After a 1-1 Saturday, Dalton is now 6-2 on his Daily Best Bets for Betting Predators. He'll look to build on that figure with two more plays for Sunday's slate.
2:10 p.m. ET: Washington Nationals at Kansas City Royals: OVER 9 (-105)
The Washington Nationals and Kansas City Royals might be two teams headed toward high draft picks and away from playoff berths, but Sunday's matchup offers plenty of opportunities for offense. Each team turns to a left-handed starting pitcher, with Washington sending MacKenzie Gore to the mound against Kansas City's Daniel Lynch.
Gore (3-3, 3.88) has had an up-and-down season, and May has been a "down" more often than not. The lefty has surrendered three or more runs in three of his last five starts, and has allowed 25 baserunners (eight via walks) over his last three starts (14 innings). He has not been sharp with any consistency, and faces a Kansas City offense that is actually above-average against lefties (wRC+ 104). The Royals already crushed one lefty in this series when they posted six earned runs Friday night against Patrick Corbin, and it would not be a surprise to see a similar outcome Sunday.
Royals starter Daniel Lynch is making his first start of 2023 after being called back up to the bigs, but his 2022 numbers were nothing to write home about. Lynch (4-13, 5.13) allowed the highest hard-hit rate in Major League Baseball last season, and held a mediocre 3.98 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A before his call up for this start. Washington's offense is elite against left-handed pitching, too (wRC+ 115).
I don't see a clear path to success for either starting pitcher, and these bullpens rank 24th and 25th in bullpen ERA, respectively, since May 1.
2:20 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs: Cubs First 5 Innings -0.5 (-115)
The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs will conclude their weekend series Sunday afternoon at Wrigley, and I'm backing the Cubs over the game's first five innings due to a massive starting pitching edge.
Graham Ashcraft pitches for Cincinnati, a pitcher in the midst of as ugly a stretch as you'll ever see from an MLB starter. Ashcraft has allowed seven runs on 10 hits over five innings in each of his last two starts, and has allowed seven or more earned runs in three of four. He's been a gas can of late, posting an ERA of 10.03 in May. The Cubs are slightly above-average against right-handed pitching (wRC+ 101), and should have no problem burying the righty early.
Lefty Drew Smyly will head to the mound for Chicago, and I believe he has a score to settle with the Reds after they dealt him his only poor start of the year in his season opener. Since then, Smyly has allowed no more than two runs in any start. The southpaw is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in May, and his xERA of 2.87 validates the excellent work he's done this season for the Cubs. Cincinnati's offense ranks just 20th in baseball against left-handed pitching, too.
Let's not overthink this - we will keep fading Ashcraft until he proves that we shouldn't.