By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
Game 3, NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors (+4.5, -105) at Golden State Warriors
It’s incredibly difficult to gauge this game without truly knowing the status of Klay Thompson. The part that is even more frustrating is that this decision likely won’t be up to him – rather, the Warriors’ training staff. Klay’s mobility will be tested out in pregame warmups, and a decision will be made at that time.
If Thompson is unable to go, it’ll be a huge advantage for the visiting Raptors, who actually won here in Oakland by 20 points back in December. Not only does he provide an unlimited outside range, but Klay’s defense is just flat out dominant. Losing two big aspects like that could be too much for even the almighty Warriors to overcome.
Aside from the first six minutes of the third quarter in Game 2, you can argue that the Raptors have controlled this series. Their length has proven to be difficult for the smaller Warriors, and if Klay does indeed miss tonight’s game, you have to believe the Raptors will throw box-and-1 and double-team defenses at him all night.
It is worth noting, the Warriors have either lost or won by single-digits in five of their seven home playoff games during this run. For the final score prediction, I’ll give it to Raptors with the assumption Klay sits out. If he’s in, I think the Warriors win, but without covering the spread.
* Final Score Prediction: Toronto Raptors: 108 – Golden State Warriors: 104 *
* 2019 MLB Record: 95-77-4 (55.2%) *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Minnesota Twins (ML: -130) at Cleveland Indians
MIN: Martin Perez – L (7-2, 3.71 ERA/1.40 WHIP)
CLE: bullpen game
By the way, I just want to mention how utterly furious I am at the onset. I had this gorgeous article written up for this game and how Carlos Carrasco was going to get beat over the head. Well, at about 3:00 p.m. EST, Carrasco was scratched and announced that he’ll be heading to the injured list.
Sigh. The life of a sports betting writer…
Our system has a B+ for Minnesota on the moneyline, and that was even when Carlos Carrasco was supposed to take the mound. Now, it’ll be a bullpen game for the Indians. Tyler Clippard will take the first inning and then it’s all up in the air from there. It is worth noting, though, that the Indians’ bullpen has the sixth-worst xFIP (expected fielding-independent pitching) over the last seven days. Oliver Perez is pretty much the only exception, but he probably won’t be used since he’s already pitched 4 2/3 innings over the last seven days, including throwing an inning last night.
Minnesota has been crushing baseballs all season, leading MLB in homers. Looking at it in a closer prism, though, the Twins’ projected lineup owns a massive .354 wOBA (weighted on-base average) and .278 ISO (power metric) against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days. I assume they’ll some mostly right-handers tonight.
Martin Perez’s last start was his worst outing of the season, allowing six hits and six runs over 2 2/3 innings. Prior to that disaster, Perez had allowed three runs or fewer in six straight starts, while averaging about 6 1/3 innings per outing over that span. It also helps that the Indians own the sixth-lowest wOBA in baseball against left-handed pitching.
Behind Perez is the Minnesota bullpen, which ranks in the top-three of MLB of most advanced pitching metrics over the last 14 days.
Two trends to look at heading into tonight:
– Twins are 15-4 after a loss this season
– Twins are 21-10 in road games this season
* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 5 – Cleveland Indians: 2 *
[8:05 p.m. EST] Under 9 (-104) – Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers
BAL: John Means – L (5-4, 2.80 ERA/1.10 WHIP)
TEX: Mike Minor – L (5-4, 2.74 ERA/1.19 WHIP)
Two outstanding lefties take the mound at Globe Life Park tonight. I’m usually nervous about taking the under in Texas with humid conditions, but not with John Means and Mike Minor going toe-to-toe.
Let’s start with the homey Minor, who owns a 2.50 ERA in six home starts this season. Unfortunately, he would’ve had better numbers, but a trashy fifth-inning defensive performance and a homer that scraped the foul pole in his last outing thwarted that. Discredit that one bad inning and ride Minor to a low total tonight. Yeehaw!
On the other side, Means has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his seven starts since being placed in the starting rotation. In fact, he allowed only run in four of those starts. Means has already pitched well in environments like Camden Yards, Coors Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium – so what’s the big deal adding some Globe Life Park to the mix? Not to mention, the Rangers have a putrid .280 xwOBA and .139 ISO over the last 14 days against left-handed pitching.
Even with the humid conditions, Vegas dropped the IRTs for both sides (Orioles: -0.2, Rangers: -0.3) while the game total went from 9.5 to 9.0 as well. Neither team’s bullpen is one that I want to trust, but I’ll give the Rangers the edge at home after dropping one last night.
* Final Score Prediction: Texas Rangers: 4 – Baltimore Orioles: 3 *
[8:15 p.m. EST] Over 9.5 (-102) – Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
CIN: Anthony DeSclafani – R (2-3, 4.97 ERA/1.34 WHIP)
STL: Dakota Hudson – R (4-3, 3.94 ERA/1.58 WHIP)
Weather permitting, we should have ourselves a good ole fashioned slugfest at Busch Stadium. The conditions are great for hitting, with temperatures in the upper-80s and humidity playing a big factor.
Vegas has taken notice, increasing the IRTs for both sides (Cardinals: +0.7, Reds: +0.4) and the game total from 8.5 to 9.5. Both of these teams have been playing to a lot of totals going under of late, so it makes the Vegas movement even more intriguing.
Anthony DeSclafani, from the great state of New Jersey, has been getting ripped over his last five starts. The righty has allowed 31 hits, 19 runs and nine over the last 23 1/3 innings of work. The heart of the Cards’ order has hit DeSclafani well over the course of their careers, so look for that to continue on Wednesday.
Dakota Hudson has been doing a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, but a lot of these Reds’ hitters can still make life difficult on him. Cincy did put eight baserunners (seven hits, one walk) up against him in their previous meeting. Not to mention, they have a fantastic .347 wOBA and .213 ISO against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days.
* Final Score Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals: 7 – Cincinnati Reds: 5 *