MLB Wednesday best bets: Rays to pounce on slumping Angels
We suffered a bit of a setback Tuesday, going 1-2 with best bets. The Astros and Orioles swung the bats extremely well once again and our over cruised to victory as a result. Unfortunately, both pitching props went the other way.
Let's take a look at three of my favorite plays on Wednesday's slate as we try to get back on track.
The Rays are firing on all cylinders. It doesn't matter how many key players exit their lineup; they simply continue to truck along and get results. They own a sparkling 21-9 record over the past 30 games, tied with the Orioles for best record in the league during that span.
Their success should continue Wednesday night against the Angels, when Tampa Bay has a pitching advantage with Aaron Civale squaring off against Reid Detmers.
Civale has been mostly excellent as a member of the Rays. Although he's conceded three runs or more in three straight, his underlying profile (tons of strikes, very few hard-hit balls) indicate the results should go his way sooner rather than later.
The Angels are the perfect opponents to bring out that positive regression. They are striking out seemingly 500 times a game and generating next to nothing at the dish, scoring only 3.18 runs per contest in September. That's last in the majors.
Civale should have no problem mowing down Angels batters. Meanwhile, the Rays' offense is in a solid spot versus Detmers, who's earned a winning decision in only three of 26 starts this season and sports an ERA approaching 5.0. He's in tough against a Rays team that doesn't take it easy on left-handed pitchers (they've chased the last three they faced in five or less).
Look for the Rays to earn a lead through five innings.
Bet: Rays -0.5 (-130)
Chase Anderson under 3.5 strikeouts
Note: 4:05 p.m. ET start
Anderson is not a good strikeout pitcher. Heck, he's not a good pitcher. The veteran righty has made 15 starts this season and appeared in 17 games. He is yet to record a single win.
He hasn't shown the ability to consistently punch out batters, either: Anderson has gone under this number in all but six appearances this season (35% success rate) and has only hit in back-to-back starts once.
It's difficult to generate strikeouts against San Diego at the best of times. With the Padres fighting to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and leading the majors in runs per game in September, it's not an opportune spot for Anderson to perform at his ceiling.
Expect him to struggle and exit the game with three Ks or fewer in his back pocket.
Justin Steele over 5.5 strikeouts
The Pirates offer a fantastic opportunity to get back on the horse, having struck out a league-high 30.5% of the time against left-handed pitching over the past 15 days.
That's not hard to believe when you dig into some of the game logs. Carlos Rodón and Patrick Corbin, two left-handers who have struggled mightily, combined to record 18 strikeouts over the last two starts against Pittsburgh.
Moving a little further down the list, Cole Ragans and Jordan Wicks each punched out nine Pirates despite entering their matchups with average strikeout lines of 5.5 - like Steele today.
Considering Steele's sky-high strike percentages, including swinging-strike rates, there's no reason to expect a dip in performance against the Pirates.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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