MLB offenses woke up yesterday. Five teams deposited double-digit runs, leading to an average of 11.1 runs per game. The lowest-scoring matchup took place at Coors Field, where Atlanta earned a 3-1 win over Colorado in 10 innings.
Are baseballs traveling better, or is this random noise on a night with subpar pitching? Either way, it’s tempting to gamble on some encores Saturday. While some aces (Walker Buehler, Zack Wheeler) will toe the rubber, a handful of unknowns and boom-or-bust hurlers open the door for more fireworks.
One specific matchup is where we’ll start Saturday’s betting analysis.
Twins at Blue Jays: Total Runs
What happened to you, José Berríos? You used to be cool. The usually reliable righty has gotten ransacked to five or six runs in three of his last five outings. His unseemly 5.62 ERA and 1.51 WHIP are accompanied by a ghastly 7.17 xERA and the lowest strikeout rate (16.2%) of his career. Only Bruce Zimmermann has served up more barrels. While he’s capable of sharply turning the corner, it’s hard to trust Berríos sat the Rogers Centre against his former team. The Twins wield a 110 wRC+ following Friday’s 9-3 win at Toronto.
Meanwhile. Dylan Bundy is doing Dylan Bundy things. After allowing just one run in his first three starts, the polarizing righty torpedoed that goodwill by surrendering six runs at Tampa Bay and nine at Baltimore. He’s since rebounded in back-to-back starts against the Tigers, baseball’s worst offense, but a far tougher task awaits. Toronto began to percolate by scoring 56 runs over an eight-game winning streak snapped yesterday. Despite not kicking into full gear yet, the Blue Jays have a .178 ISO at home. Bundy has surrendered 34 hits and 20 runs in 24 innings on the road.
Two dangerous lineups are opposing two erratic pitchers inside a hitter’s park. That sounds like a strong recipe for scoring. Bettors apparently agree as the 8.5 line on FanDuel shifted from -110 to -118 while writing this analysis. It might be worth taking the over on DraftKings’ elevated nine runs for +100 instead.
Pick: Over 8.5 (-118 on FanDuel) of Over 9 (+100 on DraftKings)
Mackenzie Gore Strikeouts: O/U 5.5
MacKenzie Gore was one of baseball’s brightest prospects, likened to Clayton Kershaw one too many times for comfort. Then he returned from an idle 2020 unable to locate the strike zone, leading some to write off the young southpaw.
At the ripe old age of 23, the rookie is making good on his potential.
Gore has posted a 1.71 ERA and 47 strikeouts through 42 innings. After blanking the Pirates through seven frames with nine punchouts Sunday, the former No. 3 pick is averaging 6.1 strikeouts per start. He’s reached six strikeouts in five of those seven turns, including his last three starts. Furthermore, the Padres have let him work six and seven innings in his past two appearances after previously not lasting six full frames.
At their best, the first-place Brewers could present a tougher challenge. However, they currently possess an 86 wRC+ against lefties with the sixth-highest strikeout rate (24.2%). Gore gets Milwaukee at the right time, as lefty-killer Hunter Renfroe is sidelined while Andrew McCutchen has one hit (a single) in his last 35 plate appearances. Fellow San Diego southpaw Sean Manaea opened the four-game series Thursday by tallying eight strikeouts against the Brew Crew.
Those trusting Gore to accrue six or more punchouts again should head to DraftKings for a better line than FanDuel.
Pick: Over (+125 on DraftKings, +100 on FanDuel)
Yordan Alvarez to Record 2+ Bases
Yordan Alvarez signed a six-year, $115 million extension that’s the biggest contract ever awarded to a designated hitter. He celebrated by going 3-for-5 with his 15th homer of the season on Friday. Houston’s masher now has five straight multi-hit games, smashing three homers and a double in the process. He’s batting .281/.375/.593 with the highest hard-hit rate (63.7%) and wxOBA (.473) of any qualified hitter.
The point is, Alvarez is very good at hitting. His expected opponent, Kris Bubic, is not doing so great at pitching. Kansas City’s starter has more walks (11) than strikeouts (10) while serving up five home runs in just 13.1 innings. He’s permitted a .340/.453/.660 slash line in five starts. Although his early 2022 nightmare comes in a tiny sample size, Bubic has a career 4.98 ERA with 35 long balls surrendered in 193.1 innings. A pedestrian Astros bullpen likely won’t unlock the answer to stopping Alvarez either.
Pick: Over (-110 on FanDuel)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 10-13-1
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$279.82
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)