I have to be honest. I don’t think there should be any games today. The Trade Deadline should be a league-wide off day in the MLB, NBA, and NHL. There’s so much uncertainty and so much player movement that it’s not fair to players, their families, the fans that bought tickets, or teammates. But, there are eight games for us to consider as we open up the month of August. At least about half of the league does get the day off for the Trade Deadline rampage and all of the games are well after the 4 p.m. cutoff. With that in mind, let’s see what we can make money on here today.
After we look back at yesterday’s outcomes. The Rays were a nice winner for us in early action, as we took advantage of an excellent situational spot to fade the Yankees following the Andrew Miller trade. Our only other strong play was the Red Sox over the Angels, which came through nicely. The lean on the St. Louis/Miami under failed to hit, but it was a good day to take advantage of recency bias and situational betting. That’s the type of day we like.
Our focus, as it always is, will be on the games that provide a lot of line value and those that give us the opportunity to dig deep and find the wagering angles and betting tips that will produce winners.
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Per usual, the games with big lines will be overlooked, unless there is something particularly noteworthy about them or a play on the underdog is a possibility. Also, day games are usually skipped due to the lead time of the article. That will not be the case on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Sundays when there are a lot of day games.
New York (AL) at New York (NL) (-110); Total: 8
The Subway Series takes center stage on ESPN as CC Sabathia and the Yankees take on Logan Verrett and the Mets. The damage is already done for the Yankees, but further trades could come today, particularly with Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. It’s a tough sell for a proud franchise and fan base to wave the white flag, but it’s the right move. They are very clearly the fourth-best team in the AL East and needed to restock the farm. They’ve done that and then some.
From a handicapping standpoint, the Yankees are a good fade this week. The Mets need these games. The Yankees don’t. This is one of those “Little Brother Complex” series in my mind. I’d be surprised if the Yankees put as much emphasis on this series. I certainly can’t see it now with the trades.
I realize that the Mets don’t hit lefties well. I realize that Logan Verrett is a swingman. I realize that I talked about the loss of Juan Lagares and what it means defensively for the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes is dealing with an injury. Through it all, they’re still the play here tonight in this spot. I think we’re actually getting 10-15 cents of value based on all of those factors.
Kansas City at Tampa Bay (-130); Total: 7
This is a fun little handicap. The Royals are fading fast in the AL Central and they don’t even have anything to sell to attempt to salvage this season. Tampa Bay has a lot of pieces and parts that other teams are looking for, so it could be a day of discomfort in that clubhouse. This is also a good pitching matchup between Danny Duffy and Chris Archer.
Duffy joined the rotation on May 15 and has posted a terrific 3.27 ERA with a 3.74 FIP and a 3.75 xFIP. He’s got 89 K in 82.2 innings of work and the home runs are really the only issue that he has had. Even then, he’s only given up four HR over his last seven starts. Duffy has been extremely reliable in this role for the Royals and it’s reaching a point of sustainability with 14 starts. The Rays do excel against left-handed pitching, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of the guys with a big platoon advantage, like Steve Pearce, get traded today.
Ever start still seems to be a struggle for Chris Archer. He’s given up 21 HR in 130.1 innings of work, even though he has 155 K in 130.1 innings. The Royals are the worst offense in the AL by runs scored, so he draws a decent assignment here and he’s been vastly better at home than on the road. Archer has a 2.95 ERA at home with a .211/.286/.358 slash against. He has a 5.83 ERA with a .272/.341/.485 on the road. It’s tough to figure out why those splits are so big.
In any event, Archer looks like a good bet here, but we’ll have to wait and see how the day plays out. The Royals are a team in disarray right now with some injuries and a lack of production all over the lineup. The Rays may also move some bullpen arms, so wait until after 4 p.m. ET and then play the Rays if this price is still around the same.
Milwaukee (-110) at San Diego; Total: 8
For now, the Brewers are still holding on to Jonathan Lucroy after he refused to waive his no-trade clause for the Indians. He probably won’t be there tonight and that could swing the balance of this game. On the other hand, Brewers players already went through the emotions of losing one of their clubhouse leaders, so another trade of Lucroy may not mean much. The Brewers are one of the better offensive clubs in baseball over the last few weeks, which is definitely a surprise that nobody has really noticed.
What’s compelling about this game is that both teams have a lot of uncertainty up until the deadline. The Padres have a lot of players that could move today. This is another game where you’ll want to wait until the deadline passes.
And then probably play the Brewers. This young team has been on a nice little run for Craig Counsell and there’s a lot to like about the way that they’ve been playing. They also have an outstanding bullpen, though we’ll have to wait and see who they lose from that pen. Jimmy Nelson has been rated a lot higher by the oddsmakers and the market than I would have him rated, so I’m a bit skeptical.
Jarred Cosart is one of the lowest-rated pitchers in the minds of bettors. The weird thing is that he seemed to figure it out a little bit in 2014 after using his stuff to overpower minor league hitters. What’s weird is that Cosart has premium velocity, but he’s never missed a lot of bats. He’s one of those pitchers that teams want to keep acquiring because every egomaniac pitching coach thinks he can fix Cosart. Maybe, eventually, one will.
I do like the Brewers here, but that’s all based on what happens this afternoon. If the Padres wind up not moving anybody, does that serve as a jolt to the ballclub for staying in tact? We don’t know much about their chemistry, so that’s a pretty speculative point.
Boston at Seattle (-115); Total: 8.5
Eduardo Rodriguez and James Paxton meet in a battle of southpaws today at Safeco Field. This is a very interesting spot. The Red Sox are continuing a west coast swing and the Mariners are back home after Sunday Night Baseball against the Cubs to wrap up an eight-game road trip. This game also went 12 innings and ended on a walk-off suicide squeeze. The Mariners blew a three-run lead in the ninth.
What’s their mindset coming back home? Even at 52-51, I’d go so far as to say that the Mariners are the most disappointing team in baseball so far this season. There’s not a whole lot that Jerry Dipoto can do to inject some life into this team with a trade today. This seems like a really difficult spot for the Mariners. Coming back home is great, but they’re facing the Red Sox when they do it, a team that seems to have gotten back on track after the weekend in Anaheim.
The Red Sox lead all of baseball in hitting against left-handed pitching. The Mariners are 19th in wOBA, though they are a tick above average in wRC+, as Safeco Field suppresses offensive production. There isn’t a lot of love in the market for Eduardo Rodriguez, who has a 6.51 ERA, a 6.07 FIP, and a 5.32 xFIP in his nine starts this season. It’s almost like last season never happened with 1.7 fWAR in 21 starts. Rodriguez has given up six runs over his last 17.2 innings of work after giving up nine in his June 27 start. Those types of outings kill ERAs for a long time.
James Paxton has ironed out some control problems and has thrown the ball very well of late against some tough lineups. He’s faced Pittsburgh, Toronto, Houston, and Baltimore over his last five starts. Houston rocked him, but he was okay in the other outings. The thing about Paxton is that he allows a lot of hard contact and hits a lot of barrels.
Given Seattle’s situational spot and the pitching matchup, I like Boston a little bit here. I feel like Rodriguez is mispriced right now because his season-to-date numbers aren’t good. That puts value on the road team and I think I’ll take it.