• Rick

Rick’s MLB Plays 6/12

Chicago Cubs @ New York Yankees

Favorite: Yankees -220

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Keegan Thompson (3.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs. Jameson Taillon (2.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

9-1 in their last 10 games, the Yankees just don’t show many signs of slowing down at all. They hit 6 solo home runs yesterday in their 8-0 victory of the Cubs, and their pitching continues to shut opposition down. Today they have the blessing of throwing Taillon, who is not first, second or third choice in their rotation. He’s an economical pitcher who doesn’t walk anyone (2.4% BB rate) and doesn’t let batters find the barrel often either (34.5 Hard hit rate). He’s been excellent all year and is actually looking for a bounce back after his worst outing, allowing merely 4 runs.

Keegan Thompson is in a similar boat. Before his last showing against the Orioles he had a 1.99 ERA for the season. He doesn’t strikeout many guys, but he doesn’t walk them either and is actually marginally better than Taillon in xBA and Hard Hit percentage. He’s looking for help from his bats today, as the Cubs are 8th in OPS over the past month. Much of that number is weighted in the middle of May when the Cubs were scorching hot, and he’s hoping they regain form. If there is a Yankees starter to do it against, it’s Taillon.

Pick: Cubs F5 +1 -110 (1u) & F5 u4.5 -120 (0.5u)

Rick Schultz / Getty Images

Toronto Blue Jays @ Detroit Tigers

Favorite: Blue Jays -130

Total: 8

Pitchers: Ross Stripling (3.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs. Tarik Skubal (2.33 ERA, 0.94 WHIP)

With every performance Tarik Skubal gets better. He’s been a man on a mission this year and isn’t slowing up anytime soon. He’s actually coming off of a poor performance by his standards where in 7 innings he allowed 6 hits and 3 runs. He’s looking to bounce back and try to dominate an exceptional Blue Jays lineup. His only cause for concern is that his offense might not give him any run support. Scoring only 16 runs in their last 5 games, while that is good for this Tigers team, is still terrible. For comparison, Toronto has scored 30. Over the last month, Detroit is dead last in OPS, while Toronto is 2nd. Toronto is throwing a long reliever in Ross Stripling today who has been good, the issue is he might only pitch 1 or 2 innings. Even so, this line is too short given that the Tigers struggle to muster up any run support and we know how the Blue Jays can launch them.

Pick: Blue Jays ML -130 (1u)

Charles Krupa / AP

Cincinnati Reds @ St Louis Cardinals

Favorite: Cardinals -150

Total: 8

Pitchers: Graham Ashcraft (1.14 ERA, 0.85 WHIP) vs. Dakota Hudson (2.76 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Graham Ashcraft day. I’m super high on this prospect and he hasn’t let me down yet. I’ve watched all 23.2 innings he’s gone through this season and let me tell you, he has IT. He doesn’t strike guys out, sure, only 14%. What he does is force offenses to hit ground ball after ground ball into his infield. His average exit velocity is 83.9 MPH, good for 99th percentile in the majors and the launch angle is -2.8 degrees. With a wOBA of .218 and a cutter he throws at 98 MPH on average, I could go on for days about how this kid is going to be next level.

On the flipside, Dakota Hudson has been extraordinary this year and has kept it going lately. Allowing only 2 runs on 11 hits in his last 18.2 IP, he doesn’t show ANY signs of slowing down. My concern for him is the advanced stats showing just how far he’s overperformed this year. An xERA of 4.62 is nearly 2 full points higher than his real one, and he ranks in the bottom third of nearly every pitching category with the worst being chase rate and whiff %. He’s due for some regression and with how hot the Reds bats have been lately, this might be the game.

Pick: Reds F5 +0.5 -120 (1.5u) & Reds ML +140 (0.5u)

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