MLB Picks, Expert Predictions for Rockies vs Diamondbacks, Twins vs Astros & More

MLB Picks, Expert Predictions for Rockies vs Diamondbacks, Twins vs Astros & More article feature image

Kyle Cooper/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images. Pictured: Rockies pitcher Dinelson Limet.

  • Seven day games and seven night games — what more could MLB fans want?
  • With the afternoon games behind us, BJ Cunningham turns his attention to Twins vs. Astros and Rockies vs. Diamondbacks on the evening slate.
  • Check out Cunningham's best bets for Wednesday's MLB games below.

Welcome back to the Wednesday MLB slate breakdown. We're perfectly balanced today with seven day games and seven night games on the docket.

Be sure to check out our MLB odds page for up-to-the-minute odds changes across multiple sportsbooks, as well as our MLB Projections page, which helps you find the best value across the board.

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Pirates vs. Giants

3:45 p.m. ET · Mitch Keller vs. Alex Wood

Mitch Keller has been incredible for the Pirates this season and has vaulted himself into a dark horse Cy Young candidate. Keller now owns a 3.03 xERA, which ranks seventh among qualified starting pitchers.

So, what has taken him to the next level? His fastball.

The velocity on his fastball hasn't changed at all, sitting on average at 95.5 mph. But the movement on the pitch has improved with the Stuff+ moving from 97 to 107, and his control on the pitch has been elite with a Location+ rating of 105.

Keller was once near the bottom of baseball in hard hit rate allowed, but in just two years, he's lowered his hard hit rate allowed by almost 20% to 28.7%, which is in the 97th percentile, per Baseball Savant.

Keller has also added a cutter to his arsenal to complement his fastball, along with his sinker and sweeper. It's done wonders by giving hitters a different look between the two pitches.

His sweeper has a Stuff+ rating of 145, which is second-best in all of baseball. Opposing hitters have just a .200 xBA against it.

Mitch Keller, Sick 84mph Sweeper. 🤒

21 inches of horizontal break

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 20, 2023

Alex Wood has been a perfectly average starting pitcher the last two seasons with his xERA sitting around 4.00.

Wood is a pitcher who needs to generate groundballs to be successful, which he has done a pretty solid job of. But this season, his control has been a bit off with his BB/9 rate up at 4.56.

The underlying numbers are a little concerning as well because of his lack of control and the fact that his Stuff+ rating was an average 98. His Pitching+ rating also sits at just 92, which is the lowest in the Giants' rotation.

I have the Pirates projected at -102 favorites, so I like the value on them at +110.

Twins vs. Astros

8:10 p.m. ET · Louie Varland vs. Hunter Brown

Louie Varland has had a mediocre start to his career back in the big leagues with his xERA up over 5.00.

His main problem is that he's giving up way too many long balls with a HR/9 rate of 2.38. He does have a Stuff+ rating of 100 and a Pitching+ rating 0f 106, so if he can get the home run issue figured out, he will have a future in the Twins' rotation.

Varland has a four-pitch combination of fastball, sinker, slider and changeup, but none of them have been that effective. They're all allowing an xwOBA over .320, but the Stuff+ ratings on his fastball and slider are over 105, so I would expect some improvement on those two pitches.

Meanwhile, the Astros' lineup is not as scary as it once was. Houston owns a .307 wOBA and 95 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, which ranks 24th in baseball.

Hunter Brown has been really good for the Astros, but he's slightly over-performing with an ERA sitting at 3.12 but an xERA up at 3.80.

His curveball has been close to unhittable, but his fastball and slider are a bit of a different story. Both pitches are allowing an xwOBA over .350, which is the reason why he's in the 18th percentile for average exit velocity allowed and hard hit rate allowed.

The Twins have been solid versus right-handed pitching this season with a wRC+ of 106, which ranks top-10 in baseball.

I only have the Astros projected as -123 favorites, so I like the value on the Twins at +155.

Rockies vs. Diamondbacks

9:40 p.m. ET · Dinelson Lamet vs. Tommy Henry 

This is a bet on the potential of Dinelson Lamet.

Three years ago, Lamet was a 2.97 xERA pitcher in the Padres' rotation. Since then, he's battled injuries and now finds himself with an ERA over 12 in the back end of the Rockies' rotation.

His fastball is completely shot with a Stuff+ rating of only 68 — although that's only in a 10-inning sample size.

For Lamet, though, it's all about the effectiveness of the slider he throws over 50% of the time. Last season it had a Stuff+ rating over 110, and opposing hitters had an xwOBA of just .216 against it. It's been just as effective this season; he has a Stuff+ rating of 107 with the pitch, and opponents own an xwOBA of just .223.

The problem for Lamet has been his control. He's walked a whopping 12 batters in 10.2 innings pitched this season, which is not the norm for him.

Arizona is the second-best fastball-hitting team in baseball, but it has a -2.8 run value against sliders.

Tommy Henry will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks, and we now have a 15-start sample size to say he's around a 4.7 xERA type of pitcher. He also has a fairly high walk rate around 4.00 per nine innings over the last two seasons.

Henry's two secondary pitches of curveball and changeup have been effective, allowing an xBA under .230.

However, his fastball has been well below average by MLB standards. The Stuff+ rating on his fastball is just 70, and opposing hitters have a .455 xwOBA against it. In fact, his Stuff+ rating overall is quite poor at only 82, and he has the lowest Pitching+ rating in the Diamondbacks' rotation.

Henry entering as this big of a favorite is a little crazy, so I like the value on the Rockies at +148.

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