Looking for free expert MLB picks? You’ve come to the right place!
Here are our best bets for Sunday, August 8, 2021.
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Let’s get after it.
1. PHI 7-inning moneyline (-160)
“Better late than never” certainly applies to Zack Wheeler’s breakout as a staff ace in his age-31 season. The worm-killing right-hander boasts career highs in ERA (2.57), FIP (2.49) and K/9 (10.41). He’s showing no signs of slowing down and today faces a Mets lineup that he has held to 21 H, 4 BB and just 7 ER over 20.1 IP (3.10 ERA) in 3 starts this season. He projects as one of the top overall starters on today’s slate.
Unlike Wheeler, Taijuan Walker has fallen off a cliff in the 2nd half of the season. He has posted a gaudy 12.00 ERA (9.63 FIP, 6.52 xFIP) in six starts since the All-Star Break and not made it through 6 IPs in any of them.
I want to avoid the bullpens here and isolate the known matchups. New York’s offense has been extremely average against RHPs since July, while Philadelphia’s .796 OPS, .340 wOBA and 135 wRC against right-handers all are among the Top 3 in the NL. All of this comes before we mention that the Phillies are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. Back the hosts – and the momentum of both teams – with the 7-inning moneyline.
1. BAL 5-inning total over 2 (-125)
2. Michael Wacha under 4.5 K’s (-150)
Baltimore is a team I typically pick on with RHPs. Michael Wacha is a RHP I target with, well, most everyone. The 30-year-old starter neither goes deep into games (4.36 IP/start) nor is he especially effective in these starts, slogging his way to a 4.28 ERA (4.22 xFIP) and 1.30 WHIP. Even more glaring are his home/road splits. Outside spacious Tropicana Field, Wacha has a 6.15 ERA and brutal 2.14 HR/9. Today he takes the mound at Camden Yards, one of the most extreme hitter’s parks in baseball, on a hot, hitter-friendly afternoon.
Baltimore’s lineup ranks in the Bottom 5 of almost every offensive category against RHPs. Today they’re trotting out a watered down lineup sans Pedro Severino and the surging Ryan Mountcastle. Nonetheless, I have to trust the projections – and the spot – and back the bird’s bats to produce in the first half of today’s matinee.
Red Sox-Blue Jays
1. TOR (-196)
2. TOR -1.5 (+100)
The Red Sox are in absolute free fall. After a strong 1st half that saw the team enter the All-Star Break in 1st place of the AL East, Boston has lost 9 of 12 overall and 4 of 6 to their opponents today. They’ve scored more than 3 runs only once in the past week – a 12-4 loss to this same Toronto squad on Friday – and look lost in all aspects of the game.
Blue Jays starter Hyun-Jin Ryu projects to have a good albeit not great outing this afternoon. I expect him to give up some runs, but I also expect him to throw a QS. His teammates should be more than able to provide adequate run support against Red Sox RHP Garrett Richards, whose 5.21 ERA (5.13 FIP, 4.99 SIERA) is exceeded in ugliness only by his 6.15 ERA in 5 starts against the Blue Jays this season. This one might get ugly.
- CIN -1.5 (-136) – Tyler Mahle has shown extreme signs of “Sticky Stuff-itis,” but gets a great get-right spot against Bryse Wilson and the hapless Pirates.
- SF-MIL 5-inning total over 5 (-125) – Brett Anderson is due for some noticeable regression (3.67 ERA vs. 6.09 xERA and 4.42 SIERA). Johnny Cueto rarely sees clean starts and faces a Brewers lineup that welcomes back Christian Yelich.
- MIN-HOU 3-inning total under 2.5 (-125) – Both Lance McCullers and Kenta Maeda project for strong outings. Maeda has had problems with slow starts, but the Twins likely will be blanked the first time through the order, so there should be ample cushion here.
- CWS 5-inning total over 3 (-110) – It’s warm and the wind’s blowing out at Wrigley. Say no more.
- LAD -1.5 (-150) – Reid Detmers will have a great career as a major-league pitcher, but simply didn’t look ready in his debut last week against Oakland. Cy Young contender Walker Buehler will dominate an Angels lineup that will again be without Shohei Ohtani. Don’t let the late placement fool you, here. This is a lock!