After yesterday’s games, 24 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams had played at least 60 games. That is significant, considering last year’s shortened regular season was just 60 games long. Teams strategized and played differently last year, knowing the season was a sprint and not a marathon. However, it is still interesting to see who made last year’s playoffs (with a 16-team expanded field) and how the playoff picture would differ this year under the same rules.
In the American League, the only difference from last year to this year is the Boston Red Sox would be in the playoffs as one of the American League’s top three seeds, while the Minnesota Twins would be nowhere near the No. 3 seed they were last year. In the National League, two changes would be in order from last year. The Mets and Giants (the No. 1 overall seed) would replace the Reds and Marlins.
We are still roughly three weeks away from the halfway point of the season, so a lot of baseball is still left to be played.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 77-63-3 (+7.47 units)
Houston Astros ML (-110)
The Houston Astros have won the first two games of their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox by a combined score of 15-4. The two teams meet in a battle of starting pitchers going in opposite directions tonight. Considering Houston’s Zack Greinke and Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez’s last five starts, it is clear that the edge goes to the Astros.
Zack Greinke (6-2, 3.38 ERA) is 4-1 in his last five starts. He has pitched to a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 38 innings of work in that span. Greinke has given Houston’s bullpen much-needed rest in his starts, as he has gone 17 innings in his last two outings. He is a rare pitcher who has performed much better on the road than at home this year. Greinke is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six road starts compared to 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA in seven home starts. Though he is winless in three career appearances at Fenway Park while pitching to a 9.64 ERA, just one of those starts have come since 2010. Thus, the intimidating confines of Fenway should not bother him with the rhythm he is in on the road.
Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez has not been as successful as Greinke over his past five starts. He is 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in that span, and his ERA has risen from 3.52 after winning his first four starts. Rodriguez had an uninspiring 32:11 K:BB ratio in six May starts while allowing an OBA of .360 and posting a WHIP of 1.89. One of Rodriguez’s poor starts in that span came at Houston when the Astros tagged him for six runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings.
The Astros are 4-0 in their last four road games against a left-handed starter, so look for their offense to provide plenty of run support for the red-hot Greinke.
Miami Marlins -1.5 runs (-106)
The Miami Marlins sent unproven rookie Braxton Garrett to the mound last night and send another rookie in lefty Trevor Rogers to the mound tonight.The common denominator in the two games is the pitiful Colorado Rockies, who are just 5-23 on the road this season. The big difference is the rookie that the Marlins have going tonight has more than proven himself thus far in his young career.
Trevor Rogers (6-3, 1.97 ERA) is the two-time National League Rookie of the Month. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all but one of his 12 starts and posted six or more strikeouts in 11 of 12 appearances. Rogers is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four home starts and has not allowed a home run at loanDepot Park. He entered Wednesday ranked fourth in the majors in ERA and 15th with a 10.62 SO/9 ratio.
Colorado’s road troubles have spilled over from last season, as they have not won consecutive road games since September 5th and 6th. Their offense suffered a big blow when they lost Matt Adams in the series opener to a right elbow injury, and shortstop Trevor Story still has not returned from an IL stint for an elbow injury of his own. Meanwhile, Miami’s trio of Jazz Chisholm Jr., Starling Marte, and Jesus Aguilar have gotten hot early in this series (11-for-25 combined) and will prove to be too much for Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3, 4.84 ERA) to handle.
The Marlins are 15-6 in their last 21 home games against the Rockies, so one should opt for more value with their runline odds tonight.
Yankees-Twins OVER 10.5 runs (-110)
Death, taxes, and the New York Yankees “getting right” against the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees are 28-11 at Target Field and are 104-37 against the Twins since 2002. The Yankees entered this series 3-10 in their previous 13 games but have outscored the Twins 17-10 in the first two games of this series. Look for New York to do its part in the scoring tonight against a struggling JA Happ.
Happ (3-2, 5.61 ERA) makes his first start against his former Yankee teammates, with whom he spent the last three seasons. He started the season 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA through his first five starts. However, Happ has pitched to a 10.17 ERA in his last five starts and allowed a .320 OBA in May.
New York counters with Michael King (0-3, 3.62 ERA), who has a 1.28 WHIP in 27.1 innings this year, spanning nine appearances. Today is just his third start, and he will not be counted upon to give the Yankees more than four or five innings.
The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams, and another high-scoring affair should be in order tonight.
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