MLB weekend best bets: Fade Hunter Greene amid early-season woes
It's been a tough go on our MLB picks early in the season, though we love the pitching matchups heading into the weekend. Here are our best bets for Friday and beyond:
Brewers (-150) @ Marlins
May 13, 6:40 p.m. ET
It's rare to see Corbin Burnes priced as this cheap of a favorite, even on the road. That's what happens when Pablo Lopez is toeing the rubber on the other side. And while it's tempting to go under this low number, the best play here is on the Brewers to win outright.
Sure, Lopez (1.00 ERA) has been outstanding this season, but there's a reason Burnes (1.86) is the early favorite to win his second straight Cy Young Award. The Milwaukee ace leads all qualified NL starters in WHIP (0.802) and ranks in the top three in strikeout rate (34.2%) and walk rate (5.5%) - a lethal combo for someone with the stuff Burnes has.
He should shred a Marlins lineup that leads MLB in chase rate (31.5%) and scored three or fewer runs in five of their last seven games. Conversely, the Brewers have gotten hot in May, averaging 6.5 runs and at least five in each of their last three contests.
Blue Jays (-125) @ Rays
May 13, 7:10 p.m.
Our Travis Sawchik detailed exactly what's fueled Gausman's rise as an elite pitcher, but the stats speak for themselves. The former Giants ace paces all of baseball with a ridiculous 0.78 FIP and is yet to allow a home run in 38 innings. He also boasts an eye-popping 46-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, as it's nearly impossible to get ahead of him in the count.
The Rays' bats have some pop but struggle to generate contact in the strike zone, which is the best way to beat Gausman. They also can't depend on a solid start from Drew Rasmussen, who only found success against the Mariners (twice) and Athletics since being knocked around earlier this year. This Blue Jays order will be a different test entirely.
Cubs team total under (TBD) @ Diamondbacks
May 14, 8:10 p.m.
If you haven't hopped onto the Zac Gallen bandwagon by now, you're running out of time. The Diamondbacks ace got his career off to a historic start in 2019-20 and returned to form early in 2022, spinning a stellar 0.95 ERA through his first five starts.
Unlike last year, Gallen is cutting down on easy opportunities. He's yet to allow a home run this year and walked a career-low 3.7% of opposing batters, well down from his 9.4% rate a year ago. He's also coaxing a higher ground-ball rate (45.9%) and allowing less hard contact (31.1%) than at any point in his career.
This Cubs offense engineered 17 runs in a three-game series against the Padres despite hitting just two home runs in that span. Before that, Chicago plated three or fewer runs in nine consecutive games - with just two runs or fewer in eight of them. If Gallen can keep the ball on the ground, he should have little issue in this one.
Pirates team total over (TBD) vs. Reds
May 15, 1:35 p.m.
I'm optimistic about Hunter Greene's long-term potential in the Reds' rotation, but right now the former top prospect is a liability on the mound, and Cincinnati seems content to let him work it out in the big leagues.
That hasn't gone well for Greene (7.62 ERA), who surrendered multiple runs in each of his first six starts despite never making it out of the sixth inning. He's yet to reach eight strikeouts in any of those starts but issued four free passes in three of his last four outings and gave up an MLB-worst 11 home runs - including eight over his last three starts.
That's a recipe for disaster in today's run environment, and even a subpar lineup like the Pirates' should be able to take advantage. I'm fading Greene at every opportunity until he proves that he can keep pace in the majors.