Didn’t have time to get anything posted yesterday so this will be the first official card for August. As is always the case on Friday we’ve got a full slate to work with so there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s what I ended up going with…
Mets (-110) Risking 1.44 to win 1.31 (Matz/Williams): This line has actually come down a bit and now moved into a range where I’m comfortable backing the Mets. First and foremost with this play it’s a great price to fade the worst offense in baseball against left handers. The Pirates check into this one with a 78 wRC+ against lefties which is dead last in baseball. That’s nothing but good news for Mets lefty, Steven Matz. Matz hasn’t been anything special this year and to be honest his numbers are pretty mediocre across the board. That said a mediocre lefty is usually going to be plenty good enough against this Pirates offense. Just last week Matz saw the Buccos and put up a complete game, 5 hit shutout with 7 K’s and no BB’s. Now I’m not saying I expect the same outcome this time but there’s really no reason he should have much trouble with this lineup. Opposing him will be Pirates right hander Trevor Williams who to be frank has a had a rough year. His 7.61 K/9, 4.87 ERA and 4.79 xFIP are all worse than league average and his stuff is average at best. Things have not been pretty of late either as he has a 7.27 ERA in his last 6 starts. He’s also not getting many groundballs, which in turn is leading to plenty of HR’s allowed. In those last 6 starts where he’s gone 33 innings he’s allowed a whopping 11 HR’s or in other words one every three innings. The Mets offense is middle of the pack against right handers but at this point even average offenses should fare just fine against Williams. Here I’ve got an edge on the mound and with the bats. -110 is cheap enough to give it a go with the Mets.
Nationals/D-Backs Ov 9.5 (+100) Risking 1.2 to win 1.2 (Ross/Ray): I think we see plenty of runs in the desert tonight as the Nats take on the D-Backs. We’ll start things off with the D-Backs bats against Joe Ross. In general the D-Backs hit left handers much better than they do righties but I think tonight they even have some fun against the righty, Ross. After a respectable start to his career in 2015 and 2016 Ross has been awful. No way to dance around or sugarcoat it. He’s working on about 3 years of being borderline horrendous. In both 2017 and 2018 he had an ERA of over 5 and now in limited innings this season he’s been putrid. In 24.1 innings he has a 9.85 ERA and a bloated 4.74 BB/9. Normally I wouldn’t be too critical of a guy with 24 bad innings because the sample size is so small, but in this case of Ross he has two bad seasons right on the heels of this. We’re at a point now it’s getting pretty safe to say that he just isn’t any good. In his last 2 outings he’s gone 10 innings allowing 9 ER’s on 17 hits and it hasn’t been pretty. He’ll likely get beat up again tonight and I doubt he’s going to give the Nats more than 4 or 5 innings. On the other side Robbie Ray figures to have some troubles of his own. Unlike Ross, Ray is a very solid pitcher but tonight he has his hands full with a really tough lineup. As a team the Nats have a 115 wRC+ against left handed pitchers which is 4th best in baseball. With Ray it’s the same thing it’s been for years. High BB’s, high K’s, high pitch counts, and as a result short outings. This year he’s only averaging about 5.2 IP per start and I’d be surprised to see more than that tonight. He faced the Nats in mid June and allowed 5 ER’s in 6 innings of work and something along those same lines tonight wouldn’t surprise me a bit. This feels like the kind of game where we get into both bullpens by the 5th or 6th inning and it should turn into a 7-5 type contest.
Mets (-110): Risking 1.44 to win 1.31 (Matz/Williams)
Nationals/D-Backs Ov 9.5 (+100): Risking 1.2 to win 1.2 (Ross/Ray)