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Rick’s MLB Plays 7/11

Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals (2:10 ET)

Favorite: Royals -135

Total: 9.5

Pitchers: Michael Pineda (3.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) vs. Brad Keller (4.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Michael Pineda might have the most misleading ERA in all of the majors. He has only pitched 32.1 innings this year so his sample size is small, but the 6‘7” righty is one of the worst pitchers by all advanced metrics. He’s in the bottom 1% of pitchers in xERA, xwOBA, xSLG, and average exit velocity, and in the bottom 10% in all other categories. He pitches to contact and tends to get slammed. 7 of his 8 appearances have been in Detroit, while his lone away appearance he allowed 4 runs in 5 innings pitched. He travels to Kansas City to face a Royals team that has cooled down offensively a bit but is still swinging the ball well through a blazing hot Benintendi and Witt Jr.

Brad Keller takes the mound for Kansas City and by no means has been good this year. He’s allowed at least 3 runs in 9 of his last 11 starts, so while his good start to the season weighs his ERA down, it has been over a 5 since the beginning of May. He does a decent job creating soft contact, but he doesn’t strike many out and has a tendency to walk batters (2+ BB in 8 of his last 9). For as good as the Royals bats have been lately (14th in OPS L14), the Tigers have been just as good. Expect a sloppy outing from both teams, but I’ll actually go with Pineda and the Tigers. In his 6 career seasons Pineda has a high xERA of 4.32 and I think he shows his savvy on Monday afternoon in a solid outing.

Pick: Tigers F5 +0.5 -120 (1u)

Katelyn Mulcahy - Getty Images

New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves (7:20 ET)

Favorite: Braves -120

Total: 7

Pitchers: Max Scherzer (2.26 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) vs. Max Fried (2.52 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

In surely the matchup of the night, we are blessed to have two of the best starters in all of baseball face off in the heart of the south. Mad Max came back from injury stronger than ever, striking out 11 over 6 shutout innings. Mets fans will hope that he can help spur a resurgence for their sputtering team, who are fighting for any and every run they can get lately. The Mets are 22nd in OPS since the beginning of June, and aren’t doing much better as of late. The same cannot be said for the Braves, who are the hottest offensive team in all of baseball. They lead the league in OPS since June and have won 6 of their last 7, all at home. They face the Mets at a great time in the season and hope to usurp them as division leaders by the end of this series. I’ll take the chalk and go with the much hotter team to get it done.

Pick: Braves ML -120 (1u) & F5 u3.5 -105 (0.5u)

Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports

Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays (7:10 ET)

Favorite: Red Sox -125

Total: 7.5

Pitchers: Brayan Bello (9.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP) vs. Matt Wisler (2.58 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)

From one of the best pitching matchups of the year to a rookie making his second appearance versus a reliever. Brayan Bello comes into the rotation out of necessity because of the Red Sox laundry list of injured pitchers (Sale, Eovaldi, Hill, Paxton, Wacha, Whitlock) but he is still highly touted within the organization. In his debut against the Rays he looked visibly nervous and shaky, missing his spots consistently and only going 4 innings. Now he travels to Tampa in another massive series as the Red Sox look to build off back-to-back wins against the Yankees. Offense has been the name of the game for the Sox given the pitching injuries, and they’ve come through scoring 5+ runs in every game of the series.

Matt Wisler and the Rays bullpen is good, but stretching some of these guys out will allow spots for the Red Sox to capitalize. The Rays offense hasn’t been great by any means and they just got swept by the Reds, so expect a fired up Rays team to enter the fold today and give the Red Sox trouble. Tampa is 35-24 against the Sox since 2019, and they could give them further trouble today behind a shaky rookie in Bello.

Pick: Rays ML +105 (1u) & o7.5 -110 (2u)

Alex Trautwig - Getty Images

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