It’s officially the first summer Sunday of the season. Around this time of year, there’s enough data to get a good sense of MLB’s landscape, but more than enough time to constantly get surprised. The temperature is also rising enough to stay inside and enjoy some baseball.
As of Saturday evening, there aren’t any props about Gerrit Cole’s spin rate or Max Scherzer fully removing his pants when getting checked by umpires. (Then again, maybe I didn’t search far enough into the degenerate abyss.) So let’s keep it simple with a run line and two moneyline wagers for another jam-packed Sunday schedule.
Orioles at Blue Jays: Run Line
Eleven or 12 runs are a lot for a game not taking place at Coors Field. Such a gaudy line would typically indicate two elite offenses and/or two horrendous pitchers clashing, but that’s not the case here. This line all hinges on the Blue Jays decimating Jorge López and the Orioles. They’ll probably do just that. Following Saturday’s 12-4 victory, Toronto has scored 44 runs in six games against Baltimore this season. As of Saturday, the Blue Jays rank second in team slugging and wOBA behind the Astros. They’ve yet to encounter López in 2021, but they shouldn’t have much trouble against a righty registering a 5.68 ERA and 5.18 FIP.
Toronto could feasibly tally another dozen runs, but that’s still not the probable outcome. Even this imposing lineup is averaging 5.1 runs per game. So while the matchup makes six or seven runs perfectly reasonable, that might not be enough. The Orioles have mustered 3.9 runs per game, but rank last in wOBA against righties. They’ll encounter a streaking Ross Stripling, who has posted a 2.35 ERA in his last six starts. He had made eight of 11 outings against the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, and Atlanta before allowing one run over six innings in Tuesday’s far easier matchup at Miami. Let’s bank on this lopsided contest yielding a 7-3 outcome rather than the demonstrative slugfest Vegas is anticipating.
Pick: Under 11 (-104 on FanDuel) or Under 11.5 (-120 on DraftKings)
Angels at Rays: Moneyline
The Rays have won four straight games. The Angels have lost five in a row. Only the White Sox have allowed fewer runs than the Rays in the AL. The Angels tie the Twins for the second-most relinquished in the Junior Circuit after the Orioles. Tampa Bay also gets home-field advantage while attempting to close out the sweep following a 13-3 blowout.
So yeah, let’s pick the Angels.
I must not think too highly of the Angels, as I recommended betting the Tigers to beat them last Sunday. However, the same reasons to have wagered on that upset now apply to the AL West squad. Looking to stop the bleeding in a one-sided series, they’re +130 underdogs on DraftKings despite possessing an opening advantage on the mound.
In a battle of top-grade Nick Pollack nicknames, the Irish
Panada Panda will pitch against the Fratty Pirate. Patrick Sandoval hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since moving back into the rotation last month. He’s netted a 3.13 ERA in those six turns while constantly circumventing dangerous contact. Along with a 24.7% strikeout rate backed by a stellar 16.5% swinging-strike rate, he’s induced a heavy helping of ground balls (53.3%) and pop-ups (13.8%). While the Rays will attack with a righty-heavy lineup, they’re 25th in wOBA against southpaws this season.
Ryan Yarbrough also excels at suppressing hard contact, ranking in the top 98th percentile of average exit velocity (84.4 mph). As displayed by the White Sox and Red Sox spiking him for seven and five runs in his last two outings, he’s nevertheless hittable. Although the Mike Trout-less Angels aren’t as dangerous an opponent, they’re fifth in wOBA versus lefties. The potential payout is big enough to back the road underdog.
Pick: Angels (+130 on DraftKings, +128 on FanDuel)
Royals at Rangers: Moneyline
The Rangers have gotten the upper hand thus far in Arlington, scoring 17 runs in two victories over the Royals. While Texas still trails its opponent by six in the lost column, there’s not much of a difference in overall quality. After the Orioles and Tigers, the Royals and Rangers have recorded the AL’s worst run differentials at minus-60 and minus-59, respectively. Nothing that happens Sunday should deter both teams from spending the next month looking to sell.
This pick may be a personal vendetta from a writer burned one time too many by Jordan Lyles over the years. He may be luring some back into his spell by producing three quality starts in his last five outings, which doesn’t include five innings of three-run ball at Coors Field. Don’t fall for it. It never ends well. Although he’s pitched competently at times this season, the 30-year-old righty is still on the hook for a 5.47 ERA. He’s tallied just 11 strikeouts to eight walks in his last four games, and only Houston strikes out less often than Kansas City. Righties have also wrecked him to a .307/.350/.575 slash line since the start of 2020. That’s troubling against a Kansas City lineup led by Whit Merrifield and Salvador Pérez.
Brady Singer has endured a rickety follow-up to a promising 2020 debut. The 24-year-old has posted a 4.77 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, failing to complete four innings in six of 15 starts. However, the peripherals haven’t regressed much. His FIP has improved from 4.08 to 3.85, which matches his xERA. Unlike Lyles, he still has youth on his side. Perhaps this merely means he hasn’t had as much time to let us down, but Singer is still stockpiling strikeouts (23.3%) and ground balls (50.2%) at encouraging rates. Such a close matchup could boil down to relief pitching, and the Rangers’ bullpen is more rested after Kyle Gibson tossed seven shutout innings Saturday. Yet his makeshift unit is still liable to get lit up at any time.
Pick: Royals (-106 on FanDuel, -107 on DraftKings)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 21-18
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): +$462.22
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)