Day and night baseball is on tap for Wednesday. There are four afternoon games and 11 night games on June 10 and there are a lot of interesting pitching matchups on tap. Make sure that you tune in for tomorrow’s edition of The Bettor’s Box to get the best baseball betting information out there. This daily look at MLB lines and picks will be shorter on show days, since you can get your information from the show and also because of the smaller betting cards. For Wednesday’s article, the focus will mostly be on the night games because of the time constraints of posting this on Wednesday morning.
In this new feature at BangTheBook, Adam Burke, host of The Bettor’s Box, our MLB betting podcast, will take a look at the MLB schedule and give some extended thoughts and insights on some of the games on the schedule. Listeners of the show have asked for more analysis on non-show days and this look around Major League Baseball will dig a little bit deeper for those days. On show days, please listen to The Bettor’s Box for additional thoughts, but use this look at the games as you see fit.
Lines will be listed as a general price taking into account most of the sportsbooks. Shop around for the best prices.
This is a very interesting line movement to discuss. Carlos Martinez has been steamed 15-to-20 cents in the betting market as the Cardinals look to avoid a sweep. I have talked at length about the Cardinals on the podcast and Martinez specifically. He’s getting stronger as the season goes on and it may be time to fully climb on board, even though durability will be an issue in August and September since he has a smaller frame.
As for Chad Bettis, the former second-round pick pitched out of the bullpen for Colorado last season and appears to have been converted back to a full-time starter. The market is not buying into his 2.70 ERA or 2.39 FIP, which comes with a 3.65 xFIP and 3.71 SIERA. It is worth pointing out that Bettis has thrown more curves and changes since returning to starting full-time, which is a big reason for his success. Those have been his two most effective pitches.
It seems that there are a lot of reasons for the Rockies fade – not believing in Bettis, the “avoid the sweep” concept, and Martinez. Perhaps Bettis is for real. The side may not have a lot of value right now, but under 10.5, even with the juice, would seem to with a getaway day game as the Cardinals enjoy a day off and the Rockies are headed to South Beach.
Kyle Lohse and Charlie Morton is the pitching matchup for this one on Wednesday night. If you had the Brewers and Taylor Jungmann knocking off the Pirates and Francisco Liriano on Tuesday, kudos to you. The Brewers are actually going for a sweep in this series, which is rather surprising. The Pirates are a team I certainly expected to stay hot, but they have not hit in this series. The Pirates have not been swept at home since 2012.
Kyle Lohse deserves a better fate than what he has received so far. He has a 6.59 ERA with a 4.91 FIP (HR rate), but a 4.00 xFIP and a 3.96 SIERA. For what it’s worth, the 3.96 SIERA, if it lasted, would be the lowest of his career. Lohse has one of the highest swinging strike rates of his career and it’s because of his changeup, which has induced a whiff 18.7 percent of the time. Despite the good signs, Lohse has made a lot of mistakes, which is why he has allowed 14 HR in 68.1 innings and opponents still have a .308 BABIP off of him. Remember that HR do not count towards BABIP, so those are hits that aren’t included.
On the other hand, Charlie Morton has been aided by his defense over three starts with a 2.84 ERA, a 3.79 FIP, and a 3.40 xFIP. He has only struck out six of the 76 batters he has faced. He’s defense-dependent, due in large part to the face that he is basically a two-pitch pitcher with a two-seamer and a curve. If you have to back somebody here, Morton is probably the guy, but I don’t like either side or the total in this one.
Rick Porcello faces Wei-Yin Chen in this AL East rivalry matchup. These two pitchers have been frustrating this season for a lot of the same reasons. Porcello and Chen both have average or better K/BB ratios for the season, but Porcello has a 5.01 ERA with positive regression in his advanced metrics and Chen has a 3.18 ERA with negative regression in his. Home runs have been a problem for both. The difference is that Chen is a fly ball pitcher and Porcello is not.
Porcello’s problem is that he has worked behind in the count too much. His first-pitch strike percentage is down five percent. That limits the use of his secondaries, which is why his fastball usage is up about seven percent. More fastballs equal harder-hit balls in play, which has been Porcello’s biggest problem. His chase rate is down, even though his swinging strike rate is up from last season, because hitters don’t have to chase breaking stuff.
It’s easy to forget that Wei-Yin Chen is in just his fourth Major League season. He has gotten better and has gotten a better feel for pitching every season. He seems to be sequencing better this season with a drop in zone-contact and he’s pounding the zone early in the count. The light came on last season about challenging hitters and pitching to his defense and it has yielded strong results. Perhaps I’ve been too hard on Chen. I like him on Wednesday as a small favorite.
The Tigers are a rare home dog in this one at some shops against Jake Arrieta. This line seems to tell a story, however. The market has been fading Shane Greene with regularity of late and the Tigers are just a few games removed from an eight-game losing streak. Chicago should be a bigger favorite, right? They’re not. This line screams trap to me. Arrieta has been excellent this season with a sparkling K/BB rate, a 2.69 xFIP, and a 2.76 SIERA. And yet he’s a small favorite, if not a money line pick ‘em, as I like to say.
Greene is a guy on the verge of being taken out of the rotation. It’s possible that Kyle Ryan stays in the rotation over Greene when Justin Verlander comes back this weekend. Greene doesn’t miss a lot of bats, as hitters are making contact 84.8 percent of the time. His fastball command has been terrible.
Oddsmakers are telling you that they want Cubs money, which would imply that the Tigers are the right side. I don’t know if I can fire, but take that information for what it’s worth.
Rain is in the forecast, so be wary of that for DFS purposes in this one. Prices are all over the place for Wednesday’s game between the Mariners and Indians. Taijuan Walker shut the Indians down two weekends ago at Safeco Field and also dominated the Indians in Spring Training in the starts that I watched. That generally doesn’t mean a lot, but the Indians struggle to pick him up for some reason. They seem to be the only team that does since Walker has a 5.80 ERA, 4.80 FIP, and 4.31 xFIP this season.
The samples are small, but Walker has a 9.79 ERA and an opposing slash of .358/.438/.567 away from Safeco Field this season. His increased fly ball rate is to blame, as he supplies the power with his assortment of fastballs, and hitters simply make a lot of contact. The Indians offense has struggled, so Bauer may be working with little run support, but the Mariners are a good matchup for him. Bauer’s biggest issue is control and the Mariners are 19th in walk rate. They swing and miss a lot when they chase. Only the Padres and Cubs make less contact on pitches outside of the zone.
If you trust the Indians offense, take the Tribe. If you don’t, perhaps the under is for you.
If you listened to last Thursday’s episode of The Bettor’s Box, you know my thoughts on Tyson Ross. He takes on Williams Perez in this game. This is a tricky start for Ross, however. The Braves get more of their offensive contributions from lefties. Lefties have hit .290/.396/.455 off of Ross in 145 plate appearances this season, compared to a .231/.313/.276 in 164 plate appearances for righties. The Padres defense is still an issue that has to be considered in every Ross start.
Perez has been able to overcome a high walk rate by keeping balls on the ground and letting Andrelton Simmons and Jace Peterson scoop them up. Simmons, not surprisingly, is the top SS in defensive runs saved. Peterson is tied for third among 2B. Because of that defensive edge, the Braves look like the right side to me on Wednesday night. Perez is certainly capable of a blow-up, as his advanced metrics don’t paint the prettiest picture, but righties have not recorded an extra-base hit against Perez in 59 PA this season and it’s hard to string hits together in today’s MLB environment.
I have no opinion on this one as I don’t trust either starter, but you’ll remember that Kyle Gibson was one of my pitchers to sell last week.
Houston at Chicago (AL) (-125); Total: 8.5
This is a fascinating pitching matchup between Vincent Velasquez and Jose Quintana. Velasquez is cut from the same cloth as Lance McCullers, a Double-A call-up with a huge arm and unpolished secondaries. In just 26.1 innings at the Double-A level, Velasquez struck out 37 and walked nine. He was brought along slowly, spending parts of five seasons in Rookie Ball and High-A before opening in Double-A this season. This is a pretty good lineup to debut against with a lot of arm-side hitters that swing-and-miss.
As for Quintana, the crafty southpaw hasn’t been able to outfox a .345 BABIP this season. It’s a bit strange because Quintana posted a 3.32/2.81/3.37 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) last season with a .318 BABIP against and a similar strand rate. The difference this season is a slightly elevated walk total and a slightly higher home run rate. There are no big usage changes or plate discipline changes, except that Quintana has the highest swing-and-miss rate of his career so far. A 6.55 ERA in April is skewing his numbers and he has been a lot better since. I think I’m inclined to lean towards the White Sox, though I know the challenges they face offensively and defensively in this game. (By the way, it’s amazing that this team is only 27-30)