Rays/Indians under 9.5 -110 = WIN (+1.0 units)
Friday 5/24/19 Picks:
977 Detroit Tigers at 978 New York Mets, 6:10 p.m. CT
After struggling in April, Noah Syndergaard has turned things around in May. In his last start, “Thor” held the Marlins to two runs over seven innings and he also pitched eight innings of two-run ball to beat the Nationals in his previous outing. So far this month, he’s 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA after posting a 1-3 mark with a 6.43 ERA in April.
Tonight, Syndergaard faces a right-handed heavy Tigers lineup that strikes out a lot against righties. Now, Syndergaard isn’t a high-strikeout pitcher so he might not mow down Detroit hitters. That said, he has elite control, is one of the best starters in baseball when it comes to limiting hard contact and his ground ball rate is superb (51.4%) as well.
I’ll be surprised if Detroit scores more than two or three runs against Syndergaard an underrated Mets bullpen (3.97 xFIP on the year), which is why I like the under. With Gregory Soto taking the mound for the Tigers, the Mets’ bats do scare me a little. Soto has been awful in his first 10 career innings but he’s also facing a New York offense that is severely depleted. The first four batters in the Mets’ projected lineup all have high strikeout rates against left-handed pitching this season.
The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between these two teams and has cashed in five of the Tigers’ last seven road games overall. With wind speeds of 12 mph blowing straight in from left field, coupled with this game being played at pitcher-friendly Citi Field, I see this being a low-scoring affair.
The Pick: Tigers/Mets under 7.5 -120 (Risking 1.20 units to win 1.0 units)
959 Atlanta Braves at 960 St. Louis Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. CT
Relying on the Cardinals’ offense two games in a row is like paying to get kicked in the throat but I’m going to do it anyway because I hate myself some days.
Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz faced the Cards just last week and it was a total disaster. In just 4 2/3 innings of work, he allowed eight runs on seven hits with three home runs. (The Cardinals scored 14 runs that night.)
Granted, Foltynewicz did hold the Brewers to two runs on three hits in his last start, but he also allowed a pair of solo home runs in that outing. In fact, in his first four starts this season, he surrendered eight home runs in and 26 hits in 21 1/3 innings. I’m thinking that start in Milwaukee was an outlier.
Meanwhile, Miles Mikolas opened May by only allowing three runs across 20 innings. Do you feel a “but” coming on? Buuuut, he was hammered for seven runs on nine hits (including two home runs) in 1 1/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Rangers last Friday. He has pitched well at home over the past two years, but he’s still allowed 10 home runs in 55 1/3 innings this season. While Mikolas doesn’t issue a lot of walks (4.3% BB rate), he’s allowing hard contact at a 36.0-percent rate.
The over is 17-4 in the last 21 meetings between these two teams and cashed in seven of the previous eight meetings at Bucsh Stadium. The over is also a perfect 6-0 in Foltynewicz’s last six starts versus the Cards. This game has shootout potential on what’s expected to be a humid night in St. Louis.
The Pick: Braves/Cardinals over 10 -110 (Risking 1.10 units to win 1.0 units)
979 Baltimore Orioles at 980 Colorado Rockies, 7:40 p.m. CT
This is such a chalk play but that doesn’t mean it’s not a sound pick: I’m taking the over. While the Orioles’ pitching staff has been a total dumpster fire, John Means has pitched very well. The problem he faces tonight is that a) he’s pitching at Coors, b) he’s a below average-strikeout pitcher and c) he allows a lot of fly balls. If Means isn’t missing bats and continues to have a fly-ball lean, then those fly balls will be souvenirs tonight at Coors.
Means also wasn’t sharp in his last outing, which was a road start against the Indians on Saturday. He allowed three runs across five innings while strikeout out a season-low one batter. Even if Means pitches relatively well, the Rockies will still have an opportunity to tee-off on Baltimore’s horrendous bullpen.
On the other side of the pitching equation is Jeff Hoffman, who allowed four runs over five innings with six strikeouts and no walks in a spot start against the Nationals on April 23. After that outing, he was sent back to Triple-A, where he currently owns a 7.57 ERA. The Orioles don’t have the most potent offense but they’re more than capable of jumping Hoffman, who owns a 10.8% walk and 16.9% strikeout rate over the last two seasons. I’m going to stick with one of my mottos here: Target bad pitching.
The Pick: Orioles/Rockies over 12 -110 (Risking 1.10 units to win 1.0 units)
2019 Betting Results:
MLB: 34-26-4 (+6.60 units)
NHL: 1-0 (+1.0 units)