MLB Picks, Expert Predictions, Odds Today for Padres vs. Nationals & More on Wednesday, May 24
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Williams (Nationals)
Welcome back to the Wednesday MLB slate breakdown. We only have five day games on Wednesday, with most matchups scheduled for the evening.
The biggest storylines today include a huge pitching matchup in Philly — Zac Gallen taking on Ranger Suarez — and huge divisional matchups in the Bronx, Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
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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White Sox vs. Guardians
1:10 p.m. ET · Michael Kopech vs. Cal Quantrill
Michael Kopech has been a disaster to begin this season. He has no control over his arsenal and his xERA has ballooned up over six. He’s also sitting with a 5.01 BB/9 rate with over 50 innings pitched, along with a 2.15 HR/9 rate.
The problem for Kopech has been his fastball, which he’s become way too reliant on. Kopech throws his fastball over 63% of the time, and that’s a problem when opposing hitters have a .385 xwOBA against it.
The Stuff+ numbers on the pitch, though, are really impressive: 115 rating and he’s averaging 95.7 mph on it. He just has no control over it at the moment (95 Location+ rating).
Cal Quantrill has become one of the most frustrating pitchers to handicap because he consistently outperforms his expected metrics. This season, it’s a 4.01 ERA, but a 5.39 xERA.
He basically only throws a sinker and a cutter, so he’s very reliant on getting weak contact. So far this season, opposing hitters have over a .285 xBA and .340 xwOBA against both pitches.
Quantrill also has one of the lowest K/9 rates among qualified starting pitchers, while also being near the bottom in Stuff+, as well.
Both bullpens have struggled this season, especially the White Sox, who, as a group, have an ERA over five and have the highest BB/9 rate in baseball. Cleveland is in the bottom half of the league in terms of xFIP.
I have 9.1 runs projected for this game, so I like the value on Over 8 runs at -112 (FanDuel).
Pick: Over 8 (-112)
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Orioles vs. Yankees
7:05 p.m. ET · Tyler Wells vs. Nestor Cortes Jr.
Tyler Wells is a negative regression candidate going forward. His ERA through eight starts sits at 2.94, but his xERA is almost a full run higher at 3.84.
The Stuff+ numbers on Wells are quite concerning. He’s sitting with a 93 currently, but he does have a Location+ rating of 101, which would explain why he’s overperforming.
Wells has a five-pitch mix that he varies pretty easily. His three off-speed pitches have been pretty good, as his slider, curveball and changeup are all allowing a xwOBA under .290.
The problems for Wells have been with his fastball and cutter. As you can see below, he’s getting quite fortunate to not get hit as hard as he should:
Image via baseball savant
That’s not good news going up against a Yankees lineup that has been improving over the past few weeks. During the month of May, New York has the fifth-best wRC+ in baseball after a lackluster April.
Nestor Cortes Jr. is a big-time positive regression candidate. His ERA has ballooned up to 5.21, but his xERA is sitting at 3.79. There really should be no cause for concern with Cortes, who was never going to maintain being a 2.70 xERA pitcher over the long run.
The Stuff+ and Pitching+ ratings are essentially the same as last season, so there’s no reason to downgrade Nestor, even though his ERA is sitting over five at the moment.
This is a good positive regression meets negative regression type of pitching matchup, which would explain why I have the Yankees projected at -164. I like the value on them at -140 (PointsBet).
Pick: Yankees -140
Padres vs. Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET · Ryan Weathers vs. Trevor Williams
Given his horrific numbers in Triple-A last season, Ryan Weathers has pitched much better than expected. Weathers has a 3.99 xERA in a little over 20 innings pitched, but some of his other metrics are concerning.
Weathers only has a Stuff+ rating of 89, which is the lowest in the Padres’ rotation. He does have a Location+ rating of 101 — bringing his Pitching+ rating up to 95 — but that’s still considered below average by MLB standards.
He has a three-pitch mix of fastball, changeup and sweeper. All three pitches have been effective this season in a small sample size.
Despite being in last place in the NL East, the Nationals own one of the best offenses against left-handed pitching. The Nats have a .351 wOBA and 120 wRC+ against lefties this season, which is top-five in baseball.
They also have a +4.9 run value against the left-handed version of Weathers’ three pitches (fastball, changeup and sweeper).
Trevor Williams has been bad so far this season, with an xERA over five. He mainly comes at hitters with a fastball/sinker combination that he’s gotten away with a tad bit of luck on, as the xwOBA on both pitches is a little higher than the wOBA allowed.
Williams, though, will have a decent matchup against this Padres lineup.
Despite having maybe the most talent of anyone offensively in baseball, the Padres are bad against fastballs and sinkers. For the season, San Diego has a -8.0 run value and only a .251 xBA against the right-handed version of those two pitches.
I only have the Padres projected at -103, so I like the value on the Nationals at +130 (BetRivers).
Pick: Nationals +130
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