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The Oakland bats were ice-cold in their homestand scoring 15 runs in their first nine games, but they broke out for seven runs last night. That's a good sign as they hit the road where the bats shone in Toronto scoring 27 runs over four games in their previous series away from home. They face the struggling Ian Kennedy who has been rocked for 21 runs in his last four starts. Frankie Montas takes the mound for Oakland, and he was sharp in his start since 2015, but that was against the lowly Diamondbacks who are in the bottom of MLB in many hitting categories. I’m going to wager that he doesn’t have as much success in his second start tonight.
I’m going to play a couple of angles here. Toronto and Boston have played seven times this season resulting in five UNDERs and have only surpassed tonight’s total line once in the seven matches. The Red Sox have had Jays’ starter Marco Estrada’s number in recent games, but he does have some strong back figures against the Boston line-up and can improve in his third go against them this season. Red Sox starter has been off form in his last few, but he pitched well in his only start against the Jays this season going seven frames allowing three runs and will likely face Toronto without Josh Donaldson. We get the added advantage of UNDER umpire Victor Carapazza, and the forecast has the wind blowing in tonight.
Velasquez has pitched adequately for most of the season, giving his team a shot of winning in most games. However, he does come up with some bad ones; case in point is three outings where he gave up 14 runs over 11.1 innings. Historically he has just two starts against the Dodgers, and neither one was pretty allowing 14 runs over 10.1 innings, and the current LAD lineup has a career .409 batting average vs. him albeit in limited at bats. The Dodgers starter Brock Stewart was OK in his only start this season and should show some improvement in his second stretch-out this season. The Phillies bats haven’t been overpowering in recent games and with the series trends favoring the home teams and Los Angeles improved play I’m willing to lay the high number.
Look I could make a case for taking the Royals at plus money, but that would be a bit of a reach. The Rangers have been hitting the ball well scoring 6.16 runs per game over their last six. They send Cole Hamels to the mound, and he's been in excellent form recording four quality starts over his previous five outings, and he has great historical numbers against the projected Kansas City line-up. The Royals starter Jason Hammel also has great back numbers against Texas line-up, but he's been very inconsistent this season. I rarely make runline wagers, and this may be only one of a handful of times that I have laid it on the home team.
Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi hasn’t between going deep into games, but he has been consistent, allowing three or fewer runs the last five times he has been handed the ball allowing a combined total of six runs. Seattle lefty Wade LeBlanc made his first start in 21 months back on May third, and it was good one throwing four scoreless innings. On the season he has four starts allowing a total of three earned runs. Neither team has been working out the scorekeeper in recent games making the total the way to go here.
Toronto pitcher Gaviglio looked sharp in his first start this season throwing five-plus scoreless frames against It’s difficult to back the Jays these days the way the offense is performing. Toronto has scored four runs or fewer runs in 14 of their last 19 games and face a pitcher who has been impressive in his three starts this allowing three earned runs over 17 1/3 innings. The Jays did blast Phillies starter for eight runs in just 2 2/3 innings, but he was making his first career MLB start, and it showed. That said, I'm going to throw that all out the window. Both starters have not been consistent in their careers and the limited sample size this season is too small to say that either one of them has turned the corner. The wind is forecast to be blowing out at Citizen Bank Park making and both pitchers have had their struggles keeping the ball in the park
This game will be the fourth time that these pitchers have faced each other this season and while Philly has taken two of three, the Braves starter Mike Folytynewicz has been the better of the two allowing two or fewer runs on all three starts. Philadelphia's Nick Pivetta has only been mediocre allowing three in four frames in his opener and then one in five frames before getting tagged with four runs in five innings and his last.
Detroit starter Francisco Liriano has strong numbers against Seattle’s projected line-up holding the hitters to a .206 batting average over 68 at-bats, but the numbers are skewed. Nearly two-thirds of the at-bats are by Jean Segura and Gordon Beckham who he has owned, but others such as Kyle Seager (.400), Dee Gordon (.400) and Nelson Cruz have had success against Liriano in a smaller sample size. Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc has been razor sharp in his three starts this season allowing one earned run in 15 innings pitched, but he doesn't have great historical numbers against the Detroit line-up allowing a career .364 BA. LeBlanc also hasn’t fared well throwing in day games this season coming out of the pen giving up five runs in five innings.
Los Angeles starter Andrew Heaney has been getting better every start as his confidence grows. His last start was ultra-impressive pitching eight innings allowing just one run on four hits and striking out ten batters. That said, I’d stay away from the Angels today with the inflated line and the lack of production form the offense. The host has scored three or fewer runs in seven straight and while Romo doesn’t have any starts against he does have experience facing the line-up holding them to a .137 batting average over 51 at bats.
I’m willing to take a shot laying 1.5 runs in this spot on the Yanks who are a positive 7.01 units flat betting them on the run line this season. Their offense has been impressive scoring four or greater runs in 11 of their last 12. Kansas City has been getting blown out frequently this season, and their current funk has seen five of their previous seven defeats being by two or more runs. Royals starter Jakob Junis has been beatable at home this season losing two of his last three and was blown up for six runs in 5 2/3 innings on the road last season in NY.
Orioles vs. Red Sox Prediction 5/17/18
Baltimore has lost six straight away from home to bring their road record to an embarrassing 3-16 on the season. They have been playing better though with five wins over their last seven games and excluding previous night; their scoring production was solid in that stretch scoring five or more runs in five of the six past games. Gausman may not have great career numbers against the Red Sox, but he was close to brilliant in his last two in 2017 versus them allowing zero runs over 15 2/3 innings. Boston's starter Price has been subpar since he opened the campaign with two quality starts failing to get the QS in his last six outings. The team has won just one of his last four, and the team that broke out of the gate 17-2 is .500 over their previous 24 games. This pick is indeed no lock considering the Orioles road woes, but I'm taking a shot on the Birds plus the money.
The Astros Verlander has been brilliant this season with an overall 88.9 quality start percentage that increases to 100% on the road. He’s been sizzling in his last seven starts allowing a total of five runs over 48 innings! The Angels starter Garrett Richards doesn’t have comparable numbers, but he has held the opposition to three or fewer runs in three of his four home starts. His one poor outing at Angel Stadium came when he was pitching on six days rest against the Yankees, and that may have had an impact.
Richards pitched well against Houston last season throwing 11 innings over two starts allowing one run on five hits. Historical pitcher vs. batter numbers are strong with the LAA line-up hitting .128 and the HOU hitting .236. I believe the total is the way to go here. Even if Richards doesn't have his best stuff, the overall scoring could fall below the number by a run or two.
Sure Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched well earlier this season at home against Detroit’s pitching five scoreless innings, but the majority of his starts in 2018 have been disastrous. He brings only moderate numbers against the projected lineup with the Tigers’ batters hitting .260 over 96 at bats. Francisco Liriano gets the ball for Detroit and his been ultra-consistent over seven starts allowing three or fewer runs per outing but not always reaching the minimum of six innings to get the quality start. He was sharp in his outing back in early April against the Indians getting the QS throwing six innings allowing just two runs. Tomlin has better historical numbers especially in the W/L versus opponent metric, but the value tonight is with the Detroit.
I expect Hill to be better today than his last start that he was making after a stint on the DL. However, how much better is the key. Cincinnati has hit left-handed pitching well this season and has been getting it done on the scoreboard scoring four or more runs in six of their last seven. They send out Luis Castillo who has looked better in his previous two, but they were at home, and this is on the road where he's 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA. The Dodgers haven't been lighting up the scoreboard, but they did get three yesterday on 12 hits and may break out here.
Arizona has had a difficult time scoring runs over their last ten games, and sure they have faced a pretty solid group of starters over that stretch. That said they managed to surpass four runs just once over that span of games and that came on the road against the Dodgers lefty Rich Hill who was making his first start since going on the DL. At home, they've scored two or fewer runs in six of their last seven and face Jeremy Hellickson who has not allowed a run the previous two times he has been handed the ball pitching a total of 12 1/3 innings striking out 12 and walking none. Zach Godley has been brilliant at home this season with a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, but historically he hasn't fared well against the Nationals lineup allowing them to hit .362 as a group over 58 at bats.
Brewers starter Chase Anderson has poor career numbers in Colorado, but that is skewed by two poor outings, one in late 2014 and one in the middle of the 2015 season. He's pitched OK at Coors Field in his last two starts allowing four earned runs over ten innings. He has impressive historical numbers against the Rockies projected lineup holding them to a .216 batting average over 125 at bats. Kyle Freeland has made just two starts at home this season, and both were excellent recording a quality start in both and comes into this game sharp with three consecutive QSs. He doesn't have a lot of experience against the Brew Crew with the starters having 15 at-bats and his pitcher vs. batter statistics aren't impressive .267 ERA with five walks, but he's pitching at his highest level in his career right now and can turn those numbers around today.
Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz will look to rebound from his latest when the Giants rocked him. He was brilliant last season against Miami recording four quality starts in four outings. The Marlins Justin Bour has walloped him, but he comes in ice-cold hitting .143 over his previous seven games. Miami sends out Caleb Smith who has rounded into top form as the season has progressed in his first year in the starter role. He's been ultra-nasty in his last three allowing two runs over 18 2/3 frames and striking out 26. With the wind expected to be blowing in at game time and the starters current and historical metrics the total feels like the right play.
Historical pitcher versus batter numbers for both starters against tonight’s expected line-ups is atrocious. LeBlanc has been torn up by Josh Donaldson who has a .444 batting average and has taken him out of the park twice in just nine at-bats. Russell Martin has also lit up LeBlanc for a .444 average going an identical four for nine. That said, both players are in a tailspin right now with Martin hitting .067 in his last four games and Donaldson .160! That's certainly not the case for a couple of the five Seattle batters who have had success against Toronto starter Jaime Garcia. Ryon Healy and Dee Gordon are real sharp right now with Healy hitting .333 and Gordon crushing it with a .517 average over the last seven games. It doesn’t hurt that the visitor is 12-6 this season on the road. The Jays seem ripe for an upset.
When we have two teams that have a combined 19-49 won/loss record on the season picking a winner is not the easiest task. However, the Royals have been playing better ball with six wins over their last ten games, and they can thank the offense for that scoring four or more runs in eight of their previous nine. They face Dylan Bundy who has owned them, but it's a small sample of 28, and he's beat rocked in his last two. The Orioles struggled at the plate on their roads trip scoring eight runs over their previous four and face Danny Duffy. The Kansas City starter who like Bundy has had success against his opponent, but Duffy has done it long term. His form is off, and the Royals have lost all seven of his starts this season, but the value is their getting plus money against a team on a lengthy losing streak.
It's typically not a smart move to go against a streak in MLB, and that's precisely what I'm going to do on two fronts. Chicago has dropped four straight, but they were in three of the four, and they did outhit the Cards in their last two. The metrics on today's starters appear to be comparable for the seasonal numbers, but historically it is a different story. Cubs lefty Lester has owned the Cards and has impressive pitcher versus batter back numbers holding the St. Louis projected starters to a .231 batting average and a .309 on-base percentage. Those statistics tower over Wacha’s .315 and BA and embarrassing .624 SLG career numbers versus the Chicago batters.