Last Saturday was rough.
After finally getting in the green, all three bets fell through by painful margins. The Rays won by one run when we needed a victory by two or more. A Giants parlay failed because Alex Wood only tallied four strikeouts instead of five, the exact amount he reached in each of his previous three starts. And Brandon Drury went 0-for-5 in one of two hitless games this month.
Those are the breaks when betting on baseball. Sportsbooks wouldn’t stay in business if they were bad at this.
The MLB world keeps turning with every team scheduled for action Saturday, so let’s get back behind the wheel and seek redemption. Maybe a west-coast trip will help break the rut. All three bets focus on night games in California.
Darin Ruf to Record 2+ Bases
Another week, another two-bases bet on a late bloomer without a trustworthy track record? Drury didn’t work last Saturday, but lefty-masher Darin Ruf should get the starting nod against Mike Minor. One might want nothing to do with a power play from a .224/.341/.352 hitter, but that slash line is compromised by a .076 ISO in 155 plate appearances against righties.
Ruf continues to thrive when given the platoon advantage, wielding a 142 wRC+ at the expense of southpaws in 2022. Since joining the Giants from the KBO in 2020, he’s batting .271/.383/.555 with 17 homers in 282 plate appearances against lefties. He’s also performed far better at Oracle Park (130 wRC+) than on the road (72 wRC+) this season.
Minor, who started the season sidelined with a shoulder injury, has surrendered 23 hits and 16 runs in four starts. He’s already served up four doubles and five home runs to righties, who are slugging .632 against him. In a larger sample size, righties registered a .204 ISO off him last year. Everything aligns perfectly for Darin to Ruf up Minor in a major way. Much of the same logic also applies to Evan Longoria, available for two-plus bases at an identical +120 line on FanDuel.
Pick: Yes (+120 on FanDuel)
Mariners at Angels: Run Line
Anaheim hosts a fun pitcher’s matchup between two of my personal favorites. Logan Gilbert has twirled an excellent 2.28 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 83 innings for Seattle. Despite his 10.8% walk rate, Patrick Sandoval has maintained a sterling 2.70 ERA through 11 starts for the Angels.
Both hurlers have room for regression, especially depending on which metrics you monitor. While Gilbert’s 3.02 FIP remains exemplary, his 3.94 xERA foreshadows more bumps in the road. The same goes for Sandoval, who enters Saturday’s matchup with a 3.09 FIP, but 3.80 xERA and 4.22 SIERA.
Perhaps I merely want to believe in “my guys” keeping it up. There’s also the fact that they’ve both been reliable all year. Each has allowed more than three earned runs in just one 2022 outing. Gilbert’s came on a Rhys Hoskins grand slam while Sandoval surrendered five earned runs (six total) to a lethal Blue Jays lineup.
Neither of these offenses is as scary. The Mariners have delivered league-average offense (100 wRC+ against lefties). However, their best righted-handed hitter, Ty France, is heading to the injured list with a flexor strain. The burgeoning star had a 141 wRC+ against southpaws. While certainly dangerous behind their MVP duo, the Angels remain too reliant on Shohei Ohtani and a red-hot Mike Trout.
With their paths narrowly missing last weekend, Sandoval held the Mariners to one run over six frames in a 4-2 victory Saturday. The next day, Gilbert limited the Angels to two runs in a 4-0 loss. Expect a well-pitched game at Angel Stadium this evening.
Pick: Under 8 (-105 on FanDuel, -106 on DraftKings)
Phillies at Padres: Moneyline
A Padres lineup already light on power is now playing without Manny Machado. They’ve won four of the last five games without him, but that includes a sweep over the listless Diamondbacks and Friday night’s 1-0 win. Two of their best relievers, Nabil Crismatt and closer Taylor Rogers, pitched more than 25 pitches to get the job done.
That could spell trouble behind the turbulent Blake Snell, who has a 5.46 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in six starts. He’s already issued 17 free passes in 29.2 innings, and only two teams have a higher walk rate against southpaws than the Phillies (10.2%). Philadelphia also has MLB’s sixth-best ISO off lefties (.178).
Zach Eflin has given up four runs in back-to-back starts, the last of which he exited early with a knee injury. That adds some risk to this bet, and the lines have shifted in San Diego’s favor this morning. Yet the righty has a 3.25 ERA aside from two blow-up outings against the Mets. He’s issued just 13 walks in a dozen starts and now gets a Padres lineup likely without their MVP candidate.
Let’s cross our fingers that Philadelphia’s bullpen doesn’t give up another potential win.
Pick: Phillies (+114 on FanDuel, +110 on DraftKings)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 14-18-1
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$266.07
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)