In this life, you have to be kind to yourself. I am now 8-7 for the season on article plays, though how I’ve reached this point might be somewhat controversial. Last Friday, I recommended the over on Tarik Skubal’s strikeout prop. The game was postponed and then Skubal, in the same matchup fewer than 18 hours later, exceeded the same total. I’m giving myself the win. Mostly because I bet the thing Saturday afternoon, but also just because I can. I have that power. I’m basically a God.
Now that that’s all settled, here are three more bets for tonight’s MLB slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
At the end of the day, this prop is all about respecting Garrett Whitlock. The RHP has been deadly since making his debut last season with the Red Sox, and with Tanner Houck unable to pitch in Canada, Whitlock will be called upon to make his second start of 2022 on Thursday afternoon. While there are some concerns about how long the 25-year-old will be able to last — Whitlock needed just 48 pitches to throw four scoreless innings in his first start on Apr. 23 — the overall sense of the right-hander’s dominance is enough for me. Simply consider Whitlock’s last four appearances. The 39 opposing hitters he’s faced within that span are slashing a microscopic .081/.129/.108 with a .115 wOBA. Whitlock’s struck out 14 and allowed only five baserunners. He’s nasty.
As for the Jays, the team isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders despite its 12-7 record. Teoscar Hernandez (oblique) and Danny Jansen (oblique) are on the IL, Bo Bichette owns a 57 wRC+ through his first 84 plate appearances of the season and, after fouling a pitch off his right foot on Wednesday, there’s at least a chance Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will get the day to rest up. Even if that last one doesn’t end up happening, there’s more than enough doubt in Toronto’s productivity to back Whitlock.
I’m a little shocked this is at plus-money, honestly. It’s almost redundant to suggest that Trout is currently riding a hot streak — as his whole career has been a hot streak — but the recent numbers are staggering. Dating back to Apr. 14, the All-Star is in the midst of a 10-game hit streak. Trout has stepped to the plate 44 times within that stretch, reaching base on 23 occasions. That all translates out to a .432/.523/.946 slash line with an insane .514 ISO. Because that’s the other thing about Trout. Generally speaking, when he gets a hit, it’s an extra-base knock. At least that’s what has taken place on 63.2% of his 19 hits so far in 2022.
The other aspect of this prop that needs to be highlighted is Trout’s matchup. Cal Quantrill has survived his first three starts of the season with a respectable 3.94 ERA, but trust me when I tell you that the RHP’s 7.27 xERA is a far more instructive statistic. Quantrill’s been exceedingly contact prone, as an ugly 9.1% strikeout rate documents, and that contact hasn’t often been soft. In fact, Quantrill is allowing a barrel to 9.2% of the batters he’s faced across 16.0 innings, and his .333 xBA is 119 points higher than his actual opponent batting average of .214. Regression is coming, and tonight, it’s coming specifically in the form of Mike Trout.
For me, this just comes down to the Diamondbacks’ inability to hit. Arizona comes into Thursday in possession of MLB’s lowest team batting average at .178. Heck, the team should be thanking the Cincinnati Reds for existing, because if not for that Ohio-based tire fire, the Diamondbacks’ .267 wOBA and 71 wRC+ would also rank lowest in all of baseball. Dakota Hudson isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but after throwing 6.2 scoreless innings against the aforementioned Reds last Saturday, he at least proved he can mow down a terrible lineup.
I also have some hesitation in trusting the solid start we’ve seen from Humberto Castellanos. Without even getting too deep into his career 5.13 xFIP, Castellanos is simply an archetype of pitcher that I have a difficult time getting behind. In 2022 alone, he’s sporting an eye-popping 55.9% fly ball rate and a 98.1% zone contact rate. On top of that, his average fastball velocity clocks in well under 90 mph. That’s not to say one can’t thrive in the big leagues without hitting triple-digits on the radar, but at some point, opponents are going to start turning these lazy fly balls Castellanos is inducing into home runs. I’m predicting that begins tonight.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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