Cardinals @ Reds Total Runs
8.5 as a total is a little high for two pitchers who have allowed a combined 11 ERs in 58.1 IP this season. Kwang-Hyun Kim has proven to be a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals since transitioning to the rotation and has thrown two consecutive scoreless six-inning starts, including one against the Reds on August 22nd. Sonny Gray has allowed more than two ER in a start just once this season, and has been as impressive as any pitcher in the National League, especially at home (6.33 K/BB, 1.82 xFIP compared to 1.89 K/BB, 4.69 xFIP on the road). Runs will be at a premium here and if both starters can pitch into the 6th inning, the under should hit easily here.
Pick: Under 8.5 (-107 DK, -106 FD)
Cubs @ Pirates ML
Sometimes you have to stray from the comfortable, easy-on-the-conscience bets and just shoot for the moon. Betting on the Pirates certainly falls under that designation. But there are several reasons to like Pittsburgh tonight. Jon Lester was finally starting to pitch like the subpar pitcher his underlying stats say he is (5.14 xFIP) until his most recent outing. Even then, he had to work around eight hits in his five innings against Detroit. In his two starts prior to that he allowed 13 ER in 9.2 IP. What Lester does best is not hurt himself with walks (career-best 3.7 BB%). In addition to being an above-average team against LHP (108 wRC+), the Pirates swing at the sixth-highest amount of pitches in the zone (69.4%) in the majors.
Chad Kuhl has been one of the few bright spots for the Pirates and speaking of bright spots, the Buccos have finally called up top prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes. While there are questions about Hayes’ bat, he automatically becomes one of the best fielding 3B in MLB when he runs on the field, having won three consecutive Gold Gloves in the minor leagues. The Pirates have a good chance to makes Hayes’ debut a successful one and pull off the home dog victory.
Pick: Pirates ML (+138 DK, +134 FD)
Braves @ Red Sox Run Line
If you read this article yesterday you know that we recommended the Braves run line last night and we are going back to Atlanta again. Ian Anderson was spectacular in his MLB debut against the Yankees allowing just one hit and one ER with six Ks in six IP, which Andy Patton did a phenomenal job of covering here. The former #3 overall pick combines and electric three-pitch mix with above-average feel for pitching that should keep the modest Red Sox lineup off balance.
The Red Sox throw out Ryan Weber in what will surely be another taxing game for the bullpen. Boston has used a combined 17 pitchers in their last three games and they simply don’t have enough quality arms to sustain any type of success on the mound. The Braves’ bats are heating up as they have scored 18 runs in their last two games and should provide Anderson with plenty of support.
Pick: Braves -1.5 (-106 DK, -112 FD)
Nelson Cruz to Hit a Home Run
Speaking of shooting for the moon, I’m taking MLB HR leader Nelson Cruz at +320 to hit a moon shot tonight against the White Sox. Cruz has five HR in just 47 career AB against Chicago starter Dallas Keuchel, and he has six HR in just 32 AB against LHP this season. Keuchel meanwhile has just an 8.0% HR/FB rate this season after posting a career-worst 23.9% HR/FB rate in 2019. I expect some regression to the mean there, especially when you consider that he is allowing career-worst 42.0% hard-hit percentage. Look for Cruz to continue doing what he does best Tuesday against a familiar opponent.
Pick: Yes (+320 FD)
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)