For your best bets, I will recommend investing in a strong pitching performance from Lucas Giolito of the White Sox and in weak pitching performances from Zach Davies of the Diamondbacks and Patrick Sandoval of the Angels.
- Lucas Giolito Under 2.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Zach Davies Over 3.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-133) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Patrick Sandoval Over 2.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-107) at Caesars Sportsbook
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 – 07:10 PM EDT at Citi Field
Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox)
Lucas Giolito starts for the White Sox tonight.
Giolito’s 3.45 ERA is good, but it might not seem to be that impressive. His ERA is this “low” because he had a rough start to the season.
While he struggled in April and May, his form in those two months is utterly irrelevant to the here-and-now.
What does matter for today’s game is that he’s been pitching excellently for a while. His June ERA was 2.32, and his July ERA sits at 2.77.
The strength of Giolito’s arsenal lies in its forms of variety.
He’ll attack batters with a fastball that he likes to elevate and that averages 93 mph. Then, he’ll come with a changeup that averages 13 fewer mph than his fastball, which creates an intense change of pace.
Similarly, he likes to bury his changeup, as he does his slider, in order to change the batter’s eye level after throwing an elevated fastball.
The variety in his pitch velocity and in his pitch location keeps hitters off-balance.
Giolito’s Current Form
Most recently, Giolito has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.
What is perhaps most impressive about his current form is that he’s sustained it against tough competition. For example, he thrived against a Toronto lineup that is much tougher than the lineup he’ll face tonight.
The Mets rank around average in slugging against Giolito’s pitches from righties, but this ranking reflects their season-long efforts.
Currently, however, they are hitting very poorly. Since the All-Star Break, they’ve scored a combined total of two runs in three games. One of those runs came in extra innings.
MLB Pick: Lucas Giolito Under 2.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 – 07:20 PM EDT at Truist Park
Zach Davies (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Zach Davies starts for the Diamondbacks tonight.
Davies enters this game having allowed a combined total of seven earned runs in his past two starts. While this isn’t such a bad total, those two starts came against the Pirates and Mets, who pose much softer tests than the Braves.
Obviously, his 6.37 ERA isn’t pretty. What is perhaps most concerning is that his bad performances haven’t come exclusively against the stronger lineups that he’s faced, but he’s also been blown up by lower-quality lineups like Cleveland’s.
Davies throws a sinker, changeup, fastball, cutter, and curveball. He has trouble finding a pitch to really rely on, as evident in the fact that batters thrive against his favorite pitches.
His favorite pitches are his sinker and changeup. Combined, these two pitches make up just over 60% of his arsenal. Even though he likes to throw them often, opponents slug .493 against his sinker and .514 against changeup.
His pitches suffer for their lack of velocity and spin. For example, his fastball places in the eighth percentile in velocity and in the 28th percentile in spin, suggesting that batters easily keep up with it and track its location.
Of course, as evident in his high walk rate, opposing batters might not even have to swing in order to get on base.
Atlanta’s lineup is one that Davies must be least excited to face. The Braves rank first with a .487 slugging rate against his pitches from righties.
Among others, look out for Sean Murphy and Matt Olson. Both slug over .600 against his pitches from righties.
MLB Pick: Zach Davies Over 3.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-133) at Caesars Sportsbook
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 – 09:38 PM EDT at Angel Stadium
Patrick Sandoval (Los Angeles Angels)
Patrick Sandoval starts for the Angels tonight. Sandoval’s current 4.41 ERA might not seem so terrible, but it’s concerning that almost all of his worst starts came since the start of June. He has been a markedly worse pitcher since that month.
His ERA is thus flattered by his early strong start to the season, which is irrelevant to tonight’s game because it has no bearing on his current form.
While Sandoval has lucked out from facing bottom-feeder teams like Kansas City, he hasn’t been able to remain unscathed by even slightly harder challenges, as when the White Sox leveled him with seven earned runs on June 29.
Lately, he has also been beaten up badly by Seattle and Houston.
Sandoval throws primarily a slider, changeup, fastball, curveball, and sinker. Together, these pitches make up 97.5% of his arsenal. In themselves, these pitches are unimpressive, which helps explain why he struggles so mightily.
For example, his fastball places in the 33rd percentile in velocity and in the fourth percentile in spin rate, numbers that suggest that his fastball is rather easy for batters to deal with.
Sandoval also struggles with location. As heat maps show, he often leaves many of his favorite pitches in the more middle parts of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage.
Hitting-wise, the Yankees’ outlook is excellent today.
Aaron Judge’s absence poses no obstacle to them. Since their superstar’s absence, they rank first with a .508 slugging rate against Sandoval’s pitches from lefties.
They absolutely have the weaponry to prolong Sandoval’s demise. Gleyber Torres, for example, is on a tear with six straight multi-hit outings.
MLB Pick: Patrick Sandoval Over 2.5 Earned Runs Allowed (-107) at Caesars Sportsbook