MLB Picks, Expert Predictions, Odds Today for Cardinals vs. Rangers & More on Wednesday, June 7
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Flaherty (Cardinals)
Welcome back to the Wednesday MLB slate breakdown. We only have five day games on Wednesday, with most matchups scheduled for the evening.
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Mariners vs. Padres
4:10 p.m. ET · George Kirby vs. Michael Wacha
George Kirby has been outstanding for the Mariners this season and has turned into their ace.
He has a 3.22 xERA with one of the lowest BB/9 rates in baseball at 0.76. So, it's no wonder he leads all qualified starting pitchers in Location+ with a rating of 111 and is third — behind only Spencer Strider and Pablo Lopez — in Pitching+ at 109.
Kirby is allowing a xwOBA under .300 on his top three pitches — fastball, sinker and curveball — so he isn't vastly overperforming his expected metrics, unlike his opposing starting pitcher Michael Wacha.
Wacha vastly outperformed his expected metrics with Boston last season and through 10 starts this year, he already has a 4.22 xERA.
That's because all of his pitches are incredibly below average. He only has a Stuff+ rating of 90, but his Location+ is 103, so he’s getting by with very below average stuff.
What tends to happen with pitchers like Wacha is when they eventually get hit hard, the balls will start finding gaps or going over the fence.
Both the Padres and the Mariners have been below average against right-handed pitching, and over the past 30 days, the Mariners have been slightly better offensively, with a .302 wOBA compared to a .292 for the Padres.
I have Kirby and the Mariners projected at -127 for the first five innings, so I like the value on them at -106 (FanDuel).
Pick: Mariners First Five Innings (-106)
Dodgers vs. Reds
7:10 p.m. ET · Noah Syndergaard vs. Brandon Williamson
This is going to be an absolute hit parade.
Noah Syndergaard is just not the pitcher he was when he was with the Mets, and he knows it.
Before he had Tommy John surgery in 2019, his fastball and sinker were averaging over 97 mph. Now, every one of his pitches is averaging under 93 mph, and since he was a power pitcher before his Tommy John surgery, he just can’t pitch like he used to.
He’s abandoned his slider and is now throwing a cutter, which means he now only has one off-speed pitch — a changeup. It’s the only pitch that he's allowing a xwOBA under .300 on. He's allowing a 5.44 xERA with a 1.56 BB/9 rate.
He’s pitching to contact considering his K/9 rate is 6.53 and he’s getting hit, as he’s in the bottom 10% of MLB pitchers in expected batting average allowed.
Image via Baseball Savant
Brandon Williamson has also had his struggles to begin his MLB career. It's a small sample size, but through four starts, he has an xERA over six and a BB/9 rate sitting at 4.71.
He's a top-10 prospect in the Reds organization, and they clearly see something in him to bring him up. But his changeup has really been his only effective pitch so far.
His main two pitches are a fastball and cutter and both have been getting shelled, allowing an xwOBA over .430.
The Dodgers may not be average against left-handed pitching, but they do have a +22 run value off fastballs and cutters.
I have 7.2 runs projected for the first five innings, so I think there's good value on Over 6.5 runs at +110 (FanDuel).
Pick: First Five Innings Over 6.5 Runs (+110)
Orioles vs. Brewers
7:40 p.m. ET · Dean Kremer vs. Corbin Burnes
Dean Kremer will be on the mound for Baltimore, and he's been bad this season. He has an xERA of 6.38, but his actual ERA is down at 4.43.
Kremer has two pitches in his arsenal with a Stuff+ rating over 100 — his fastball and slider — but overall, he only has a Stuff+ rating of 99 and Pitching+ rating of 100.
This season, he’s throwing his fastball over 39% of the time, which is a change from last season when he was more reliant on that cutter.
So far, his fastball has allowed a .310 xwOBA and .399 xwOBA.
Corbin Burnes has been struggling this season, but he's certainly nowhere near as bad as Kremer. Burnes is sitting with a 3.61 xERA, which is his highest since 2019.
His Stuff+ has been down from years past at 119, but let's not get things twisted — that's still the sixth-best Stuff+ rating among qualified starting pitchers.
Burnes' cutter is one of the best in baseball, with a Stuff+ rating of 139. Opposing hitters this season have had better success against it, but his cutter sets up his deadly off-speed combination of curveball and changeup.
He's allowing a xwOBA under .180 on both of those pitches and they've been almost unhittable.
The Orioles do have a significantly better offense than the Brewers, but not enough to make up for the talent gap between these two starting pitchers.
I have the Brewers projected at -178, so I like the value on them at -140 (DraftKings).
Pick: Brewers -140
Cardinals vs. Rangers
8:05 p.m. ET · Jack Flaherty vs. Jon Gray
Jack Flaherty will be on the mound for the Cardinals, and we're going on four years now where he's been not only outperforming his expected metrics, but he’s been above a 4.5 xERA pitcher.
This season, he's been better, but he's still at a 4.61 xERA because his BB/9 rate is up at 4.97 through 12 starts.
The Stuff+ for Flaherty is really concerning — only 92 through those eight starts — and his Pitching+ rating is 99, both of which are the worst in the Cardinals' rotation.
Flaherty's top four pitches of fastball, slider, cutter and curveball haven't been effective, as he's allowing a xwOBA of over .300 on all of them. He goes to his fastball over 40% of the time, which is a problem against the Rangers, who have a +24.4 run value against fastballs.
The Rangers have actually been one of the best offenses in baseball this season against right-handed pitching. They're second behind the Rays with a .344 wOBA and 120 wRC+.
In fact, the Rangers have positive run values against every single pitch type this season.
Jon Gray is another overperformer just like Flaherty. Gray is currently sitting with a 2.59 ERA, but his xERA is up at 4.31.
As you can see below, a lot of the overperformance is coming on his off-speed pitches that haven't been as good as they appear on paper.
Image via Baseball Savant
Gray does only have a Stuff+ rating of 95, with his slider being the only pitch with a Stuff+ rating over 105. That means he's due to regress at some point.
The Cardinals are eighth in wOBA and wRC+ against right-handed pitching and have been inside the top 10 in almost every offensive metric over the past 30 days.
I have 6.3 runs projected for the first five innings and 10.4 for the full game, so I like the value on Over 5 runs for the five five innings at +100 (Caesars) and Over 9 runs for the full game at -105 (BetMGM).
Pick: First Five Innings Over 5 Runs (+100) & Full Game Over 9 Runs (-105)