By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 119-103-4 (53.6%) *
[7:05 p.m. EST] Over 10 (-116) – New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
NYM: Steven Matz – L (5-5, 4.28 ERA/1.37 WHIP)
PHI: Zach Eflin – R (6-7, 2.83 ERA/1.16 WHIP)
This should be quite a game tonight, with both teams facing their own bouts of controversy. The Phils on a seven-game losing streak and the Mets dealing with yet another chaotic situation after Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas almost came to blows with a reporter yesterday.
Nonetheless, the Phillies-Mets matchups at Citizens Bank Park tend to have plenty of runs scored – and it’s usually the Mets doing most of the damage. You just have to wonder when we’re going to see the Phils pick themselves back up off the floor. Getting swept over the weekend by the Marlins might just be the motivation they needed.
Zach Eflin had one start against the Mets so far this season and allowed four runs (three earned) over four innings. Lifetime against the Mets, Eflin has a 2-4 record with a 5.63 ERA/1.33 WHIP in eight starts.
Steven Matz has two starts against the Phis this season, with one great outing and the other one… ehhhh, not so much. Back on April 16, Matz didn’t even record an out before leaving the game, allowing eight runs (six earned) on two homers, four hits and a walk. In the outing that went well, which was actually his next start after getting whomped by the Phils, Matz allowed one run over six innings. Lifetime against the Phils, Matz is 1-3 with a 5.02 ERA/1.50 WHIP in seven starts.
Then there’s the issue of these bullpens. Over the last 14 days, the Phils’ pen has the second-worst xFIP (5.48) while the Mets own the fifth-worst (5.19). The advanced metric “xFIP” determines the quality of pitching that is independent of fielding – the higher the number, the worse they are.
It’s going to be a gorgeous evening in Philadelphia, with the wind blowing out slightly at 6 mph to center field, making it great hitting conditions at an extreme hitter’s ballpark.
* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 8 – New York Mets: 7 *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Under 9 (-116) – Chicago White Sox (ML: +150) at Boston Red Sox
CHW: Lucas Giolito – R (10-2, 2.74 ERA/1.02 WHIP)
BOS: Eduardo Rodriguez – L (8-4, 4.71 ERA/1.36 WHIP)
The SK Trend Confidence rating has a very high B+ grade on both the White Sox and total going under in this game.
Granted, Lucas Giolito is coming off a rough outing against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, but I won’t hold it against him. That’s been a tough matchup for most pitchers, and especially for Giolito since coming to Chicago.
The kid’s metrics, which include a 30.9% K-rate and 14.6% swinging-strike rate, are absolutely fantastic. Over the last 30 days, Giolito’s 34.6% K-rate is fifth-best in MLB behind Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler. Thanks to that note from Brian Tulloch at FantasyCPR. All of you fantasy baseball fans, check out his article from today.
Giolito slipped up in his last outing and I fully expect him to get back on the dominant foot. Sure, the Red Sox are a tough matchup, but Giolito has 15 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings of work against them in his lifetime and only allowed one extra-base hit in 44 plate appearances against the current roster.
Eduardo Rodriguez is slowly starting to come around, and he too had a rough outing last time out against a tough Twins lineup. In most of E-Rod’s starts that he’s supposed to do well, he does. Even though it goes against the thinking of the White Sox winning tonight, E-Rod has an 18-2 record since the beginning of last season against teams with a losing record – it still means that he pitches well when he’s supposed to.
At the end of the day, Giolito is the more-dominant pitcher between the two and we’re getting a huge plus-money opportunity with him on the mound – especially when the Red Sox just struggled over the weekend with the lowly Blue Jays. E-Rod has allowed six homers over his last 25 1/3 innings of work, and that could ultimately be the difference.
* Final Score Prediction: Chicago White Sox: 4 – Boston Red Sox: 2 *
[8:05 p.m. EST] Over 11.5 (-108) – Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
ATL: Julio Teheran – R (5-5, 3.40 ERA/1.26 WHIP)
CHC: Jon Lester – L (6-5, 4.13 ERA/1.35 WHIP)
Ohhh yes, take the over on this game and never look back. 15 mph winds are blowing out to center field with two solid offenses in great spots. Vegas has taken note of the extreme hitter’s conditions and elevated the IRTs for both teams – Cubs: +0.6, Braves: +0.4 – as well as the game total from 10.5 to 11.5.
Julio Teheran was on a nice run of outings, but the Mets abused him for eight hits and six runs to go along with three walks over four innings of work. Back on April 3, Teheran allowed nine baserunners against the Cubs but did manage to get out of that outing allowing only one run. With the conditions not in his favor tonight, some of those opportunities could turn into damage real quick.
The Cubs rank ninth in all of baseball in the power-metric ISO (.194) against right-handed pitching. Also, the Braves bullpen ranks 10th-worst in xFIP (4.78) over the last 14 days.
Jon Lester has been getting beat up with regularity, allowing seven or more hits in seven of the last nine outings. To make matters worse, one of the best hitting teams against left-handed pitching makes their way to Wrigley Field. Over the last 21 days, the Braves have a massive .441 xwOBA – the metric that is calculated by quality of contact. For reference, about .335 is average. A lot of those quality-contact balls should be flying over the ivy tonight
Hopefully, you’re watching this game since it’s on MLB TV tonight. You can miss the NBA awards show, I’ll fill you in on Twitter.
* Final Score Prediction: Atlanta Braves: 12 – Chicago Cubs: 10 *