Full disclosure: I didn’t want to wake up early enough where I could’ve written up some bets for this afternoon’s MLB slate. I’m sorry. I’m just a very lazy person. To make up for that, I’ve challenged myself to only give out plus-money wagers for this evening’s truncated two-game offering. Aren’t I the best?
We’re 4-2 and +1.6 units for the season on article plays. Let’s keep building that bankroll.
This is way more about the Braves than it is about Snell. While the left-hander did surrender three earned runs over just 4.1 innings against the Rockies on Opening Day, a .545 BABIP and a -0.26 FIP should tell you all you need to know about that performance. Still, Snell’s far from perfect. Among the 83 pitchers to throw at least 250 innings from 2021 to 2022, Snell’s 11.1% walk rate was the highest in baseball. The lefty also doesn’t do a great job of suppressing launch angle, and because of that, he’s been a little more prone than your average ace to giving up barrels. Most of these concerns are cancelled out by an elite strikeout rate, yet this propensity for free passes and line drives is why Snell’s liable for the occasional blow-up.
One thing is for certain: Atlanta is not the type of lineup where you want to mess around. The Braves are stacked from top to bottom with offensive threats — particularly against left-handed pitching. To wit, Atlanta ranked second in wOBA (.341) and third in OPS (.782) within the split last season, and that was with Ozzie Albies missing most of the year. For his career, Albies is slashing .328/.357/.559 versus southpaws, so you can see why his return to health only makes this Braves roster even more terrifying. Atlanta’s registered at least five runs in four of its six contests to begin 2023. This team can hit the baseball.
May was incredibly efficient in his first start of the season against this same Diamondbacks lineup, needing just 84 pitches to toss seven scoreless innings. However, he didn’t pick up the win in that game, as Alex Vesia surrendered a two-run home run in the eighth inning to squander a 1-0 lead. I think tonight’s script goes a little differently. Merrill Kelly survived 3.2 innings versus the Dodgers last Friday, managing to not give up a single run despite four walks, two barrels and an opponent expected wOBA of .596 on batted ball events. To put it in layman’s terms: Kelly was the luckiest man on Earth.
I doubt the right-hander is as fortunate this evening. I mean, even looking at some of the BvP data is jaw-dropping, as Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Max Muncy all own a career OPS over 1.100 in at least 20 plate appearances against Kelly. I would expect Los Angeles to score early and often in this one, and even if it doesn’t, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen currently sports the league’s second-worst FIP (7.17). The Dodgers should win this one handily. Instead of backing them at -150 on the moneyline, simply assume May will last at least five frames to qualify for the victory.
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