• Rick

Rick’s MLB Plays 7/13

New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves (12:20 ET)

Favorite: Braves -150

Total: 8.5

Pitchers: Chris Bassitt (3.94 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs. Charlies Morton (4.21 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)

The Braves were able to come through Tuesday largely in part to Strider’s masterful outing once again, and are looking to take the series lead in an early afternoon outing against the Mets. We’ve been over the offensive disparity between these two teams (ATL 3rd in OPS since June, Mets 22nd) so I’ll focus more on the pitchers. Charlie Morton began the season in a funk which poised the question of whether he should be looking to retire at the age of 38. He had a 5.47 ERA through 2 months and it only got worse allowing 8 runs in his first 11 innings in June. Since that moment, he’s reminded us just how excellent he is when that curve compliments his fourseamer well. He’s allowed just 6 runs on 18 hits over his past 33.2 innings, good for a 1.60 ERA. He’s been better at home this season and against a Mets team still struggling to find offense, he should continue that trend.

Chris Bassitt is as predictable a pitcher as they come. Every rotation could use a Chris Bassitt in your 3 or 4 slot becuase he’s going to give you length and keep you in games. He’s almost a certainty to allow 2 or 3 runs, but rarely gets blown up so as a club you know your bullpen can rest. He’s 37th among all starters this year (50+ innings minimum) in xFIP at a 3.59. My concern is that he’s been consistently worse on the road, posting a 5.17 ERA (3.12 at home). Expect a tightly contested affair similar to the first two games in the series with the Braves pulling away somewhere in the 4-2 range. I doubt this play gets boosted by 70 points like the one last night, but I’d still get it in earlier rather than later.

Pick: Braves ML -150 (1u)

Sean M. Haffey - Getty Images

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Miami Marlins (6:40 ET)

Favorite: Marlins -180

Total: 7

Pitchers: J.T. Brubaker (4.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) vs. Pablo Lopez (2.91 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)

The way the Marlins are swinging the bats they have no business being almost a 2-to-1 favorite over anybody, let alone the Pirates who have won 4 in a row and the first two in this series. Brubaker has been solid as of late, allowing only 10 runs in his last 23 innings, but I’d rather focus on the Pittsburgh offense against Lopez. Lopez‘s statistics are being weighted by his brilliant beginning to the season where he posted a 0.39 ERA in April and a 2.78 in May. He’s been below average lately allowing 6 home runs in his last 7 starts and 4+ runs in half of those. He’s been sloppy across the board, walking more batters and striking out less, and against this new-feeling Pirates team I doubt he’ll look immaculate, which is why I’m taking the Pirates team total. I don’t want to back Brubaker but I will back a Pirates offense to score 3 runs when they’ve done so in 8 of their last 11 games and Lopez has been slumping. I think this should be set at about a run greater and I think you could also play o7 in the game as well.

Pick: Pirates TT o2.5 -135 (1u)

Philadelphia Phillies @ Toronto Blue Jays (7:07 ET)

Favorite: Phillies -115

Total: 8

Pitchers: Zack Wheeler (2.46 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. Ross Stripling (3.34 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

The Phillies are in desperate need of a Zack Wheeler start to get them back on track after losing now 3 straight with a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays in the first game of this series. Luckily for them, he tends to pull through with great performances. He’s allowed 0 runs in his last 14 innings pitched allowing just 9 hits, and has a sub 2 ERA since the end of April. He’s a clear top 10 pitcher in the game right now and these Phillies bats need him to perform like one. They’ve only managed 10 runs in their last 5 games without Bryce Harper and will need to hit a decent run before the All-Star break to catch the Cardinals for the last Wildcard spot.

If you thought the Phillies‘ recent form was bleak, the Blue Jays will hold your beer. Their offense has been generating more, but is still poor at 15 runs in their last 5 games. They’re 2-8 coming into Wednesday and with Seattle and now Baltimore breathing down their neck they for the Wildcard spot they’ll feel this game is just as big a spot for them as it is for the Phillies. The reliever turned starter Ross Stripling takes the mound and he’s been solid so far in this role. They’re learning how far they can stretch him, which is no more than 4 or 5 innings. His ERA over the first 4 innings this season is a 2.79, but from the 5th and on it’s a 4.74. If Stripling can get through the order twice on Wednesday Charlie Montoyo will be pleased. That’s all we need as I think we have another low-scoring pitchers duel through the first five innings.

Pick: F5 u4.5 -130 (1u)

Kyle Ross - USA Today

Los Angeles Dodgers @ St. Louis Cardinals (7:45 ET)

Favorite: Dodgers -150

Total: 8

Pitchers: Tony Gonsolin (1.62 ERA, 0.80 WHIP) vs. Adam Wainwright (3.15 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

You probably won’t see Gonsolin as this short of a favorite again this regular season unless they’re facing Gerritt Cole, Christian Javier, or someone of the like. The difference between the Yankees and Astros is that they’re top tier offensive teams and the Cardinals with their injuries are just simply not. Yes, they put up 7 runs against the Dodgers yesterday, but they’re 26th in July so far and 15th if you go back to June. The Dodgers stay among the top of all offensive categories no matter how you slice it and with Mookie Betts re-entering the fold recently they’ve elevated their game.

Gonsolin has continued his league leading 1.62 ERA with brilliant starts one after another, while Wainwrtight has been slipping up recently. He’s allowed 4+ runs in 3 of his last 5 starts, though is coming off a complete game against the Phillies where he allowed only 2 runs. These two are on different levels and the same can be said about their offenses. Take the Dodgers -150 while it’s still there, before it moves to -200.

Pick: Dodgers ML -150 (2u)

Jose Sanchez - AP

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