Trade deadline day is a treacherous one for MLB bettors, but handicapper Dalton Brown is targeting one of MLB's best offenses in a matchup between two buyers and fading a team likely to sell before Tuesday night's first pitch.
7:20 p.m. ET: Anaheim Angels at Atlanta Braves: Braves team total OVER 5 (-120) at Caesars
The Anaheim Angels will look to make it two in a row in their interleague series with the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night at Truist Park, but I'm backing the Braves' offense to push Patrick Sandoval around and bounce back after a flat showing on Monday.
Sandoval, who will make the start on the mound for Anaheim, has serious issues with walks - over 17.1 innings in July, the lefty has issued nine free passes. Overall, Sandoval has issued walks at a higher rate than 66% of MLB pitchers this season while striking out batters at a lower rate than 80% of pitchers. He pitches to contact when he is in the zone, a recipe for possible disaster against the hungry Braves. Atlanta, the consensus best team in baseball at the moment, has crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of a 124 wRC+ (second-best in MLB) since June 15.
The Angels bolstered an otherwise-struggling bullpen by trading for White Sox reliever Reynaldo Lopez the other day, a much-needed move for a team whose relief corps rank 29th in baseball with a 5.07 xFIP since July 1. Lopez threw 37 pitches on Monday, though, rendering him almost certainly unavailable for Tuesday's game. Patrick Sandoval has lasted five or fewer innings in six of his last eight starts, and it would be surprising if a road start in Atlanta broke that mold.
The Braves offense is excellent, and should have ample opportunities to pad its stats against both Sandoval and Anaheim's cavalry of below-average relievers. It would be a surprise to me if Atlanta failed to clear five runs in this one.
7:55 p.m. ET: Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals: Twins moneyline (-110) at FanDuel
The Minnesota Twins will begin an interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, and I'll be looking to back Minnesota on the moneyline at any number up to around -125.
St. Louis is supposedly sending righty Jack Flaherty to the mound - and if that's the case, I'll gladly back Minnesota at any number south of -125. I have my doubts, though, as Flaherty's name is all over the trade block and it seems likely that the righty will be headed elsewhere by Tuesday's trade deadline. If he is traded, we will be glad we jumped on this price when it was available.
If he isn't traded, Flaherty isn't a guy I mind fading right now. The righty has allowed three or more runs in three straight starts, and has struggled to a 5.66 ERA when he pitches at Busch Stadium this season. I have concerns about his preparation for this start given the swirling rumors he's had to deal with, and it doesn't help that he's battling a Twins lineup that ranks fourth in MLB in wRC+ vs. righties since June 15.
Pablo Lopez is toeing the rubber for Minnesota, a righty who is due for positive regression. Lopez's 3.27 xERA puts him solidly among baseball's best pitchers this season, and he's allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five starts. In July, Lopez has struck out 34 opposing hitters while walking just six.
One pitcher we might see if not Flaherty is righty Miles Mikolas. If Mikolas gets the start, the handicap doesn't change much - his 4.97 xERA is even worse than Flaherty's 4.68, and Mikolas has surrendered eight runs on 18 hits over his last 11.2 innings of work.
Flaherty isn't the only St. Louis Cardinal likely to move, either - any number of contributors could be off of the roster by the time this game's first pitch is thrown. Jump on this one early if you can, as I'm expecting action in Minnesota's direction before first pitch.