Another day on the diamond is here with a full slate of games and a lot of big numbers. There are some pretty sizable lines out there in the marketplace today and that will help us narrow our focus a little bit to the games that present the best betting opportunities. It’s been a tough couple of weeks on a personal level, but the hope is that things are starting to turn a bit of a corner. We’ll keep grinding it out on the baseball field for as long as we can and there are still lots of good money-making opportunities on a day-to-day basis.
Before we look at the August 10 slate, we’ll take a look back at how Tuesday went. It wasn’t a good day. We basically put up a bagel on the games in yesterday’s write-up. Sometimes that’s going to happen and it’s all about bankroll management and how you respond the next day. 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.
Cleveland at Washington (-125); Total: 8
After a playoff-like atmosphere on Tuesday, it will likely be a subdued environment with a mid-afternoon start time in D.C. on Wednesday. Josh Tomlin goes for the Indians against Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals. Tomlin has some pretty clear signs of regression with a 3.81 ERA, a 4.86 FIP, and a 4.12 xFIP. Now that Daniel Murphy has calmed down a little bit, however, the loss of Bryce Harper has been pretty big for the Nationals lineup. Tomlin will have the luxury of facing a little bit lighter of a lineup with Harper still out, but he’s still a guy with thin margins for error.
Gio Gonzalez goes in spurts. He’s a very streaky pitcher, one of the streakiest in baseball. Right now, he’s back to throwing the ball pretty well. He has a 4.13 ERA with a 3.89 FIP and a 4.00 xFIP. Gonzalez has given up three runs or less in each of his last six starts, though he does have some pretty fortunate BABIP luck spread around in there. Over those last six outings, opposing hitters have a .221 BABIP and Gonzalez has a 2.43 ERA with a 4.32 FIP and a 4.71 xFIP.
The Nationals should have the upper hand here, given that Gonzalez should have an advantage over Tomlin. The Indians have had a hard time stringing wins together recently and this is a spot where Tomlin has to put it together and have a strong outing because it seems unlikely that the Indians will prevail in a high-scoring affair.
Arizona at New York (NL) (-130); Total: 7.5
I understand what’s happening here, but it’s hard to fully agree with it. Robbie Ray is getting steamed by the market for this start against the Mets. Bartolo Colon isn’t getting a whole lot of respect in betting circles here. Ray has all the hallmarks of a pitcher due for positive regression. He has a 4.83 ERA with a 3.76 FIP and a 3.34 xFIP. He has a great strikeout rate with a manageable walk rate. It’s the .365 BABIP and the 16.5 HR/FB% that are hurting his season numbers. The thing about it is that those numbers aren’t regressing. Ray has allowed four home runs over his last three starts and his BABIPs have been high in all of those outings.
I’m all about regression analysis in my handicapping, but, again, for positive regression to hit, it implies a reasonable level of command. Right now, the command is not good enough for Ray. It’s a lot like the season for Michael Pineda. The Mets don’t hit lefties all that well and they have a myriad of outfield problems to worry about. Even still, I can’t get myself to back the D-Backs here.
It’s hard because I’ve talked about Bartolo Colon as a regression candidate of his own with a 3.46 ERA, a 4.13 FIP, and a 4.15 xFIP. He’s also been much worse in the second half over the last few seasons. Still, I can’t back the Diamondbacks here. That’s not an endorsement of the Mets, but if I had to take a team, it would be the Mets.
Houston (-130) at Minnesota; Total: 8
It was big for Houston’s offense to step up on Tuesday night and help the ballclub to a win over the Minnesota Twins. The Astros now need ace Dallas Keuchel to gain some momentum from his complete game shutout against Texas last week. It felt like that could be a turning point game for the Astros, but then they lost the next two to the Rangers and fell right back into a massive deficit in the division.
The Twins have been one of the better offensive teams in baseball over the last few weeks, so this isn’t the cakewalk for Keuchel that you would expect. That’s probably why we see this number a little bit lower at some of the sharper shops out there. Keuchel has a 4.56 ERA with a 3.87 FIP and a 3.55 xFIP. Some regression off of last year’s Cy Young season was to be expected. Maybe not this much, but that’s what an 11.1 percent difference in LOB% will do.
Ervin Santana is throwing the ball pretty well for the Twins this year. He’s cut down on his walks and owns a 3.62 ERA with a 3.86 FIP and a 4.29 xFIP. Over the last three seasons, Santana has really cut back on the home runs, so he’s actually been rather useful as a pitcher. The Twins didn’t entertain offers for him at the deadline, but there’s a chance he could go as a waiver deal.
Regardless, Santana has given up three earned runs or less in all of his starts dating back to June 19. He’s throwing the ball extremely well right now and that does deserve some respect. The Twins look like a value side here today.
Chicago (AL) at Kansas City (-105); Total: 8
Jose Quintana and the White Sox take on Ian Kennedy and the Royals. Quintana owns a 2.93 ERA with a 3.48 FIP and a 4.07 xFIP. He ran into a little bit of regression a couple weeks ago, but has allowed five runs over his last four starts. He seems to have fixed whatever mechanical error he was working through and that should have him back on track yet again.
Ian Kennedy has also been throwing the ball fairly well except for a couple of big blow-up starts. He hasn’t allowed a home run in three straight outings for the first time all season. He has a 4.03 ERA with a 4.96 FIP and a 4.36 xFIP. Kennedy has also racked up over a strikeout per inning on the year. He’s been good except for the home runs, but those are impossible to overlook when they’re at a level like this.
With Quintana locked in once again, the White Sox look like a decent value here. Neither team has played well of late, but the White Sox definitely have the starting pitcher edge and home field advantage doesn’t really mean a whole lot here.