A disastrous 0-3 night was had last night in what came down to a very humbling evening for my free MLB picks.
We were red-hot entering the night, but took a pair of losses that weren’t even remotely close and a tough-pill-to-swallow loss to end the evening.
I had the Royals on the moneyline in Detroit, but after stranding a man on third with less than two outs in the first inning, the Royals were largely stymied by Matt Boyd – a pitcher they’ve owned in the past – as Boyd went into cruise control mode alongside some woken up Tigers bats en route to a 6-0 Detroit win.
That one was tough to watch, that is before I turned on the Cardinals and Brewers game where I had St. Louis as moneyline favorites. They opened the scoring in the top of the first, but it was all Brewers from there – with authority. Milwaukee homered twice in the bottom half of the first and went on to touch up Jack Flaherty for nine earned runs in three innings and wound up bashing the Cards to the tune of an 18-3 final.
Finally, we actually looked pretty good with the under 8 between the Indians and Cubs with a 4-3 Cubs score in the bottom of the 8th. That said, a throwing error on a Javier Baez steal of second led to him coming all the way around to score. We had a push entering the ninth, but Francisco Lindor’s game-tying, two-run homer sank our pick for good.
It was a tough night that cost us 3.38 units, but let’s bounce back on tonight’s 14-game schedule and keep what has been a good season going!
Season Record: 20-12-1
Now let’s check out this free MLB pick featuring the Braves vs. Orioles from Camden Yards in Baltimore!
Braves vs. Orioles Betting Odds
- Braves (-169)
- Orioles (+156)
- Braves -1.5 (-117)
- Orioles +1.5 (-103)
- Over 10 (-105)
- Under 10 (-115)
Braves vs. Orioles MLB Pick Breakdown
For the first time since signing a one-year deal with the Braves this winter, veteran left-hander Cole Hamels will appear on the bump to start this one against the O’s.
Hamels has missed much of the season due to tendinitis in left triceps in what was a rare long-term injury for the otherwise durable 36-year-old.
Hamels is coming off a productive 3.81 ERA/4.09 FIP across 27 starts with the Cubs last season, but this has been one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball over the course of his career.
He’s put forth a sub-4.00 ERA in nine of this last 10 seasons and is the owner of a 3.42 ERA/3.69 FIP for his career while he bounced back in the strikeout department with a 9.08 K/9 a season ago despite losing some command in the form of a 3.56 BB/9.
While we don’t quite know what to expect from him in this one, we can expect a short outing as he will be eased into action after throwing just 43 pitches across his final simulated game last Friday.
While we don’t know what to expect from Hamels in his first start of 2020, we still don’t really know what to expect from Akin in his fourth career MLB start tonight.
The 25-year-old Akin spent last season at the Triple-A level, working to a mediocre 4.73 ERA/4.13 FIP but also a 5.17 xFIP and big 4.98 BB/9. The command issues have increased in his rookie MLB season as he’s posted a massive 5.27 BB/9 on the season, although he’s been able to mitigate that issue to an extent with an impressive 10.54 K/9.
Akin is listed as Baltimore’s 15th-ranked prospect at the moment, as per MLB Pipeline, but hasn’t put forth many impressive figures in his minor league career to this point.
This season, he owns a 4.61 ERA/3.79 FIP in the bigs while his 4.68 SIERA doesn’t spell much fortunate moving forward, although he’s allowed just 30.6% hard contact to this point.
He was roughed up in his last start, however, lasting just two outs while allowing four earned runs in a loss against the Yankees in the Bronx.
The Braves sport one of the better offenses in baseball, but much of that damage comes against right-handed pitching as they haven’t fared nearly as well against lefties.
Entering this one, the Braves sit 22nd with a .306 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching. Interestingly, right-handed bats in Ronald Acuna Jr., Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud have all fared far better versus right-handed pitching, although I would suspect those splits to even out moving forward, but I suppose we are also running out of time for that to take place.
While they are the best home offense in baseball, this Braves offense has also raked on the road as they sit sixth with a .333 wOBA outside of SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
After scoring just one run in a 14-1 thumping at the hands of the Orioles on Monday, the Braves’ offense got back on track with five runs last night and are projected for 5.7 runs tonight, the most among the night portion of this schedule.
The Orioles have surprised many with their offense this season. It’s not ground-breaking, but they have fared far better against both lefties and righties than many thought entering the season.
The Orioles enter this one ranked 14th with a .324 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching, but they also sit 14th against righties by way of their .325 wOBA off of them.
It’s important to note both as the Orioles are going to see a big chunk of this Braves bullpen tonight given the restrictions that will be placed on Hamels in his first start of the season.
After that 14-run explosion on Monday, the Orioles managed just one run against Huascar Ynoa and co. last night, so they’ll certainly been looking for a bounce-back effort at the plate in this one.
Like their offense, the Orioles’ bullpen has made big strides this season after finishing with the worst ERA in baseball last season.
They’ll enter this contest tonight sporting a ninth-ranked bullpen ERA of 3.98 while their 4.22 FIP checks in at 12th. Their 4.69 xFIP slips to 18th and their SIERA of 4.36 ranks 19th, so perhaps the bullpen might be in for some regression moving forward.
That said, there’s no doubt this group has surpassed any and all expectations to this point. Closer Cole Sulser has run into some issues and now owns a 4.79 ERA/4.90 FIP on the season, but the trio of Mychal Givens, Cesar Valdez and Tanner Scott all own ERAs of 1.47 or under. Valdez has yet to surrender an earned run in his 10.1 innings of relief.
This group doesn’t sport many household names, but they’ve gotten the job done so far here in 2020.
The Braves did work on their bullpen since the 2019 trade deadline as they’ve brought in and retained the likes of Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, Will Smith and Chris Martin.
The results have been excellent as a result. The Braves rank third with a 3.37 bullpen ERA, fifth with a 3.73 FIP and 11th with a 4.48 FIP. All told, this group sits in a three-way tie for fourth with a 2.6 fWAR on the season.
The interesting thing for tonight will be who is and isn’t available. The Braves needed 5.1 innings of relief work after Touki Touissant was roughed up on Monday and they used the aforementioned four-headed monster above in order to lock down last night’s win. None of those four would be pitching on back-to-back nights tonight, so I would assume most if not all of those names will be available for this one, although the Braves will probably use a multi-inning reliever to piggyback Hamels.
At the end of the day, this Braves bullpen has been doing yeoman’s work all season long.
Braves vs. Orioles MLB Pick
Truth be told, I’m not sure what to expect from either of these starting pitchers tonight.
Hamels is likely to throw somewhere around three innings or so, but the Orioles have handled left-handed pitching well, although I suspect they’ll have a more difficult time with this Braves bullpen.
Despite the Braves not hitting lefties all that well this season, I could see them getting to him after he was rocked by the Yankees his last time out. Additionally, they crush righties and Akin isn’t getting deep into this one. This remains one of the best offenses in baseball and Akin’s 42.9% fly-ball rate likely won’t hold up well against a powerful Braves offense in the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards.
While the Orioles’ bullpen and offense have been pleasant surprises this season, I’m looking more at the Braves’ offense and dominant bullpen as reason to back them on the run line in this one tonight.