The Tuesday night schedule for July 19 features a lot of uncertainty. It looks like a tricky card because there are a lot of starting pitchers that are inconsistent and/or young. There are a couple of bigger numbers out there, but it looks like a night where selectivity is the name of the game. This is the fifth day of games coming out of the All-Star Break, hence the interesting rotation setups. With that in mind, let’s see what we can find for Tuesday night.
After we look back at yesterday, which was a frustrating day. The Phillies suffered a blown save loss in our big underdog play of the day. The Reds and Braves inched over the posted total by one run, as the Reds got after Matt Wisler in somewhat surprising fashion. It was a total loss for the night as the Cubs never really moved into playable range, the Rangers blew an early lead in a loss to the Angels, and the Orioles inexplicably failed to score against the Yankees. It wasn’t a great start to the second half at all.
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 Thursdays or Sundays when there are a lot of day games.
Baltimore at New York (AL) (-110); Total: 9.5
Vance Worley will make his third start of the season for the Orioles against Nate Eovaldi and the Yankees. Worley owns a 2.87 ERA, a 3.90 FIP, and a 4.28 xFIP in his 47 innings, comprised of 18 relief appearances and two starts. This will be his first start since April 15 and he worked 1.2 innings in relief on Sunday, so expect a short outing here.
These bullpen games are always tricky handicaps. It’s tough for the opposition to face different arm slots and different pitchers throughout the game. The perception of these is probably that they are a bad thing, but, in my mind, as a standalone event, they’re not that big of a deal. The bigger issues come in the subsequent games when bullpen overuse is a problem. We’ll have to see how this one plays out. Worley has been stretched out to four innings on a few occasions, so that’s probably his ceiling here.
Remember when it appeared that Nate Eovaldi had figured it out? From April 7 to May 29, Eovaldi had 57 K in 60.2 innings of work with a 3.71/3.57/3.47 pitcher slash. From May 29 to July 1, when Eovaldi made his most recent start, he posted a 7.93 ERA with a 7.17 FIP, and a 4.76 xFIP. He’s worked three scoreless relief appearances since and makes his return to the rotation here tonight.
When you get a game like this, you’re effectively guessing. That’s not the way to handicap. There are no certainties in this industry, but you play the percentages and make informed guesses. It’s very tough to make an informed guess here.
New York (NL) at Chicago (NL) (-140)
Noah Syndergaard vs. Jake Arrieta. These two special arms go at it on ESPN on Tuesday night. Syndergaard is reportedly pitching with a bone spur, but it hasn’t affected him very much. It’s not easy to improve a 3.24/3.25/2.91 pitcher slash, but Syndergaard is blowing last season’s performance away with better numbers across the board. He’s been really spectacular and there’s no reason to believe that it will stop…
Unless injuries get the best of him. Syndergaard has had two different forearm scares this season and the bone spur is a lingering issue. This is Syndergaard’s first start since July 8, so maybe the relative downtime helped a bit, but we’ll have to see. He did have three of his worst starts of the first half in his last four outings.
The irony here is that Jake Arrieta did the same thing. Arrieta gave up 15 runs on 21 hits in his last three starts of the first half. The 30-year-old did throw 229 innings plus playoffs last season to obliterate his previous career high in innings pitched. The latter stages of the first half can be a bit of a dead arm period for pitchers. Arrieta was working behind in counts and started walking hitters.
Is this game as simple as trying to guess which pitcher figured it out over the Break? Possibly. The Cubs are vastly superior to the Mets offensively and defensively, but the Mets have a bullpen edge. Early line movement came in on the Mets, which certainly makes some sense.
As much as I’d love to have a play on this TV game for you, I don’t. I’m concerned with Thor’s health issues and I’m concerned with Arrieta’s workload. It doesn’t translate to an over lean, largely because we don’t have a total at time of writing, but these are two guys with elite stuff that can put it together in the blink of an eye.
Milwaukee at Pittsburgh (-145); Total: 8
I talked on yesterday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box about my interest in seeing how this game was lined. It appears that a bad line was opened because the market bumped up the Pirates by 20 cents. Junior Guerra takes the hill for the Brewers against Jameson Taillon for the Pirates.
We’re reaching a bit of a crossroads with Guerra. When he joined the Milwaukee rotation, there wasn’t a whole lot of information on him. We only have a 13-start sample size to decipher, but the number that stands out is his .242 BABIP against. It’s reasonable to expect some LOB% regression to bump that 3.06 ERA up closer to his 3.85 FIP and 4.11 xFIP. It would seem like the BABIP is unsustainable because he has a 36 percent hard-hit rate and a 41.7 percent pull rate.
In the NL, hitters are batting .330 when they pull the ball. Guerra has the 13th-highest pull%. He has the lowest BABIP of the top 13 and only Dan Straily and Kyle Hendricks have lower BABIPs among the top 20 in pull%. Aside from Guerra’s first two starts, he has only allowed 20 ER in his last 70.1 innings of work. I have to think some regression is coming. If he works 5.1 innings tonight, he’ll set a new career high in innings pitched. These are red flags moving forward.
Jameson Taillon made five starts and then hit the disabled list for some shoulder discomfort. He showed a lot of promise in those first five starts. His command was a little bit iffy and the strikeouts weren’t there, but the control was and he showed some pitchability in tight situations. The Pirates look like a team ready to make a move in the NL Central now that they’ve cut the dead weight from the rotation and that’s why I was so interested in this line.
It came out low and I think it’s still a little bit low. We don’t know if Taillon’s lack of strikeouts came from adjusting to big league hitters or from the shoulder, but he’s been a strikeout per inning guy in the minors and that should translate a little bit better than it has to the big leagues. The Brewers are riding a wave of uncertainty here as we approach the trade deadline, so it’s a good chance to take advantage of a number that has value.
Los Angeles (NL) (-110) at Washington; Total: 9
Scott Kazmir takes the hill for the Dodgers against Reynaldo Lopez for the Nationals here in this one. For Lopez, it will be his Major League debut. The 6-foot, 185 lbs. right-hander can run it up there in triple digits, but mostly sits mid-90s with a decent curveball. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs actually had Lopez as his second-ranked prospect in the Washington system heading into 2015. Dan Farnsworth had him fourth going into 2016. It seems like he’s got some pitching chops.
However, we know that hard throwers can be a little bit erratic, particularly in spots with nerves. In two starts at Triple-A, Lopez struck out nine and walked six in 11 innings. Now he’s making the jump to The Show. He still has 109 K in 87.1 IP in the minor leagues, so maybe he can fulfill that “effectively wild” strategy that some hard-throwers can get away with.
The move on Scott Kazmir makes a little bit of sense because of the uncertainty with Lopez, but the Nationals are tied for third in wOBA against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers are on the East Coast for the first time in a while and there would seem to be some value in going against them because of that. I’d look at the Nationals here.
Chicago (AL) (-115) at Seattle; Total: 8
A bullpen meltdown for the White Sox cost Chris Sale and his team a victory on Monday night. They’ll send Jose Quintana out in an effort to fix that on Tuesday. He’ll be opposed by Wade Miley. I’ve sung the praises of Quintana for a while now and I’m not going to stop. Three of his last four starts before the Break were pretty ugly, possibly due to fatigue, but more likely due to impending regression. I feel like the time off should really help him out and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s right back to his usual self here in this one.
On the Mariners side, I’ve never been a Miley supporter. This season, he has a 5.44 ERA with a 4.86 FIP and a 4.52 xFIP. I can’t wrap my head around guys that don’t miss bats and, except for a minor blip in 2014, Miley doesn’t miss bats. He’s versatile and works a lot of innings, so there’s value in that, but his K rate is the lowest of his career and his command is at an all-time low.
I’m not going to overthink this one. The White Sox are the side. They’re not a good team and Seattle should be better than they are, but Quintana is a tough matchup for this lefty-heavy lineup and even the White Sox can hit Miley.