Plenty of reasonable lines are on the board for Sunday’s full slate of Major League Baseball action. Keep in mind that Sundays are rather slow days in terms of line moves with all of the day games. The 4 p.m. games may see some public line moves, but it should be a slow day in the market. With a little bit of a late start to this article today, thanks to a fun July 4, I will focus on the 2 p.m. and later start times.
The Carlos Rodon factor is in effect on Sunday, as the Orioles line appears too low against one of the worst teams in baseball. Miguel Gonzalez has had some struggles lately, specifically with subpar command. This is the second straight season of poor command for Gonzalez, who allowed 25 home runs in 159 innings and is on pace to allow close to 30 this season. The White Sox don’t really hit for much of anything – average or power – so this may not be a bad matchup for Gonzalez.
Carlos Rodon is still having walk issues and his stat line is rather strange. From a command standpoint, his home run rate is terrific, but his BABIP against is .356. Part of that can be attributed to the horrible White Sox defense. The other part of it is that he’s still learning how to pitch to Major League hitters. Hitters aren’t chasing as much as you would expect (27.8%) against a guy with his stuff. His fastball command has been among the worst in the league, but his slider has been a terrific weapon.
I think the Orioles are the side here, even though their aggressive style may help Rodon. Pitchers with bad fastballs have a hard time surviving against good lineups. Rodon fits the bill in this outing. He’ll continue to develop and improve, but he’s not going to get much run support regardless of the opposing pitcher.
The Twins and Royals look likely to split this four-game series as the Royals are a heavy favorite against Ervin Santana. Danny Duffy is on the hill for the Royals. It’s important to remember that Santana was not on the shelf due to injury, rather a PED suspension. The strikeout stuff wasn’t there for Santana in his three rehab starts, spanning 20.2 innings, at Triple-A. Santana held batters to a 1.74 ERA because of a .242 BABIP against and a 94 percent strand rate. I’m honestly not sure what to expect from Santana and I’d probably stay away for a few starts until we see how the stuff looks and how it plays back in the American League.
One of the few games with a noticeable overnight line move was this one with Mike Montgomery against Chris Bassitt. The Athletics are 5-15 against left-handed starters this season, which doesn’t appear to be concerning too many bettors in the market. Mike Montgomery is a pitchability guy. The stuff is hardly dominant, but he has the ability to get ahead in the count and then nibble effectively on the edges. This will be a big test for him, because there aren’t many teams as patient as the A’s. There are some signs of regression, like a .213 BABIP against, an 83.7 percent strand rate, and the 4.11 xFIP that is 2.5 runs higher than his ERA.
Chris Bassitt, a former Akron Zip, has spent most of his time working in relief this season. He has fringy stuff, as a college product that spent basically 2.5 years in A-ball before moving up the ladder. He only threw 63 Triple-A innings for the A’s before getting the call. His MiLB numbers are marred by small sample sizes because of how he was moved around the various levels. He’s a fly ball guy with stuff that should play up in Oakland, but the stuff is rather unexciting.
The line move is worth paying attention to, but we’ve seen moves like this before where the betting market just fades the guy with the big ERA/xFIP discrepancy. I don’t have a concrete play here, but the lean would be the Mariners.
How much does the market respect the Mets’ offense? Not at all. Steven Matz is taking on a Dodgers offense that is decidedly worse against southpaws than it is against righties, and yet this line has moved as much as 20 cents at some shops. Mike Bolsinger ran off the regression train tracks in his last start, so he’s looking to bounce back.
No play on this game with the high number, but the under looks like a strong, and reasonable, betting option. Matz has tremendous stuff and the Dodgers struggle with lefties.
The oddsmakers have gotten what they wanted with the Texas Rangers. They kept lining Rangers games with regression in mind and it has hit in a big way. The season reached a low point with Saturday’s 13-0 loss to Hector Santiago. Can they bounce back against another southpaw?
I would say no. The Rangers have fallen to 25th in wOBA against left-handed pitching with one of the worst wRC+ in the league. If you remember, wRC+ is adjusted for park factor. The Rangers also have the third-largest sample size in the league against lefties this season. CJ Wilson has made some good adjustments to get back to being an effective starter. His 3.78 ERA is right in line with his advanced metrics. The curveball, which was his worst pitch last season, has been traded in for more changeups, his best pitch on the year. That’s an important arsenal change that recreational bettors won’t pay attention to.
Colby Lewis has pitched a lot better than expected. Take away his 10-run beating by the Indians back on May 27 and the number look a lot better. He’s allowing three earned or less in his last six starts. The problem here is that it doesn’t look like Lewis is going to get much help from his offense. The Angels offense is starting to come around, given their performance in this series and I think they’re the right side to take in this one.