MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks for Guardians vs. Astros, Orioles vs. Blue Jays & More (Tuesday, August 1)
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gavin Williams (Guardians)
Happy trade deadline day!
Every team takes the field today in what will surely be one of the most interesting slates of the season. Plenty of players will be on the move and lineups could very well change over the next 10 hours, since there's no day baseball.
Instead everyone is patiently — or nervously — awaiting which teams will take a step forward toward contention and who will continue to sell.
I've broken down my four best bets for Tuesday's slate below.
I will mention that I also like the Cubs moneyline, but that number has since gone out of range. If it does fall below -160, I would feel comfortable laying the juice.
Here's are my MLB predictions for Tuesday, August 1, including picks for Guardians vs. Astros, Orioles vs. Blue Jays and more.
MLB Predictions & Picks for Tuesday, August 1
Phillies vs. Marlins
6:40 p.m. ET · Ranger Suarez vs. Sandy Alcantara
It’s been a rocky season for reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. He was a prime fade candidate entering the season and struggled to defend his award with a 4.72 ERA in the first half of the season. He was notably a step behind, and his effectiveness rapidly declined.
But the second half of the season has been a different story for Alcantara.
Over the last 30 days, he ranks inside the top 10 in Stuff+, with every pitch in his arsenal grading out as above average. He's thrown a quality start in three of his last four appearances, one of which came against the Phillies, who he’ll take on again Tuesday night.
It’s hard to ask Alcantara to replicate his 2022 season, though all signs point toward a strong finish for the Marlins' ace. He's begun to limit hard contact more often — an issue in the first half — and maintains an elite chase rate (top 6%).
Over Alcantara’s last 10 starts, we’ve seen a decline in xFIP and increase in oswing%, two keys for effectiveness from a starting pitcher. This is a great indicator that he’s in rhythm and not struggling like in the early part of 2023.
He matches up against Ranger Suarez, who's trended in the opposite direction over the past month-plus. After a dominant June — where he was nearly unhittable — the southpaw posted a 5.82 ERA in July.
Suarez is below or right around league average across the board when it comes to advanced metrics. But compared to last season, Suarez’s xBA, xSLG and barrel% have all jumped up by a significant margin. Miami is fourth in wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Miami has quietly put together a dominant bullpen, and the addition of David Robertson gives me no cause for concern when it comes to late-game leads.
In a matchup where Alcantara is trending up and Suarez the opposite, I have no problem laying the juice.
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Rays vs. Yankees
7:05 p.m. ET · Zach Eflin vs. Carlos Rodon
A big reason as to why I like the under 8.5 in this matchup is the bullpen usage from the series opener.
Despite Jhony Brito’s struggles, New York was able to use him and Domingo German across a full nine innings. The bullpen was given a day off, and full availability is a huge plus. The Yankees' bullpen is top-10 in xFIP, with Clay Holmes sitting among the best relievers in baseball over the last month-plus.
Carlos Rodon will take the mound for the Yankees on Tuesday night, and while he’s struggled in his return from injury — 13 runs (4 HRs) in 20 1/3 innings — the southpaw enters off his best outing against the Mets.
I would expect more of that from Rodon going forward.
It’s also important to note — as my colleague Sean Zerillo wrote about in his Opening Pitch — that since the beginning of June, the Rays are 30th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Zach Eflin gets the call on Tuesday for Tampa, and he’s been incredibly impressive in his first season with the team. The right-hander boasts a career-best 3.12 xERA with an elite 3.7 BB%. Despite an increase in barrels, Eflin has seen his strikeout rate rise nearly 5% from last season and his ground-ball rate has reached 51.7%, also a career mark.
Tampa only used Robert Stephenson and Pete Fairbanks on Monday night, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either used again on a back-to-back. Like New York, they're a well-rested pen, and aside from Aaron Judge, the Yanks' offense has ranked among the worst in baseball.
Expect another low-scoring game between two AL East rivals, as the Rays look to jump back into first place in the division, while the Yankees look to make a playoff push.
Orioles vs. Blue Jays
7:07 p.m. ET · Kyle Bradish vs. Hyun Jin Ryu
Kyle Bradish has quickly become one of the most underrated starters in baseball. A huge point behind Baltimore’s midseason run to the top of the AL East, Bradish has given up two or fewer runs in seven of his last eight starts.
While he struggled against the Phillies his last time out, Bradish ranks third among major league pitching in Stuff+ over the last 30 days. While his xERA sits in the low 4s, his projected FIP and xFIP both rank in the 3.6-3.8 range.
What’s been most impressive for Bradish has been the development of his slider and curveball. The two pitches were effective last season, but this year each carry a whiff rate above 32%. Opponents are hitting under .175 against the pair of pitches, and Bradish throws them nearly half the time.
Bradish has also taken steps forward command-wise and in limiting the long ball. His HR/FB rate has decreased nearly 5% from last season. Bradish can still run into hard-hit woes from time to time — think that Phillies game — but he’s been able to mitigate further damage with elite command and his aforementioned off-speed.
I’m not sure why Baltimore is an underdog here against Toronto and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who makes his first big league start since June 1 of last season. Ryu struggled in limited time prior to injury, posting a 5.21 xERA and a barrel rate that neared 10%.
Since the 2020 COVID-shortened season, Ryu has seen his exit velocity noticeably increase while his strikeouts have lagged behind. The Orioles rank inside the top 10 in wRC+ and 11th in isolated power against southpaws in a plus matchup for the squad.
I trust the upside of Bradish more here, and I will look to fade Ryu down the stretch until he shows me otherwise.
Bo Bichette is also likely out on Tuesday, a gigantic blow to the top of this Blue Jays lineup, especially with George Springer struggling mightily.
Guardians vs. Astros
8:10 p.m. ET · Gavin Williams vs. Framber Valdez
Gavin Williams’ struggles with control may seem like a cause for concern, but in reality, it's not reflective of how good the right-hander is. Williams ranks inside the top 25 in Stuff+ over the last 30 days and has the profile of a high-strikeout pitcher — even if the results haven’t followed yet.
What’s been most important for Williams is his ability to limit hard contact. If the 24-year-old is able to hone his command, he can shut down any offense. He already ranks inside the top 16% of all pitchers in average exit velocity, chase rate and barrel%, and is not too far behind in hard-hit rate, too.
It’s no surprise I’m on the Guardians here as Framber Valdez takes the mound for Houston. The southpaw has a 4.07 xERA — compared to 3.29 actual — and has posted career-worsts in barrel% (8.2), xBA (.249) and xSLG (.397). Valdez ranks in the bottom 2% of pitchers in average exit velocity.
Valdez is a ground ball pitcher, but what's been most interesting is his 13% decrease in ground balls. He's being hit much harder — fewer ground balls and slightly more strikeouts — yet has posted similar numbers to years past.
This number has gotten out of hand for Cleveland, and Williams is more than live to take home the win as an underdog against Valdez, who's taken a step back in effectiveness from an underlying metrics perspective.
I grabbed the Guardians at +170, and I would back them down to +150.