A’s Team Total Over 4.5 Runs -140 = WIN (+1.0 units)
Cardinals Team Total Over 6.5 Runs +105 = LOSS (-1.0 Units)
Sunday’s 5/19/19 Picks:
921 Oakland A’s at 922 Detroit Tigers, 12:10 p.m. CT
The A’s have rattled off three consecutive victories and on Sunday, Mike Fiers will take the hill for just two starts removed from throwing the second no-hitter of his career. With a current xFIP of 5.16, a current strikeout rate of 17.7% and a hard-hit rate of 40.1%, I’m not expecting no-hit stuff out of Fiers this afternoon. That said, the Tigers were shut down by Fiers’ teammate Frankie Montas on Friday and despite a good matchup, struggled versus Daniel Mengden on Saturday. Fiers is not a high strikeout pitcher but this Tigers lineup is striking out at a 26.3-percent clip against right-handed pitching this season. Detroit also ranks 29th in team ISO, so even though the advanced metrics don’t paint a positive picture for Fiers, the Tigers aren’t much of a threat offensively.
Meanwhile, left-hander Gregory Soto will serve as the Tigers’ opener today, followed by fellow lefty Nick Ramirez. Why Ron Gardenhire is starting with two lefties against an Oakland lineup that is loaded with right-handed power is baffling, but I thank him for it nonetheless. The A’s have the second-lowest strikeout rate against lefties (17.9%) and assuming Khris Davis (hip) is back in the lineup today after being scratched Saturday, Oakland’s projected two-through-seven hitters all rake versus southpaws.
Granted, beating the same team four straight times can prove difficult and after capturing a series win on Saturday, maybe the A’s will simply go through the motions on Sunday. That said, I’d rather base my picks on the matchup than a flimsy narrative. And since the matchup is decidedly in Oakland’s favor, I’m going to double-dip with A’s runline and take the over on their team total.
The Pick(s): A’s Runline -1.5 -125 (Risking 1.25 units to win 1.0 units)
A’s Team Total Over 6.5 Runs +100 (Risking 1.0 units to win 1.0 units)
919 Baltimore Orioles at 920 Cleveland Indians, 12:10 p.m. CT
It’s been a few days since I targeted Baltimore’s pitching staff and seeing as how the Orioles held the Indians to one run on Friday and four runs on Saturday, I’m glad I laid off. That said, I’m ready to get back on the horse today.
Yefry Ramirez will make his first start of the season after pitching in relief three times this year. He has allowed four runs on five hits with five walks over seven combined innings for the Orioles this season. In 12 starts and 17 appearances for Baltimore last year, Ramirez finished with a 5.92 ERA and a 1-8 record. In his lone start versus the Indians in 2018, he surrendered seven runs over three innings.
While they boast the names of Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez, the Indians have been hit-or-miss this year offensively. Still, Ramirez got crushed by lefties last season and the wind is expected to blow out of Progressive Field today at 15 mph (to right-center). After scoring only a combined five runs the last two days, I like the Indians to go off this afternoon.
The Pick: Indians Team Total Over 5.5 Runs -135 (Risking 1.35 units to win 1.0 units)
929 St. Louis Cardinals at 930 Texas Rangers, 2:05 p.m. CT
I loved the over on the Cards’ team total on Friday night and as this guy reminded me shortly after the game was over, I whiffed badly on that prediction. Naturally, the Cards scored eight runs a day later and with me jumping back on board today, I’m sure the Rangers will flirt with a no-hitter.
Nevertheless, the matchup does set up well for the Cards to mash Drew Smyly, who currently sports a 6.85 ERA and is prone to surrendering home runs (2.28 HR/9). He’s also walking batters at a 14.2-percent clip and has allowed hard contact at a rate of 55.1%. While Smyly’s current strikeout rate is a respectable 23.9%, the Cards don’t whiff much against left-handers, ranking fourth in strikeout rate versus southpaws this season. With guaranteed ninth-inning at bats, the use of the DH and a hitter’s environment that rivals most in baseball, I’ll subject myself to the Cards’ Jekyll and Hyde offense again today.
I’ll also roll the dice on the Cards’ runline. The Rangers lineup is heavy on lefties and Jack Flaherty has struggled to keep the ball in the yard this year. That said, Texas also strikes out a lot against right-handers and Flaherty’s strikeout rate the past two seasons is sitting at an elite 28.7%. If I’m right about the Cards’ over and they rack up a ton of runs, then we could be looking at a double-dip scenario similar to the one I outlined with the A’s.
The Pick(s): Cardinals’ Team Total Over 6.5 Runs +110 (Risking 1.0 units to win 1.10 units)
Cardinals’ Runline -1.5 -115 (Risking 1.15 units to win 1.0 units)
2019 Betting Results:
MLB: 28-20-4 (+7.30 units)