I’m what you’d call a company man. I’m all about promoting the product and, of course, synergy. You have to get some synergy whenever possible. I’d also like to think I’m a man of my word, so as I promised on Twitter last night, here are my colleague Nick Friar’s best bets for tonight’s MLB slate:
I'm just gonna stick this tweet in my article for tomorrow and get the weekend started.— Garion Thorne (@GarionThorne) May 20, 2022
Unfortunately, my boss told me I must make some picks, too. C’est la vie. We’re 18-15 for the season on article plays. Let’s try to improve on that record.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
I’ll fully admit that the under in a Luis Castillo vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching matchup would’ve been much more appealing two years ago, but the sneaky secret about this contest is that neither team can hit. For the Reds, that’s probably not the most shocking revelation. Cincinnati wasn’t expected to do much in 2022 and the team’s current IL lists notable figures such as Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Nick Senzel and Donovan Solano — though there’s a chance Votto is cleared to play in his hometown on Friday. As such, the Reds own the league’s lowest wOBA (.265) and wRC+ (65) against left-handed pitching, which should help Ryu thrive in his second start since his own stint on the injured list.
More shocking has been the decline of Toronto’s bats. Brighter days might be on the horizon, especially when looking at the squad’s .261 xBA or 43.6% hard hit rate — both top five marks in MLB — yet the fact of the matter is the results have not been there in May. The Jays enter Friday’s tilt with a .107 ISO in the month, a number that’s better than only the lowly Athletics when it comes to the American League. Toronto’s .277 wOBA is also the fourth-worst mark in all of baseball. Simply put, there’s a reason 62.2% of the Jays’ games have hit the under in 2022. I have faith Castillo can put together some solid innings against this struggling collection of bats.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s game between the White Sox and the Yankees has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Did Dallas Keuchel toss five scoreless innings against the Yankees six days ago? Somehow the answer to that question is yes. However, we’re not here to re-live the past, we’re here to talk about the future — and that future involves the Yankees scoring early and often on Friday night. Keuchel surviving in outings where he should be crushed is a common theme in 2022. The lefty actually owns a 2.70 ERA over his past four outings, yet that’s a span where Keuchel’s walk rate (15.6%) is higher than his strikeout rate (12.2%), which is why his xFIP dating back to Apr. 26 is an ugly 5.33. That’s no way to live against an opponent that currently leads baseball in both barrel rate (11.7%) and xwOBA on batted ball events (.446). Also, just for good measure, no American League team has a higher ISO against left-handed pitching than New York (.196). I’m sure the whole lineup is salivating to get a second crack at Keuchel in less than a week.
The Nationals come into Friday losers of five of their last seven games. The team’s run differential during that stretch? A pretty anemic -18. When Washington has been unable to win games in 2022, they haven’t tended to be all that competitive. As such, no team has a worse record on the run line than that Nationals, who sit 15-24 for the season as a whole. Yikes.
I’d expect this contest to follow a similar script, particularly due to the presence of Eric Lauer. The left-hander has looked like a completely different player this season, with a new pitch mix and a fastball velocity up over 94.0 mph. That’s translated into some gaudy statistics, with Lauer posting a 2.08 ERA, a 2.20 xFIP and a 37.0% strikeout rate across his last five outings. Really, the lone issue for the southpaw has been the home run ball, but that’s not likely to be a problem against Washington. The Nationals possess a microscopic .079 ISO versus LHPs — the lowest mark of any team in the league.
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