Rough Mon-Fri last week so I took the weekend off for a little mental reset before jumping back in there today to start the new week. Still confident in what I’m doing but I’d be lying if I said the unique challenges this season presents aren’t making things tough. That said for now I’ve reduced my unit size a bit but will keep plugging along. Here’s what I’ve got for Monday night…
Tigers (+115): 2nd big league start for 2018 #1 overall pick Casey Mize for the Tigers tonight. In his debut he allowed 3 ER in 4.1 Innings but that’s not what stands out to me. Instead I’m focusing on 0 BB and 7 K’s. Don’t let that 6.23 ERA fool you. I know it’s wild to talk about xFIP after 4 innings but just to make my point his xFIP was 1.27 in that game last week against the White Sox. He throws 94-96 MPH on the heater with an excellent cutter and a pretty good split finger to go with it. The curveball is a bit of a work in progress but even at such an early stage in his career there’s plenty to like. Alec Mills will counter for the Cubs and to be frank he’s mediocre at best. Most projection systems have him around 7.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and an ERA in the low 5’s. He’s made 4 starts this year and had 4 K’s or less in 3 of them, resulting in a 5.96 K/9 on the season. His fastball sits in the 89-91 MPH range and the truth is his stuff just isn’t good enough to consistently miss bats. Obviously I rate the Cubs lineup stronger but not by as wide a margin as you might think. I made this number Tigers +102 so at +115 it’s still worth a play.
Angels/Astros Ov 9.5 (+100): I think we get a 7-5 type game in Houston tonight. Yes Framber Valdez has been very good so far this year but there are a few things that point towards regression. His BB/9 was 5.60 and right around 5 for his career coming into this year. A 2.01 BB/9 in 31 innings this year is great but not enough to make me forget everything that came before that. Tonight he’ll have a tough lineup to deal with led by 3 very good right handed bats (Fletcher, Rendon, Trout) and unfortunately a very shaky bullpen behind him. Opposing him is Patrick Sandoval who is also left handed and projected to have an ERA in the high 4’s this year. He’s been shaky out of the gate and there’s not much reason to think tonight will be any different. Yes Bregman is out but the Astros can still throw plenty of good right handed bats at him (Springer, Correa, Altuve, Gurriel) and again as is the case with Valdez, when Sandoval leaves the game an awful bullpen comes in behind him. Nothing crazy but a little money has come in on the under and that’s fine with me. I’d have played 9.5 up to -115 so at even money not going to pass. The bulbs on the scoreboard should be getting a workout tonight.
Reds (-139): Say what you want about Trevor Bauer. He might be a big mouth, he might be immature, to be frank you might flat out think he’s an asshole, but the guy has come into 2020 pitching some dominant baseball. In 4 starts he’s gone 26.1 innings with an 0.68 ERA, 14.01 K/9 and just a 2.39 BB/9. Now obviously some regression will come as he’s not going to finish the year with an ERA under 1. That said this is a guy who works his ass off in the offseason and he’s getting the results. He’s basically ditched his changeup, cut back quite a bit on his curveball and made up the difference by pumping up his fastball usage. He’s also throwing more cutters so far this season than he has at any other point in his career. Yelich, despite what’s a slow start by his standards is still as dangerous as they get. Outside of him however there isn’t much in this Brewers lineup that scares you. Cain opted out, Hiura is off to a mediocre start, and aside from that we’re talking guys like Arcia, Avisail Garcia, Gamel, Smoak, Sogard, like I said… nothing that really scares you. Anderson will be on the mound for Milwaukee and he’s nothing more than a low K, high groundball rate guy. Still respectable enough but the Reds should be fine against him. Castellanos and Suarez in particular absolutely crush left handed pitching. I made the Reds -155 here and even with some early money on them I still have -139 as in range.