Sunday’s Major League Baseball Betting Previews & Best Bets

Apr 26, 2015


Tampa Bay Rays (-135) over Toronto Blue Jays

Analysis: Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer is off to a terrific start this season, posting a 1.07 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in his first four outings. Even more impressive is the fact that Archer has not allowed an earned run in three consecutive starts, a period spanning 19 2/3-innings. I also like the fact that Archer is 3-1 with a career 2.98 ERA and 1.16 WHIP versus the Blue Jays, including yielding just one run in his last two appearances (14 IP; 5 H; 1 R; 1 ER; 20K; 5 BB).

Chris Archer’s 2015 Metrics:

2.52 FIP & 2.28 xFIP
2.11 SIERA

The 26-year-old is also supported by a very capable Tampa Bay bullpen that boasts a 3.18 ERA and 0.90 WHIP at home, including a 3.04 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over the last seven games. In contrast, Toronto enters today’s game with a struggling bullpen that owns a 4.52 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 2015, including a 5.84 ERA and 1.21 WHIP on the road, a 5.09 ERA and 1.32 WHIP versus division opponents and a 5.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over its last seven games. I also like the fact that Archer garnered a 2.29 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in nine day starts last season.

Meanwhile, Toronto southpaw Mark Buehrle toes the rubber with an unblemished 3-0 record, together with a 4.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. The crafty veteran is a prime regression candidate based upon his underlying metrics: 5.09 FIP; 4.40 xFIP; 4.78 SIERA. Buehrle owns a career 4.15 ERA and 1.30 WHIP versus the Rays, including giving up a combined seven earned runs on 16 hits in his last two appearances.

From a technical standpoint, the Blue Jays are a money-burning 7-21 in their last 28 road games versus teams with a winning record, including 1-5 when Buehrle is on the mound.  With Toronto standing at 20-49 in its last 69 trips to Tampa Bay, take the Rays in this Major League Baseball clash and invest with confidence.

Toronto Lineup Update: Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes is not in the lineup today, which is good news for Tampa Bay investors as Reyes has handled Archer pretty well in his career (.429, 9-for-21). Toronto is also without outfielder Jose Bautista, who remains day-to-day with a sore right shoulder.

San Diego Padres (-116) over Los Angeles Dodgers

Analysis: San Diego right-hander Brandon Morrow is off to a strong start in 2015, posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, including a 1.29 ERA and 1.07 WHIP at home. Those numbers are also supported by solid underlying metrics:

Brandon Morrow’s 2015 Metrics:

2.93 FIP & 3.21 xFIP
3.43 SIERA

Morrow is also supported by a very good San Diego bullpen that owns a 3.27 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season, including a 2.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at home and a 2.54 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in day games. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ rotational roulette wheel has landed on Scott Baker, who becomes the third different fifth starter in as many opportunities. The other two starts were made by David Huff, who allowed four runs in four innings and Mike Bolsinger, who yielded one run in 5 2/3-innings last Thursday.

Baker was signed on April 3 after being released by the Yankees at the end of spring training. How bad was Baker during exhibition season? Well, the 33-year-old posted an alarming 7.84 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 10.1 innings of work, including giving up fourteen hits. While I generally dismiss spring training statistics involving veterans, Baker’s numbers tell a compelling story. In his last spring training appearance, he allowed five earned runs in just two innings against the Orioles.

Baker’s body of work last season was also less than stellar. The veteran right-hander was 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 80.2 innings for Texas. Those results were supported by a 4.78 FIP, 4.37 xFIP and 4.24 SIERA. Baker also struggled in day games in 2014 as evidenced by his 5.50 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

Speaking of day games, the Dodgers’ bullpen doesn’t like the afternoon sun either as they have a 4.63 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in day games this season. The Dodgers’ bullpen also owns a pedestrian 4.65 ERA and 1.55 WHIP on the road in 2015.

As of Saturday, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly indicated that the disabled list was a distinct possibility for outfielder Yasiel Puig, who left Friday’s game after aggravating his strained left hamstring. “I still think it’s a possibility. We just don’t know,” Mattingly said of Puig, who was being treated by trainers and did not take batting practice with the team Saturday.

From a technical standpoint, San Diego is 37-18 in its last 55 home games, 22-8 in its last thirty home games versus right-handed starters and 8-2 in its last ten after losing the first two games of a series. Take the Padres in this Major League Baseball clash and invest with confidence.