MLB 7/31

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A 1-1 split last night with an Indians winner and D-Backs loser. Another scare this morning with some Cardinals testing positive and another game (and probably series) wiped away but MLB at least for now keeps things moving. Here’s what I’ve got on my Friday card…

Angels (+161): There’s a lot to like with Lance McCullers Jr. and I’ve commented about him a few times recently on Twitter, but this price feels a bit out of hand. McCullers had 6 decent innings in his first start, Mike Trout is now on paternity leave and I think the market may have over-reacted a little bit. McCullers will always be a high K guy, but it’s looking like he’ll always be a high BB guy too. He’s made 1 big league start in the last 20 months and not surprisingly he was a bit erratic in his opener last week. Normally the Astros would have a massive bullpen edge here but with injuries they’ve now been decimated to a point where that edge isn’t much to write home about. The Angels will counter with Matt Andriese who is frankly pretty mediocre. He works in the 91-93 range and doesn’t really give you much for free. He’s always been a low BB guy and a career 8.21 K/9 is actually pretty impressive considering his average stuff. The Astros are rightfully favored of course but I don’t think losing Trout just automatically thrusts the Angels in with the bottom feeders. Even with him away there’s still plenty of talent in that lineup. I made the Halos +144 in this one so I’ll happily take what I see as a free 17 cents.

Royals (+144): I’ll likely be fading Dallas Keuchel plenty this year. I’ve been a fan for a long time and I love an elite ground ball rate guy but his stuff has just fallen way too far. In his first outing this year he had 1 K in 5.1 IP and averaged 86.8 MPH on his fastball. I’m not saying it’s impossible but it’s really tough to have success like that. Even the amount of contact he allows alone puts at more risk than most. Bloops, flairs, seeing eye singles, all that random stuff is in play when you have a pitcher who just can’t miss bats. Yes he made it through that first outing with just 2 ER’s but it’s never going to be easy. The Royals will be sending a lefty of their own, youngster Kris Bubic. Bubic is a Stanford kid drafted just two years ago. He’s dominated the minors and the Royals are letting him make the jump straight from high-A ball. Plenty of variance in play rolling the dice on an MLB debut but the talent is clearly there. I have this one as a bigger edge than the Angels play. My line on KC is +121 but as mentioned I feel I’m going to be below market on Keuchel all season.

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