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MLB Picks, Expert Predictions, Odds Today for Guardians vs. White Sox, Mariners vs. Red Sox, More on Wednesday, May 17

MLB Picks, Expert Predictions, Odds Today for Guardians vs. White Sox, Mariners vs. Red Sox, More on Wednesday, May 17 article feature image

Matt Dirksen/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

  • Wednesday's MLB slate features both day games and evening games.
  • BJ Cunningham broke down his top three bets for Wednesday's games, including picks for Mariners vs. Red Sox and Guardians vs. White Sox.
  • Check out all three of Cunningham's top bets for Wednesday below.

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 LA with Sonny Gray taking on Dustin May, Gerrit Cole looking to continue his fine season against the Blue Jays in Toronto, and the season debut of Cardinals pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore.

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.

Follow all of B.J. Cunningham’s bets in the Action Network app! Click here.

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Reds vs. Rockies

2:10 p.m. ET · Graham Ashcraft vs. Austin Gomber

It’s really shocking to see Gomber as a slight favorite over Graham Ashcraft here.

Ashcraft was a perfectly solid MLB starting pitcher last season who underperformed. He posted a 4.89 ERA, but his xERA came in at 4.02. He also had a 4.09 xFIP, a BB/9 rate at 2.57 and kept his HR/9 rate under 1.00.

Through eight starts this season, he’s been at a 4.3 xERA, which is right around where he was last season. He’s had a couple of bad starts, but overall, the Stuff+ rating of 125 is third-best in baseball behind only Shohei Ohtani and Spencer Strider.

He doesn’t have a high strikeout rate because two of his main three pitches are a sinker and cutter, but he attacks batters with a lot of velocity; both of those pitches are averaging over 97 mph. Although his velocity is down a tad on both of those pitches, the spin rates are up pretty substantially, allowing him to get more action on both pitches.

Meanwhile, Gomber has been a complete trainwreck this season. Through eight starts, he has a 6.48 xERA with a Stuff+ rating of 76 and a Pitching+ rating of 90. The problem with Gomber is that he’s a fly-ball pitcher playing in the worst park to be a fly-ball pitcher. His HR/9 rate is already up to 1.90 this season.

Another problem is that he’s very reliant on his fastball, going to it over 40% of the time. However, he’s averaging just 90.7 mph on it. That has caused opposing hitters to put up a .492 xwOBA against it.

I have Ashcraft and the Reds projected at -162 for the first five innings, so I think there’s tremendous value on them at -113 (BetRivers).

Mariners vs. Red Sox

7:10 p.m. ET · Marco Gonzales vs. Brayan Bello

For the past four seasons, Marco Gonzales has over-performed his expected ERA. Through seven starts, he’s been right around where he was last season at a 4.62 xERA, which is well below average.

Gonzales averages just 88 mph on his fastball and 86 mph on his cutter, and both pitches are allowing an xwOBA above .380 this season. He has one of the worst K/9 rates for qualified starting pitchers at 6.14, and he’s very reliant on getting groundballs with his changeup, which is his best pitch.

The Red Sox have been one of the best lineups in baseball and have been solid against left-handed pitching, ranking 11th in wOBA. More importantly, they have a .289 xBA and .354 xwOBA against soft-tossing lefties who throw less than 90 mph.

Brayan Bello has not been good this season, putting up an xERA of 5.07 and allowing one of the highest hard-hit percentages in baseball. However, his Pitching+ rating sits at 101, which is the same as Chris Sale and Nick Pivetta, so he’s not a drastically worse starter in the Red Sox rotation.

He has a four-pitch mix of sinker, slider, changeup and fastball. His changeup has been his best pitch this season, allowing only a .166 xBA and .168 xwOBA.

The Mariners have not been good versus right-handed pitching this season, owning just a .304 wOBA to rank 25th in MLB.

I have the Red Sox projected at -139, so I like the value on them at -120 (DraftKings).

Guardians vs. White Sox

8:10 p.m. ET · Peyton Battenfield vs. Mike Clevinger

Peyton Battenfield was supposed to just make a spot start for the injured Adam Civale, but he has found himself a spot in the Guardians’ rotation.

He wasn’t a highly-touted prospect in Cleveland’s organization. In fact, his expected metrics in Triple-A last season were actually quite bad, with a 3.63 ERA but an xFIP of 5.72.

He’s over-performing through five starts this season, as his actual ERA sits at 4.45, but his xERA goes up to 5.39.

The problem with Battenfield — and why he wasn’t in the Guardians’ plans before the season — is that he really throws only a fastball and a cutter, with both pitches rating severely below average by Stuff+. His fastball has a Stuff+ rating of 70, while his cutter owns a rating of 72. That’s a guy who belongs in the minors, at least for the time being.

The White Sox have been very good this season against right-handed fastballs and cutters, putting up a .286 xBA, .359 xwOBA and 8.9 run value.

Mike Clevinger has also shown improvement from last season.

His xERA is about the same as last season at 4.78 because his BB/9 rate is up. However, he’s narrowed down his pitch mix to basically just his fastball and slider, which has been to his benefit. His slider has been his best pitch, allowing just a .215 xBA and .264 xwOBA. The Stuff+ on his fastball is up from 100 to 102, and his slider is up from 103 to 110 this season as well.

The Guardians have not been good against right-handed fastballs and sliders this season, owning a .312 xwOBA and a -14.7 run value against them.

I have Clevinger and the White Sox projected at -132 for the first five innings, so I like the value on them at -115 (DraftKings).

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