MLB Thursday best bets: Cole, Yankees to respond in Minnesota
We'll take the split and aim for better with a pair of plays for Thursday night's six-game slate.
Dylan Bundy enters this game in very poor form. Over the last month he owns a 5.29 ERA, 5.44 FIP, and has given up 2.12 home runs per nine innings.
Unsurprisingly, a big reason for his struggles is his inability to limit hard contact or keep the ball on the ground. His hard-hit rate sits at nearly 40% and he has given up fly balls 43.3% of the time over the last month.
That can get you into trouble against any offense, especially against a team like the New York Yankees.
They have absolutely mashed right-handed pitchers of late, ranking second in wOBA (.375) and first in ISO (.231) over the last two weeks. Oh, and they also lead the majors in fly ball rate (47.8%) during that time. That's bad news for a pitcher struggling to keep the ball down.
This is a good spot for the Yankees to put up a big number offensively. I can't say the same for the Minnesota Twins.
While their offense also enters play in fine form, they don't get to hit against a struggling arm - but rather one of the league's best starters, Gerrit Cole.
He's pitching out of his mind right now, owning a 1.68 FIP over the last month while striking out 33.3% of opposing batters and keeping 50% of balls put in play on the ground.
Suffice to say, it's tough to muster up offense when the opposing pitcher strikes out a third of the batters and gives up hardly any fly balls.
Look for the Yankees to pick up a rather convincing win.
Bet: Yankees -1.5 (-125)
Jordan Lyles has quietly pitched pretty well of late, at least relative to what the surface numbers indicate.
The Baltimore Orioles' starter has posted a 3.49 FIP, 3.58 FIP, and struck out a healthy 22.6% of the batters over the last month.
He's not a world-beater by any means but he should be able to keep a struggling Kansas City Royals offense in check. They rank 22nd in wOBA (.301) and 25th in ISO (.121) against righties since May 26.
Baltimore's offense is in a much better spot. Their current form against lefties, while not spectacular, is better. They sit 15th in ISO (.152) and 22nd in wOBA (.298) over the last two weeks.
They also get to take on Kris Bubic, who has struggled to an unfathomable extent through six starts this season.
His FIP sits at 7.56 and he's walked more batters than he's struck out. I wouldn't expect his struggles to continue to this extreme but there's reason to believe the Orioles can cause him some problems.
At near even money, there's value in backing the side whose bats - and starting pitcher - enter in better form.
Bet: Orioles (-110)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.