By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 106-89-4 (54.4%) *
[4:05 p.m. EST] Boston Red Sox (1.5-run line: -200) at Baltimore Orioles
BOS: Chris Sale – L (2-7, 3.52 ERA/0.96 WHIP)
BAL: Dylan Bundy – R (3-7, 4.50 ERA/1.23 WHIP)
The Orioles are a putrid 3-26 as a home underdog of +175 or more over the last two season. Yikes! That mark in the loss column is about to get bigger as Chris Sale takes the mound for the Red Sox. The lanky lefty is 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA/0.99 WHIP over his career when starting against the Orioles. There has been more success recently, as Sale has allowed one run or fewer in five of the last six starts against them.
Sale has been on top of his game recently, with at least 10 strikeouts in seven of his last nine starts. Just over a month ago, he dominated this same Bird Gang bunch, allowing one run over eight innings while striking out 14. Since this is a mid-day game the hitters might have to deal with some shadows, and that’ll make it nearly impossible to hit a pitcher like Sale. You should certainly give some thought to laying money on his 8.5 K-prop at -144 today.
Baltimore just struggled mightily last night against fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, and now own less-than-stellar .309 xwOBA/.166 ISO numbers versus left-handed pitching over the last 21 days.
Dylan Bundy takes the mound for the Orioles and he does not have a great history against the opposition, going 3-7 with a 5.25 ERA/1.50 WHIP lifetime. The splits aren’t in his favor either, as Bundy is 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA at home and 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA in day-time starts.
Hopefully, Boston can rip Bundy early and get to the Baltimore bullpen. Their 9.13 ERA (highest in MLB) over the last seven days was inflated quite a bit after last night’s whooping.
The Red Sox look to have finally gotten back on the good foot offensively, scoring a total of 29 runs over the last four games. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup after getting the night off – he has four career homers against Bundy.
It’s a ton of money to be laying on the 1.5-run line, but Boston loves it here in Baltimore, winning 16 of the last 18 meetings at Camden Yards.
* Final Score Prediction: Boston Red Sox: 7 – Baltimore Orioles: 1 *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (1.5-run line: -124)
KC: Glenn Sparkman – R (1-2, 3.58 ERA/1.30 WHIP)
MIN: Jake Odorizzi – R (9-2, 1.92 ERA/0.97 WHIP)
The Twins did it against last night, beating the weak and improving their mark to 28-10 this season against teams with a losing record. That number should go up some more as they put Jake Odorizzi on the mound. Minnesota has won the last 10 games that Odorizzi started, with eight of them coming by two runs or more.
It’s ridiculous to fathom the amount of success Odorizzi has produced this season. The veteran righty has started 13 games in 2019 – he’s allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of them, two runs or fewer in 11 of them, one run or fewer in eight of them, and no runs in six of them. Whoa!
KC’s offense has been sputtering quite a bit over the last 21 days against right-handed pitching, with an anemic .281 wOBA, .133 ISO and 24.7% K-rate. They’ve also scored three runs or fewer in five of the last six games, and two runs or fewer in four of the last six.
Glenn Sparkman starts for the Royals and his lack of ability to get strikeouts could very well get him in trouble against a potent Twins lineup. Minnesota has some of the best advanced-metrics in MLB this season, so I expect them to give Odorizzi more than enough run support in this game.
I mentioned this number last night, but it still resonates for this matchup – the Twins are 37-16 in games against right-handed starters while the Royals are 16-34. KC also owns the worst road record in baseball at 8-24.
* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 7 – Kansas City Royals: 1 *
[9:07 p.m. EST] Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics (1.5-run line: -110)
SEA: Wade LeBlanc – L (3-2, 5.31 ERA/1.37 WHIP)
OAK: Frankie Montas – R (8-2, 2.84 ERA/1.18 WHIP)
For the grand finale of the evening, we’re taking it out West. The A’s are massive -230 favorites on the moneyline, which is actually their highest of the season. Rather than lay all of that money, we’ve got some nice trends in our favor to cut that in half by going with the 1.5-run line.
Frankie Montas is probably the best pitcher in baseball that no one knows about. He tied his season high of 10 strikeouts in his last outing and has notched at least nine of them in three of the last five starts. Not to mention, Montas has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts this season.
Wade LeBlanc goes for the Mariners, and he’ll be facing an A’s team that has a .405 wOBA and .229 ISO against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days. Particularly, it’s been the bottom of Oakland’s lineup doing most of the damage over that span, and it’s not like the top four hitters in its lineup (Semien, Chapman, Piscotty, Davis) are a bunch of slouches either. LeBlanc got hit around pretty well by them in his last meeting and I expect plenty of the same in this one.
If the A’s do get to LeBlanc early, their offense will have the benefit of facing a Mariners bullpen that has allowed the most runs (26) and the second-highest ERA (8.56) over the last seven days.
* Final Score Prediction: Oakland Athletics: 7 – Seattle Mariners: 3 *
<> Key terms used in today’s writing:
– ISO = Isolated Power (A sabermetric computation used to measure a player’s raw power. This distinguishes a batter with a .300 batting average and many singles, as opposed to a batter with a .300 average and more extra-base hits… typically, .200 is where you want to be in ISO.)
– wOBA = Weighted On-Base Average (A version of on-base percentage that accounts for how a player reached base. The value for each event is determined by how much it is worth in relation to a run created – Ex: a double is worth more than a single, a triple is worth more than a double, a home run is worth more than a triple, etc… about .320 is league average)
– xwOBA = Expected Weighted On-Base Average (The same thing as wOBA, just removing defense from the equation. An easy way of looking at xwOBA, would be to just imagine there are no fielders on the playing surface.)
– wRC+ = Weighted Runs Created Plus (Runs created + adjusting the number to account for important external factors – like ballpark or ERA… 100 is league average)