MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Expert Picks for Astros vs Cardinals, Tigers vs Rangers, More (Tuesday, June 27)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Rogers
Tuesday's MLB slate brings with it 15 games, and there's five games in particular that I've got my eye on.
Continue reading below for my betting card for the MLB slate on Tuesday, June 27th.
Editor's note: Yu Darvish was scratched from tonight's start because of illness. Reiss Knehr will start for the Padres.
7:05 p.m. ET · Yu Darvish vs. Rich Hill
The San Diego Padres continue to be one of the most confusing ball clubs in recent memory. Despite a dominant offense — on paper — and three top of the rotation arms, they continue to vastly underperform.
Yu Darvish is a prime example. His xERA (3.61) is over a run lower than actual (4.84) and his numbers are nearly identical to last season’s dominance. His barrel rate has decreased and his xBA and hard-hit rate have only slightly taken a step back.
Darvish is a positive regression candidate. His struggles can be linked toward his struggles with both batting average on balls in play (.304) and his left on base rate (65.9). Both are significantly worse than his career averages (.283 & 75.9, respectively) and should even out as the season progresses.
Meanwhile, the Padres draw a favorable matchup with 43-year-old Rich Hill on Tuesday. The southpaw ranks in the bottom 16% of all pitchers in xBA, xSLG and barrel rate. He doesn’t generate many chases and has seen his hard-hit rate jump nearly 8%.
Despite that, his ERA (4.34) sits a run lower than expected (5.40). He is below-average in just about every metric and has been fortunate not to have been hit harder. He can’t overpower opponents and despite seeing his line drive rate increase 7% — his ground ball rate has suffered because of it — damage has been mitigated.
This is the perfect spot to back the Padres to steam roll a Pirates offense in disarray. They are without Bryan Reynolds and rank dead last in wRC+ over the last two weeks.
I played the Padres F5 (-170) and while that number has jumped a bit, I would either target the F5 -0.5 or lay the juice. If you would like to shorten the odds, look toward Fernando Tatis Jr. or Manny Machado to record a hit as a two-leg parlay.
Author's note: With Yu Darvish scratched, Charlie's new favorite bet for this game is Padres Team Total Over 5.
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7:20 p.m. ET · Joe Ryan vs. Bryce Elder
One of my favorite spots of the week, which I broke down here, was fading Bryce Elder and backing the Twins at plus money. This is a game that I have closer to a coin flip — especially in the first five innings — given the stark pitching edge on Tuesday night.
Elder is a consistent overperformer. His xERA (3.77) is well over a run higher than actual (2.40) and he ranks in the bottom 30% of all pitchers in hard-hit rate. He is a ‘nibbler’ by trait, throwing just 38.3% of his pitches inside the strike zone and relying on chases or favorable calls from the umpires.
But if opponents are patient and can get ahead of Elder, the threat for runs will quickly follow suit. The issue has been converting against the righty, who has an unsustainable 85.3 LOB%.
The aforementioned pitching advantage comes for Minnesota behind Joe Ryan. He has taken a gigantic step forward, with an xERA of 2.44 and sitting inside the top 15% of all pitchers in xBA, xSLG and barrel%.
Ryan has nearly halved his walk rate from a season ago and continues to impress. I would back Minnesota over the first five innings at anything plus money.
7:45 p.m. ET · Framber Valdez vs. Jordan Montgomery
In a similar position to Chicago, the Cardinals return home after traveling to and from London for a two-game weekend series with their NL Central foe.
Jordan Montgomery gets the nod for St. Louis. He bounced back in dominant fashion in June (1.80 ERA) after an abysmal May (6.04 ERA), but this is a good sell spot on the left-hander.
His expected metrics fall in the mid-to-high 3s, right around his actual ERA, and he’s got great command. He does run into occasional barrel issues (8.8%) and has been unable to keep his xBA below .250 for the second straight season.
The biggest change for Montgomery from last season has been a considerable decline in both chase and whiff rate. Montgomery’s curveball used to be his main putaway pitch, but that has since been swapped with a changeup. The curveball has generated over 10% less whiffs year over year.
Opposite him is Framber Valdez, a pitcher that I have had some concerns about. His xERA is up near 4, but xFIP (2.82) tells a completely different story. The biggest change for the left-hander has been a decline in ground balls which has led to an increase in xSLG/barrels.
But Valdez has seen his strikeout rate increase and walks decrease for the third consecutive season. He rarely forces himself into making mistakes and ranks above average in nearly every metric aside from average exit velocity and hard-hit rate .
Given the fact that I’m expecting a slow Cardinals offense out of the gate amid one of the most disappointing seasons in MLB. At a near-PK, I love the Astros in this matchup.
To me they have the advantage in each area: starting pitching, offense and bullpen. Back Houston to (-115).
8:05 p.m. ET · Ranger Suarez vs. Jameson Taillon
There’s a lot to unpack here in this matchup. The Cubs flew to London for a two-game series with the Cardinals and return home after a long flight back to the states for a matchup with the Phillies.
So not only could we see a slower Cubs offense out of the gate, but the wind is also blowing in near-double digits from center field. One of our Action Network pro systems, Wrigley Field Unders, has also been triggered for this matchup. It carries a 60% success rate:
Now, let’s dive into the pitching matchups briefly. It’s never easy to back Jameson Taillon amid the worst season of his career, but I do think he’s due for slight positive regression. The right-hander has a 59.2 LOB%. You read that right. That’s 14% less than his career average.
He’s been battered by the BABIP gods (.331) and has seen some spotty command in the process. But his expected metrics sit in the low-to-mid 5s while his actual ERA is just shy of 7.
Taillon is not a ground ball pitcher, which should play into his favor here with the wind blowing in from center field. He also is above-average in both average exit velocity and hard-hit% despite his struggles.
As for Ranger Suarez, he has also struggled with balls put into play (.315), but unlike Taillon, is a ground ball-heavy pitcher. His xFIP sits around his actual ERA of 3.50 while his xERA is in the low 4s.
Suarez returned from injury in mid-May and after struggling to settle in, he has found a groove. In four June starts, the southpaw has thrown 25 innings of three-run ball. His command has been better and he’s induced softer contact.
With both bullpens ranking in the top half of MLB in xFIP and all the conditions surrounding this game playing in favor of a low-scoring game, I would back the under 8.5 to (-120).
Tigers vs. Rangers
8:05 p.m. ET · Matt Manning vs. Martin Perez
Another game I broke down entering the week was the rematch between Martin Perez and the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit rang Perez’s bell for six runs over 4 2/3, but as the Rangers offense often does, it bailed out the left-hander. Since then, Perez has thrown three quality starts in his last four — he was blown up by Tampa — and his ERA has dropped to 4.38.
But there’s a lot of concern for Perez, who has taken a step back after a unicorn season last year. Expected metrics sit a half-run higher than actual at 4.99 and his xBA (.287) is his lowest since 2018.
Perez’s strikeout rate has also dropped over 5% from last season and has seen his xSLG, barrel and hard-hit rate jump across the board. Command can at times be shaky and with an extremely low whiff rate, Perez relies on inducing soft contact and a good defense for outs, an often disastrous plan.
Matt Manning makes his season debut for Detroit, rehabbing back from a broken foot. I am high on the former first round pick who just made two appearances last year. But in a larger sample size in 2022, Manning (12 starts) had a 3.43 ERA.
His Stuff+ that season also graded out well. His fastball was around league average (94) but was above average in both the slider (106) and curveball (101).
The Tigers have also been a league-average offense the last couple of weeks and draw their better split against a lefty. They already took Game 1 of the series against Texas and while I’m not trusting their bullpen entirely, I do think the offense continues to rally against Perez here.
I would back the Tigers (+160) over the first five innings, down to (+150).