It’s a Sunday full of day games, with only the west coast games and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball to save us from having nothing to watch tonight. With so many day games and a late start, we’re going to do something a little bit different here with today’s article. We’ll do a rapid fire rundown of every game on the card with some brief thoughts and a pick on the side and the total. Not all of them will be strong picks by any means and some of them may just be games to gloss over with big favorites. But, rather than go in-depth on four or five games, we’ll cover them all in short order.
Looking back to yesterday, one of the worst beats ever got us in the Chicago/Kansas City game with David Robertson’s epic bullpen meltdown. That was the only strong play, as we had a few leans that came through, like Oakland and the over in the St. Louis/Washington contest. Michael Pineda was bad yet again in Tampa Bay’s big win.
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.
Boston (-140) at Toronto; Total: 9
We’ve got David Price up against RA Dickey here. It’s been a tough season for Price, who has been working on some mechanical tweaks over the last few weeks. Dickey just hasn’t been very good once again. Price is showing large amounts of ERA-xFIP regression and Dickey is a replacement-level starter with a 4.60/4.43/4.11.
This has been a really weird series. Both teams have come up with big hits and there have been a lot of runs. A lean to Boston here, because Price has the ability to be dominant and shows those signs of positive regression. He’s had major issues from the stretch, so be wary of that.
Baltimore (-115) at Cleveland; Total: 9
Early bettors did us a favor here by moving the line a little bit with Cleveland money. The Orioles are my side in this game and this may be one of my strongest plays of the day. Mike Clevinger isn’t ready for this Baltimore lineup. Clevinger has given up four home runs out of his 12 hits and has crumbled in any type of leverage situation. The Orioles lineup is a gauntlet and balls have been carrying well in Cleveland this weekend. I’ve talked about Tillman and his usage change to add more sliders. It should play in his favor here today.
I’m definitely looking at Baltimore here. Clevinger has good raw stuff, but his mistakes have been punished.
New York (AL) at Tampa Bay (-105); Total: 7.5
These two teams rank 20th and 21st, respectively, in wOBA against right-handed pitching and these are two tough righties on the mound. Nate Eovaldi seems to be figuring it all out. Eovaldi has 50 strikeouts in 54.2 innings on the season. Odorizzi is a master at inducing weak aerial contact. He gave up five home runs over two starts on May 13 and May 18, but he’s normally a guy that stays away from the long ball.
I’m looking at the under here. Neither team excels in this split and these are two very solid bullpens.
St. Louis at Washington (-200); Total: 7.5
I’m not laying $2 with anybody against St. Louis, but I can’t play Michael Wacha right now either. He’s given up 24 runs on 30 hits in his last four starts, so something seems to be off. Strasburg has dominant stuff, even if he’s taking on a very good lineup. Perhaps a lean to the over here, since Wacha can blow up and the Cardinals can score against just about anybody.
Cincinnati at Milwaukee (-155); Total: 9
Brandon Finnegan is a very uncomfortable at bat. He doesn’t have a lot of strikeouts, especially compared to his walk total, but he has a .243 BABIP because it’s really tough to make solid contact off of him. There are some signs of regression with a 3.97/5.30/4.87 pitcher slash, but regression for him probably looks like three earned over five or something like that.
Jimmy Nelson is also a regression candidate with a 2.92/4.44/4.24 slash. He’s posting a .244 BABIP against with a 79.9 percent strand rate. These seem like wildly unsustainable trends for a guy with an above average ground ball and a below average strikeout rate.
The over seems reasonable, because Finnegan throws a lot of pitches and doesn’t work deep into games. That brings the Bullpen From Hell in pretty early. With Nelson’s impending regression, this could become a slugfest.
Chicago (AL) (-150) at Kansas City; Total: 7.5
The White Sox suffered one of the worst losses in recent memory on Saturday, but they have their ace on the mound in this one. Chris Sale has made it a point to pitch to more contact this season, so that takes away Kansas City’s usual advantage of making contact. The Royals are now down Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez. If Chris Sale can’t beat this lineup, there are problems. It’s lay it with Chicago or stay away as far as I’m concerned.
Philadelphia at Chicago (NL) (-220)
This is a game to gloss over, but I do want to mention how good John Lackey has been over the last two seasons. He’s inducing lots of weak contact this season, which is how he’s been able to avoid massive regression from last season’s 82.6 percent strand rate. He’s getting better as he gets older, which is fascinating.
Pittsburgh (-115) at Texas; Total: 9.5
I really like Pittsburgh in this spot here today. It’s been a struggle for Francisco Liriano this season with a really high walk rate, but the Rangers don’t walk against LHP. Texas has the second-lowest BB% at 5.6 percent against lefties. The best way to do damage against Liriano is to let him hurt himself.
On the other side, the Pirates have the second-best wOBA against LHP on the season at .356. Only Boston, at .371, is higher. Martin Perez seems to get by with pedestrian stuff and a lot of ground balls, but I’m not a big believer in his arsenal or his stuff. The Rangers also have a lackluster bullpen, which could come into play early here.
Houston at Los Angeles (AL) (-125); Total: 8
Doug Fister and Nick Tropeano get together here on a getaway day in Anaheim. The shadows could be an issue for hitters, which seems to be an angle that gets built into totals in day games at Angel Stadium. As mentioned before, we know what we’re getting from Doug Fister. He’ll give you an unimpressive quality start with few strikeouts, lots of ground balls, and generally two or three runs over five or six innings.
Nick Tropeano shows massive regression with a 2.86/4.41/4.75 pitcher slash. He’s got a 90.5 percent LOB%. I’m not sure how long he can continue that, but it’s not long. Maybe Angel Stadium continues to work for him with home run suppression and sequencing luck, but I’m not sure. Because Tropeano has some major blow-up potential, a small lean to Houston and Fister, because we know what to expect. But there are better games on the card.
Detroit at Oakland (-135); Total: 8.5
We’ve seen a 25-cent line move in this game after Rich Hill and the A’s opened a -160 favorite. I wouldn’t bet on Mike Pelfrey against a lineup full of dead people. I understand the move here, as Detroit is swinging it pretty well overall right now, but Hill has been elite in his brief seven-month stint as a starter. Mike Pelfrey is anything but. I guess O.co Coliseum might suppress his run allowance, but he’s awful.
At this price, I lean to Oakland, but it’s hard to go against this drastic of a line move.
San Diego at Arizona (-105); Total: 8.5
This was an interesting line when it opened. Arizona, a top-five offense in wOBA against LHP, opened a home dog against lefty Drew Pomeranz. I think the market’s collective head is in the right place moving this line. Archie Bradley gets the call for the Diamondbacks against one of the worst lineups in baseball against RHP. Bradley’s MLB appearances have been downright awful, including two bad starts earlier this season.
Pomeranz shows signs of regression with a 1.70/3.00/3.68 pitcher slash. Bradley isn’t very good. You could consider the over here, although you’re asking San Diego to hold up its end of the bargain because I don’t see Pomeranz being one of those regression guys with 8 ER over 3 IP, though it’s certainly possible.
I think the line move is correct, but I’ll stay off of this one.
Minnesota at Seattle (-180); Total: 8
Seattle lost in epic fashion last night with a double TOOTBLAN and the Twins are suddenly luck-boxing their way into some wins. The Mariners need Taijuan Walker to get back on track. Since a neck injury forced him out of his May 6 start early, Walker has given up 13 runs over 17 innings of work. His defense didn’t help him at all last time out, as four of those runs were unearned.
I’d consider a Seattle -1 play or potentially a run-line here because Ricky Nolasco isn’t very good and the Twins did what they wanted to do. They won two of three, beat Felix Hernandez, and they have to fly out to Oakland after this.
San Francisco (-150) at Colorado; Total: 10.5
Johnny Cueto used to be a master at inducing weak contact. It hasn’t been his MO this season, but he’s still the type of pitcher that can have success in Colorado. San Francisco makes the long trip to Atlanta here after this one. I know that unders in Colorado are a very dangerous proposition, but I’d absolutely consider one here today.
Miami at Atlanta (-125); Total: 7.5
Here we are again with Atlanta laying money at home. The Marlins are basically the only team that hasn’t been able to beat up on Atlanta this season. Julio Teheran deserves to be favored here over Tom Koehler, who has terrible home/road splits in his career, but I’m not ready to bark up that tree and back Atlanta again. Screw that.
Los Angeles (NL) (-230) at New York (NL); Total: 6.5
Oddsmakers are really making you pay a premium on Clayton Kershaw here in this start. Bartolo Colon is taking the ball for the Mets. This number actually opened -190 at some shops, but it was driven up in a big way. The Mets aren’t very good against LHP, hence the move.
In terms of situational spots coming out of Sunday Night Baseball, the Dodgers head to Wrigley to take on the Cubs in what will be touted as an enormous four-game series. The Mets have to play the White Sox at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow. That would seem like a good spot to get another lefty, Jose Quintana, at a great price.