As the dog days of summer wear on into August, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown is back with a pair of early looks for Tuesday's full slate of games.
7:10 p.m. ET: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets: Cubs moneyline (-130) at DraftKings
As the Cubs and Mets continue their three-game set from Flushing, I am going back to the well with Chicago against Carlos Carrasco.
Carrasco, New York's veteran starter for Tuesday, has been putrid of late. Cookie has surrendered 23 runs in just 15.1 innings of work since the All-Star Break, contributing to a season-long xERA of 6.62 that puts him behind 98% of MLB pitchers in 2023. He's over-the-hill and uncompetitive at this point, an appropriate starting pitcher for a team enduring a very dark portion of its season. The Mets have nothing to play for, and they've looked like it since the All-Star Break. Chicago, meanwhile, sports the best offense in baseball during that span and ranks No. 1 in MLB in wRC+ vs. righties since July 1.
New York will take on Cubs starter Jameson Taillon - and while Taillon's season-long stats are merely middling, the righty has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five and three straight. He has struck out 34 batters while walking just seven since July began, and has been much better on the road than at Wrigley Field this season.
Let's keep riding the wave, as I anticipate this number will rise.
9:40 p.m. ET: Texas Rangers at Oakland A's: OVER 7 (-125) at DraftKings
The Rangers and A's will continue their divisional series from the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday, and I think we are being dealt a number way too low here.
I've written here a few times before that the average MLB game is producing more than nine runs this season, so a total this low needs to be the result of some pretty special circumstances. Here, I think Max Scherzer is being overvalued. Scherzer has been solid more often than not this season, but far from special - his 3.52 xERA is above-average but not spectacular, and he's surrendered at least three runs in four of six and at least four runs in three of six. He posted ERA's of 4.25 in June and 4.35 in July, and allowed three runs in the first inning to a terrible White Sox team in his first Rangers start. It's not that I think Oakland will knock him around by any means - its just that I think two runs or so probably does the trick with what's happening on the other side.
The Rangers' high-powered offense will take on lefty JP Sears, whose 4.59 xERA is not particularly impressive. Sears has been a bright spot for Oakland as a whole, but that's not saying much. He's surrendered seven runs in 11 innings versus the Rangers so far this season, and Texas is smashing lefties to the tune of a 113 wRC+ since July 1. The Athletics bullpen will likely be asked to cover at least 3-4 innings, too, providing ample opportunity for Texas to get its licks in.
I think this number closes at least 7.5, maybe 8 - so let's jump on it early and root for offense in the very quiet Coliseum Tuesday night.