than his fastball and slider. He is due for some negative regression on all three of his pitches, but he’ll need to utilize his slider a lot because that is the one pitch the Twins have struggled against this season (-11.6 run value).
Devin Smeltzer is the epitome of negative regression. Sure, he has a 1.93 ERA through five starts, but his xERA is up at 3.41 and xFIP is over a full run higher at 4.64. The reason for that is because his fastball hasn’t gotten tagged like it should be.
Devin Smeltzer’s Fastball
(stats via Baseball Savant)
The Rays’ lineup is pretty average versus left-handed pitching and fastballs, but Smeltzer is going to come back down to earth at some point.
Since I have the Rays projected at -131 for the first five innings, I like the value on them at -114, but I would only play it up to -116.
Pick: Rays First Five Innings -114
Rangers vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET
Glenn Otto vs. Davis Martin
Glenn Otto really shouldn’t be an underdog for the first five innings against Davis Martin. Yes, Otto has been struggling with an xERA over five and a BB/9 rate that is up at 5.12. However, given where he was projected at a full run and walk per 9 innings lower before the season, he should be bouncing back a little bit.
Davis Martin wasn’t suppose to be in the majors this year, but injuries forced the White Sox hand and now he’s here. He’s only the White Sox 22nd-ranked prospect and through two starts, he’s shown he’s not quite ready for the big leagues. In 10 1/3 innings, he has a 5.85 xERA and his fastball got shelled for a .438 wOBA.
The Rangers‘ lineup is starting to turn a corner with 119 wRC+ over the past two weeks. The improvements really have come against fastballs, as they couldn’t hit them to save their life the first month of the season, but over the past month they have a +5.8 run value. So they should be able to touch up Martin.
Chicago has a pretty big edge in the bullpen, which is why I am showing value on the Rangers for the first five innings and not the full game. Since I have Texas projected at -118 for the first five innings, I am showing value at +105 at DraftKings and would play it down to -102.
Pick: Rangers First Five Innings +105; play down to -102
Marlins vs. Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
Pablo López vs. Luis Garcia
We have a really nice pitching matchup in Houston tonight between Pablo Lopez and Luis Garcia.
Lopez has been rock-solid, ranking in the top 20 of qualified MLB starters in xERA, xFIP, hard hit % allowed, and chase rate. He mainly utilizes a changeup/fastball combination with his changeup being one of the best you’ll see in National League. It’s only allowing a .216 xBA, .262 xwOBA, and has over a 40% whiff rate.
Pablo López, Sick Changeups. 👌 pic.twitter.com/S5JVOEu3ro
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 8, 2022
The Astros are once again a top-five offense in baseball, but they aren’t hitting changeups that well (-3.7 run value). So it could be a decent matchup for Lopez tonight.
Garcia is basically putting up the exact same type of numbers he did last season, which is not a knock because having an xERA below 3.50 is really good. The thing is, he’s a fastball-heavy pitcher going up against a Marlins lineup that has been hitting the cover off of both fastballs and right-handed pitching. Miami has the third-best wOBA against righties in MLB and is +11.1 runs against fastballs.
I only have the Marlins projected at +105, so I’d play Miami at +130 at DraftKings and anything down to +120.
Pick: Marlins +130
Reds vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET
Luis Castillo vs. Andre Pallante
We have a big time starting pitching mismatch here depending on how long Andre Pallante will go. He made 17 appearances out of the bullpen before making his first start on June 4th against the Cubs, going four innings and giving up only one run, which sound great. However, his xFIP for that start was at 6.21, so it seems going through the lineup multiple times is -EV for Pallante and the Cardinals.
Luis Castillo is essentially a mirror image of what he was in 2021, which is a sub-3.5 xERA pitcher with a K/9 rate over nine and a HR/9 rate below one. He’ll have to utilize his sinker and changeup quite often tonight because the Cardinals are one of the best fastball hitting teams in baseball (+29.6 run value).
While the starting pitching matchup favors Cincinnati, St. Louis has big edges in the bullpen and defensively. I am not showing any value on this game, so this is a pass for me.
Mets vs. Angels, 9:38 p.m. ET
Tylor Megill vs. Jhonathan Diaz
Tylor Megill is making a comeback from a bicep injury that has sidelined him for almost a month, so we’ll see how long he goes tonight. Before the injury he was rock-solid posting an xERA and xFIP below four.
In terms of this matchup against the Angels, who finally ended their 13-game losing streak against the Red Sox, its a decent one. The Angels do not hit fastballs very well, in fact, they’re 26th in MLB with a -13.4 run value. Megill is a heavy fastball pitcher, going to it 56% of the time. However, the Angels are +8.4 against his three off-speed pitches, so we’ll see if he can dominate with his fastball.
Jhonathan Diaz is getting recalled from Triple A to make a spot start, like he’s already done twice this season. There is not much to get excited about with Diaz. He’s the Angels 23rd ranked prospect, 4.91 xFIP in his 13 and 2/3rds innings in the big leagues, and has a below average sinker and fastball, two pitches the Mets have been feasting on this year.
I don’t have any value on this game and to be honest there is a lot of unknowns with how long Megill is actually going to pitch and Diaz coming up from Triple A again. So, I am passing.
Rockies vs. Padres, 9:40 p.m. ET
Chad Kuhl vs. Joe Musgrove
On the surface, this looks like an easy Padres win with their best pitcher, Joe Musgrove, on the mound, but the starting pitching matchup is a lot close than you would think, given how good Chad Kuhl has been for Colorado this season.
Sure, Colorado’s offensive numbers are quite terrible away from Coors Field and the bullpen has the third-worst xFIP in MLB. However, there is value on the Rockies at +225 at WynnBet in this matchup considering I have them projected at +185, but I would only play them +205 or better
Pick: Rockies +215; play down to +205.
Red Sox vs. Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET
Rich Hill vs. Marco Gonzales
Two aging soft-tossing lefties going up against each other late on a Friday night, what more could you ask for?
Through 10 starts, Rich Hill hasn’t been that bad, posting a 4.34 xERA. His K/9 has plummeted, but his BB/9 rate is at 2.20, which is his best mark in almost a decade. Relying on his curveball and slider are going to be key for Hill tonight because the Mariners are the best fastball hitting team in baseball with a +34.2 run value already on the season.
Marco Gonzales is overperforming once against just like he did last season. So far in 2022, his ERA is sitting at 3.59, but his xERA is over a full run higher at 4.94. The matchup against the Red Sox is an interesting one. The Red Sox crush left handed pitching (.331 wOBA, 114 wRC+), but they’re really bad against sinkers (-8.3 run value), which is Gonzales go-to pitch.
I have this projected dead on with what the odds makers have, so I will be passing. Might look to take Under 8.5 runs if it hits plus money or better, but other than that I am staying away.
Dodgers vs. Giants, 10:10 p.m. ET
Walker Buehler vs. Jakob Junis
Walker Buehler is trending in the wrong direction with his xERA climbing above four for the first time in his career. He’s given up three or more earned runs in four of his last five starts and was shelled by the Mets in his last outing, giving up five earned, lasting only 2 1/3 innings.
The main problem is his fastball has been really bad, as opponents have a .334 xBA and .459 xwOBA against it this season. His spin rate is down and the exit velocity for opposing hitters against it is up considerably. What’s even more concerning is he now has to face a Giants lineup that has been obliterating fastballs to the tune of a +29 run value this year.
Jakob Junis is keeping me off the Giants here because I am not a believer in him being a consistent starter. Yes, he’s having a good season posting a 2.51 ERA, but looking at that at face value is dangerous given what lies beneath the surface.
(image via FanGraphs)
His xERA and xFIP are a full run higher than his actual ERA and given the fact that he only had one season in Kansas City with an xERA and xFIP below five, you can’t convince me that he’s turned a corner after six starts in San Francisco.