By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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* 2019 MLB Record: 114-96-4 (54.2%) *
[7:05 p.m. EST] Under 8.5 (-108) – Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies (1.5-run line: -128)
MIA: Sandy Alcantara – R (3-6, 3.73 ERA/1.39 WHIP)
PHI: Aaron Nola – R (6-1, 4.89 ERA/1.51 WHIP)
Both teams have been absolutely dreadful against right-handed pitching over the last 21 days, with the Marlins registering slightly worse numbers. Their .086 ISO in that split will certainly be hard to overcome, especially with 12 mph winds blowing in from left field.
If you think runs at Citizens Bank Park are always at a premium, that’s just not the case – eight of the last 12 games there have gone under the total.
Aaron Nola certainly hasn’t been at his best recently (and most of this season), but this matchup against the Marlins is one that he’s dominated in the past. Over his last five starts (33 innings) against Miami, the righty has allowed only six runs and a 1.00 WHIP. While the matchup lends some optimism, Nola has been much better at Citizens Bank Park over the course of his career. His numbers certainly signal that this season, as evidenced by the 3.51 ERA at home and 7.28 ERA on the road.
Philly’s offense really sputtered in the last game of the Atlanta series and then throughout the Washington series. As I mentioned at the top, their numbers aren’t great against right-handed pitching over the last 21 days – .280 wOBA and 25% K-rate. On the season as a whole, the Phils now own the eighth-worst wOBA (.309) against righties.
Sandy Alcantara was snake-bitten by his defense in a recent start, but he’s allowed one earned run or fewer now in four of the last six starts. The righty has only faced Philly twice in his career, with one glamorous outing and one bad outing – that one coming this season. However, given the Phils’ current state of affairs at the plate and the wind blowing in tonight, I’m not too worried about Alcantara getting beat over the head.
I like the Phils to get the victory, but it’ll have to come in a tight game. Philly is 5-2 against Miami this season, with a four of the seven games going under the total. The SK Trend Confidence rating is also high on the Phils to get this win on the 1.5-run line, and that plays right into the narrative.
* Final Score Prediction – Philadelphia Phillies: 5 – Miami Marlins: 2 *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Under 8 (-118) – Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
DET: Matthew Boyd – L (5-5, 3.35 ERA/1.08 WHIP)
CLE: Trevor Bauer – R (5-6, 3.41 ERA/1.12 WHIP)
Vegas knows that a big-time pitching performance is coming from one of these studs tonight, as both teams had their IRTs decreased – Indians: -0.6, Tigers: -0.4. Also, it’s not an overwhelming sign, but it does help that there will be 7 mph winds blowing in from center field.
What Trevor Bauer did against the Tigers in his last outing will be greatly appreciated if he does it again. The quirky righty had his first complete-game shutout of the season in the eight-strikeout performance, en route to an 8-0 Indians’ victory. It does appear like Bauer could be finally getting back on track after a shaky start to the season. In Bauer’s previous outing, he allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings and that’s now back-to-back performances that notched Indians’ wins.
It’s also worth noting that Cleveland’s bullpen has the best ERA (3.36) in baseball.
Matt Boyd is coming off his worst performance of the season, which was quite shocking since it was against a Royals’ team that is woeful against left-handed pitching. I’m not going to write him off because he still has elite swing-and-miss stuff, notching 112 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings this season. Boyd has actually held Cleveland to one run or fewer in four of his seven career performance – in three other games, Boyd held them to two, three and six runs. There’s a history of goodness here.
Cleveland is 5-1 against the Detroit this season, with under registering a 4-1-1 record in those games. The Indians have also outscored the Tigers 38-12 this season.
The total going under is the fifth-highest SK Trend Confidence rating on tonight’s slate.
* Final Score Prediction: Cleveland Indians: 5 – Detroit Tigers: 1 *
[8:10 p.m. EST] Under 8.5 (-118) – Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
CIN: Sonny Gray – R (3-5, 3.77 ERA/1.21 WHIP)
MIL: Chase Anderson – R (3-1, 4.05 ERA/1.39 WHIP)
There are very strong trends for the total going under in Milwaukee tonight, and it’s actually the second-highest graded pick in our system. It’s also good news that both teams have seen their IRTs decrease – Brewers: -0.2, Reds: -0.3 – since the open.
Five of the six Brewers-Reds games this season have gone under the total, and both starting pitchers have a great history against each team. Not to mention, 15 of the last 16 Reds’ games have gone under the total, while Brewers’ games have suffered the same fate in three of the last four.
Let’s start with Sonny Gray, who has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his 14 starts this season. In his last outing against Milwaukee, Gray matched a season-high nine strikeouts en route to a Cincy 3-0 victory. He could have another big performance like that one, considering the Brewers own a 31.3% K-rate against right-handed pitching over the last 21 days.
Behind Gray is the Reds’ bullpen, who has allowed the fewest homers (28) and second-lowest ERA (3.40) in baseball.
Chase Anderson doesn’t have a long leash, compared to most MLB pitchers, so we’re essentially relying on the Brewers’ bullpen for half the game. They have the 10th-best ERA (3.38) and are right around that same area for the season.
It’s not like Anderson has been getting crushed, but he should do just fine against a Reds’ lineup that owns a dreadful .266 xwOBA against right-handed pitching over the last 21 days. After that, the Brewers’ bullpen will pick it up from there.
I don’t necessarily like a side here, but a low-scoring game is certainly on the horizon.
* Final Score Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers: 3 – Cincinnati Reds: 2 *
[10:10 p.m. EST] Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers (ML: -190/1.5-run line: +120)
COL: German Marquez – R (7-3, 4.57 ERA/1.23 WHIP)
LAD: Walker Buehler – R (7-1, 3.06 ERA/0.92 WHIP)
We’ve got a tale of two pitchers heading in opposite directions, and that’s why the SK Trend Confidence rating is the highest on the Dodgers tonight. LA’s moneyline and 1.5-run are the top trends of any other selections on the entire day’s slate.
Walker Buehler has been downright filthy, allowing one earned run or fewer in six of his last starts. The young righty has done some of his best work lately against some of the better bats in the National League – Cubs and D-Backs. Over his last 22 innings of work, Buehler has allowed one run and a ridiculous 0.45 WHIP while striking out 26 batters.
Sure, the Rockies have plenty of talented bats, but they have their fair share of games with a high strikeout total. Not to mention, their current roster has a combined .189 batting average and .267 on-base percentage against Buehler lifetime.
On the other hand, German Marquez is getting absolutely ripped by opposing hitters. Over the last three games/17 innings (Cubs x2, Padres), he’s allowed 22 hits (5 HR), seven walks and 19 runs. Yikes! A good number of these Dodgers’ hitters have a solid history against Marquez, and it’s setting up to be another good night for the boys in blue.
The Dodgers are 31-9 at home and 21-5 at home against teams with a right-handed starting pitcher this season.
* Final Score Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers: 6 – Colorado Rockies: 0 *