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Let’s finish this week strong in the MLB. I went 2-1 yesterday and one of those winners was a plus-money underdog. I only backed one ‘dog in Sunday’s three MLB looks and a couple of short favorites.
Below, I’ll give quick handicaps and make bets for the NL Central showdown of Cardinals-Brewers, the Rangers-Cubs interleague matchup, and a cross-coast rubber-match between the Blue Jays-Angels.
St. Louis Cardinals (3-5) at Milwaukee Brewers (6-2), 2:10 p.m. ET
The Cardinals evened this 3-game set with a 6-0 victory Saturday. They got a huge outing from starting LHP Jordan Montgomery who went 7-scoreless innings with just 3 H and a 9/2 K/BB rate.
It was huge because St. Louis’s best relievers got an off-night. The Cardinals give RHP Jake Woodford (0-1, 12.46 ERA) the ball Sunday and he usually works as an “opener” in a “bullpen day.”
St. Louis is trying Woodford out as a starter but early returns were ugly. Woodford allowed 6 ERs on 7 H, 3 HR and 3 BB with just 3 K vs. the Braves in his 1st outing of 2023. He does pitch well vs. the Brewers though.
In seven career appearances against Milwaukee, Woodford is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 IP with a 14/6 K/BB rate. Woodford won his only start vs. the Brew Crew with 5-scoreless IP with a 5/1 K/BB rate. But it was back in 2021.
St. Louis owns Milwaukee’s starting RHP Sunday, Freddy Peralta. He is 2-4 in 12 career games against the Cardinals (eight starts) with a 6.59 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and a 3.0 K/BB rate over 41 IP.
The Brewers are 1-5 in Peralta’s six career home starts vs. the Cardinals. The average final scores of those games are 8.7-3.8 in favor of St. Louis. The Cardinals hit right-handed pitching slightly better than the Brew Crew as well.
Finally, St. Louis’s bullpen has much better command of the strike zone and has a higher WAR. Milwaukee’s bullpen ranks 27th in MLB for K-BB% (7.0%) and the Cardinals are 14th (15.1%), per FanGraphs.
MLB Bet #1: Cardinals (+135) moneyline (ML) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Texas Rangers (4-4) at Chicago Cubs (4-3), 2:20 p.m. ET
The Cubs won the 1st two games of this series by a combined score of 12-3. They send out RHP Jameson Taillon (0-1, 6.75 ERA) Sunday to face Rangers starting RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 2.84 ERA).
Per Pregame.com, roughly three-fourths of the action in the consensus sports betting market is on Texas at the time of writing. I think there’s some “gambler’s fallacy” at play with people thinking “Cubs can’t sweep the Rangers”.
However, that’s exactly what Chicago is going to do. Last season, Texas was 6-10 in Gray’s 16 road starts and his K/BB rate goes from 7.0 at home to 2.7 on the road.
Also, I think the Cubs’ pitching numbers are misleading. Taillon has a 6.75 ERA but a 3.09 FIP (“fielding independent pitching”) after one start and Chicago’s bullpen has a 4.74 ERA with a 2.57 FIP.
FIP is a more predictive pitching stat than ERA and is something professional MLB handicappers factor in heavier at the beginning of the season.
These lineups are neck-and-neck in advanced stat rankings vs. right-handed pitching thus far but I’m higher on Chicago’s lineup than Texas’s.
The Cubs’ front office did a good job rebuilding and brought in All-Star SS Dansby Swanson and 2019 NL MVP OF Cody Bellinger and taking a flyer on 1B Eric Hosmer.
MLB Bet #2: Cubs (-105) ML at DraftKings
Toronto Blue Jays (5-4) at Los Angeles Angels (5-3), 4:07 p.m. ET
This is the Blue Jays-Angels rubber-match with Toronto winning the series opener 4-3 Friday and LAA tying the set with a 9-5 win Saturday.
The Blue Jays give LHP Yusei Kikuchi (1-0, 1.80 ERA) the nod Sunday and the Angels send out young lefty starter Reid Detmers (0-0, 3.86 ERA). LAA’s lineup rakes Kikuchi and I’m buying stock on Detmers.
Per Statcast, Kikuchi’s opposing batting average is .344, his wOBA is .429 and expected slugging percentage is .546 in 99 plate appearances vs. active Angels batters. Kikuchi has a gave up 15 ERs in last four visits to Anaheim.
They hit right-handed pitching better than Toronto’s lineup as well. The Angels are better than the Blue Jays in wRC+ (124-107), wOBA (.350-.325), ISO (.208-.115), and BB/K rate (0.38-0.31), according to FanGraphs.
Since the beginning of 2022, the Blue Jays are just 14-23 vs. left-handed starters with a -35.1% return on investment (ROI). They lost Saturday with Angels starter LHP Tyler Anderson on the hill. Granted, it wasn’t because of Anderson.
MLB Bet #3: Angels (-130) ML at DraftKings
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One CommentLeave a Reply
Ouch, babe. Just…ouch…