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Best MLB Player Props for August 21: Cubs’ Bats Are Ready for Detroit’s Alex Faedo

Alex Faedo Detroit Tigers San Diego Padres
Alex Faedo 49 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the San Diego Padres on July 23 2023 Nic AntayaGetty ImagesAFP

Top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s baseball action.

Three games interest me: Cubs vs. Tigers, Giants vs. Phillies, and Reds vs. Angels.

I will recommend that you invest in player props from Tigers’ Alex Faedo, Angels’ Lucas Giolito, and strong pitching performance from Phillies’ Aaron Nola.

Picks Summary:

  • Alex Faedo Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+110) at Bet365
  • Aaron Nola Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-140) at Bet365
  • Lucas Giolito Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+100) at Bet365

Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit Tigers

Monday, August 21, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at Comerica Park


Alex Faedo (Detroit Tigers)

The Tigers start Alex Faedo today. Recency bias might tempt us to invest in Faedo because he is coming off a good start. However, it should be the opposite with Faedo, because he reliably follows up a strong performance with a weak one.

For example, after holding the White Sox to two runs on May 25, he allowed six runs in 4.1 innings against Texas. He pitches poorly even against worse teams than Texas when he’s coming off a good start.

One way of showing this tendency is to indicate that he’s allowed at least three earned runs in every start that followed one in which he allowed fewer than three.

Faedo’s Arsenal

Faedo throws a fastball, slider, and changeup. The paucity of pitches in his repertoire makes him relatively easy for batters to figure out.

Hence, opponents are increasingly productive against him when they see him more times. While he yields a good ERA in his first time in a game against his opponent’s lineup, he yields a 7.11 ERA in his second time through the order and an 11.57 ERA in his third time through the order.

Chicago’s Lineup

The Cubs have become a different team in the second half of this season. Starting the second half five games below .500, they are now five games above .500.

The consistency of their hitting and their overall productivity and explosiveness do much to explain their improvement. Since the second half of the season began for them, on July 14, they have thrived partly by succeeding against Faedo’s pitches.

Since July 14, they rank fifth with a .473 slugging rate against Faedo’s pitches from righties.

MLB Prop Pick: Alex Faedo Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+110) at Bet365


San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Monday, August 21, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at Citizens Bank Park


Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies)

Aaron Nola starts for the Phillies today. In descending order of frequency, Nola throws a curveball, fastball, sinker, changeup, and cutter. Nola’s emphasis on his curveball is intelligent because it is his best pitch.

His ability to distribute it evenly along both sides of the plate while consistently burying it makes it hard for batters to hit it. Moreover, it places in the 65th percentile in spin, which makes it hard for batters to track.

He plays his curveball well off his fastball by using their significant velocity differential to his advantage. Especially when he throws it up or inside, Nola’s fastball feels rather fast for batters after they encounter his curveball.

Nola’s fastball also features a significant horizontal movement that makes it hard for batters to make good contact. Nola’s pitch movement is one reason why he ably induces batters to chase his pitches.

His concise placement is another. By placing pitches along the borders of the strike zone, he makes batters uncertain as to whether they will land inside the strike zone for a strike or outside for a ball.

San Francisco’s Lineup

Hitting-wise, the Giants’ outlook is negative tonight because they match up poorly against Nola. They rank 26th with a .399 slugging rate against Nola’s pitches from righties.

While this statistic is bad enough, it actually obscures how poorly they are performing lately. Since August 9, they’ve failed to exceed three runs seven times in ten tries.

More to the point, they slug .289 against Nola’s pitches from righties since August 9.

MLB Prop Pick: Aaron Nola Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-140) at Bet365


Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Angels

Monday, August 21, 2023 – 09:38 PM EDT at Angel Stadium


Lucas Giolito (Los Angeles Angels)

The Angels start Lucas Giolito tonight. Giolito enters tonight’s game in poor form: he’s allowed seven earned runs in his last two starts. More extensively, he’s allowed 19 earned runs in his last four starts.

The Over/Under for his ‘earned runs allowed’ prop is 2.5, yet he has allowed three or more earned runs now in four straight starts.

During this four-start stretch, he has struggled against good lineups as well as lineups that rank in the bottom half in runs per game. The increased rate at which he allows home runs and hard contact contributes to his tendency to allow more runs.

While he’s failing to induce batters to chase his pitches at a high rate, he’s giving them a lot of stuff to hit in the strike zone.

Giolito’s Arsenal

In descending order of frequency, Giolito throws a fastball, slider, and changeup. These three pitches make up 98.5 percent of his arsenal.

As heat maps show, he often leaves his stuff in the more middle parts of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage. Yet, his stuff lacks the quality in themselves to survive their poor placement.

For instance, his fastball places in the 44th percentile in velocity and the 25th percentile in spin. These numbers suggest that his fastball is rather easy for batters to hit.

Reds’ Lineup

Hitting-wise, Cincinnati’s outlook is strong tonight because it matches up well against Giolito. Cincinnati ranks tenth with a .428 slugging rate against his favorite pitches from righties.

Expect the Reds’ lineup to prolong Giolito’s woes.

MLB Prop Pick: Lucas Giolito Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+100) at Bet365


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