With a ton of three-game sets coming to a close, there’s no lack of exciting ballgames and betting value on the Wednesday slate. Let’s take a look at the MLB’s best bets of the day for today (July 26, 2023) and make some predictions.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: u10 runs (-110)
Starting Pitchers: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-3, 3.92 ERA) vs. RHP Tony Gonsolin (5-3, 3.94 ERA)
It’s not every day you see a game with the total set at 10 runs, and it’s definitely not every day that happens when both starting pitchers have a sub-4 ERA. Yes, the Dodgers’ lineup is one of the sport’s best and in excellent form right now, but Yusei Kikuchi is no slouch, and is coming off of a pretty solid pair of starts in which he allowed a total of 1 run in 10 innings of work.
Kikuchi is going up against Tony Gonsolin, who is in a bit of a cold stretch himself after starting the year extremely strong. Just as negative regression came, positive regression to the mean should certainly be on the way for a pitcher who has been generally strong over the last few years.
He will be facing a Toronto lineup that definitely has some dangerous bats, but is about league-average and isn’t particularly hot right now. This won’t necessarily be a “pitcher’s duel,” but 10 runs is a wild number with two solid starters on the mound, so grabbing the under at near-even money is a great get.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Orioles ML (-105)
Starting Pitchers: RHP Kyle Bradish (6-5, 3.05 ERA) vs. LHP Ranger Suárez (2-5, 4.07 ERA)
In this rubber match of a fascinating series between hot teams, I’m once again backing Baltimore, this time to bounce back and secure the series. Once again, they’re at essentially even money, even with a sizable starting pitching advantage. 26 year old Kyle Bradish has had a breakout second season in the pros, emphasizing control while also dropping his home run rate compared to his rookie campaign. He’s in a groove right now, as he’s allowed 2 or fewer runs 7 starts in a row
Conversely, Philly’s Suárez is tossing an ERA over 4 on the season, and has allowed 3 or more runs in each of his last 4 outings. He’s also a lefty, and Baltimore’s lineup has had a slight predilection towards facing southpaws. In addition, Baltimore is 5th in the league in bullpen ERA while Philly is essentially average at 14th, so any lead built under Bradish stands a good chance of surviving through the ninth. I believe in this Orioles squad, they’re doing something special andsecuring this series finale should be a nice momentum win for them.
Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox: u9.5 (-105)
Starting Pitchers: RHP Spencer Strider (11-3, 3.78 ERA) vs. Brayan Bello (7-6, 3.60 ERA)
This is another example of a run total I just don’t quite agree with given the pitching matchup. Once again, we’re looking at an elite lineup, in fact both squads are top-5 in runs per game. But with two of baseball’s most exciting young arms set to square off, we have to be ready for an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel.
For the visiting Braves, the star youngster is Spencer Strider, a 24 year old flamethrower who leads the majors with 189 strikeouts already, and owns one of the better baseball mustaches of the current era. The kid gets barreled up a bit, but at his best, his stuff is absolutely untouchable.
He’s facing off against Brayan Bello, another hard throwing 24 year old. He had a rough start to his career but after heading back down to the minors, he’s come back stronger than ever and is enjoying a breakout sophomore season. Like Strider, he’s coming off of a less-sharp outing, but I believe in both talented arms to bounce back and put on a show.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros: Astros -1.5 (+120)
Starting Pitchers: LHP Andrew Heaney (6-6, 4.58 ERA) vs. Framber Valdez (8-6, 2.94 ERA)
There’s a couple of angles here that could be stemming from a bit of trauma I have as a Yankees fan, but betting against Andrew Heaney and on an Astros team that is entering a late-season surge looks like a slam dunk. After the Rangers raced out to a lead in the division as one of the breakthrough teams of the year, Houston has won 6 of their last 7, and if they complete the series sweep against Texas, will hop into a tie for first place.
This one is just a total pitching mismatch, Valdez is coming off of a few rough starts, but is still probably leading the AL Cy Young race and at worst is right in the thick of it. Valdez does give up a bit of hard contact, but still limits homers well and has some very high-level spin on his breaking pitches.
Of course, he’s going up against Heaney, who has begun to return to aggressive mediocrity after a strong 2022. This could be a total non-contest, Houston will keep rolling and should win by multiple runs.
Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox: Cubs ML (-120)
Call it what you want; an audition for his next team, a farewell to the Wrigley faithful after a solid, even if short, tenure on the North Side, but this rivalry clash is likely to be Stroman’s last as a Cub with the trade deadline looming. Whichever aspect of the day is motivating him, the veteran righty is in line for a great performance after a couple of tougher recent outings. His Cubs’ rivals to the south have an uninspiring offense with just 4.18 runs scored per game (23rd in the league) despite playing in the amazingly uncompetitive AL Central.
He’s going up against Lance Lynn, who seems to have finally hit a wall in his age-36 season. After a strong 2021 and a good 2022, he’s gotten absolutely lit up this season to the tune of an ERA over 6.00 and a WHIP approaching 1.500. After taking game 1 of the mini-series on Monday, the Cubs are in a great position to take advantage of a total pitching mismatch and finish off the two-day sweep down on 35th street.