It’s nice to end your week on a high note and that’s exactly what we did on Friday, hitting a pair of plus-money strikeout props to start the weekend.
Can we find the same level of luck tonight? Let’s dive into this evening’s loaded MLB slate.
This just seems like a good opportunity to back a relatively sizeable underdog. Should the Rangers be favored against the Red Sox tonight? Probably. Texas’ “ace” is on the mound and it’s the home team. Yet, as you’ve probably already surmised, things are not quite that simple. First and foremost, the Rangers are ice cold. Texas comes into Tuesday having dropped four straight games and the team is a putrid 3-11 in its last 14 contests at Globe Life Field. On top of that, I have a general rule about backing non-AL East clubs in matchups with baseball’s toughest division: Don’t do it. The AL East is 308-220 (.583) in those spots so far in 2023.
Then there’s the Nathan Eovaldi aspect of all this. Eovaldi was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the first three months of the season. Full stop. However, things have not been so peachy since late July. Eovaldi missed six weeks on the IL and in the three starts he’s made since returning to the active roster, he’s allowed opponents to slash .355/.459/.677. Eovaldi’s also yet to throw more than 73 pitches or work deeper than 3.1 innings in any of these outings. That’s bad news considering Texas’ bullpen is rocking a league-worst 6.02 FIP over the past 30 days. Bruce Bochy will likely have to rely on that group for at least 12 outs on Tuesday. I don’t envy the man.
I know the names near the top of each lineup are flashy, but these are not the offensive juggernauts that some people who haven’t been paying attention might perceive them to be. Across the past two weeks, the Yankees sit 25th in baseball with an 82 wRC+, while the Blue Jays sit slightly lower in 27th (79). The main issue is simple: It’s a complete lack of power. In that same 14-day span, New York’s .124 ISO is the lowest mark in the American League. Not to be outdone, no AL squad has hit fewer home runs than Toronto in this recent stretch (10). This isn’t just a September issue, either. The Blue Jays have hit the under in 55.6% of their games in 2023 — the fourth-highest clip in all of baseball.
To be clear, I also have a healthy amount of respect for the starters in this tilt. Yusei Kikuchi has been massive for Toronto in the season’s second-half, pitching to a 3.13 ERA and a 2.95 FIP over his last 11 appearances. On the other side, Clarke Schmidt hasn’t been quite as good overall, yet he profiles as a pitcher who can give the Blue Jays fits. Toronto remains a team defined by its big name RHBs, especially with Brandon Belt (back) currently on the IL. Well, Schmidt’s had far more success against righties than lefties in 2023, holding right-handed opponents to a modest .657 OPS.
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