MLB weekly betting preview: Can Castillo turn it around vs. Giants?

Adam Hagy / Major League Baseball / Getty

Our 10-3 run on MLB picks came to a screeching halt over the weekend with an 0-2-1 record after Sunday's push on the Astros vs. Rangers total. Can we get back to our winning ways this week - much like one beleaguered ace?

Tigers (+145) @ Mariners (-165)
May 17, 10:10 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers: Casey Mize (2-3, 4.19 ERA) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (1-2, 4.30)

Both of these pitchers struggled early in the season, and each is still waving a red flag - Mize with his inability to miss bats and Kikuchi with his propensity for hard contact. But their play as of late should inspire confidence in bettors ahead of this one.

Mize was knocked around for 11 runs across two mid-April starts, but the Tigers' former top prospect rallied with three straight six-inning outings against the White Sox, Red Sox, and Royals - holding each to three runs or fewer and no more than four hits apiece. On the other side, Kikuchi punched out 11 Dodgers batters on Tuesday, marking his third consecutive start with at least seven strikeouts.

The pair will each face favorable circumstances on Monday against two of the worst lineups in baseball in the pitcher-friendly confines of T-Mobile Park, which has produced six unders in the Mariners' last eight home games.

Pick: Under 8

Giants @ Reds (TBD)
May 18, 6:40 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Anthony DeSclafani (3-1, 2.14) vs. Luis Castillo (1-5, 7.71)

Is this the start where Castillo finally snaps out of his funk? The right-hander hasn't pitched as bad as his 7.71 ERA - the worst of any qualified starter - would suggest, but his poor location on his primary pitches and an inability to generate whiffs have made him the most profitable pitcher to bet against this season by far.

The Giants' bats likely won't make matters easier. San Francisco's lineup ranked bottom 10 in percentage of "meatball" pitches seen (7.1%) entering Friday, but the club is top 10 in meatball swing rate (79.3%). The Giants also have the fourth-lowest chase rate (55.1%), meaning Castillo will pay if he keeps missing over the zone and can't tempt batters with high-level breaking stuff.

Meanwhile, DeSclafani has been one of baseball's biggest surprises behind a 54.4% ground-ball rate, which should play well in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. If DeSclafani's sinker plays as well as it has thus far, the Reds will be in trouble.

Pick: Giants (TBD)

Marlins @ Phillies (TBD)
May 19, 7:05 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Trevor Rogers (5-2, 1.84) vs. Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.86)

Few pitchers have been as dominant this year as Rogers, who has struck out at least six batters in all eight of his starts. The southpaw's electric mid-90s fastball has been nearly unhittable this year and sets the table for his changeup and slider, both of which boast a whiff rate north of 35%.

Eflin hasn't been too shabby either, carrying a 51:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio into Wednesday's contest after ringing up 32 batters across his last four starts. That's bad news for the Marlins, which rank second-to-last in xwOBA (.298) and fourth in chase rate (30.2%) entering this week.

Miami should struggle to scratch across runs on Wednesday, while the Phillies already ranked third in whiff rate (29.6%) before facing Rogers' high heat. If you like pitcher's duels, circle this one on your calendar.

Pick: Under (TBD)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

MLB weekly betting preview: Can Castillo turn it around vs. Giants?
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