Back again to kick off your weekend after a 2-0 night on Thursday, here are my daily plays going into a jam-packed weekend of baseball. Noteworthy matchups are the Twins and Blue Jays, White Sox and Rays, and the continuation of the Mets-Dodgers series. Let’s get into some of my best bets today!
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Favorite: Diamondbacks -120
Pitchers: Merrill Kelly (3.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs. JT Brubaker (4.15 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
How about these Pirates! A team entering the season expected to be among the worst with a season team total set at 64.5 is coming off of a series sweep of the Dodgers. That is no typo, they traveled to Hollywood and outscored the Dodgers 19-12 in a series. They return home with JT Brubaker on the mound tonight looking to continue their good fortune. Hoping to finally get some run support to get his first win of the season, Brubaker has actually been a top notch pitcher this year with an xERA of 3.48 and other metrics placing him in the top third of pitchers.
The kid from Akron will look to continue that strong start against a Diamondbacks team that loves a good road trip. 7th in OPS over the last 2 weeks, this roster is 4th in OPS on the road since the beginning of May and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Coming off of a series win at home to the Braves, they pitch Merrill Kelly tonight looking to extend those good vibes. Sputtering a bit with 3+ runs allowed in each of his last 4 starts, Kelly looks to get on track against the Pirates who still statistically struggle swinging the bats. I think Kelly gets back on track and the Pirates have a bit of a hangover from what will be their best series of the year.
Pick: Diamondbacks ML -120 (1.5u)
Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers
Favorite: Mariners -120
Pitchers: Logan Gilbert (2.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) vs. Dave Dunning (4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
Logan Gilbert has quietly been putting up a Cy Young contending stat line through 50-odd games this year. In his sophomore season, he has managed to be great despite below average spin-rates on his fastball and curveball through painting every corner of the zone. Keeping batters off-balance has been key to his success early this season, and expect him to continue to do so. Coming off of a 7 inning shutout versus the struggling Astros, he’ll go into Dallas with the confidence needed to kickstart Seattle’s season.
Coming off of a series split with the Rays, the Mariners come into tonight confident they can catch up to divisional rivals Houston behind some unexpected fantastic pitching in Perez. Throwing tonight is Dunning, who has been nothing but consistent. Allowing between 1 to 5 runs in all 10 starts this year, he’s apt to allow a handful but keep the game manageable. I’m not sure that will be enough tonight to round Logan Gilbert, at very least in the first five innings.
Pick: Mariners F5 ML -120 (1u)
Boston Red Sox @ Oakland A’s
Favorite: Red Sox -165
Pitchers: Nathan Eovaldi (3.77 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) vs. James Kaprielian (5.93 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
I know you can’t technically do it, but Nathan Eovaldi’s numbers this year would be incredible if you simply nixed his 1.2 inning, 5 HR allowed performance against the Astros in the middle of May. Aside from that, he’s yet to allow more than 3 runs, and recently pitched a complete game allowing 2. The Red Sox bats have found a resurgence, but since are a bit streaky. Their run totals in the last 4 games are as follows: 12-0-1-7. They’re either on, or they aren’t.
Luckily for the Red Sox, they’re going up against Kaprielian who can’t pitch to a little leaguer lately. Allowing 9 runs in his last 9.1 IP against the Rangers and Mariners, he’s struggled allowing big contact and that’s concerning with some of the bats in the Sox lineup. It doesn’t help him that his offense ranks dead last in the MLB in OPS since the beginning of May. Expect the Red Sox to have a big performance behind their fill-in ace.
Pick: Red Sox -1.5 +105 (1u) & o7 -120 (1u)
Carmen Mandato - Getty Images
Additionally, I have 2 weekend series plays for you all. Los Angeles Angels +120 (1u) and Boston Red Sox -160 (1u) to take care of business. Looking forward to a great first weekend in June, hope all are able to enjoy some beer and ball!