With two more days of baseball before the All-Star Break, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown is hoping to build momentum with two plays on Saturday's card.
1:05 p.m. ET: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees: Yankees -1.5 (+115) at Caesars
The Chicago Cubs picked up their first win at Yankee Stadium in franchise history on Friday, but they'll have to deal with Gerrit Cole on Saturday.
Cole has been dominant more often than not this season, and just finished a June that saw him strike out 34 batters while walking only five. The righty has surrendered two or fewer runs in five of his last six starts, and a similar effort should be enough to stake the Yankees to a lead here. Given the Cubs 27th-best wRC+ (86) against righties since June 1, Chicago should present a winnable matchup for New York's ace.
Drew Smyly will pitch for Chicago, a lefty who has seen his early-season dominance fade quickly of late. He is suddenly struggling with command, a major no-no for a pitcher who relies more on finesse than power to begin with. Smyly has walked three or more batters in five of his last seven starts, so it is no surprise that he's surrendered three or more earned runs in five of his last six. New York has been crushing lefties, too - since June 1, the Yankees' 117 wRC+ against southpaws ranks seventh in MLB.
The Yankees' offense should get going here in a great matchup, and Gerrit Cole ought to roll. New York's bullpen ranks ninth in MLB in xFIP since June 1, too, so I trust they'll hold on late.
7:15 p.m. ET: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros: Mariners First 5 Innings moneyline (+130) at Bet365
After winning two straight to open their four-game series with the Houston Astros on the road, the Seattle Mariners will turn to rookie starter Bryan Woo with aspirations of winning a third in a row.
Woo has been sensational for the M's, posting a sparkling 2.72 xERA over his first six career starts and allowing two or fewer earned runs in five straight. Woo has struck out 39 while walking just eight batters in his short MLB career, boasting a higher strikeout rate than 95% of MLB pitchers and a higher chase rate than 89% of pitchers.
Woo will be backed by a hot Seattle offense, especially against left-handed pitching. The Mariners have won four of five on their current road trip, scoring five or more runs in all four wins and 10 runs on Friday night. Seattle will take on Framber Valdez, a normally formidable lefty who they've seen relatively well. The Mariners tagged Valdez for three earned runs in both of their matchups in 2022, and have been crushing left-handed pitching since June 1 (125 wRC+, fourth-best in MLB).
The Mariners' rookie is undervalued here against Houston's veteran, especially given that Framber Valdez may still be dealing with ankle soreness that forced this start to be pushed back a few days.