This will be a quick look at the MLB card for Saturday, as I’ve got a family thing to attend to. I’ll recap the weekend for Sunday’s article and group my observations together by series. For now, it’ll just be a quick look at some line moves, pitchers to watch and today’s MLB card.
Phillies at Marlins (-115, 8): The Marlins are taking some money at home here with Trevor Rogers on the bump. Ranger Suarez goes for the Phillies. While he’s been pretty popular going into the season, it is Miami getting the love today. The Marlins’ Big Three of Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers will likely take a lot of money at home throughout the year.
Reds at Dodgers (-220, 8.5): Julio Urias made his first start of the season in Colorado, but not only was he not sharp, his spin rates and velocity numbers were very concerning. The Dodgers draw Hunter Greene in his second MLB start and the line has come down a little bit. It hasn’t been terribly significant with Los Angeles still a big favorite, but Cincinnati has taken a little bit of influential money. I’ll have more on Urias shortly.
Twins at Red Sox (-135, 9.5): We saw some Red Sox steam yesterday against the Twins and we’re seeing more of it today. This time, it’s with Tanner Houck against Sonny Gray. The opening lines for these two games with the Red Sox around -115 have been interesting in that the Twins don’t really seem to be on Boston’s level, which is likely why the market has spoken. I don’t think it has much to do with the starting pitchers, more about the power rating that modelers and influential bettors have for Boston versus the one they have for Minnesota.
Angels (-115, 9) at Rangers: The Rangers have taken money in this Noah Syndergaard vs. Taylor Hearn matchup. I’m a tad surprised to see the level of respect for Hearn, especially against an Angels lineup that should project decently against lefties. The Texas offense has been impressive. The pitching staff remains a work in progress, but Hearn seems to be viewed in a positive light, which isn’t true of most starters on the staff.
Astros (-145, 7.5) at Mariners: Seattle is taking a bit of money in this Justin Verlander vs. Chris Flexen matchup. Flexen had a .289 wOBA against and a 3.23 ERA at home last season. He had much stronger numbers at home than on the road, so it isn’t a surprise to see this move. Looking at home/road splits in advance of a start can also be a decent way to get ahead of a line move.
Giants at Guardians (-110, 8): This has been a pretty big mover across the board with Anthony DeSclafani and Cal Quantrill. Quantrill pitched really well when he moved into the rotation last season and this seems like a little bit of carryover. The Guardians do have some exceptional numbers on offense against righties to this point, so maybe that’s part of it as well.
What I’ll Be Watching
Paul Blackburn: I mentioned after his last start that Paul Blackburn made some really interesting adjustments in his 2022 debut. He scaled back in a big way on his sinker and leveled up with his curveball. When he did allow contact, though, a lot of balls were hit hard. It’ll be an interesting start today against a Toronto team that makes a ton of loud contact. I think there’s a good chance that he gets shelled.
Corey Kluber: I was a big fan of Kluber’s pitch usage in his first start, as he threw over 65% cutters and curveballs. The Rays should be pretty successful with optimizing his pitch usage for as long as he’s healthy and his first start was a good example. He limited hard contact and worked around some walks. This will be a much stiffer test against the White Sox, though his arsenal with everything running away from the right-handed-heavy lineup should play well here.
Saturday Best Bets
Shop around for the best lines! I’m using a market consensus number that should be widely available to most, but every cent matters, so do the best you can to get the best line possible.
A’s/Blue Jays Over 8.5 (-120): Hyun-jin Ryu still didn’t look right in his first start of the season. The veteran southpaw allowed six runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of work. Ryu is also dealing with a hamstring injury, so we’ll see if that flares up at any point during the game. The Blue Jays are thin in middle and long relief in my opinion, which could help the Oakland offense. The A’s are utilizing a lot of platoons, which means that they should have at least seven right-handed batters in the lineup to go against Ryu. Righties slugged .447 against Ryu last season with 22 of the 24 home runs that he allowed.
As mentioned above, I think Blackburn is going to be a massive regression candidate in this start. He threw a lot more curveballs in his first outing and scaled back the sinker, but still allowed a ton of hard contact. Blackburn only allowed three hits, but his average exit velocity against was 93.6 mph. He got fortunate that he limited the damage. He probably won’t be as successful with that against the Jays lineup.
The Oakland offense has actually been a bit better than I expected and the Jays offense is obviously elite. I’m not sure why this has gone from 9 to 8.5, but I’ll lay the -120 on the total.
Giants/Guardians Under 8 (-110): The Guardians offense has put up some very impressive numbers to this point, but hasn’t really faced a lot of good pitching. Cleveland was shut down by Carlos Rodon and the Giants pen on Friday and I’m expecting more of the same with Anthony DeSclafani today. It’s cold in Cleveland as well. The ball did not carry well yesterday and it’ll carry even worse today in all likelihood.
Cal Quantrill had a 1.94 ERA in 88 innings in the second half last season. He allowed just a .271 wOBA. He really took a huge leap and has great command, so it all seems like it has the ability to stick around, even with the lower strikeout numbers. I’m generally not a fan of low K numbers, but today is the kind of day when pitching to contact shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I think offense will be very limited today and probably tomorrow as well given the weather.
I’m tracking the picks in my Google Sheet HERE, but we are working on a tracker at VSiN.com that should be ready to go later this week.
original source here