I know you won’t be watching baseball tonight. You’ll be watching teenagers wearing suits be drafted every 20 minutes with other dudes wearing suits talking about it. Riveting stuff. Anyway, maybe you’re the kind of person who likes actual sports being played. Or maybe you’re just the kind of person with multiple televisions. Either way, we’ve got a small card of MLB games to bet on this evening.
We’re 13-9 and up 4.1 units on article plays for the season. Let’s keep building that bankroll on the diamond.
Cease is always an interesting example of ratios versus volume when it comes to counting stats. I mean, on the surface, this prop doesn’t seem overly high for a pitcher averaging 11.62 opponent strikeouts per nine innings; however, Cease has failed to register more than six strikeouts in each of his last three appearances. Primarily because he’s worked only 15.0 innings in that span — a stretch that includes just four innings against this same Rays squad last Saturday. That’s right. It took Cease 102 pitches to record 12 outs. Woof.
One of the main reasons Cease — and other RHPs — tend to struggle with Tampa’s lineup is the way Kevin Cash is able to manipulate the platoon advantage. In that contest last weekend, the Rays submitted a lineup with six left-handed or switch-hitters to oppose Cease. For his career, Cease has struck out 31.0% of the RHBs he’s faced, yet his strikeout rate falls to just 25.8% when going up against lefties. It also doesn’t hurt that Tampa owns the league’s ninth-lowest strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching so far in 2023 (21.4%).
As you would expect from a team that is 16-8 overall, the Orioles have been pretty good on the run line in 2023, covering 13 of their 24 games. Still, while that’s certainly nice to know, it means little on Thursday night. Heck, the fact that we saw this exact pitching matchup five days ago also doesn’t mean that much, though I’d be lying if I said Baltimore’s 5-1 victory last Saturday doesn’t provide me a small comfort. No, this is about two teams taking the field in Detroit in late April, isolated in time. It just so happens that one of the teams is much better than the other.
Even if you don’t trust Kyle Gibson’s smoke and mirrors act, the disparity of these two lineups is too large to ignore. The Tigers enter this evening’s action in possession of baseball’s lowest wOBA at a pathetic .269. Meanwhile, the Orioles have taken specific pleasure in pummeling southpaws this season, registering a 123 wRC+ within the split — the sixth-best mark in MLB. Joey Wentz is the unlucky left-hander in question. A man with an ugly 10.8% walk rate and an even uglier 7.56 ERA. Baltimore should be able to put up some crooked numbers on Thursday, numbers that Detroit will be unable to match. There’s a reason the Orioles are 6-0 in their last six contest against opponents below .500. They take advantage of an easy matchup.
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