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Best MLB Player Props for August 29: Cardinals’ Lineup Is Ice-Cold Facing Lugo


With the best betting odds for today’s slate right at our fingertips, we have three games we’re especially interested in investing in for today’s player props: Padres vs. Cardinals, Braves vs. Rockies, and Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers.

Picks Summary

  • • Seth Lugo Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365
  • • Charlie Morton Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-115) at Bet365
  • • Merrill Kelly Over 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365

San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – 07:45 PM EDT at Busch Stadium


Seth Lugo (San Diego Padres)

Seth Lugo starts for San Diego tonight. Lugo enters today’s game in tremendous form: after throwing six shutout innings against Arizona, he did the same against Miami.

He has now allowed a combined total of two earned runs in his last three starts. More extensively, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.

The one exception came against the mighty Dodgers. Despite this exception, Lugo’s strong form can be said to have withstood difficult challenges.

It is not easy to succeed twice in consecutive starts against the same lineup, but Lugo did just that against an Arizona team that ranks a respectable 12th in runs per game.

Lugo’s Arsenal

In descending order of frequency, Lugo throws a curveball, fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup.

Lugo’s favorite pitch makes him unique. His curveball places in the 100th percentile in spin and it also enjoys tremendous movement. Consequently, batters struggle to track its movement and to make good contact against it.

But this pitch also makes his other stuff better. For example, while his fastball isn’t so fast per se, it is hard for batters to transition from encountering his slow curveball to his fastball, the latter averaging 14 more mph than the former.

In terms of location, he ably distributes both of these pitches along different parts of the strike zone.

Cardinals Lineup

Lugo has recently mastered much tougher tests than the ones he’ll face tonight.

Hitting-wise, St. Louis is ice-cold. In their past four games, the Cardinals have mustered a combined total of four runs.

More extensively, dating back to August 16, they’ve failed to exceed two runs in nine of their last twelve games. Since August 16, they’re slugging .336 against Lugo’s pitches from righties.

MLB Pick: Seth Lugo Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365


Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – 08:40 PM EDT at Coors Field


Charlie Morton (Atlanta Braves)

Charlie Morton starts for Atlanta tonight.

Morton enters today’s game in tremendous form: he’s shut out his last three opponents, the Yankees and the Mets (x2). While neither lineup is particularly potent, it’s difficult to thrive against the same lineup twice in such a short span of time, as Morton did against the Mets.

The extent to which Morton is performing well is especially impressive in his last two starts, in which he’s accumulated a combined total of 21 strikeouts and two walks.

His high strikeout rate attests to the difficulty batters are having just touching his pitches. In a similar vein, they are having trouble hitting him. He allowed a combined total of six hits in these two starts. His ability to minimize hard contact contributes to the low total of hits allowed.

Morton’s Arsenal

Morton throws a curveball, fastball, changeup, sinker, and cutter.

It’s intelligent of him to make his curveball his favorite pitch to throw because it is highly effective. This pitch places in the 97th percentile in spin, making it hard for batters to track its location.

Its strong horizontal and vertical movement furthers the same difficulty. While he’s not afraid to challenge batters with it, he ably buries this pitch, as heat maps show, making it all the more for batters to make contact. Given its various strengths, his curveball yields a .179 BA and .268 slugging rate.

Rockies Lineup

Colorado constitutes another soft test for the in-form Morton.

The Rockies match up poorly against him, ranking 21st with a .408 slugging rate against his pitches from righties.

MLB Pick: Charlie Morton Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-115) at Bet365


Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium


Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Merrill Kelly starts for the Diamondbacks tonight.

Kelly’s ERA creates a misleadingly positive impression of him. While his ERA is low, he has benefitted from an unsustainably high strand rate and from a BABIP (batting average of balls in play) that is improbably low in view of the extensive amount of hard contact that he allows.

His 3.92 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) suggests that he is more vulnerable than it otherwise seems.

Kelly might still merit confidence today given his last start against the Dodgers, which was undeniably successful. On August 9, he threw six shutout innings against them.

However, the Dodgers will benefit today from having seen him so recently, which will enable them to be better prepared for the rematch. It is hard to succeed twice in a row, in such a brief span of time, against a powerful lineup.

Location

Noteworthy is also that Kelly’s last start against the Dodgers took place in Phoenix. Location matters because, while Kelly regularly flourishes at home, he reliably struggles at Dodger Stadium.

In his career, he is 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA in Dodger Stadium. His first three starts in the Dodgers’ venue resulted in L.A. accumulating significant run totals.

While Kelly did not allow runs in his last start in their venue, this result is not repeatable. In this start, he remained unscathed despite allowing significant hard contact.

His 4.36 FIP in the start reflects how poorly he actually performed, and this poor performance is consistent with his prior history at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers Lineup

Exceptionally, Kelly did not allow any home runs in his prior start at Dodger Stadium.

Kelly normally allows at least one home run in a start, and the Dodgers, who rank second in home runs per game, are a great candidate to produce home runs.

Right now, LA is a great candidate in general to score a lot of runs. The Dodgers have accrued a combined total of 41 runs in their past six games. They are consistently succeeding offensively.

Impressively, they are doing damage to great pitchers like fellow Diamondback Zac Gallen.

Also in view of their whole season, their outlook is strong tonight because they rank second with a .466 slugging rate against Kelly’s pitches from righties.

MLB Pick: Merrill Kelly Over 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365


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