Last Saturday’s MLB Best Bets were on course to sweep the board at BetRivers Sportsbook, but it proved not to be. Anthony DeSclafani allowed us to cash our F5 wager on the Giants, but his bullpen failed to make it hold up and San Francisco lost 7-6 even though it held a 6-1 lead through 3 IP. Then another NL West team sucker punched us late when the Dodgers walked it off in the ninth after Michael Fulmer couldn’t lock it down for the Cubs. While it wasn’t pretty, Zach Plesac’s five innings of 4-run (2 ER) ball and the pen’s four shutout innings allowed us to cash our -1 run-line wager on the Guardians to help salvage the day. Here’s to the bounces going our way with this installment of MLB Best Bets – SLAM YOUR MAN!!
YTD: 24-23-2 ($217)
LW: 12-12-2 (-$55)
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
Nothing I’ve seen from Alek Manoah through four starts leads me to believe he’ll thrive in this showdown against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees. He simply just doesn’t look the part right now, and we’ve had no issue fading him in his last two turns be it on the under of his K prop or unloading on the Rays when he squared off against McClanahan last time out. While the fastball looked to be back on track versus Tampa Bay, his other offerings were still awful. Something is clearly not right. He’s allowed 23 hits through 19.1 innings with four leaving the yard. The righty only gave up 16 home runs last season over 31 starts. He’s on pace to double that right now! His walk rate is nearly 2.5x his career average as well!
In the other dugout, Gerrit Cole has gotten out to one of his more commanding starts to a season as a Yankee. He’s registered the win in all four starts by way of allowing 13 hits (0 HR) and 3 ER with a stellar 32:8 K/BB ratio through 28.1 total innings of work. The dude’s only averaging 14.5 pitches per inning pitched for crying out loud! I figure he’ll be looking to make a statement in this one after the Blue Jays beat him up a bit the three times he threw at them last season. He’s simply locked in at the moment with his fastball, change, and slider carving opponents left and right that I’ll lay the heavy chalk and back it up with a play on the run-line to make it a 1-run wager; regardless of NY being the home team. I expect Judge and Co. to get theirs against Manoah with a trip to the IL in the righty’s future immediately after. He needs to figure it out!
BET THE YANKEES
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
A pivotal series for the White Sox opens in St. Petersburg Friday night, but it’s Saturday’s pitching matchup that I’m mostly interested in with Dylan Cease set to square off against Shane McClanahan in a battle of young studs. Cease enters his fifth start 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and insane 11.7 K per nine. McClanahan also stands undefeated at 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 10.6 K/9. However, walks have been an issue for both hurlers with Cease walking 4.8 per nine while McClanahan is issuing 4.3 BB/9. With this one of those quintessential “Anything you can do I can do better” type of pitching matchups, I expect both hurlers to put on a show.
Nine walks through 10.1 innings over two starts against the Rays last season didn’t hinder Cease’s ability to shut Tampa down in allowing only four hits and 1 ER with 13 K. McClanahan’s lone 2022 start against the South Siders saw him toss six innings of 2 ER ball with six hits allowed (1 HR) and a perfect 8:0 K:BB ratio accrued. I expect to see nothing less than a pitching clinic put forth from both starters early on enough to comfortably recommend backing the first five innings under even with a 3.5 likely representing the number to beat. McClanahan’s fastball/change combo will have Chicago uncomfortable throughout. Though Tampa has raked sliders and 4-seamers to date, they’re yet to see Cease’s type of smoke. This should be fun!
BET FIRST FIVE INNINGS UNDER
Miami Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians
Shane Bieber doesn’t look to be the dominant starter he once was. At least through four 2023 starts. While each has been of quality, the righty’s 8.3 hits per nine innings is the highest it’s been since his rookie year, and his 6.5 K/9 is the lowest it’s been throughout his six-year career. The Guardians staff ace has only managed to exceed his K prop once to date, and they’ve been getting lower and lower every passing start. Here’s to hoping BetRivers continues to offer up a discount in start No. 5 against a Marlins team striking out at the third highest rate against RHP (28%). Only two players on Miami’s roster – Jorge Soler and Yuli Gurriel – possess positive run values against sliders to date, and that just so happens to be Bieber’s best and most heavily used offering. The Fish have been pretty mediocre against 4-seamers as well which leads me to believe this will be a premiere stat padding outing for Cleveland’s ace.
BET OVER BIEBER’S K PROP
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