MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks for Reds vs Cubs, White Sox vs Rangers, More (Wednesday, August 2)
Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Cease
We are past the trade deadline with no real needle-moving trades outside of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer ending up in the AL West. We have a 15-game slate with most of the games taking places at night.
MLB Predictions & Picks for Wednesday, August 2
6:40 p.m. ET · Zack Wheeler vs. Braxton Garrett
While Zack Wheeler has been excellent for the Phillies this season, I think this line is a tad too high.
Wheeler is currently sitting with a 3.17 xERA and has one of the lowest BB/9 rates in all of baseball. He's been outstanding with the command on his fastball, as he's throwing it 42% of the time and opposing hitters have a .259 xwOBA against. Wheeler has also been doing a great job of getting swings and misses with his slider and sweeper, as both are producing a whiff rate over 35%.
Braxton Garrett has been very good himself for the Marlins. The thing about him is, his expected metrics don't tell the entire story. He has a 4.62 xERA, but that is mainly because of a few really bad starts. In one of them he gave up 11 runs to the Braves and in another he gave up six runs to the Rockies. In 14 of his 20 starts this season, his xFIP has been below 3.5.
Plus, Garrett doesn't walk anybody. He's in the 97th percentile for walk rate and 88th percentile for chase rate. The Phillies lineup is bottom-10 in walk rate and has the third-highest chase rate in baseball. Not to mention they only have a .307 wOBA over the past 30 days.
Plus, the Marlins' bullpen has a better xFIP and K-BB ratio than the Phillies.
I have the Marlins projected at -114, so I like the value on them at +105 (PointsBet)
Pick: Marlins (+105)
8:05 p.m. ET · Brandon Williamson vs. Drew Smyly
Brandon Williamson has been really bad for the Reds this season. Williamson has a 5.70 xERA and a 5.23 xFIP, so it's no surprise that his Statcast metrics are frightening.
Image via Baseball Savant
The problem for Williamson this season is he has two main pitches that he goes to: a fastball and cutter. Neither has been effective, as they're both allowing an xwOBA over .375. The Stuff+ rating on his fastball, which he throws 36% of the time, is just 66, but his cutter does have a rating of 106.
The Cubs are above average against left-handed pitching with 105 wRC+, and they tagged Williamson for four runs earlier this season.
Drew Smyly has been a below-average pitcher this season. His xFIP is sitting at 4.73 and he's in the bottom half among qualified starting pitchers in xwOBA allowed, xBA allowed and xSLG allowed. His stuff hasn't been that great either. His Stuff+ rating is just 95 and he only has two pitches — a sinker and curveball — with both being very average by Stuff+.
The wind will be blowing out 8 mph to left field, creating a good hitting environment at Wrigley Field.
I have 6.2 runs projected for the first five innings, so I like the value on Over 5.5 runs at -115 (BetRivers).
Pick: First Five Innings Over 5.5 (-115)
8:05 p.m. ET · Dylan Cease vs. Dane Dunning
Dylan Cease was not dealt at the deadline by the White Sox, which means he will be on the mound tonight in Arlington.
Cease had a bad start to the season, but he has since been pitching really well. He's given up two or fewer runs in seven of his last 10 starts, and overall for the season he is sitting with a 4.07 xERA.
The problem for Cease this season is that he's lost velocity on his fastball and it just hasn't been effective. He's allowing a .340 xwOBA on it this season, but the Stuff+ rating on that pitch is 122, which is one of the best marks in baseball. His slider has also been really good, producing a 41% whiff rate, and opponents only have a .281 xwOBA against it.
Dane Dunning has been good this season, but he's due for a lot of negative regression. Dunning has a 3.28 ERA, but his expected ERA (4.87) is a run and a half higher.
You're starting to see some of that negative regression lately, as he's given up 14 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 who's screaming for negative regression, even if he's facing a below-average lineup.
I have the White Sox projected at -137 for the first five innings, as they have big advantage in the starting pitching matchup, so I like the value on them at +115 (Bet365).
Pick: White Sox F5 (+115)