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Red Sox @ Orioles ML
What a peculiar year for the Red Sox. They are…awful. For any young adults, this is truly the first time in our lives where that has been true. Even yet, the losers of nine straight have bounced-back to win three out of four, but I still like the Orioles this afternoon. Starting pitching is a wash (Wade LeBlanc vs. Zack Godley, yawn) so this will come down to who can put up 8 runs first.
Luckily, the Orioles have one of the hottest hitters on planet earth in Anthony Santander. Owner of the 5th highest wRC+ in baseball over the past seven days, courtesy of FTN’s Hot Hitter Report, Santander is looking like a potential MVP candidate with 10 HRs and 27 RBIs in just 27 games. Pedro Severino is also swinging one of the hottest sticks in the league and is fresh off a walk-off knock last night. Sox closer Matt Barnes surrendered that game-winning hit and will be unavailable this evening after pitching back to back nights. More importantly, he is legitimately the only trustworthy pitcher who remains on this roster after Chaim Bloom shipped Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia this week. I like the Orioles here.
Pick: Orioles (+118 FD, +116 DK)
Ross Stripling Ks O/U 4.5
Stripling has long been a fantasy baseball darling. Devastating curveball, plus command, but never with a stable enough rotation spot to return consistent value. Alas, this season he has been given the leash we have pined for and is not living up to his lofty expectations: his Stacast metrics are a sea of blue and his once strong K% has dropped below the benchmark 20%. Moreover, the Rockies have some of the best contact skills in the league, turning in the 9th lowest team K% in baseball. Stripling’s leash will be short after consecutive poor starts and I would be surprised if he reached that 5 strikeout plateau.
Pick: UNDER 5 Ks (+103 DK)
Phillies @ Braves Run Line
All things considered, the Braves are certainly a better team than the Phillies. HOWEVER, they are not 1.5 runs better than the Phils tonight. The Phillies have a deeply flawed roster and are losers of five straight games, but reinforcements came last night by way of the (aforementioned) trade that sent Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox. Both relievers should give a boost to the Phillies’ horrific bullpen. Also, the Braves missing Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Nick Markakis does not hurt.
The Phillies also have an edge in the pitching matchup here with Zach Eflin opposing Josh Tomlin. Tomlin has made another foray into a starting rotation after beginning the year in the Braves bullpen. He has reinvented himself, focusing primarily on his cutter and curve, but lacks a legitimate 3rd offering and will likely only be able to give the Braves 5 IP, max. On the other hand, Eflin too looks like a totally new pitcher this season, sitting in the 92nd percentile in K% after struggling in that area for most of his career. This run line is much too healthy for the Phillies.
Pick: Phillies +1.5 (-205 FD)
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)