It will be an abridged version of the picks and analysis article today. With a handful of day games and my thoughts on three of the night games posted in preview form at BangTheBook, there isn’t a whole lot to add to this article. The day games feature some big favorites anyway and, as you know, unless I have a strong read on the underdog, I don’t write those games up. After a tough night on the diamond last night, I’m eager to get back on track, so let’s see what we have for Wednesday.
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Los Angeles (NL) (-130) at Oakland; Total: 8
Felix Doubront’s magic act was nowhere near as effective as what Clayton Kershaw was able to do, but both bullpens did everything they could to make the game interesting. It was a 1-1 game when the starters left the fray and the eighth inning featured six runs, three from each team, and then Oakland walked off. The Dodgers were just 1-for-9 with RISP and Oakland was 4-for-11. That was the difference in the game.
How will both teams respond with a quick turnaround? The advantage is firmly with the Dodgers in this one. They suffered a tough loss on Tuesday night and those can be tough to bounce back from. But, the A’s got in very early Tuesday morning after a late game in Baltimore on Monday night and then had that emotional comeback win on Tuesday. A day game on Wednesday with an off day on Thursday sets up a perfect situational spot to take the Dodgers.
The pitching matchup is also in the Dodgers’ favor, but this situational spot is perfect, so back the Dodgers this afternoon.
Arizona at Pittsburgh (-160); Total: 7.5
A lot of variables go into this line because Tuesday night’s game went 15 innings. The Pirates have a lot more bullpen depth and managed to get seven innings from their starter and two separate relievers worked at three innings. The Diamondbacks got two innings from closer Addison Reed and were working on two innings from a fourth reliever when the Pirates walked off.
Robbie Ray is a pretty interesting pitcher. One would think that PNC Park would be a good spot for him as an extreme fly ball pitcher. The ball doesn’t carry very well next to the river and the stadium is sunk in a little bit. If the strikeout rate is sustainable, I like Ray going forward. It remains to be seen if it is, but he had some good strikeout numbers in the minor leagues. You can look at his MiLB track record one of two ways. He’s in his third organization already, so you can say that he’s a sought after commodity or he’s a guy that teams aren’t sure of and are willing to trade. I’m not sure which one it is, but if he can maintain a 3.29 ERA and a 3.31 FIP, the Diamondbacks will be very happy.
JA Happ is a guy I was high on in his last start because he was skipped in the rotation and had some time for a side session with pitcher whisperer Ray Searage. Happ didn’t disappoint with seven strikeouts over five innings. It’s reasonable to assume that Happ’s numbers will increase going from one pitcher’s park in the AL to another in the NL. At this point, it’s all about how he commands his pitches.
I don’t necessarily disagree with the line move, but I have some issues with it. The Diamondbacks are a top-10 offense against lefties with a .318 wOBA. The Pirates are 15th with a .309 wOBA. By wRC+, which is park-adjusted, the Pirates are a tick closer to league average than Arizona. Arizona is ninth in road wOBA, which is pretty decent considering how good their home park is for hitting. The Pirates clearly have the better bullpen and had Tuesday’s game well in hand before a rare blow-up from their key relievers.
All in all, I think this line is getting to a point where the Diamondbacks are the value side in the +135-140 range, but I’m not sure I can back them just yet. Watch this line and if it keeps climbing, come back with Arizona.
New York (NL) at Baltimore (-120); Total: 7.5
Jacob deGrom got it done for the Mets on Tuesday night and all you can do is tip your cap and appreciate just how good he is. The Mets were 0-for-6 with RISP, but Kevin Gausman made a couple mistakes and turned one of our picks into a loser. We’ve seen some significant Baltimore money overnight on Ubaldo Jimenez against Noah Syndergaard. That’s a move that surprises me a little bit.
The betting market generally comes in on AL teams at home in interleague play, so I’m not surprised to see the move if that’s the reason. I certainly like Syndergaard against this lineup. I liked deGrom, too, but I felt that it was a good situational spot on the Orioles as well. This game doesn’t have that angle. Syndergaard is averaging better than a strikeout per inning and doesn’t issue many walks. The Orioles are an aggressive lineup and that is something that I overlooked with regards to deGrom. The Orioles haven’t seen these two pitchers and can take some bad swings as a result. deGrom had 13 swinging strikes in the game. Syndergaard could do something similar or even better.
Ubaldo Jimenez deserves a lot of credit for turning himself into an effective pitcher once again. Jimenez has a 3.92/3.85/3.54 pitcher slash and has gone back to doing a good job stranding runners and getting strikeouts in big spots. He has been maddeningly inconsistent of late, however. The All-Star Break seemed to derail him, which isn’t all that surprising because his mechanics have always been an issue. Not starting for nine days threw him out of whack. Since the Break, he has allowed 7, 7, 2, 6, 0, and 4 earned runs in six starts.
That’s the issue with this start. You don’t know what you will get from Jimenez, but you have a pretty good idea of what Syndergaard will give you. I’m going to disagree with the line move here and lean to the Mets, but it’s not a play I’m overly confident in. I wouldn’t make a play on either side here, but you can take this information and do what you want with it.
Kansas City (-115) at Cincinnati; Total: 8
Yesterday’s loss on Cincinnati was particularly frustrating. The Reds turned it over to Aroldis Chapman with a 1-0 lead and Ben Zobrist homered and the Royals won in extras. I’m back on the Reds today in a spot I like just as much. Jeremy Guthrie is horrible, as we all know. Keyvius Sampson is kind of interesting. He doesn’t have a whole lot of depth to his arsenal, relying mostly on fastballs, but his curveball has an above average swing-and-miss rate and that could be an equalizer for him until teams figure out that he doesn’t have a third pitch.
I really like this spot for Cincinnati because I can’t see the Royals continuing to do this thing where they keep showing a lot of character. That was a gritty win on Tuesday night and one that the Royals have grown accustomed to. Now that they won that one and added yet another game in the division and stayed six up for home field, I feel like they’re ripe for a letdown here. With Guthrie on the mound, it’s certainly possible. I’m back on the Reds from both a situational standpoint and because Guthrie is terrible. I don’t really have concerns about the Reds bouncing back because they’re playing a good team and the competitor in them will show through.
San Francisco at St. Louis (-170); Total: 7
Detroit at Chicago (NL) (-200); Total: N/A
Chicago (AL) vs. Los Angeles (AL) (-130); Total: 7.5
Minnesota at New York (AL)
Seattle at Texas
Miami at Milwaukee
Atlanta at San Diego
Toronto at Philadelphia
Cleveland at Boston
Tampa Bay at Houston
Washington at Colorado