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A nice battle tonight at Dodger Stadium with the rookie Austin Gombre taking the mound to make his fourth career road start and Los Angeles countering with Alex Wood. The rook has looked OK in his three previous road starts with a 1-0 mark and 3.79 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. In a combination of relief and starts Gomber has walked 11 in just 19 innings pitched, and that is a concern going against the Dodgers who lead the Majors in walks this season. LAD starter Alex Wood was decent in his return from the DL pitching five innings of three-hit ball allowing just one run, but he’s been dealing with leg issues on and off all season and may not be at his best right now. Historically he doesn’t have a lot of experience against the forecasted starters with the “lion’s share” 22 of 34 at bats by Marcell Ozuna who has hit .273 versus Wood. The Cards do hit lefties well with a nine-inning average of 5.01 runs which is over a half run over their numbers against right-handed pitchers. The Dodgers have been on a tear at the plate over their last four with 31 runs put on the board and likewise for the Cards who scored four or more in ten consecutive games before being held to one run on Sunday.
The Mets have been playing better as of late with a positive record on this road trip including two wins over the Phillies this weekend. That said, the starting pitching edge by Philadelphia is enormous in this game. NY Mets starter Jason Vargas has been dreadful all season with 7.7 QS percentage, and while he did pick up a QS in his latest, it was against the Orioles weak unit so we'll have to see if it's a reliable indication of the reversal of form. The Phillies starter Nick Pivetta is pitching the best he has all season with three earned allowed over his last three starts getting QS in all three games. He hasn't had the most success against the Mets team, but he was facing tonight's projected starters holding them to a .182 batting average over 22 at bats. I think there is value in playing this game two ways in case Vargas has a good outing I’ll add a total bet, but even if we get a pitchers duel, I think the Phillies have a big enough edge in the pen to get the win and the cover.
Overall Kansas City's starter Brad Keller has the edge with a decent road ERA of 3.63, but his quality start rate of 11.8% makes it likely that the bullpen will be required to pick up maybe more than a few innings. The Chisox Dylan Covey has been awful no matter where he pitches and at home is no different where he’s compiled an embarrassing 1.60 WHIP and 5.44 ERA. The back numbers of both of these pitchers versus the opponent's lineup are poor with the White Sox hitting .33 versus Keller in 42 at bats and the Royals hitting .294 versus Covey. The relievers for both clubs have struggled all season, so I don't expect a committee from the pen to come in and have success. Adding to my forecast is the current form of each team's offense with the Royals scoring five or more in three of their last four and Chicago putting up five or more in five straight matches.
The total appears to be the logical bet in this game. The previous three matches this season all surpassed the total line with each game having a combined total score of 11 or greater runs. Indians starter Mike Clevinger has decent career pitcher vs. batter numbers against the Reds lineup but didn't look sharp in his start versus Cincinnati this season allowing five runs over six innings. The Reds counter with Homer Bailey who brings a 6.44 home ERA into this game. He does have decent historical numbers against the team, but his career stats against the Indians projected starters are mediocre with the line-up hitting .275 in 40 at bats. Both sides have the potential to light up the scoreboard tonight, making the over the way to go here.
There is no doubting the Tigers dominance in this series in 2018, but it must be pointed out that four of their victories were by a single run. Tonight, they send out occasional starter Artie Lewicki to make his third start on the season and fourth in his career. He has yet to prove that he can succeed in that roll throwing a combined 13.2 innings allowing 12 runs (10 earned) in the three outings. Lewicki has never lasted past five innings, and it would be a reach to expect him to go deep in this start even against the weak-hitting White Sox. That causes another problem. The Tigers come into this game with a bullpen that was used extensively in the series against the Twins, and while they do have some rested arms, they won't have a full plate of options should he falter early. The White Sox counter with Reynaldo Lopez who has been up and down this season. His main issue has been with giving up the long ball allowing 20 on the season. That said he has pitched well in his last two allowing just one HR over 17 innings pitched helping him record back to back quality starts. Another thing going for Lopez tonight is he’s facing the Tigers who rank dead last in the MLB in home runs and a team he has owned in the past holding the projected starters to a .218 batting average over 55 at bats with ZERO home runs.
If I were going to fade Boston, this would be a decent spot, but I think that there is better value offered in the total. The Red Sox struggled to put runs on the board when faced against a trio of good arms put up by the Phillies but returned to form (No. 1 offense in the MLB) against the Yankees scoring four or more runs in all four games in their sweep of the Yankees. They will face the Jays up but mostly down starter Marcus Stroman. Stroman looked good in his two games prior to his last allowing just three runs over 13 2/3 innings against lesser but was ripped by the A's for seven runs in his latest in five frames. Historically the Red Sox batters have had a lot of success versus him hitting a lifetime .299. Boston sends out Drew Pomeranz who like Stroman has not had his best stuff this season and brings a 0-2 W/L record, and 6.17 earned run average into this contest. He has decent back numbers against Toronto's forecasted lineup with them as a whole hitting .239, but his last two against the team are not strong allowing eight earned runs over just six innings pitched.
Shane Bieber did not pitch well in July recording one quality start in four outings, and he returns to Target Field where he was less than impressive in his only start there earlier this season. Twins starter Ervin Santana pitched adequately in his return and was exceptional against the Indians last season allowing one earned run in 24 innings over four starts. The Twins have owned the Indians in six starts on this field in 2018 and are worthy of risking a few bucks on today to continue that form.
The Mariners catch the Astros on a down streak losing four straight, but they send out Paxton to make his first start since July 12. Gerrit Cole doesn’t have the best career back numbers against the Seattle line-up, but he was ultra-sharp in his early outing against them this season pitching seven innings allowing one unearned run and comes into this game in good form with two of his last three starts being quality. I’ll take a shot on the visitor getting back on track at a small price.
The D'Backs crushed the Padres pitching staff for 15 runs in the first two games with nine pitchers seeing action for San Diego. The Padres send out lefty Joey Lucchesi today and while he has pitched well enough to win in last five games allowing two or fewer runs in each, he doesn't last long with the high inning total of 5 1/3 over that stretch. That's not going to bode well for the bullpen.
Diamondbacks vs. Padres Prediction 7/29/18
The Brew Crew have won five of their last six games scoring five or greater runs in all five victories. They've won the first three in this set, and I'm banking on them taking another this afternoon. Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra is just 3-3 on the road with a 4.30 earned run average and did get beat up in last two road starts. However, he's pitched well in days games going 4-3 with a sizzling 2.06 ERA, so I'm willing to ride that hot bats of the visitor.
The Pirates were killing the ball for the most part in their 11-game win streak scoring six or more runs in nine of the games. The NY Mets starter Steve Matz pitched well in his start against Pittsburgh back on June 26th and has thrown well on the road with a 3.00 earned run average. That said I'm going to lay down on the Pirates with Nick Kingham on the mound. Kingham has been really sharp in his last three starts, and while he does give up the long ball a little to frequently, the Mets aren't a team that is likely to take advantage of that flaw. Pittsburgh won nine of the 11 in their streak by two or more runs, so I feel comfortable betting the run line in this spot.
The offense has been a problem for both clubs recently with the Giants scoring three or fewer in 11 of their last 16 contests and the Mariners surpassing three runs in just 4 of their last 12. Neither pitcher could be considered in good form, but Andrew Suarez before his latest held opponents to two or fewer runs in six straight starts. James Paxton is coming off the DL so I'm not certain how will perform tonight although for the most this season he has been on his game with a 60% QS rate over 20 starts. Only two batters in the Giants lineup have experience against him with Andrew McCutchen going 1 for 3 and Pablo Sandoval 0 for 3 which should give a significant edge to a strikeout pitcher. The total line is low, but I think it still offers value in what could be a 4-2 type game.
The Tigers starter Francisco Liriano has been hot and cold this season, but he has pitched well against the Royals allowing 5 earned runs over 20 innings pitched in three starts this season. Rookie pitcher Heath Filllmyer makes his second start for Kansas City. He struggled in his first career start, but that did come against the Red Sox hitters who are on a much higher plane than the Tigers who have scored two or fewer runs in seven of their last ten.
The Giants Johnny Cueto looked better in his second back after a lengthy stint on the DL, but it certainly wasn’t impressive. Cueto lasted just five innings allowing three runs on six hits but was taken out of the park twice for the second straight game. Oakland has hit an MLB ninth-ranked 127 HRs this season, and with the wind blowing out, he may have his work cut out for him. Lefty Sean Manaea gets the ball for the A's, and he was sharp in his latest against San Francisco one week ago today allowing two runs over six frames of work for his sixth quality start in his last seven outings. Manaea has mixed metrics at home with a 3-4 record and an OK ERA of 3.49 but does possess an outstanding 0.84 WHIP and a 66.7% QS number. I’ll take the team that is at home with the better “current form” pitcher on the mound and the club that is a sizzling 16-5 in their 21.
Toronto exploded for 13 runs in the last meeting between these clubs taking all four games last time they met in Toronto. That said, the game was the first OVER in the previous six games with these teams recording a 2-5 O/U number in 2018. Neither pitcher is on his game right now, but Baltimore's Bundy has excellent historical metrics against the Toronto's hitters holding the starters to a .170 batting average in 47 at bats. The Jays Sam Gaviglio will be making his first lifetime start against the Orioles and while he comes in struggling he has been excellent at home with a 1.97 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 32 innings pitched. I'll follow the trends and play the total in this spot.
The forecast calls for the wind to be blowing out at Wrigley Field tonight and Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks has had his issues with the long ball at home this season. St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez has pitched well in his last two on the road, but he did struggle in back to back road starts in June at Cincinnati and Milwaukee. The Cubs were very efficient scoring in their three-game set in San Diego scoring 7/10 11/13 5/9 23 runs on 32 hits. Martinez has decent back numbers against Chicago with the projected starters hitting .261 in 238 at bats versus him, but his last three against the Cubs haven’t been great allowing 12 runs in 14 2/3 innings pitched.
Rookie starter Eric Lauer has been ultra-sharp in his recent starts allowing one or fewer runs in four of his last five starts. He has the advantage of this being the first time that anyone on the Cub has seen his stuff, but the Cubs haven't had any problems with lefties this season going an impressive 16-6. On the mound for Chicago is lefty Jon Lester who doesn't have a long history against the San Diego batters, but he has held them to 15 hits in 65 at bats, and left-handers have owned them this season winning 20 of the 30 games. Lauer may have a good outing, but the Padres haven't taken advantage of his performances winning just five of his 15 starts, and with the bankroll padding Lester on the mound I'll take my chances laying the big number.
Philadelphia's rookie starter Enyel De Los Santos looked decent in his opener allowing just one run in his first six innings before getting tagged with a pair in the sixth in an easy 7-3 win by the Phillies. That game was against the offensively challenged Mets, but he gets another poor offensive club this afternoon. Miami starter has some bad luck at home this season not getting any run support, but he does struggle in day games with an overall record of 0-5 with a bloated 5.68 ERA.
I’ll wager on the visitor getting back on track today.
Texas starter Martin Perez returns to line up after missing two-plus months from an elbow injury on his non-throwing arm, so I'm not sure what we'll see tonight. What I am sure about is Perez’ dreadful performances this season going 2-3 on the season with a 2.37 WHIP and 9.67 ERA. He hasn't faced Baltimore this season but last season in one start at home and one on the road he was lit up for 13 runs in 10 1/3 innings. Tonight's expected Orioles' starting lineup has a career .323 batting average against Perez in 127 at bats so Perez may have a short night. Baltimore rookie starter Yefry Ramirez has yet to record his first win, but he has pitched well enough to give his team a shot at victory and keep in mind that his three starts this season came against three quality opponents in the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox. I’ll take the home squad with the better starter at a small price.
Boston has owned Toronto this season winning seven of their nine meeting including all three at Fenway Park. I can't play them at -175, and I'm going to rule out fading them in this spot at the current line of +165 as the value doesn't justify it. The total number though looks like it holds some value giving us the edge on the linesmaker. Ex-Jay David Price gets the ball for the home side, and he's been great historically against Toronto, and of the starters, Randal Grichuk (2 for 4) and Devon Travis (5 for 14) are the only batters that have had success against Price. The Jays send out J.A. and Happ has had his struggles as of late allowing 13 over 8 1/3 in his last two, but both those came at home at the Rogers Center where he has struggled at times this season. On the road, it's been a different a story with Happ going 4-1 with a decent WHIP of 1.11 and ERA of 2.83. He’s owned the Red Sox batters allowing the projected lineup to hit a combined measly .193 in 181 at bats making a return to form a strong possibility tonight. I’m looking at 4-2 type game tonight.