I’ve opened the season with a pair of 2-1 nights after netting more profits with last night’s free MLB picks.
I notched an easy win between the Blue Jays and Nationals where I went under a big 10.5-run total. The Jays slugged four solo home runs and the Nationals mustered just a single run in what finished as a 4-1 Jays win and a one-unit profit for us.
I hit another under shortly thereafter between the Mets and Red Sox from Boston. This one was far from easy though as the Mets scored seven early runs on the back of three home runs to put the pick in early jeopardy. However, they wouldn’t score again while the Red Sox scored four of their own in a 7-4 Mets win that fell just under the huge 11.5-run total.
Finally, I dropped 1.25 units on the Tigers who were blown out 14-6 by the visiting Royals. The Tigers actually led 5-1 in that one before their bullpen was obliterated by the division-rival Royals.
Still, I’ll take the 2-1 night as well as the +0.75-unit profit and move onto Tuesday’s action!
Season Record: 4-2
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Braves vs. Rays from Tampa Bay!
Braves vs. Rays Betting Odds
- Braves (+122)
- Rays (-132)
- Braves +1.5 (-155)
- Rays -1.5 (+135)
- Over 9 (+101)
- Under 9 (-121)
Braves vs. Rays MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: Wright (ATL) vs. Chirinos (TB)
One night after Mike Foltynewicz was shelled and subsequently designated for assignment by the Braves, it’s young right-hander Kyle Wright getting the ball to kick off his 2020 season in this one tonight.
Wright will surely be looking for improved results this season after posting an ugly 8.69 ERA/6.16 FIOP across four starts, seven appearances and 19.2 innings of big-league work. The foremost of his troubles was control issues as he posted an enormous 5.95 BB/9 clip in that time.
Wright also made 21 starts at the Triple-A level in 2019, but didn’t dominate that level by any means while turning in a 4.17 ERA/4.32 FIP with a strong 9.29 K/9 and 2.80 BB/9 in 112.1 innings of work.
Wright was also touched up in his brief six-inning MLB cameo in the 2018 season and is the owner of a career 7.71 ERA/6.79 FIP with a 6.66 BB/9 clip across 25.2 big-league innings to this point.
Wright was a 2017 first-round draft pick by the Braves who selected the 6’4″, 200-pound righty fifth overall.
After making 18 starts as part of his 26 appearances last season, 26-year-old Yonny Chirinos will try his hand as a full-time starter in the 2020 season.
He pitched well en route to a 3.85 ERA/4.44 FIP last season, and while his 7.70 K/9 in that time doesn’t stand out, his 1.89 BB/9 clip certainly does as he displayed impeccable command as both a starter and reliever.
In 223 career big-league frames, Chirinos has impressed with a 3.71 ERA/4.07 FIP to go along with a stout 2.14 BB/9 rate in that time.
He was a late arrival to summer camp, however he worked up to 62 pitches in a simulated game on July 24 and manager Kevin cash sounded wildly optimistic about what he saw.
“We were all really encouraged by Yonny,” Cash said. “It was very much of a work day for him. He wasn’t up there with the intent to strike everybody out — it was basically with the intent to command his pitches. The stuff and the readings that we got in those four innings was really, really positive.”
With that, it appears Chirinos is good to go for tonight’s outing, although it wasn’t be surprising to see him limited to something such as five innings or 75 pitches.
A day after thumping the Mets to the tune of a 14-1 count, the Braves’ offense struggled in Monday’s opener.
They managed to get five runs across home plate, but that came on just four hits and two walks while the Rays made two errors to help the Braves out some.
Matt Adams’ three-run shot in the 6th accounted for much of the Braves’ offense Dansby Swanson hit a solo home run as well.
The Braves are a middle-of-the-pack offense here in the early going, however the expectation is to finish as a top-10 group as they did last season when they finished seventh with a .332 wOBA.
The Rays’ offense is off to a nice start, scoring at least four runs in each of their first four games, however they exploded for 14 in last night’s win after jumping on Foltynewicz early and often.
They likely ended Foltynewicz’s tenure with the Braves by hopping on him for six runs on four hits and four walks in just 3.1 innings before getting to the Braves’ bullpen for another eight runs, six of which came off highly-regarded youngster Touki Toussaint.
The Rays launched five homers in the blowout after managing just two over the weekend against the Blue Jays. They aren’t likely to play with the big boys in the power department, but it’s a long, pesky lineup that is off to a hot start and sits second in the big leagues with a .378 wOBA in the early going.
It was a rough night for the Braves’ bullpen last night, but none of that damage came off the meat of that group.
After the club finished last season with a 21st-ranked 1.1 fWAR from their bullpen, the team made sure to retain their big arms and add to that group as well.
The team beefed up its bullpen at the trade deadline last season while bringing in high-leverage arms in Marc Melancon, Shane Greene and Chris Martin. All three are returnees after Martin re-upped with the club in the offseason, as did Darren O’Day.
They also went out and added left-hander Will Smith who was dominant in posting a 2.76 ERA/3.23 FIP with a 13.22 K/9 and 34 saves as the Giants’ closer last season. It was the third time in four seasons Smith has produced an ERA south of 2.80.
So, while the Braves’ bullpen scuffled last season, the go-to guys have been spot on so far this season.
One bullpen that did not scuffle in 2019 belongs to the Rays who finished the season with the best bullpen in baseball by way of their 3.71 ERA and 7.7 fWAR.
They did so while pitching the most innings (772) of any bullpen in baseball as Kevin Cash was forced to use an opener more often than not as Charlie Morton was the only Rays pitcher who remained healthy throughout the 2019 season.
With Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Chirinos now in the rotation along with Morton, we expect the Rays’ bullpen to be used more sparingly this season, but the group should remain one of the best in the business and is off to a fine start with a 3.32 ERA/2.43 FIP to go along with a sparking 11.22 K/9 and 2.08 BB/9 through 21.2 innings early this season.
Man do the Rays look like a well-rounded ball club.
Clearly, they can hit and their bullpen is lights out, but the starting pitching is also deadly as well with the three-headed monster of Morton, Snell and Glasnow at the top.
While we haven’t seen Chirinos yet, it’s clear the club is impressed with what they’ve seen in pre-season stuff from the right-hander and he’s done nothing but produce to this point in his big-league career.
The same cannot be said for Wright.
Still just 24, Wright hasn’t had any sort of success in his small big-league sample to this point, and his work at Triple-A last season wasn’t overly fascinating, albeit not poor in any sense, either.
Sometimes we need to see a guy prove himself before we can back him at the game’s highest level, and the Rays present a big challenge for any pitcher given the dynamic nature of their lineup and ability to drag out at-bats and take walks as their 15.3% walk rate this season is the third-highest in baseball to this point.
The Rays are tough on many pitchers, but their pesky nature is not a good omen for Wright in this matchup tonight.
While I expect both offenses and bullpens to be productive between both of these clubs this season, I see a notable starting pitching advantage for the Rays here and I’ll simply back them on the moneyline as a result.