Yesterday was a good example of how, as they say, you can’t predict baseball. The Reds took down the Yankees in extra innings to win a series in the Bronx. The Rangers blew a 5-1 lead in the seventh inning to give the Mariners their 11th straight victory. The Royals, with about half their team on the restricted list, took down the Blue Jays in Toronto as massive underdogs. It was a lot.
Yet, with all that said, we’re 41-36 on article plays for the season and I’m arrogant. Here’s what I’m predicting happens tonight in the world of baseball.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Betting on starting pitchers to work deep into a game is a difficult thing to do in modern baseball, but Yu Darvish is proving to be a workhorse for the Padres. The veteran right-hander has thrown at least six innings in nine consecutive outings, with Darvish recording at least 20 outs in seven of those contests. Heck, he’s even gone over the 100-pitch plateau eight times within that span. What a concept.
Part of Darvish ability to survive into the seventh inning is simply arm strength, stamina and reputation; however, pitching effectively is also a really nice way to stay on the mound. For Darvish, that last part hasn’t been an issue when taking the field in San Diego. The 35-year-old has been nearly flawless when pitching at home in 2022, maintaining a 1.69 ERA and a 2.64 FIP in his eight appearances at Petco Park. In fact, no qualified starter aside from Tony Gonsolin is inducing a lower opponent wOBA in their home outings than Darvish’s mark of .214. Simply put, he’s been almost unhittable in Ron Burgundy’s home town.
Every year there’s a moderately successful pitcher that I have absolutely zero faith in, and in 2022, that man is Devin Smeltzer. The term “smoke and mirrors” gets thrown around a lot when something happens in sports that we can’t explain, but it feels applicable when it comes to Smeltzer’s 3.92 ERA across 59.2 innings. How the heck is he doing this? His expected ERA is 4.66. His FIP is a far more ugly 5.54, thanks primarily to an unstable and unsustainable .234 opponent BABIP. Smeltzer is simply getting lucky. Much more lucky than most pitchers with an 89.0% zone contact rate and an expected slugging percentage that’s in just the 11th percentile of qualified arms (.517).
Regression is coming for Smeltzer and I think it begins in tonight’s matchup with the White Sox. Chicago has been basically the best team in baseball at hitting left-handed pitching this season, entering play on Friday leading the league in average (.288), wOBA (.348) and wRC+ (129) within the split. I’d look for the White Sox to score early and often against Smeltzer, while Michael Kopech does just enough to keep his team in the lead. Who knows? maybe the May version of Kopech shows up this evening and this game isn’t even close. That’d be nice.
There’s obviously a little uncertainty about Eovaldi in this one, as a back issue has sidelined him since early June, yet this prop still feels a little low to me. Even if the RHP is limited to 80 or 85 pitches coming off the IL — he threw 54 in a rehab start in Triple-A on Sunday — Eovaldi’s cleared this prop so easily in the recent past that I’m not all that concerned about restrictions. To wit, the veteran has racked up at least five strikeouts in 10 of his 12 outings in 2022, including seven strikeouts in five innings against these same Yankees on Opening Day.
Also, for as good as New York’s offense has been all season, there’s some swing and miss in this lineup. In July alone, Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and Matt Carpenter all have strikeout rates above 24.0%, with Judge leading the way at 31.9%. Expect Eovaldi to come back strong at Yankee Stadium.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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