By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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* 2019 MLB Record: 137-110-6 (55.5%) *
[2:20 p.m. EST] Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (ML: -170)
PIT: Trevor Williams – R (3-2, 4.54 ERA/1.26 WHIP)
CHC: Jose Quintana – L (6-7, 4.19 ERA/1.35 WHIP)
The Cubs will look to complete the sweep over the Pirates today, and if history is any indication, they should be able to do just that.
We’ve talked about BvP (batter vs. pitcher) a couple of times in this space, and everyone has their own opinion on it. I believe in it, and it should help the Cubbies in today’s game.
Trevor Williams got off to an amazing start this season, but it’s been anything but pretty of late. Since returning from the IL, the righty has allowed a total of 26 hits, 18 runs and five homers over 17 1/3 innings in three starts.
Williams’ last start was against this same Cubs team, as he allowed nine hits, three walks and five runs over 5 2/3 innings. In fact, Chicago has done quite well against him in recent history – especially the combo of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber. Look for these guys to be the catalyst in the Cubbies flying the W flag later today.
Jose Quintana has been simply magnificent against the Pirates this season, allowing only 10 hits, two walks and three runs over 14 innings while striking out 17 batters. The current Pittsburgh roster hasn’t given JQ much trouble over his career, as they own a collective .260 on-base percentage against him in 128 career plate appearances.
All in all, we’ve got two teams heading in opposite directions out of the All-Star break. And it’s nice to have history on our side here as well.
* Final Score Prediction * Chicago Cubs: 8 – Pittsburgh Pirates: 3
[4:07 p.m. EST] Over 10.5 – Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
SEA: Yusei Kikuchi – L (4-6, 4.94 ERA/1.45 WHIP)
LAA: Jose Suarez – L (2-1, 5.40 ERA/1.52 WHIP)
Nine of the last 13 games between the teams have gone over the total, including each of the first two in this series. Look for more of the same, as the SK system has an A-grade on the over for today’s matchup, the highest of any on the entire schedule. The SK system also loves the Angels on the moneyline and/or the 1.5-run line, but our priority is on the over today.
Yusei Kikuchi has been getting beat up with great regularity, especially against the Angels. In fact, the Los Angeles offense has registered 29 hits (.475 batting average), seven walks, 17 runs (16 earned) and five homers against him in a total of 11 2/3 innings this season.
The Angels’ offense is absolutely clicking on all cylinders, with a total of 32 runs over their last three games. While the bats are rolling, it’s a nice combination to be facing a Mariners’ bullpen, which owns the fourth-worst ERA in baseball – and it’s gotten even worse since arriving in Anaheim.
Jose Suarez takes the ball for the Angels and he’s been allowing tons of baserunners. Suarez faced the Mariners in his MLB debut back on June 9, allowing four hits, two walks and two runs over 4 2/3 innings. We can probably expect more of the same from him today, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the over. Suarez has only maxed out 5 2/3 innings, and the Angels’ bullpen has fallen off dramatically after such a great start.
The Mariners’ defense always comes into play when betting the over in their games. Seattle has committed 95 errors, which is 25 more than any other team in MLB. These errors give opposing offenses more opportunities to put runs on the board, and they have certainly taken advantage of that.
* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Angels: 7 – Seattle Mariners: 4
[4:07 p.m. EST] Under 10 – Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics
CHW: Reynaldo Lopez – R (4-8, 6.34 ERA/1.58 WHIP)
OAK: Brett Anderson – L (9-5, 3.86 ERA/1.30 WHIP)
Reynaldo Lopez isn’t usually a guy we go to when trying to get the total to go under, but today is a new day, my friends. In fact, Lopez has actually done quite well away from Guaranteed Rate Field in each of his last three road starts, the last two coming against quality opponents – Red Sox and Rangers. The righty three runs or fewer in each of those last three road starts.
Vegas has something up its sleeve for this game, giving the A’s IRT (implied run total) a noticeable -0.4 downshift from their initial 6.0 number. Part of the reason could be the weather, which isn’t very typical for July baseball. Temperatures should be in the upper-60s/low-70s, and that’s not good for ball flight. Some of those fly balls that Lopez gives up will likely fall just shy of the wall.
On the other side, Brett Anderson will be going for the A’s. He’s never been a flashy strikeout-pitcher, rather getting it done by spotting the baseball and inducing opposing offenses into ground-ball outs. In fact, Anderson has gotten at least eight ground-ball outs in each of his last nine starts, and a double-digit total in six of them.
Over the last 14 days, both teams’ bullpens have been quite effective. Especially the A’s, whose pen owns a 2.30 ERA over that span – fourth-best in baseball.
All in all, we’re probably looking at a very boring game today and that’s exactly what we want for this bet. The SK system has a B+ grade on this game, ranking just behind the level of confidence we have in the over on the Angels-Mariners game.
* Final Score Prediction * Oakland Athletics: 4 – Chicago White Sox: 2