The MLB action keeps rolling along, and we have another 15 games to choose from on Sunday.
The Pick: Rays ML (-110)
The White Sox are off to an excellent start this season, while the Rays have stumbled out of the gates. However, this is a nice spot for the Rays to pick up a win.
The White Sox will send Vince Velasquez to the mound, who is one of the worst starting pitchers in the league. He survived in his first outing with the White Sox, allowing just one run over four innings, but his metrics were awful. He had more walks than strikeouts, and opposing batters managed just a .091 batting average on balls in play. Overall, Velasquez finished with an 8.24 xERA and a 7.57 FIP in that contest.
Velasquez hasn’t been much better over the course of his career. He owned a 5.30 xERA last year, and his xERA has been at least 4.30 in four of the past five seasons.
Meanwhile, the Rays will use J.P. Feyereisen as an opener. He’s dominated in his first four appearances this season, and the Rays’ bullpen is loaded with quality pitchers. I’ll gladly take them in this matchup.
The Pick: Rockies ML (-125)
The Rockies were quietly one of the best home teams in baseball last year. They posted a record of 48-33, which was the seven-highest mark in the league. That might not jump off the page, but they were an abysmal 26-54 on the road. Overall, $100 bettors would’ve won just under $1,700 betting the Rockies in each of their home contests last year, making them the most profitable home squad in the league.
Austin Gomber will get the ball on Sunday, and he was one of their best home pitchers last season. He pitched to a sparkling 2.09 ERA over 47 1/3 innings, which is remarkable for Coors Field. His advanced metrics aren’t quite as impressive, but they still suggest that Gomber is better than average in extremely difficult pitching conditions.
The Cubs will turn to Drew Smyly, who racked up just one strikeout in his first start this season. Pitching to contact can work in certain situations, but Coors Field is definitely not one of them. The Rockies should be able to put a big number on the scoreboard, and I don’t think the Cubs will keep up.
The Pick: Mariners ML (+105)
I am all in on Matt Brash. The 23-year-old had never pitched above AA before this season, but he doesn’t seem overmatched. He was spectacular during Spring Training, pitching to a 0.96 ERA with 12 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings, and he carried that success into his first start of the year. He allowed just two earned runs with six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in a difficult road matchup vs. the White Sox.
I’m willing to roll the dice on Brash in another tough matchup on Sunday. The Astros are one of the best offensive teams in baseball, but they aren’t quite as potent against right-handers as they are against left-handers. They rank just 12th in wRC+ vs. right-handers to start the new year.
The Mariners rank eighth in that department, and they should be able to score some runs vs. Jose Urquidy. He’s an average pitcher – he posted a 4.39 xFIP last season – and the Mariners have some capable hitters in their lineup. I’m happy to grab the Mariners as home underdogs with what I perceive as a pitching advantage.
The Pick: Over 7.5 runs (-120)
The Braves and Padres wrap up the slate on Sunday Night Baseball, and I’m not sure why this line is so low. Both of these squads have excellent offenses, and they averaged over nine combined runs per game last year.
The Padres will have Yu Darvish on the mound, and he has the perception of being an ace pitcher. That said, he’s been far from an ace recently. He pitched to a 4.22 ERA last year, and he’s logged a 10.57 ERA through his first two starts this year. Darvish has walked more batters than he’s struck out this season, and while he’s due for some positive regression, his 6.20 FIP still suggests he’s a below-average pitcher.
The Braves will turn to rookie Bryce Elder, who is a mediocre prospect. He ranked 21st in the team’s farm system per FanGraphs, and he posted a 6.25 FIP in his first start of the year.
With question marks on the mound for both sides, I love the over on such a reasonable number.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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