Wednesday’s Results: It was a perfect sweep last night, as the Orioles (-120) held on for a 4-3 win over the White Sox, Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to help push the Phillies’ run total to over 4.5 (-120) and the Red Sox feasted on Detroit pitching to the tune of 11 runs, easily cashing their team total of over 5.5 runs. After reintroducing “FTBW” again on Tuesday, the 3-0 night runs my MLB record to 5-2 for +2.95 units.
For Thursday night, there are two more team totals that I like, plus an underrated pitcher’s duel that isn’t Trevor Bauer vs. Gerrit Cole.
907 Miami Marlins at 908 Philadelphia Phillies, 6:05 p.m. CT
While the Bauer-Cole matchup will draw more attention tonight (both because of how good those starters are and how much they reportedly don’t like each other), Miami-Philadelphia has sneaky potential to be a pitcher’s duel. The Phillies busted out for six runs last night in New York and now shift to hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park for tonight’s game against the Marlins. Despite the ballpark boost, they’ll face an underrated starter in Caleb Smith, who has elite strikeout potential and who has improved his walk, ground ball and hard contact rates from a year ago. While the Phillies have plenty of power throughout their lineup, they strike out at a 26-percent rate against left-handers and haven’t displayed much power versus opposing southpaws either. I expect Smith to pitch well tonight and the same goes for Aaron Nola, who had two good starts and three bad ones to start 2019. While the walks are high (10.5-percent), his strikeout (24.6-percent), ground ball (49.3-percent) and hard contact (30.1-percent) rates are all excellent. He benefits from facing a Miami lineup tonight that is one of the worst in baseball. The Marlins’ projected lineup owns a strikeout rate of 27-percent against right-handed pitching. I don’t expect either offense to go off tonight in Philly.
The Pick: Marlins/Phillies UNDER 7.5 (1.10 units to win 1.0 units)
909 Detroit Tigers at 910 Boston Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. CT
I’m going back to the well tonight with the Red Sox and their team total. Boston scored 11 runs last night off Detroit pitching and the Sox have another excellent matchup tonight against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann. When it comes to taking the over on a team total, I look at whether or not the opposing starter allows hard contact, fly balls and doesn’t generate swings-and-misses. Why? Because fly-ball pitchers that allow hard contact and don’t miss bats are prone to allowing home runs. Last year, Zimmermann allowed hard contact at a rate of 38.1-percent over 25 starts. In his five starts this year, that number has dropped to 35.3-percent. While that is an improvement from where he was a year ago, that’s still a terrible rate to be allowing hard contact. Zimmermann also generates ground balls at only a 37.6-percent clip, which isn’t great, and doesn’t miss many bats (9.0% swinging strike rate). Boston’s projected lineup has a .221 ISO against right-handed pitching. The ball should fly all over the yard off Red Sox bats tonight.
The Pick: Red Sox Team Total OVER 5.5 Runs -110 (1.10 units to win 1.0 units)
915 Texas Rangers at 916 Seattle Mariners, 9:10 p.m. CT
I like the Mariners offense tonight just as much as I like Boston’s. Unfortunately, with the Red Sox and Mariners both playing at home, we’re not guaranteed ninth inning at bats. Still, Seattle has loads of power and will face Taylor Hearn, who will make his major league debut. While Hearn is one of the Rangers’ top pitching prospects and has flashed his immense potential in the minors, this is a tough draw for the youngster. Mitch Haniger, Edwin Encarnacion and the rest of the projected lineup for the Mariners mash left-handed pitching. In fact, Seattle owns a 0.199 ISO versus southpaws, which is the highest team ISO of any team in action on Thursday. Now, could Hearn keep the Mariners’ hitters off-balance for a few innings? Sure. But I expect the M’s to get to the kid at some point and even if they don’t, the Texas bullpen is exploitable.
The Pick: Mariners Team Total OVER 4.5 Runs -110 (1.10 units to win 1.0 units)
MLB: 5-2 (+2.95 units)