After a hot weekend moved this article to 11-2 over the last 13 best bets, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown is ready to attack the final slate of games before the trade deadline. Two best bets for Monday.
7:05 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals: Brewers -1.5 (-115) at Caesars
The Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals will begin a three-game series rematch of 2019's NL Wild Card game on Monday in D.C., and I'm backing the Brew Crew to handle business.
2021 Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes will pitch for Milwaukee, a veteran ace who has rediscovered his world-class form of late. Burnes has allowed two or fewer runs in five straight starts, sporting a 1.64 July ERA as he heads into Monday's start. Washington's offense is one of the weakest in the National League, so I expect Burnes to continue his hot pitching.
Jackson Tetreault, a rookie, makes his 2023 debut for the Washington Nationals on the other side. Tetreault was beaten to a pulp over four MLB starts in 2022, pitching to a 7.41 xERA. He did not return from injury until May of this season, when he made two minor league appearances for the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. Those appearances did not go well at all - in his most recent outing, Tetreault surrendered seven runs to the Hudson Valley Renegades in just 2.2 innings of work.
I don't expect Tetreault to last long in this game against Milwaukee, meaning that the Nationals will lean on baseball's worst bullpen since July 1 (7.55 ERA, 5.17 xFIP both rank dead-last since the start of the month). On the other side, Milwaukee will turn to the best bullpen in baseball by xFIP over that same span (2.90 xFIP) when Burnes finally exits. This is a mismatch all-around, and I'll gladly lay the extra run with the Brewers.
8:10 p.m. ET: Cleveland Guardians at Houston Astros: Astros team total OVER 4.5 (-120) at PointsBet
Noah Syndergaard is back in the bigs after being traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cleveland Guardians, and I'm not seeing any reason to expect improvement just yet. Syndergaard was one of the league's worst starting pitchers for Los Angeles before being placed on the injured list with a "blister" that even Syndergaard himself described with air-quotes. In reality, the righty just wasn't cutting it, even despite Los Angeles having a desperate need for a starter to eat innings.
Syndergaard sports a 7.16 ERA and a 5.65 xERA this season, and ranks in the bottom 10% of starters in xBA, xSLG, strikeout rate, and whiff rate. He doesn't miss bats, and when teams make contact they hit the ball hard against him. The stuff is a shell of what it used to be, and it shows. When Syndergaard is inevitably knocked out of the game, Cleveland's bullpen (5.25 ERA since July 1) will enter - and it'll likely have to cover more than half of the game.
Houston's offense is only getting healthier after the returns of Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve, and will be salivating at the thought of facing Noah Syndergaard.