The profits continue to roll in at a steady clip to being the 2020 MLB season as last night marked by third consecutive 2-1 night to open the season.
The first winner came between the Blue Jays and Nationals where I took the under for the second straight, this time a slightly lower 10-run total. Tanner Roark was excellent in his five innings of work and the Blue Jays’ bullpen once again shut down a listless Nationals offense who managed just one run in a 5-1 loss that fell well under the 10-run total.
We notched another one-unit profit shortly thereafter between the Braves and Rays where I had Tampa Bay as -132 home favorites. Braves start Kyle Wright got through two innings unscathed, but as shelled for five earned runs in the third inning and that was more than enough for Tampa to cruise to a 5-2 victory, their fourth straight since losing their season-opener to Toronto.
We couldn’t make it a perfect night in game two of the double-header between the White Sox and Indians where I had Chicago as slight +111 road underdogs. Carlos Rodon was touched up for five runs in just 3.2 innings of work while the White Sox offense – minus several regulars – couldn’t do enough to make up for it in a 5-3 loss to sent Cleveland to 5-1 and Chicago to 1-5.
I’ll certainly take the 2-1 night and the one-unit profit and move onto today’s 14-game MLB schedule!
Season Record: 6-3
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Dodgers vs. Astros in a 2017 World Series rematch from Houston!
Dodgers vs. Astros Betting Odds
- Dodgers (-132)
- Astros (+122)
- Dodgers -1.5 (+115)
- Astros +1.5 (-135)
- Over 10 (-110)
- Under 10 (-110)
Dodgers vs. Astros MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: May (LAD, 0-0, 2.08 ERA/1.18 FIP) vs. Javier (HOU, N/A)
The Dodgers will send Dustin May back to the mound for his second start of the season in place of the injured Clayton Kershaw who was scratched from his Opening Day start with a back issue.
May excelled in his stead, throwing 4.1 innings of shutout baseball while allowing seven hits and walking none with four strikeouts as part of his 60 pitches as he continues to get stretched out as a starter.
If he pitches similarly to that outing in which he was painting 98 mph fastballs on the black, May should almost certainly get a longer leash this time around.
After making 20 starts between the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season, May made four starts and 14 appearances for the Dodgers and looked awfully strong while posting a 3.63 ERA/2.90 FIP with a tiny 1.30 BB/9 and 0.52 HR/9 as part of his 34.2 innings of work.
Needless to say, the Dodgers’ prized pitching prospect’s MLB career is off to a fine start.
With Justin Verlander out with a forearm issue, the Astros needed to plug someone into his stead for this one tonight and that man will be 23-year-old right-hander Christian Javier.
Tongiht will mark his first MLB start, although it will be a bullpen day for the Astros as Javier is not stretched out as a starter and has made a lone relief appearance for the club this season.
The youngster impressed through three minor league stops last season, beginning with a 0.95 ERA/2.82 FIP in 28.2 High-A frames, followed by a 2.07 ERA/2.91 FIP in 11 starts, 17 appearances and 74 innings at Double-A and concluding with a 1.64 ERA/3.43 FIP and a massive 13.09 K/9 clip in two starts and 11 innings at the Triple-A level.
While those are some awfully impressive numbers and the strikeout rates are quite large throughout his minor league career, a young pitcher pitching all of 11 innings above the Double-A level is a nerve-wracking proposition against this Dodgers lineup, although expect him to go two innings max in this one.
This Dodgers lineup needs very little introduction as they were one of the best groups in all of baseball as well as the best in the National League last season before adding 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to the mix in the offseason.
The Dodgers tore the cover off the baseball while scoring 17 runs over the first two games of the season, but actually dropped their next two before taking last night’s opener in Houston on the back of a five-run output.
The Dodgers enter this one ranked fourth with a .356 wOBA early in the season, although they’ve yet to flex much muscle in the form of a .129 ISO that sits 23rd.
That said, it’s only a matter of time before the Dodgers start to play long ball on a regular basis, and while they await the return of the home runs, their 137 wRC+ at the plate should play just fine.
The Astros were stymied by the Dodgers’ bullpen last night after getting to starter Walker Buehler for a couple of quick runs, but coming off a league-leading .355 wOBA from last season, they should also be fine moving forward.
They enjoyed a quality season-opening four-game set against a weak Mariners pitching staff and will enter this one with a seventh-ranked .350 wOBA to this point, although May is going to be one of, if not their toughest test yet after Buehler scuffled a bit in last night’s start.
Armed with one of the deepest and lengthiest lineup in the game, the Astros are expected to rake again in 2020, and they’ll need to with a depleted rotation that is going to be a tax on their bullpen moving forward.
As noted, the Dodgers’ bullpen was excellent in last night’s victory, turning in 5.1 innings of shutout baseball against one of the best offenses in baseball. In fact, the Astros managed just one hit and three walks over those 5.1 frames while striking out six times.
The outing lowered the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA to just 1.64 – the fifth-best mark in baseball – to go along with a stout 2.12 FIP and even 9.00 K/9 across their 22 innings of work to this point.
This comes on the heels of a season in which the Dodgers’ bullpen logged a fifth-best 3.85 ERA to go along with a sixth-ranked 4.06 FIP.
They took a flier – albeit a $10M one – on right-handed reliever Blake Treinen after his release from the A’s this offseason and the guy who was the best reliever in baseball en route to a 0.78 ERA/1.82 FIP in 2018, was part of the scoreless outing last night and has pitched two scoreless innings to this point in the 2020 campaign.
The Astros’ bullpen was the second-best group in baseball by way of their 3.75 ERA last season, although their 4.24 FIP fell all the way to 11th while their 4.4 fWAR from a season ago ranked eighth.
They didn’t fare well last night, or at least Enoli Parades didn’t as he allowed two runs without recording an out before a pair of relievers allowed four hits and four walks in 4.2 innings afterwards, but managed to get out unscathed.
The Astros’ ‘pen is also dealing with a couple of important pieces on the IL in the form of Chris Devenski and Ryan Pressly while Will Harris – who posted a 1.50 ERA/3.15 FIP in 60 innings last season – is now a member of the Nationals.
All that said, they’ve still managed a 2.82 ERA/2.44 FIP in 22.1 innings of work to kick off the 2020 season.
One additional note on the Dodgers’ bullpen is that they used their big guns in Kenley Jansen, Treinen, Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol and Caleb Ferguson to nail down last night’s win. At this time of the year following a short summer camp, teams are hesitant to overwork relievers at this juncture.
Therefore, we don’t quite know who is and who isn’t available out of that Dodgers’ bullpen.
Nonetheless, there’s an easy advantage to start this game with the Dodgers. While a youngster himself, May has dominated at the big-league level to this point while Javier remains a wild card. A bullpen day for the Astros in 2020 doesn’t seem as deadly as it would have in 2019 as Harris, Devenski, Pressly and Josh James – now a starter – would have been part of that group last year as well as closer Roberto Osuna.
Now we’re dealing with the unknown likes of Brandon Bielak, Blake Taylor and Cy Sneed on top of veteran Joe Biagini, among some others.
While that group has largely produced well in the early going, I see the matchup advantage here going to a loaded Dodgers offense.
If the none of the Dodgers’ big bullpen guns mentioned above are available, that could be an issue, but I expect May to get deeper into this one despite the tough matchup with Houston.
At the end of the day, I believe the Dodgers have enough on their side, including karma, to sweep the two-game set with the Astros tonight.