It’s always weird complaining about bad beats, especially when said beat took place six days ago. Still, on Friday, I lost a bet because the Red Sox bullpen allowed the Cardinals to score four runs in the ninth inning with two outs and no one on base. Boston didn’t even have the decency to lose the game after this injustice. I’m not saying that this loss should be stricken from my record, I simply want a handwritten apology from Chaim Bloom. Is that too much to ask?
We’re 34-25 on article plays for the season. Here’s what I like on tonight’s tiny MLB slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
There’s some obvious risk with this bet. First and foremost, can we trust that Joe Musgrove will look like himself coming off the COVID-19 injured list? How about the status of Manny Machado? It sure would be nice to see his bat in the lineup against the left-handed Ranger Suarez, particularly if you’ve laid money on the Padres. Well, we don’t know the answer to those questions at the moment, but what we do know is Musgrove owns the lowest xERA of any qualified National League starter (2.54). We also know San Diego has posted a huge 112 wRC+ when facing LHPs in 2022. That’s pretty good stuff.
Then there’s the recent struggles of Suarez. Last season’s feel good story hasn’t been quite as effective the past few weeks, registering a 5.34 ERA across his last six appearances. Yes, you could argue that Suarez’s 64.2% strand rate is unsustainably low during this rut, but that would be glossing over the larger issue: The lefty is needing to strand runners far too often. Suarez owns a ghastly 12.4% walk rate within this span, which translates to 5.0 opponent walks per nine. That’s simply far too much stress to survive for a contact-oriented pitcher like Suarez.
Don’t look now, but the White Sox are starting to swing the bats like we’ve been waiting for all season. Despite missing the likes of Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal, Chicago has been red-hot the past two weeks, sitting first in baseball in wOBA (.365) and wRC+ (141). The team still isn’t hitting for all that much power, yet it has been getting contributions from unexpected places, as Danny Mendick, Josh Harrison and Reese McGuire are all sporting a wRC+ of at least 130 over this 14-day stretch. Not into fancy statistics? Just know the White Sox have averaged 7.2 runs per game dating back to June 9.
I’d expect the good times to keep rolling with Dean Kremer on the mound for the Orioles on Thursday night. The righty has only surrendered a single earned run over his last two starts, but Chicago represents a step-up in competition over the injury-riddled Rays and the lowly Royals. Plus, while Kremer’s been perfectly fine in 2022, his career numbers paint a much more bleak picture. A 6.06 ERA in 20 starts is underwhelming to say the least, not to mention Kremer’s also conceded 1.85 opponent home runs per nine. Woof.
Specifically, it’s Vaughn I see taking the most advantage of Kremer’s presence. It actually might not even matter who’s pitching for Baltimore — Vaughn is that locked in at the moment. Not only does the former first-round pick have multiple hits in six of his last nine games, but Vaughn is slashing an absurd .414/.458/.563 with a 196 wRC+ going back to May 31. That’s a span of 96 plate appearances. Considering Kremer allowed opposing RHBs to combine for a .420 wOBA back in 2021, I think it’s safe to suggest Vaughn’s in for a big performance.
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