It was a sluggish day for offenses around the league yesterday, as the over cashed in just two of the seven games. With several teams rested from off days, we will see an uptick in runs scored?
Here are our best bets for Tuesday’s MLB action. (Odds courtesy of DraftKings)
Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies RL
Most of the attention in the National League has been paid to the Dodgers and especially the Cardinals, who have overtaken the Brewers in the NL Central and are coming off a sweep of the Yankees. However, like the other two teams, the Phillies are 9-1 in their last ten games but are not getting as much publicity.
Some will say the Phillies are simply a product of a soft schedule of late, but their 11-2 record in the last 13 games also included five games against the Braves. In the other eight games they played against teams under .500 in that stretch, Philadelphia is 8-0 and outscored them by 34 runs. They now face a Marlins team that has been struggling mightily at the plate, scoring three or fewer runs in each of their last eight games.
Miami’s non-existent offense will have difficulty against Zack Wheeler (10-5, 2.69), who has regained the form that saw him finish second in the Cy Young voting last year. Wheeler’s xFIP (3.10) ranks sixth, and SIERA (3.16) ranks seventh among all qualified pitchers. He will be supported by an offense that ranks second in wRC+ (132) and wOBA (.361) over the last 14 days.
I would not put anyone off playing the alternate runline for better odds in a game that could be a blowout.
Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox
Based on Atlanta’s -140 moneyline odds in this series opener, it seems oddsmakers are down on the Braves after they lost four of five to the Mets over the weekend. Now that the Braves are 6.5 games out of first place, FanGraphs gives Atlanta just a 7.4% chance to win the division. However, they have an excellent opportunity to return to their winning ways when facing a reeling Red Sox team that has won three of its last ten home games.
Red Sox starter Rich Hill (4-5, 4.52) is making just his second start after spending a month on the IL with a sprained knee. He looked rusty in his first start back last Wednesday, as he allowed four runs on six hits in just three innings in a road start against Houston. He faces a Braves offense that did what it could to be successful in the New York series, averaging six runs per game in the three games where the Mets did not have co-aces Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom pitching.
Atlanta has won each of its last four games following an off day, is 5-1 in its previous six interleague games, and has won seven of its last ten on the road against a left-handed starting pitcher. Thus, the Braves are still a solid value even at -140 odds.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros O/U
There are not many more lopsided records in division rivalries than the one between the Rangers and Astros. Houston is 25-3 in the last 28 home meetings against Texas. However, given Houston’s offensive struggles of late, Texas’ team total under is the best value play as they face a red-hot starting pitcher.
The under has cashed in ten of the last 11 meetings between these teams and is 6-0 in the previous six in Houston. When these two teams met for a four-game series in Houston in late May, no game totaled more than seven runs, and Houston’s pitching staff held the Rangers to less than two runs per game (seven total runs in the series).
Jose Urquidy (10-4, 3.62) has lost just one of his last nine starts and has lowered his ERA from 5.04 in that span. Ten of his last 11 starts have been quality starts, and he has been a critical contributor to Houston’s second-ranked 3.13 starting pitching ERA. Backing up Urquidy is MLB’s best bullpen with a collective 2.68 ERA. Thus, we do not see a path to offensive success for Texas in this game.
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