It’s a beautiful Friday in July. What do you want to do with your evening? Head to the beach with some friends? Hit up that new bar down the street with the nice patio? Maybe meet up with the family? Of course not. Don’t be silly. We’re betting on baseball tonight. Why would I even ask such stupid questions.
We’re 39-32 on article plays for the season. Here’s three wagers I’m looking at on tonight’s full MLB card.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
Aaron Ashby Over 6.5 Strikeouts (+105)
The Pirates are a fascinating team, and not just because their 23-year-old shortstop is as tall as Aaron Judge. While most probably don’t spare a second thought for one of the most underwhelming lineups in the National League, I can’t stop thinking about how left-handed Pittsburgh’s roster truly is. Not including the switch-hitting Bryan Reynolds, eight of the Pirates’ 13 position players are LHBs. Eight. Which means they won’t be able to hide their lefties from Ashby this evening. In fact, Pittsburgh has more left-on-left plate appearances than any team in baseball. Oneil Cruz has struck out in 58.3% of his PAs against LHPs this season. Jack Suwinski’s strikeout rate within the split is at 31.3%, while Yoshi Tsutsugo’s is an ugly 34.8%. It’s far from ideal.
As for Ashby himself, the rookie comes into Friday in the midst of a run of poor performance, yet that hasn’t seemed to impact his strikeout totals. In fact, Ashby owns a massive 28.1% strikeout rate for 2022 as a whole and that figure jumps to 32.1% when the 24-year-old is facing a left-handed opponent. I’d expect a similar level of success against a Pirates team that sports baseball’s third-highest strikeout rate over the past two weeks (27.3%).
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Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
First 5: Over 4 (-125)
I’ll just come right out and say it: I don’t really trust either starting pitcher in this game. Yes, Lucas Giolito has looked better in his past two outings, but we’re still talking about a man with a 7.17 ERA across his last seven appearances. As for Tarik Skubal, it’s all going downhill for the promising left-hander. Despite an amazing beginning to his 2022 campaign, Skubal’s hit a wall of late, registering a 9.00 ERA the past five times he’s taken the mound. Skubal’s also surrendered 2.6 home runs per nine and a .436 wOBA to opposing RHBs within this span, which is a worrisome trend with the White Sox on the schedule.
Chicago hits southpaws. It’s what its done for the better part of a half-decade. It’s no accident that the team leads baseball with a 126 wRC+ within the split and also leads the American League in both OPS (.794) and wOBA (.344). Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, A.J. Pollock, Andrew Vaughn, Jose Abreu and Luis Robert all own a wRC+ of at least 145 against lefties; and that list doesn’t even include the likes of Jake Burger, Yasmani Grandal and Danny Mendick, who all crush LHPs, but happen to be on the IL. The White Sox might clear this total all by themselves.
Cleveland Guardians at Kansas City Royals
Jose Ramirez Over 1.5 Total Bases (+110)
Ramirez has been scuffling a little at the plate in recent days, but tonight presents a perfect scenario for the All-Star to get back on track. First and foremost, Ramirez will be facing the right-handed Brady Singer. That’s very positive news for a number of reasons. Ramirez has thrived hitting as a lefty in 2022, slashing .304/.392/.627 with a .324 ISO and a 184 wRC+. Comparatively, the veteran possesses just a 105 wRC+ as an RHB this season.
Then there’s Singer, who has seen the wheels fall off his season since the calendar flipped to June. In his past six starts, Singer’s pitched to a 5.67 ERA and a 5.29 FIP. The biggest reason for his struggles? Left-handed bats. LHBs have combined for a .523 slugging percentage off of Singer since June 1, and the numbers don’t get much better for 2022 as a whole. In fact, Singer’s conceding 2.30 home runs per nine within the split, while his .408 expected wOBA against left-handed hitters is among the highest marks in all of baseball. Look for Ramirez to take advantage of his matchup in a big way.
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