MLB Picks, Expert Predictions, Odds Today for Tigers vs. Rangers & More on Wednesday, June 28
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images. Pictured: Joey Wentz (Tigers)
Welcome back to the Wednesday MLB slate breakdown. We have only five day games on Wednesday, with most matchups scheduled for the evening.
Follow all of B.J. Cunningham's bets in the Action Network app! Click here.
Reds vs. Orioles
7:05 p.m. ET · Luke Weaver vs. Kyle Gibson
Luke Weaver has been bad this season — posting an expected ERA over five — but he has one main problem: he's giving up way too many home runs. His HR/9 is at 2.09, and that's what can happen when you play in a high home run environment like Great American Ballpark on a consistent basis.
There's really not much else positive you can say about Weaver's season at this point, as all of the other Statcast metrics are not encouraging.
Let's not kid ourselves though, there's no way Kyle Gibson should be this big of a price. Gibson is sitting with a 4.92 xERA with a pretty normal BB/9 and HR/9 rate.
So, what's gone wrong for him? Well, he's extremely below average in almost every single advanced metric that matters.
Image via Baseball Savant
Gibson can throw five different pitches, but he mainly relies on a sinker and changeup. But most importantly, all of his pitches are designed to be down in the zone. So, naturally he usually has a high ground ball rate.
However, this season, his ground ball rate is only 44%, which is the lowest of his career. The Reds have the fourth-lowest ground ball rate in baseball against right-handed pitching.
There really isn't much of a difference in the offensive matchup either, as the Reds have a slightly better wOBA against right-handed pitching than the Orioles do.
So, I like the value on the Reds at +150, as I only have the Orioles projected at -121.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Astros vs. Cardinals
7:45 p.m. ET · Cristian Javier vs. Miles Mikolas
Cristian Javier is having a lackluster season, but he shouldn't be an underdog to Miles Mikolas.
Javier's Stuff+ has gone down considerably from last season — which is concerning — but we need to keep in context that his current Stuff+ rating is that of an above average starting pitcher.
Cristian Javier Stuff+
— Jon Anderson (@JonPgh) June 22, 2023
Javier throws his fastball and slider a little over 90% of the time, and although both pitches are worse than last season, his fastball is only allowing an xwOBA of .331 and his slider is only allowing .276 to opposing hitters.
That's still pretty good compared to most MLB starting pitchers, and it's certainly better than his opposing starting pitcher.
The Cardinals have been very average against right-handed fastballs and sliders this season — only having a +3.3 run value and .337 xwOBA.
Mikolas has been so much worse than Javier, posting a 5.12 xERA with a 1.83 BB/9 rate and 0.96 HR/9 rate. Mikolas has been so bad in a lot of the Statcast data, including being in the third percentile for expected batting average allowed and second percentile for whiff rate.
Image via Baseball Savant
So, it's no surprise that Mikolas' Stuff+ rating is sitting at only 90 and only his slider has a Stuff+ rating above 100. That's certainly much worse than Javier.
I have the Astros projected at -127 for the full game and at -132 for the first five innings, so I like the value on them at +110 full game and +115 for the first five innings (bet365).
Pick:Astros +110 Full Game | +115 First Five Innings
Tigers vs. Rangers
8:05 p.m. ET · Joey Wentz vs. Dane Dunning
Joey Wentz has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball this season, posting a 5.72 xERA. And when he's on the mound, that usually means it's a bullpen game because very rarely will you see him face the order for a third time.
In fact, he's only gone over five innings in six of his 14 starts this season.
Wentz has a high BB/9 rate at 3.9 and a fairly high HR/9 rate (1.88), which doesn't help his cause when facing one of the best lineups in baseball.
He's fairly reliant on his fastball — which he throws over 44% of the time — and it's getting drilled to the tune of a .432 xwOBA. The Stuff+ on that pitch is pretty embarrassing as well, sitting at just 79. Overall, he only has a Stuff+ rating of 87 and a Pitching+ rating of 95.
The Rangers are not only one of the best lineups against left-handed pitching, but they absolutely obliterate left-handed fastballs. Texas has +17.6 run value against them, along with a .362 xwOBA.
Dane Dunning has been good this season, but he's due for a lot of negative regression. Dunning has a 2.76 ERA, but his expected ERA is almost double that of his actual ERA (5.09).
You're starting to see some of that negative regression lately as well, as he's given up 12 runs in his last four starts. Plus, his xFIP has been above five in all of those starts.
Looking at all of Dunning's Statcast metrics, he's a pitcher that's screaming for negative regression, even if he's facing one of the worst lineups in baseball.
Image via Baseball Savant
Both of these bullpens have been subpar in terms of xFIP, Stuff+ and K-BB% so this could end up being a hit parade.
I have 10.8 runs projected for this game, so I like the value on Over 9.5 runs at -105 (BetMGM).
Yankees vs. Athletics
9:40 p.m. ET · Domingo German vs. JP Sears
The Yankees' offense hasn't been the same ever since Aaron Judge got hurt on June 3; they've literally been the worst offense in baseball, with a .269 wOBA and 69 wRC+.
Image via FanGraphs
The Athletics actually do have the advantage offensively tonight, especially because they'll be pitching JP Sears. Sears is a lefty and the Yankees are in the bottom half of baseball against lefties, with only a .318 wOBA.
Sears has been bad this season, but he's made improvements. Through his first seven starts, his xERA was well above six, but he's since lowered it all the way down to 4.63 and has given up two or less runs in six of his last seven starts.
Sears basically only throws a fastball and a sweeper, and both pitches have had mixed results this season. But he's done a great job of staying in the zone, as he has one of the lowest walk rates in baseball at 5.1%.
The Yankees possess one of the most patient lineups against lefties, owning the third-highest BB%. Sears will take away one of their big advantages offensively.
Meanwhile, Domingo German has been bad this season. His xERA is up at 5.05 — which is right around what his actual ERA is — and he's having all sorts of problems with his control. His BB/9 rate is sitting at 3.11 and his HR/9 rate is at 1.87.
German was at his best early in his career when he was getting a lot of swings and misses, which in turn made him a 3.5-ERA type pitcher.
Now, his K/9 rate has dropped from its peak in 2018 (10.72) down to 8.59 this season.
German is unique in the fact that he throws a curveball as his main pitch (a little over 40% of the time). The Stuff+ on that pitch really isn't that impressive (102) this season, especially considering that last season that pitch had a Stuff+ rating of 111.
So, if his curveball isn't effective, then German overall isn't effective.
The A's bullpen still scares the living crap out of me, so I'm going to avoid them tonight and take Oakland for the first five innings at +112, as I have it projected at +102.