Yankees O/U 3.5 Runs
Later this evening, the Yankees play the Phillies in New York. Starting for Philadelphia is Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53 ERA). Nola last started on July 6 before being placed on the COVID-19 injured list. When I think of a pitcher like Nola, I do not think of a guy who has an ERA in the mid-fours. In his last two starts before being placed on the IL, Nola struggled. Over 10.2 innings, the 28-year-old right-hander allowed 11 earned runs. Since the start of June, his ERA is 6.00. Over those seven starts, he’s allowed at least three runs in five of them.
Although on the surface it looks as though Nola has struggled this season, he has been a bit unlucky. His fWAR of 2.3 is still 21st among all pitchers in baseball. His xERA is 3.86 and his xFIP is 3.37. He still racks up tons of strikeouts, and his K rate this season is well above league average at 29.5%. In a start against the Yankees last month, Nola dominated, tossing 7.2 scoreless innings. He is still a great pitcher. That said, I think the Yankees will score some runs tonight. Nola has not been great on the road this season, sporting a 5.40 ERA. In tonight’s game, I believe the Yankees’ current rag-tag team of replacements will be able to scratch by four runs. Even if Nola looks good, let’s not forget that the Phillies have one of the worst bullpens in baseball.
Pick: Yankees over 3.5 runs scored (-145, DK)
John Means O/U 5.5 strikeouts
Speaking of pitchers returning from the injured list, John Means (4-2, 2.28 ERA) will be making his first start since June 5. Before his injury, Means struggled to keep the ball in the yard as he surrendered eight home runs over his final four starts. In the eight starts before that, Means was nearly unhittable as his ERA sat at 1.21. In one start against the Rays this season, Means allowed four earned runs over 6.1 innings pitched. He gave up two home runs and struck out six. The big question for this wager is whether or not Means can reach six strikeouts. So far this year, his K rate of 25.7% is just above the league rate of 23.7%. That said, in his final four starts before his injury, Means’ K rate sat at 20.3%.
When looking at the Rays’ offense, they do rank in the top third of the league in both runs scored and total fWAR. That said, they do strike out a ton. As a team, their 26.6% K rate is the second-highest in the league. If Means shows to be his normal healthy self tonight, six strikeouts is not a lot to ask for. For him, going deep into the game will be key. I believe he will do it.
Pick: Means over 5.5 strikeouts (+105, DK)
Pirates at Diamondback Run Line
For our final bet of the day, we continue the trend of pitchers coming back from the IL. In this game, Taylor Widener (1-0, 2.54 ERA) is that somebody. He will oppose Tyler Anderson (5-8, 4.35 ERA) tonight. When it comes down to it, both of these teams are horrible. If you are not a fan of either team, there is no real reason to watch this game. That is of course unless you are betting on it.
For the Pirates, Anderson has been sneakily consistent all season. In every start this year, he’s pitched at least five innings. In his last four starts specifically, Anderson has been solid, allowing seven earned runs over 23.2 innings pitched. Since he signed a cheap one-year contract this past offseason, Anderson will likely be traded as a decent rental add for a contender later this month. In this game, I believe Anderson will cruise.
Looking at Widener, it’s hard to expect what will happen. He has only pitched twice since April and did not go five innings in either of those starts. If the Diamondbacks go to their bullpen early in this game, that will be a huge win for Pittsburgh. With an fWAR of -1.5, Arizona has the worst bullpen in baseball by a wide margin. The Diamondbacks are currently on a two-game win streak. They have not won three straight games since April. I like the Pirates by multiple runs tonight.
Pick: Pirates -1.5 (+160, DK)
Nathan Hursh Overall Record: (30-46-2)
Net Money (assuming all wagers are $100): –$1,679.93
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)