MLB Odds Today | Expert Picks, Predictions for Guardians vs White Sox, Diamondbacks vs Athletics, More (Tuesday, May 16)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Christian Walker
All 30 teams in Major League Baseball are in action on Tuesday night, highlighted by the AL East bout between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
The Mets look to battle back to .500 after an abysmal road trip, returning home to face the MLB-best Rays. Justin Verlander takes the mound after a dominant performance against Cincinnati in his second start of the season.
The Cardinals are 7-1 in their last eight and are starting to climb up the NL Central standings. St. Louis takes on first-place Milwaukee in the second game of the series as left-handers Wade Miley and Jordan Montgomery take the hill.
Some other top games include the battle of young promising arms in Josiah Gray and Jesus Luzardo in Miami, as well as Justin Steele and Cristian Javier in Houston.
Here are my thoughts on five games from Tuesday’s MLB slate.
Chase Silseth vs. Dean Kremer
If you’ve followed me at all the last two seasons, you know my love for fading Dean Kremer. He is a huge negative regression candidate and his advanced metrics are of grave concern.
The right-hander has a 6.96 xERA and is in the bottom 6% of all pitchers in xBA (.305) and xSLG (.562). His barrel rate has jumped to double-digits once again and his hard-hit rate sits just shy of 50%.
Despite a six-pitch arsenal, Kremer has yet to find a groove — or any pitch to rely on to get out of jams. Tuesday poses as a perfect fade opportunity as he enters off 12 innings of one-run ball against the Braves and Rays.
Kremer’s LOB% is 75.2, so it’s not like he’s been unlucky. In fact, it’s the opposite. He has been able to escape jams despite a low strikeout and chase rate and being hit extremely hard by opponents.
Chase Silseth will likely only throw a few innings as the Angels opener and finally looked mortal against the Rangers his last appearance. Walks have always been an issue for the right-hander, who projects as a low-to-mid 4 ERA pitcher. Last season in seven starts, Silseth had a 6.59 ERA and his xERA sat right in line at 6.61.
Rather than taking a full game position on this, I’m targeting the first five over 5. The Orioles bullpen ranks among MLB’s best and the Angels aren’t half bad themselves. I’d rather trust the offenses to get an early start once again here in Baltimore with wind blowing out to right 10 mph.
Pick: First 5 Innings Over 5
Two of my favorite young arms square off on Tuesday night as Josiah Gray and Jesus Luzardo take the mound.
Let’s start with Gray. The right-hander has taken tremendous strides in year three, nearly halving his barrel rate and decreasing his hard-hit rate to 32.3%. His four-pitch mix has been extremely effective, and he’s made the necessary adjustment of toning back his four-seam fastball more and introducing a cutter to the mix.
Gray is also forcing ground balls at a career rate (43.6%). Even with his strikeout rate dipping a bit, opponents have just a .222 xBA against the 25-year-old, who has shored up his xSLG fifth-tenths from last season (.419 to .363).
Luzardo has built off a dominant 2022 campaign and has been a steady hand for Miami this season. Despite a .344 BABIP, Luzardo has been able to mitigate damage to the tune of a 3.38 ERA (3.87 xERA).
The southpaw still has some barrel rate issues, but has otherwise held opponents to little success (.233 xBA). His slider has been extremely effective and and his changeup should positively regress (.355 BA vs. .249 xBA).
Miami is in its lesser split against Gray and while the Nationals have found success against southpaws, I trust Luzardo here and will continue to buy on his strong start to the season.
Rather than trusting both bullpens full game, I’m looking at a F5 under 4.5 and would back it down to 4. Playing at LoanDepot Park is also a benefit for Luzardo, who has a near-50% fly ball rate.
Pick: First 5 Innings Under 4.5
Rays vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET
Yonny Chirinos vs. Justin Verlander
I wrote about fading Yonny Chirinos in my weekly preview here, and despite a heavier price opening than expected, I have the Mets as sizable favorites despite their recent struggles. Jalen Beeks will open for Chirinos, who should handle the bulk of the load on Tuesday night.
There’s a lot of concerns about Chirinos. His xERA is over two full runs higher than actual and his K-BB% is in the negatives! His command issues and pitch-to-contact style is a perfect recipe for disaster. His xBA is up at .266 yet his BABIP is down at an unsustainable .187. For reference, closer to .300 is about league average.
Chirinos’ last two starts have combined for 10 1/3 innings of five-run ball. But the more concerning issue is that he has allowed eight hits and four walks while striking out one. Not getting any chases nor having overpowering stuff should allow for the New York bats to get going and finally right themselves after a down few weeks.
Justin Verlander takes the mound opposite Chirinos after seven innings of one-run ball against the Reds. He made his season debut recently, so there’s not much to take away from his previous two starts. His pitch mix remains the same and his velocity is as expected.
I am on an island here, but I would back the Mets to (-150) in this matchup. Anything higher, I would stake it for one unit.
Pick: Mets Moneyline (-150)
Shane Bieber does not look like the same pitcher from the last three seasons. His 2.61 ERA is a mirage of just how fortunate he has gotten through the first month and a half of the season.
Bieber’s strikeout rate has dipped below 24% for the first time in his career (in fact, it’s 18.8%). His xBA (.277), xSLG (.431) and hard-hit rate (48.7) are all career lows. His xERA is also nearly two runs higher than actual (4.53).
All this to say that the right-hander is a huge negative regression candidate. He’s benefitted from a .267 BABIP and 82.1 LOB%, both of which are unsustainable and should move toward the mean.
He’s matched up with Lance Lynn, who is starting to enter Dallas Keuchel territory. He, too, has seen career lows in xBA (.272), xSLG (.489) and hard-hit rate (40.3). But the most concerning metric has been Lynn’s barrel% and drastic increase in home runs.
Lynn has given up 4+ runs in each of his last five starts and has run into command issues in the process, which is uncharacteristic for the 34-year-old. His walk rate has doubled from last season, when he provided a steady hand in the back half of the year for Chicago.
Until Lynn proves otherwise, he’s a consistent fade for me, and given Bieber’s negative regression looming — there’s a lot of concerns on my end for the right-hander — I like the over in this matchup up to 8.5.
Also, for what it’s worth, RotoGrinder’s WeatherEdge projects a 38.5% increase in home runs and 20% increase in runs with wind blowing out 13 mph to right field. It’ll be nice and hot and balls should fly around Guaranteed Rate.
Pick: Over 8.5
Diamondbacks vs. Athletics, 9:40 p.m. ET
Tommy Henry vs. Kyle Muller
The Athletics’ pitching has been a disaster all season long. Not only does their starting pitching have an MLB-worst 7.47 ERA, but the bullpen is the league’s worst by over a run, too (7.01). Kyle Muller gets the start for Oakland and to say he’s been tattooed is an understatement.
The left-hander has a 7.75 xERA and ranks in the bottom 10% of all pitchers in xBA (.326), xSLG (.550), hard-hit% (49.6) and strikeout rate (14.6). He has issues with his command and is barreled on nearly 12% of all balls in play.
The cherry on top has been a noticeable decline in velocity of his fastball, which he throws nearly 50% of the time.
Opposite him is Tommy Henry, who is also a fastball-reliant pitcher who struggles with overpowering opponents. His strikeout rate is under 10% and his K-BB% is 0. He’s been a bit fortunate not to have been harder — .278 BABIP, 6.26 xFIP — and Tuesday presents as that perfect opportunity.
Take a look at the Athletics’ roster and their 9-34 record seems disastrous, which it is. But that’s because of their pitching woes, not offense. The A’s are actually ninth in wRC+ against left-handed pitching. That’s better than the Yankees, Blue Jays and Padres.
Arizona comes in at 21st in wRC+ vs. LHP, but I expect the Snakes to find success against Muller and the Athletics bullpen. Muller has just one start since April 11 where he’s given up less than four runs.
I like the over 9 in this matchup and would bet it up to 9.5 (-110).
Pick: Over 9
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