June 26, 2023
Three suggestions for early-in-the-week action
Cincinnati Reds at Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD
7:05 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Baltimore -140
Cincinnati saw its 12-game winning streak snapped to the equally hot Braves over the weekend, dropping a pair of thrillers 7-6 on both Saturday and Sunday. But the Reds have no reason to hang their heads, as they’ve played phenomenal of late and got a look at what a potential playoff series against Atlanta could look like.
Cincy is hitting the baseball hard, having scored five or more runs in eight straight games. The Reds appear to possess one of the most-dangerous offenses in baseball.
They’re in Baltimore for this one, but that’s not the worst news. The road was very kind to the Reds their last time out, as they went 8-1 on a trip with stops in St. Louis, Kansas City and Houston, including sweeps of the Royals and Astros.
Starting pitcher Brandon Williamson has held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in five of his seven starts this year, including each of the last two. Cincinnati is 6-1 overall in games he takes the baseball.
On the other side of things, Baltimore is a pedestrian 5-5 over its last 10 games, including ugly losses by scores of 13-1, 7-2 and 10-3.
Cole Irvin is slated to earn the start for the O’s, but his numbers aren’t exactly pretty this year in a hybrid role between the bullpen and starting. He sports a 1-3 record with a 7.71 ERA and gave up three home runs in his last start against the Cubs, a game in which he lasted just four innings and the Orioles got blasted.
Even with the two recent losses, the Reds have the more favorable starter and are too hot right now to be underdogs against anyone. Look for Cincy to hit Irvin hard early and often and get back in the win column on Monday night.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Cincinnati M/L (+120)
Minnesota Twins at Atlanta Braves
Truist Park – Atlanta, GA
7:20 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Atlanta -190
The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in Atlanta, as the Braves look like as good of a bet as anyone to win the World Series. They had their eight-game win streak snapped by the Reds on Friday night in an 11-10 thriller, but did well to bounce back with two 7-6 victories over the weekend.
Atlanta is now 10-1 over its last 11 games and sports a tidy 50-27 record. That’s easily the most wins in the National League, as the playoffs appear like they will run through their city.
The Braves +107 run differential is also by far the best in the NL. They’re the only ones in their division with a positive number.
Spencer Strider is one of the better pitchers in the game, with an 8-2 record and 3.93 ERA. He’s won four of his last five outings and took a no decision in the other, a game Atlanta still won. They’re 13-2 overall this year in games he takes the mound.
For the Twins, they’re middling right around .500 and are 5-6 over their last 11 games. Sonny Gray hasn’t won a game since April, despite starting nine times in that span. Minnesota is just 3-6 in contests during that stretch, as Gray rarely gets run support.
The Twins have scored three runs or fewer in six of those nine games. Gray’s not a bad pitcher, but this is more about how hot Atlanta is right now. Don’t overthink and put a few bucks down on the Braves.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Atlanta M/L (-190)
Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
Globe Life Field – Arlington, TX
8:05 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Texas -195
The Rangers have fallen back to Earth the last two weeks, going just 6-8 over their last 14 games after topping out with a 41-22 record back on June 10. Texas still has a comfortable lead in the AL West, but it doesn’t feel like the Rangers are going to run away with the division as once thought, with both the very talented Angels and champion Astros looming.
They’re coming off a disappointing weekend in the Bronx. They lost twice to the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday by scores of 1-0 and 5-3 as the bats went silent.
Starter Andrew Heaney has struggled to get any length as of late, failing to go six innings in any of his last four starts. One of those he lasted just 3.0 innings and another he only went 3.2 innings. The long ball was a problem his last time out, giving up two dingers to the White Sox.
Meanwhile, Detroit is playing better baseball of late, going 6-4 over its last 10 games. In the Tigers’ last road series, they beat the Twins three of four times and outscored Minnesota 21-11.
Starter Matthew Boyd has won two starts in a row, going six innings against both the Royals and Twins. The Tigers easily won both outings by scores of 9-4 and 8-4.
This is too much juice for how each team is playing right now and the direction each starter is trending. Take a chance on the Tigers to win this game.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Detroit M/L (+170)
Three Things We Learned…
Takeaways from a weekend full of great games and performances
A star is born
Last year, Julio Rodriguez was the next big thing in Major League Baseball. The Mariners outfielder stole the show at the Home Run Derby and rolled to the American League’s Rookie of the Year award. This time around, the bright, young star is in the other circuit. Elly De La Cruz, the Reds shortstop, is dazzling fans in Cincinnati and beyond. In just his 15th career game, the 21-year-old phenom hit for the cycle. He’s electrifying crowds and rejuvenating baseball in the Queen City.
Baseball is wacky sometimes
After losing eight-straight road games, which included getting swept in Atlanta and Cincinnati, the Rockies returned home for a weekend series with the Angels. Somewhat surprisingly, Colorado took two of three from a Los Angeles team that finally looks like a playoff contender. But that wasn’t the amazing part. What was incredible about the three-game set is that the Halos outscored the Rockies by a 32-12 margin during the weekend yet lost two out of three. That’s what a 25-1 win on Saturday night will do to skew the stats.
Craziness in Omaha
Speaking of high-scoring baseball games, Coors Field wasn’t the only sight of a 20-spot this weekend. At the College World Series, Florida staved off elimination by beating LSU in a record-setting performance on Sunday. The Gators plated 24 runs, the most ever scored in a CWS game. Their 24-4 victory puts the best-of-three series at 1-1, setting up a winner-takes-all scenario on Monday. Buckle up. It should be a doozy in Omaha!