From the Betting Window, 7/1/19: Rays Facing Semi-Prospect in MLB Debut

From the Betting Window

Saturday’s 6/29/19 Picks & Results:

Indians Over 5.5 Runs -130 = LOSS (-1.30 units)

Blue Jays over 4.5 Runs -135 =WIN (+1.0 units)

Monday 7/1/19 Pick:

959 Baltimore Orioles at 960 Tampa Bay Rays, 6:10 p.m. ET

I don’t know what sort of devil magic they used over the weekend, but the Baltimore Orioles actually resembled a Major League pitching staff in their series versus the Indians. In those three games (at hitter-friendly Oriole Park, no less), Baltimore shut Cleveland out twice and held the Tribe to only two runs on Sunday.

You know what that means, right? Regression time.

The Orioles decided to call up Tom Eshelman instead of going with another bullpen game. Given how bad Baltimore’s relievers have been this season, the move makes sense. That said, Eshelman is a 25-year-old semi-prospect that owns a below average strikeout rate at Double-A and Triple-A the past several seasons. He doesn’t walk many batters but that’s where the positive vibes end.

The Rays own a wRC+ of 105 against right-handed pitching this year, which ranks 11th in Major League Baseball. They’re also slugging .436 against righties (13th) and own an ISO of .184 (which also ranks 13th in all of baseball). Those numbers are good, but not eye-popping.

That said, if you focus on what Tampa’s hitters do to right-handers at home, the Rays are seventh in wRC+ (110) and ninth in slugging (.446). Their ISO number drops to .186 (15th), but that’s to be expected when hitting at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field.

I see tonight playing out one of two ways. The first scenario is that Eshelman gets rocked in his Major League debut and the Rays get to feast on Baltimore’s horrendous bullpen. Or, Eshelman cruises for two or three innings because the Rays are unfamiliar with him and then the wheels start to fall off the second or third time through Tampa’s lineup. Then the Rays feast on Baltimore’s bad bullpen. Either way, I like the Rays to score 6+ runs tonight.

The Pick: Rays Team Total Over 5.5 Runs (-105) = Risking 1.05 units to 1.0 units

2019 Betting Results:

MLB: 58-49-4 (+2.60 units)

NHL: 2-0 (+2.0 units)