Welcome back for another Friday breakdown of the MLB PrizePicks board.
Per usual, all 30 teams are in action today, with only the Cardinals-Cubs game getting started before 6:40 PM ET.
Let’s jump right into some of the spots I am targeting to build out my cards today.
Seth Lugo more than 5.0 Pitcher Strikeouts
Lugo has put together a nice year in his first full season as a starting pitcher for the Padres.
He has recorded at least five strikeouts in 10 of his 13 starts this season, including each of his last three starts.
His strikeout rate sits right around league-average at 22.2%.
Today, he gets one of the best possible matchups for right-handed starting pitchers as he takes on the Tigers.
Detroit has struck out at the fifth-highest rate in MLB versus righties this season, and they rank second-worst in both wOBA (.287) and wRC+ (82).
Lugo has thrown over 90 pitches in each of his last three starts and should have enough leash to get the job done for us tonight.
Tony Gonsolin less than 4.0 Pitcher Strikeouts
Gonsolin has one of the shortest leashes of any regular starting pitcher in the league.
He was yanked after just 54 pitches in his last outing despite cruising through 5 innings and allowing only 1 run.
Manager Dave Roberts blamed the quick hook for Gonsolin on the “humidity” and the fact he had a “fresh ‘pen” in that particular game.
These shenanigans are nothing new for Roberts and the way he handles his pitching staff, especially in reference to Gonsolin who has averaged just 68 pitches per start in his last 4 starts.
Fast forward to today’s matchup, where Gonsolin will meet up with one of baseball’s best offenses in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers own the league’s top wRC+ at 122, and they also rank second in wOBA at .346.
Gonsolin has failed to record at least 4 strikeouts in three of his last four starts.
The tough matchup, the manager’s quick hook for his starting pitchers, and a strikeout rate below 19% are all working against Gonsolin today.
Johan Oviedo less than 6.0 Pitcher Strikeouts
Oviedo has been right around league average as a starting pitcher this season.
He owns a 4.53 ERA that is supported by underlying metrics such as xFIP (4.56) and SIERA (4.63).
However, his strikeout rate checks in slightly below league average at 20.4%.
This projection feels slightly inflated because he is coming off of a 10-strikeout masterpiece his last time out against the Giants.
Oviedo has thrown more than 6 strikeouts in just two of his other 18 starts this season.
Today, he gets a matchup with the Angels who have been excellent versus right-handed pitching this season.
They rank fifth in the league in both wOBA (.336) and wRC+ (113) versus righties.
Their projected lineup contains just two hitters that have struck out more than 25% of the time this season.
I think Oviedo falls short of this projection today.
Shohei Ohtani more than 7.5 Pitcher Strikeouts
Ohtani is putting together yet another phenomenal season both at the dish and on the mound.
We will focus on the pitching side today as Ohtani will make his 19th start of the season against the Pirates.
His 32.2% strikeout rate ranks third best in the league among qualified starting pitchers.
He has recorded more than 7.5 strikeouts in 9 of his 18 starts this season.
Two of the other nine starts ended prematurely (one due to a blister and another due to a rain delay).
Betting on Baseball?
Ohtani gets a great matchup today as the Pirates rank fifth-worst in the league in both wOBA (.300) and wRC+ (86) versus right-handed pitching.
He continues to have one of the longest leashes in baseball as well.
He has averaged exactly 100 pitches per start if we throw out the two starts that ended for reasons beyond his control.
He should be able to dominate this weak Pirates offense and rack up more than 7.5 strikeouts today.