MLB Wednesday best bets: Expect fireworks in Anaheim
We have a fun-sized but manageable seven-game slate Wednesday night. Let's take a closer look at a couple of my favorite plays.
On the surface, this is one of tonight's least appealing games. The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs have combined to go 30-54 this season and the projected starters, Kyle Hendricks and Luis Castillo, both sport ERAs above five.
We're going to bet it anyway because value is value, and there's value in backing the Reds inside the first five innings.
We'll start with the pitching matchup. Hendricks has really labored this season, performing more poorly than his counting stats suggest. He owns a 5.54 FIP, second-worst among Wednesday's starters, and his K-BB% of 8.5% is also near the bottom of the barrel. He can get hit around, especially by lefties.
The Reds are projected to start four left-handed hitters, headlined by Joey Votto. Tommy Pham, while struggling, has historically hit righties well, and Brandon Drury owns a .250 ISO against them this season.
As a whole, the Reds have enjoyed plenty of success against right-handed pitching of late. They rank 10th in team ISO and 16th in wOBA against righties in May. Pretty good!
The picture isn't as bright for the Cubs. For one, they own a .296 wOBA against righties this month, putting them 24th in the majors.
While Castillo's ERA in the early going isn't impressive, his underlying metrics suggest he's been better than advertised. He owns a 4.02 FIP and 3.79 SIERA, indicating his 4.60 ERA is a little undeserved. Part of the issue is a 65.8% strand rate, which should regress favorably.
Given the way the Reds are currently hitting righties and the pitching advantage, I have no problem if you want to take things one step further and back them -0.5 (-110) over the first five innings.
Otto ranks last among all of Wednesday's starters in FIP (5.63) and SIERA (5.11) while slotting second last in terms of HR/FB rate. He gives up a lot of home runs and a lot of walks. That's not ideal against anybody, let alone an offense like the Los Angeles Angels possess.
They have mashed right-handed pitching all season, particularly on home soil. They rank third in the majors in both wOBA (.345) and ISO (.190) when playing in their own park. With the likes of Taylor Ward and Jared Walsh stepping up to support superstars like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Angels' dangerous lineup should score its share of runs, win or lose.
This is also a good spot for the Texas Rangers' offense. Detmers owns a 4.15 ERA despite allowing a .172 batting average on balls put in play. Put another way, he's giving up runs even though an unsustainable amount of contact is leading to outs. That number should regress quite a bit and, when it does, the runs will follow.
The Rangers hit lefties pretty well too: They sit 11th in the majors in ISO (.155) and 12th in wRC+ (104) against left-handed pitching. Considering Detmers' counting stats aren't good and yet remain more encouraging than his underlying metrics, Texas' bats could be in for a good night.
Simply put, the combination of firepower and poor pitching in this game figures to lead to a lot of offense.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.