MLB Picks & Predictions Today: Picks for Nationals vs. Mets, Marlins vs. Braves, More April 26

MLB Picks & Predictions Today: Picks for Nationals vs. Mets, Marlins vs. Braves, More April 26 article feature image

Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/Getty Images. Pictured: Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara.

  • Wednesday's MLB slate features seven day games and a number of intriguing matchups.
  • BJ Cunningham broke down four of his favorites, including Nationals vs. Mets and Marlins vs. Braves.
  • Check out all four of Cunningham's top picks for Wednesday's MLB slate below.

Welcome back to the Wednesday MLB slate breakdown. We have a whopping seven day games on this beautiful Wednesday, as the weather starts to get warmer and warmer.

The biggest storyline today is whether or not the Minnesota Twins can pull off a sweep of the New York Yankees, along with Tanner Houck facing Tyler Wells.

The Twins hadn't won the season series over the Yankees since 2001…

They ended the drought tonight ✅

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) April 26, 2023

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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Rangers vs. Reds

12:35 p.m. ET · Jon Gray vs. Graham Ashcraft

Jon Gray is a pitcher who has vastly improved by not having to pitch in Coors Field with regularity. In his first season in a pitcher-friendly environment with Texas, he posted a 3.59 xERA.

He attacks hitters with just two main pitches: a fastball and a slider. His slider is deadly. Opposing hitters had just a .163 xBA against it as it produced a 40.9% whiff rate last season, per Baseball Savant.

This season, Gray has overperformed, and his xERA has skyrocketed to 6.16. The velocity on his fastball and slider are down, but comparing the Stuff+ numbers from last season to this season, they're essentially the same. It's his Location+ that has dropped, so it appears he's having a little difficulty with command, which is something that can be corrected.

The Reds' lineup ranks 22nd in MLB in wOBA against right-handed pitching and own a .203 xBA and -3.5 run value this season against right-handed fastballs and sliders.

Last season, Graham Ashcraft was a perfectly solid MLB starting pitcher who underperformed. He held a 4.89 ERA, but his xERA came in at 4.02. He also had a 4.09 xFIP, 2.57 BB/9 rate and kept his HR/9 rate under 1.00. He doesn’t have a high strikeout rate because two of his main three pitches are a sinker and cutter. However, he goes at opponents with a lot of velocity, as both of those pitches are averaging over 97 mph.

Ashcraft also has a slider that's incredibly deadly with a Stuff+ rating of 158.

Graham Ashcraft, Mean Sliders. 😠

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 15, 2023

In fact, his Stuff+ numbers are completely off the charts through his first four starts at 132, which is the third-highest mark in MLB behind only Jacob deGrom and Shohei Ohtani.

The Rangers are also without two of the best hitters Corey Seager and Mitch Haniger.

I only have 3.9 runs projected for the first five innings, so I like the value on under 4.5 runs at -105 (BetMGM).

Pick: F5 Under 4.5 (-105)

Royals vs. Diamondbacks

3:40 p.m. ET · Ryan Yarbrough vs. Zac Gallen

I love Zac Gallen just as much as all of you, but this number is way too high. Gallen has 2.30 xERA, a Stuff+ mark of 109 and a Pitching+ number of 107, which puts him in the "elite" category. But does it add up to him being -255 against an average MLB starting pitcher? I don't think so.

The Diamondbacks are fun. They steal bases and are an incredible defensive team. However, the Snakes are just 15th in wOBA and wRC+, and they've been below average against left-handed pitching as well.

This will be Ryan Yarbrough's first start as a Kansas City Royal after making seven appearances out of the bullpen to begin the season. He was a 4.4 xERA pitcher overall in 2022, but his advanced metrics were better as a starter with Tampa Bay than in the bullpen.

He will bring a four-pitch combination of cutter, changeup, curveball and sinker, which are four pitches the Diamondbacks have struggled with, owning a -17.1 combined run value dating back to the start of last season.

Kansas City's bullpen also has some good arms with a Stuff+ rating of 106, while Arizona's bullpen sits at only at 99.

I only have Gallen and the Diamondbacks projected at -187, so I like the value on the Royals at +220 (BetMGM).

Pick: Royals +220

Nationals vs. Mets

7:10 p.m. ET · MacKenzie Gore vs. Kodai Senga

MacKenzie Gore clearly has the talent to be a front-end starter in this league after going third overall in 2017; it's just taken him a while to get to the big leagues. After posting some solid starts last year, he's starting to show some of that talent again this season with a 3.43 ERA through his first four starts.

Opposing hitters have struggled against Gore, but his main issue has been his command. His BB/9 rate is at 6.00, which is a major problem that needs to be fixed.

The good news for Gore in this matchup is the Mets are very average against left-handed pitching, ranking 15th in wOBA.

On the other side, Kodai Senga has had a turbulent start to his career in the majors with his xERA ballooning up to 5.52. However, his issue is pretty much the same as Gore's — he's walking far too many batters, as his BB/9 rate also sits at 6.00.

Senga's Stuff+ numbers are really good, though. His fastball comes in at 110, while his sweeper sits at 107. He also has a nasty forkball that's his second-most-thrown pitch.

Kodai Senga’s forkball. Aka, the Ghost Fork.

— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) April 2, 2023

Basically, all of the Nationals' success offensively this season has come against left-handed pitching, as they're sitting near the bottom of baseball against righties with a .274 wOBA and 67 wRC+.

These two starting pitchers are not going to have a BB/9 rate of 6.00 for the rest of the season. They'll regress back to the mean, and I want to be there when they do because both of the pitchers have great potential if they can command their stuff.

I like the value on under 8.5 runs at -120 (Caesars).

Pick: Under 8.5 (-120)

Marlins vs. Braves

7:20 p.m. ET · Sandy Alcantara vs. Bryce Elder

I know Sandy Alcantara has regressed and isn't the pitcher he was when he won the Cy Young last season, but the price here has gotten a little out of hand.

Alcantara has an ERA above five through his first four starts, along with an xERA of 4.65. So, is it time to be concerned? Yes and no.

First off, Alcantara was never a big strikeout pitcher, as his K/9 rate last season was at 8.15. A number of 7.3 this year is not that big of a drop-off. What is concerning, though, is how low his groundball rate dropped. It now sits at 40.5% after coming in at 53.4% last season.

He has also for whatever reason struggled when pitching with runners on base. His LOB% is only a bit above 43%, which is not sustainable, so he will regress positively in that respect.

The biggest positive indicator that Sandy hasn't fallen off is his Stuff+ mark of 113. His Pitching+ sits at 107, which still puts him in the "elite" category.

Bryce Elder pitched 54 innings in 2022, but he drastically overperformed. He had an ERA of 3.16, but his xERA was over a full run higher at 4.25.

One of the main reasons he overperformed is he just doesn't have a pitch arsenal that translates well to the big leagues. He has no velocity with his fastball and sinker, averaging under 90 mph. Meanwhile, his Stuff+ rating in 2022 came in at 86, but it's at only 73 this season. His Pitching+ has also sat below 95 over the last two seasons. 

Atlanta doesn't have a massive bullpen advantage here, as its Stuff+ and Pitching+ ratings are almost identical to those of the Marlins.

So, I like the value on Miami at +143 for the full game and at +125 for the first five innings.

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