Well they don't get much worse than last week as I went 0-4. The trend continued throughout the week and into the weekend with what felt like bad beat after bad beat. The Marlins scoring runs, errors leading to long innings, starters getting pulled at pitch counts in the mid 60’s and the list goes on. If you use closing line value as a barometer of success that didn’t go well either as Manaea OVER 17.5 closed (-165) and the Astros/White Sox UNDER closed (-135) at some books.
Astros/ White Sox First 5 Innings UNDER 3.5 (-115)
Sean Manaea OVER 17.5 outs (-115)
Robbie Ray OVER 19.5 outs (+100)
Alek Manoah OVER 18.5 outs (+105)
Starting with the pitching matchup of the day, Verlander vs Cease, the 4th run was given up at the top of the 5th on a solo home run by Jose Altuve. Frustrating loss considering Cease had allowed 3 total runs in his last 6 starts. Manaea struggled through 4 but looked like he could have gone 6 given the Marlins ineptitude. However, he was pulled with only 64 pitches after 4 innings. Ray’s road struggles continued as inefficiencies led to only 6 innings leaving us 2 outs short of cashing. Finally, Manoah may have been the worst of the 4 plays from a handicapping standpoint as the Orioles got to him again, this time at home, and it may be time to take a wait and see approach with the young righty. Since the all-star break he has not looked like himself, only going 6 innings 3 out of 6 starts and allowing 2+ runs in all but 1. On the positive side he did turn around what looked like another rough start vs the Yankees on Sunday and despite a near 30 pitch 1st inning went 6 and got stronger as the game went on.
*All plays to win 1 unit. Example:
(+100): 1 unit to win 1 unit
(-165): 1.65 units to win 1 unit
Reds @ Phillies - 7:05 p.m. ET
Ranger Suarez UNDER 2.5 Earned Runs (-140) Draftkings
Suarez has been absolutely rolling the last 2 months. His last start was against this very same Reds lineup in which he went 7 innings and allowed 0 runs. Over his last 6 overall he has allowed a total of 4 runs and has gone 7 innings twice. The Reds on the other hand have been allowing starters to average just under 6 innings per start while scoring less then 2 earned runs. While they have been better vs lefties this season losing Brandon Drury has lessened this threat. My biggest concern for Suarez is that he has reached a career high in innings and the Phillies may start looking to lighten his workload as the season winds down as he would likely be their number 3 starter in a playoff rotation. Behind Wheeler and Nola he is by far their next best pitching option.
Angels @ Rays - 7:10 p.m. ET
Corey Kluber OVER 17.5 Outs up to (-195) Draftkings
There isn’t much exciting about Corey Kluber. He isn’t going to blow anyone away with a 100 mph fastball or electric breaking stuff but he is still an important piece to a Rays rotation in the thick of the wild card race. Over the last 2 months he has gone 6 innings in 6 of 9 starts. This includes the Yankees, Orioles (yes they are good), Guardians, and Red Sox. While he gives up runs and I would expect him to here, the Rays need 6 innings when he starts. They have several pitchers that typically only go 4 or 5 innings and McClanahan, while an absolute ace, will also likely be protected on innings at some point down the stretch. The bullpen can’t go 4 or 5 innings everyday. The Angels are also a good match up and have been one of the worst offenses as measured by WRC+ over the last 2 weeks (67), and pretty much all season (93). My biggest concern is Kevin Cash (Ray’s manager). He has been known to make some puzzling moves and pull pitchers at low counts or in situations where you wouldn’t expect it.
Braves @ Pirates - 7:05 p.m. ET
Pirates UNDER 1.5 runs first 5 innings up to (-155) Draftkings
Max Fried OVER 19.5 Outs down to (-105) Draftkings
Let's start with the Pirates. They have an 82 WRC+ vs lefties this season and 81 overall over the last two weeks. Things don't get any better for them at home either as their WRC+ only goes up to 87 (3rd worst in the league). In comes Max Fried and his 2.6 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. His xERA is only slightly higher at 2.87 so I would not expect regression. I would consider UNDER 1.5 earned runs at plus money and the play will always come down to price but at the moment I lean towards the first 5 inning UNDER to avoid a late inning run. Regarding 18.5 outs, I would play this at plus money as this line up should not give him much resistance and it is a line he has passed regularly this season and in 3 of his last 5 starts. Pittsburg walks at an above average rate but Fried only walks 4.3% of hitters. They also have a few guys like Brian Reynolds that are capable of long at bats but I expect Fried to be in control from start to finish and so long as he is under 85 pitches after 6 I believe he goes back out in the 7th.
Other plays to keep an eye on:
If deGrom starts, then it's Yankees UNDER 1.5 first 5 innings. The Yankees are ice cold and deGrom is the last pitcher they want to see.
Dylan Cease UNDER 1.5 earned runs (+130) or better: I'm expecting a bounce back. Losing to the Astros last week is nothing to get concerned about. Arguably the best offense in baseball. His road splits are better than home (1.34 ERA vs 2.7).
Robbie Ray OVER 18.5 (+135) or better: see last week's write up regarding home road splits. Great matchup as the Nationals struggle vs. lefties.
Zach Davies OVER 14.5 outs (buy price -170). Low pitch count, high contact pitcher against a high contact poor line up in the Royals. Would need high plus money for 15.5 (+135) or better.
Twins UNDER 1.5 first 5 innings . Verlander has been great and the Twins are a strong opponent, so we should get a better then usual price here.
Corbin Burnes UNDER 18.5 outs (-140) or better. Burnes is awesome, but he also typically gets priced at a premium because of it. He is arguably the best strikeout pitcher in the game, which can lead to high pitch counts. He just faced the Dodgers and went 5.2 innings with 103 pitches. As good as Burnes is there is no lineup you want to see twice in row less than the Dodgers, even less in LA. They just rocked the NL Cy Young leader on Sunday.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message on twitter, @JayRay. Best of luck!
- Jay Ray, Special to The Betting Predators
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