It’s a sweltering-hot Saturday across most of the country. Meanwhile, the Mets and Rockies are making up a snow out with a doubleheader.
As many people combat the heat, the writer will look to snap out of an arctic cold slump. One clean sweep quickly made way for an 0-3 shutout last Saturday. Through six Saturdays, these picks have been about as useful as buying an NFT.
Let’s once again try to settle the ship with a 16-game slate, starting with a sweaty afternoon contest at Yankee Stadium.
Giancarlo Stanton to Record 2+ Bases
Let’s begin with the bet I should have wholeheartedly endorsed last Saturday instead of mentioning it in passing after recommending an ill-fated parlay. A struggling Dallas Keuchel held a streaking Yankees lineup scoreless over five innings last weekend because of course he did. Yet Giancarlo Stanton still went 3-for-4 with a double. Fifteen games into May, the 6’6″ slugger has a 230 wRC+ and 1.115 OPS. He’s also only struck out 12 times in 67 plate appearances.
Although available at +100 last Saturday, FanDuel has sharpened its odds to -125 for a repeat of Stanton recording two or more bases. Despite the diminished return, it still seems like a reasonably safe choice. Stanton has accomplished the feat in seven of his last ten games. He’s a career .291/.388/.611 hitter against southpaws, and Keuchel currently has a .374 opposing wOBA. While this writer doesn’t read much into batter-vs.-pitcher splits, Stanton’s success against Keuchel in a bite-sized sample size (6-for-11 with two home runs) makes sense.
Look for Stanton to stay hot on a scorching Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. Most of the same logic also applies for Aaron Judge to replicate the same feat at +120.
Pick: Yes (-125 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Kyle Bradish: O/U 4.5 Strikeouts
The best way to learn from mistakes is by repeating them, right? Trusting an Orioles pitcher shockingly backfired last week when anticipating more than 4.5 strikeouts from Bruce Zimmermann. To make sure that egregious error never happens again, let’s take the over on 4.5 strikeouts from another Baltimore starter. I am so smart. S-M-R-T.
But hey, Kyle Bradish stockpiled 11 punchouts against the Cardinals, who have baseball’s lowest team strikeout rate (19.1%), on May 10. While he gave up 11 baserunners and four runs against the Yankees on Monday, the 25-year-old still registered six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Admiring his 25.3% strikeout rate is risky, considering the rookie has only faced 87 batters. However, the righty posted a 28.8% K rate throughout his minor league career before getting the call. His current 28.3 CSW also matches Julio Urías.
Never shy to whiff, the Rays have registered MLB’s sixth-highest K rate (24.8%) against righties during the young season. That’s right in line with last year’s 24.4% and isn’t surprising from an organization willing to embrace the three true outcomes. Although Bradish’s last rough outing came at home, Camden Yards is no longer a fearful assignment for a pitcher. If he works five to six acceptable innings, Bradish can clear the over and provide a solid payout. Lock it in early, as FanDuel’s line dropped from +122 to +114 while writing this section.
Pick: Over (+114 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Dodgers at Phillies: Moneyline
Lately, I’ve wondered if I place too much emphasis on the probable starting pitchers when prognosticating a game. Perhaps there’s a market efficiency on backing the stronger team with an opening disadvantage on the mound. Let’s test that theory by picking an unlikely underdog.
The Dodgers are 26-12 with an MLB-leading run differential of plus-86. After losing three consecutive games to the Phillies, they’ve won six straight with 38 runs.
They’re the best team in baseball despite an underwhelming start from their offense.
Outside of Freddie Freeman, their entire lineup has delivered below expectations. That’s gradually changing. Trea Turner has a 12-game hitting streak, and Mookie Betts has a 160 wRC+ with 14 runs scored in his last 14 games. The Dodgers already rank third in wRC+ against righties (125), but they still have a higher gear to unleash.
Aaron Nola is an ace with a 0.98 WHIP and a spectacular 24.9% K-BB rate. Yet he’s once again performing below his peripherals with a 3.64 ERA far higher than his 2.66 xERA and 2.61 SIERA. He’s also already served up 10 barrels, so maybe we can’t keep dismissing any shortcomings as “bad luck.” Nola is still awesome, but he’s beatable, considering the opponent.
Besides, even if he repeats last Sunday’s seven-inning, two-run outing against the reigning NL West champs, that still leaves too many outs for a dreadful Phillies bullpen that has surrendered a 7.06 ERA. The Dodgers’ relief unit, on the other hand, boasts an NL-low 2.74 ERA. Dave Roberts will probably lean heavily on that bullpen with Mitch White scheduled to make his first start of the season. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Even if Philadelphia earns an early lead behind Nola, don’t count out Los Angeles to prevail on the road.
Pick: Dodgers (+110 at DraftKings Sportsbook, +102 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 6-11-1
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$488.82
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)