After an early rough patch, we’re finally in the green.
Hitting two of last Saturday’s three bets erased a net loss from this writer’s 2022 MLB picks. At least this fun diversion isn’t costing us money. That’s a start, right?
Of course, that can always change. Don’t get too over-confident during a hot streak or too down during a cold spell. Just be sure you’re implementing sound strategies to make intelligent choices that will, hopefully, pay off in the long haul.
Let’s examine another packed Saturday with 16 games scheduled — the Angels and Mariners play a doubleheader — ranging from 2:20 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. ET start times.
Rays at Orioles: Run Line
The Rays have scored four runs in four straight losses and dropped six of their last seven games. After deepening their hole in the AL East standings by getting swept by the Yankees, they got shut out by Dean Kremer and the Orioles on Friday. As a result, the oddsmakers don’t see them as a great bet to bounce back with a sizable victory Saturday afternoon.
Counterpoint: They’re facing the Orioles.
At 29-37, Baltimore has been better than expected. Yet the last-place squad will send Kyle Bradish and his 6.86 ERA to the mound. The righty has registered 43 strikeouts in 42 innings, but he’s also served up a .319/.388/.536 slash line. Opponents have crushed his four-seam fastball, which he throws on over half his pitches, to a .454 wOBA.
On the other hand, Jeffrey Springs has emerged as the Rays’ latest out-of-nowhere ace. Even if you remove his 10.1 scoreless frames from the bullpen, he’s posting a 1.83 ERA in Tampa Bay’s rotation with 39 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. The lefty has gone back-to-back outings without permitting a run and has already mastered this matchup. On May 21, he kept Baltimore off the scoreboard during 5.2 innings of one-hit ball in a 6-1 victory over Bradish, who ceded five runs.
Despite Baltimore’s home-field advantage, Tampa Bay has a golden bounce-back opportunity this weekend.
Pick: Rays -1.5 (+112 on FanDuel, +110 on DraftKings)
Giants at Pirates: Moneyline/Strikeouts Parlay
Even on the road, picking a Giants victory over the Pirates is far from bold. They’re not as dominant as last season, but the defending NL West champions are a quietly stout 36-27 with a plus-42 run differential. They have won seven of their last nine games, including a sweep over the Dodgers while relinquishing just 16 runs.
Alex Wood is rolling alongside the rest of San Francisco’s rotation. Following a few roadblocks to start the season, the lefty has a 2.45 ERA, and .211 opposing wOBA in three June starts. His 4.11 ERA this season remains a bit high for comfort, but a 3.12 FIP and 3.36 SIERA support more improvement from a 31-year-old with a career 3.53 ERA. Facing a Pirates offense with baseball’s second-worst wRC+ against southpaws (81) will certainly help.
Having worked through the sixth inning or beyond in consecutive starts, Wood’s strikeout prop is also intriguing. However, both FanDuel and DraftKings set the line at 5.5. Wood is averaging five strikeouts per start and reached that tally in three straight efforts. He may nevertheless clear it given Pittsburgh’s 24.5% K rate against lefties, but it’s safer to combine the five or more alternative line in a parlay.
Pick: Giants Moneyline and Alex Wood 5+ Strikeouts ( +120 on DraftKings, +105 on FanDuel)
Brandon Drury to Record 2+ Bases
A rare revelation for the Reds, the 29-year-old infielder is batting .270/.336/.529 with a career-high 135 wRC+ and batted-ball metrics to back up the breakout. He’s notched the highest exit velocity (90.4) of his career, generating hard hits of 95+ mph or better on nearly half of his balls in play (49.4%). He’s already squared up 19 barrels, leading to a commendable .508 expected slugging.
While Drury is especially crushing lefties (170 wRC+), he’s also wielding a .216 ISO against righties. He’s locked into the No. 2 hole and is making the most of his favorable home bandbox, batting .324/.383/.619 in 115 plate appearances at Great American Ball Park this season.
He should at least get two hacks against Jason Alexander. The 29-year-old righty has only allowed five runs in his first three career starts, but don’t expect this to be his summer. Alexander has yielded seven hits in each outing while tallying just six strikeouts. Although he’s kept balls on the ground and limited hard hits, major leaguers have no trouble making contact.
Drury has recorded at least two bases in 12 of his last 15 games, a stretch that includes six long balls and seven multi-hit games. Look for him to stay hot Saturday.
Pick: Yes (+110 on FanDuel)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 14-15-1
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): $33.93
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)