By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 77-57-4 *
We have to talk about the ridiculous amount of bad luck that has loomed over my head in MLB these last two days. Bullpens are mostly to blame for all this:
– Wednesday: Under 6.5 in WSH/NYM game – Nats up 1-0 going into the eighth, Mets win 6-1
– Wednesday: Under 7.5 in ATL/SF game – Ronald Acuna strikes out but a passed ball continues the inning and leads to five more ATL runs, Braves win 9-2
– Thursday: WSH moneyline vs NYM – Nats up 4-3 going into the eighth, Mets win 6-4
– Thursday: Under 9 in NYY/BAL – Yanks up 5-2 going into the eighth, Yanks win 6-5
– Thursday: DET (1.5-run line) vs MIA – Tigers up 2-0 going into the ninth, Marlins win 5-2
Must have pissed someone off upstairs! OK, back to the drawing board…
[7:10 p.m. EST] Detroit Tigers at New York Mets (1.5-run line: -134)
DET: Gregory Soto – L (0-2, 10.80 ERA/2.20 WHIP)
NYM: Noah Syndergaard – R (3-4, 4.50 ERA/1.19 WHIP)
Aside from a rough outing in San Diego, Noah Syndergaard has been much better with three quality starts over his last four games. Tonight, he’ll get a matchup against a Tigers team that ranks second-worst in nearly every advanced metric against right-handed pitching. Syndergaard has been outstanding at Citi Field over the course of his career, compiling a 24-12 record and 2.75 ERA in 49 starts.
Detroit has been swept in three straight series, including the last one to Miami – the team with the fewest wins in the National League. The Tigers’ offense has been brutal, sporting .232 wOBA and .102 ISO numbers against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days, to go along with a 26.8% K-rate.
It also doesn’t help an anemic set of bats that the wind will be blowing in from left field at about 13 mph tonight in Citi Field.
We saw the Mets roll out an all-right-handed lineup in yesterday’s game, and that’ll play well against Tigers’ left-handed starter Gregory Soto and his horrific set of numbers. Soto has been especially bad against right-handed batters, allowing a .361 batting average, .405 on-base percentage and 1.099 OPS in 40 plate appearances. That inward-wind will likely affect the Mets’ offense in some capacity, but I do think they string together a few runs early against Soto that’ll carry them to victory.
The Mets are coming off a four-game sweep of the Nationals, while the Tigers have lost nine consecutive games, eight of them coming by two runs or more. Let’s go with the -134 odds on the 1.5-run line here, as opposed to the -290 odds that are on the moneyline.
* Final Score Prediction: New York Mets: 6 – Detroit Tigers: 2 *
[8:10 p.m. EST] Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (1.5-run line: -104)
CHW: Reynaldo Lopez – R (3-4, 5.14 ERA/1.50 WHIP)
MIN: Jose Berrios – R (6-2, 3.39 ERA/1.13 WHIP)
The last start for Jose Berrios at Target Field was an absolute disaster, allowing 12 hits, five runs and two homers over 5 2/3 innings. But that’s just simply one of the biggest misnomers of all time – he’s still 22-6 at home since 2017.
Berrios has thrived in this matchup against the White Sox too, considering his best pitch (the curveball) is one that they struggle mightily against. Over his career, Berrios has gone 7-1 with a 2.12 ERA in nine starts against Chicago.
Reynaldo Lopez has been much better of late, but he’ll be running into the hottest offense in baseball. Yesterday in Anaheim, the Twins homered eight times – marking the second time they’ve done that this season. Minnesota already has 98 dingers through 49 games, tying them for the second-most through a team’s first 50 games in MLB history.
I’m not ready to say that Lopez has officially turned the corner yet because mostly all of his solid outings this season have come against subpar competition. Newsflash: the Twins are not subpar competition. In fact, Minnesota has scored at least seven runs in six of its last eight games!
It’s quite interesting that the White Sox took those final two games of the four-game series down in Houston. However, it’s time for them to come back down to Earth against Target Field Berrios! Let’s take the -104 odds on the 1.5-run line and skip the -196 odds that stand on the moneyline.
* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 7 – Chicago White Sox: 1 *
[8:15 p.m. EST] Over 10 (-104) – Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals
ATL: Mike Foltynewicz – R (0-3, 6.91 ERA/1.35 WHIP)
STL: Miles Mikolas – R (4-4, 4.88 ERA/1.19 WHIP)
Mike Foltynewicz had his best outing of the season last time out against the Brewers, but he did get beat over the head by these same Cardinals 10 days ago. St. Louis hung eight runs on the veteran righty, including three long-balls, en route to a football-like 14-3 score. Prior to Sunday’s outing, the opposition scored at least nine runs in all four of Folty’s starts.
A lot of these Cardinals’ hitters have done well when facing Foltynewicz, as the current roster has a combined .918 lifetime OPS against him. Not to mention, the Red Birds have a right-handed heavy lineup and Folty is getting bulldozed by righties so far this season to the tune of a .327 batting average, .727 slugging percentage and 1.111 OPS.
Miles Mikolas had just the opposite of Folty in his last outing, getting walloped for nine hits and seven runs over 1 1/3 innings at Texas. Mikolas isn’t the type of pitcher that fools many hitters – he’ll rely more on power and precision. When looking at this matchup against the Braves, it doesn’t seem like that type of game plan will work most of the night.
It was quite telling to see a 9.5-run total set to open this game at Busch Stadium, which isn’t necessarily a hitter’s park. However, the 9.5-run total has since jumped up to 10, with the implied run totals increasing slightly for each team – Cardinals: +0.3, Braves: +0.1. The Red Birds’ 5.6 IRT is the second-highest team total on tonight’s slate, only behind the Rockies, who will be facing the Orioles at Coors Field.
The weather should play a big part here as well. It’ll be an uncharacteristically warm evening in St. Louis, which should help the ball flight. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper-80s for the first pitch of this game, with the wind blowing out to left field at about 10 mph.
All in all, most of the runs will likely come from the Cardinals’ side of things, but don’t be surprised to see the Braves bring something to the table as well.
* Final Score Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals: 8 – Atlanta Braves: 6 *