Following a lengthy hiatus, From the Betting Window is officially back. For those that read this column in the second half of the baseball season last year, welcome back. For those that are newcomers, welcome aboard. Let’s have fun, keep the long game in mind and, hopefully, cash along the way.
How about a 4-game MLB card to get the party started? Let’s start with the local game…
907 Brewers at 908 Cardinals, 6:45 p.m. CT
Milwaukee starter Zach Davies currently sports a 1.19 ERA, but his 4.25 FIP and 4.95 xFIP hint that trouble is brewing (no pun intended). Davies lives on ground balls because he doesn’t get many swinging strikes, nor does he strike many batters out as a whole (16.1% K%). He’s also walking batters at a 9.7% clip through his four starts, so if he can’t keep the ball on the ground tonight he’ll be in trouble versus this red-hot Cardinal offense. Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez all mash right-handed pitching. Regression is coming for Davies.
Meanwhile, the Cards are high on Daniel Ponce de Leon and rightfully so. He pitched 33 innings in the majors last season and produced a 23.5% strikeout rate. The problem is that he also has a high walk rate with a fly-ball lean. The Brewers, as we all know here in St. Louis, make a lot of hard contact and have loads of power. This is a difficult spot start for Ponce de Leon and if he can’t miss bats consistently, I expect the ball to keep flying out of Busch Stadium. These two teams combined for 17 runs on a combined 23 hits last night and I see plenty of offensive fireworks again tonight.
The Pick: Brewers/Cardinals OVER 9 -105 (Risk 1.05 units to win 1.0)
913 White Sox at 914 Orioles, 6:05 p.m. CT
It took the White Sox a few innings to break out their bats last night, but once they caught fire, they wound up scoring 12 runs. Chicago’s hitters should feast again tonight, as Baltimore will start Andrew Cashner. He’s a low-strikeout, high-walk pitcher that allows a ton of hard contact. That’s a horrible recipe for success, especially when you also consider the Orioles play in a pure hitter’s park. After a slow start, Jose Abreu is heating up, but he’s not the only Chicago hitter I love tonight. Fly-ball hitters Yoan Moncada, Yonder Alonso and Welington Castillo should create a ton of damage against Cashner as well.
Ivan Nova will start tonight for the White Sox and he’s more than capable of allowing a ton of runs, too. That said, I’d rather isolate Chicago’s offense than worry about whether or not the Orioles will contribute enough runs to push the final score over the total. Plus, with the White Sox playing on the road, we’re guaranteed ninth-inning at bats, making Chicago’s team total even more appealing.
The Pick: White Sox Team Total OVER 5.5 Runs +110 (Risk 1.0 units to win 1.10)
911 Nationals at 912 Rockies, 7:40 p.m. CT
I’m taking a similar approach with the Nationals as I did above with the White Sox. Instead of trying to predict whether or not the Rockies’ bats will show up against Washington starter Patrick Corbin, I will instead isolate the Nationals’ bats by taking the over with their team total.
Jeff Hoffman will start tonight for Colorado after riding the shuttle back and forth between the majors and minors the last few years. After scoring five runs last night, the Nationals will once again benefit from taking hacks at hitter’s friendly Coors Field in an exploitable matchup. Hoffman has had equal trouble with both right and left-handed hitters, making this an ideal scenario for the balanced Nationals. Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon (assuming he’s in the lineup), Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman should create enough damage tonight for Washington to get over its team total. Plus, like the White Sox, we’re guaranteed a full nine innings worth of at bats with the Nats playing on the road.
The Pick: Nationals Team Total OVER 5.5 Runs -140 (Risk 1.40 units to win 1.0)
921 Yankees at 922 Angels, 9:07 p.m. ET
I know the Yankees are banged up and their bullpen is taxed after playing extra innings last night in L.A., but the Bombers’ money line odds are too good to pass up tonight. Domingo German has struck out 31.6% of righties and 28.3% of lefties since last season. Granted, the Angels are a difficult team to strike out but they also lack power (save for Mike Trout) and play in a pitcher’s park. German will give up some home runs and walks are an issue for the youngster, but the Halos aren’t the most patient team either. The bottom line is that German should pitch well and deep tonight, which is vital given that both teams are dealing with fried bullpens.
On the other side of the pitching equation is Chris Stratton, who was bad through 26 starts last year for San Francisco and has been even worse in his four outings this season with the Angels. The pitching-starved Giants had no problem getting rid of Stratton who, like Cashner in Baltimore, is a low-strikeout (12.8% K%), high-walk (15.1% BB) pitcher who allows plenty of hard contact (32.3%). Even though this Yankees lineup has been decimated by injuries, they have plenty of firepower in Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier. At -110 on the money line, the Yankees offer excellent value tonight.
The Pick: Yankees -110 (Risk 1.10 unit to win 1.0)