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The Weekly Taste: A Pair of Props and ML bets

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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Gut Yontif. Monday brought the kid back to life a bit. I’m looking to get back on a new hot streak, so with Tuesday’s slate looking tasty…It’s go-time.

*Each play will be labeled (1 through number “X”) to determine how I rank my plays on a daily basis.

Philadelphia Phillies (-122) @ Seattle Mariners (+104) | Over/Under 7 (1)

Another one? Another one. Not only does this apply to how the banter with my bartender goes when I’m ordering my 15th Espresso Martini, but it could also be used against a Mariners team that refuses to do anything right at the moment. I don’t really know what is going on in the Pacific Northwest, but they have lost 11 of their last 13 games since that road trip. I’m starting to get a little concerned, but we need to keep fading them. Fade them today, back them tomorrow when Logan Gilbert is on the bumpski.

Robbie Ray has regressed to his mean a little bit. Far off from the guy who won the AL Cy Young award last season, now with a 4.38 ERA. Not to say Ray has pitched poorly, but there is definitely a noticeable drop off; the strikeouts are way down, the location is off, and the stuff is not as sharp. This is likely a case of tweaking a couple of things to have him back to his dominant self in no time, but until that happens I am not interested in backing him against a Phillies’ lineup that is top 10 in most major offensive categories. On a side note, his 6.5 strikeout total looks a tad high, he has only gone over once in six starts.

While I am not the biggest Aaron Nola fan, I will admit he has been pretty strong overall this season. Although the team has lost five of his six starts when he has pitched, he gave them a chance to win pretty much every time. Normally Nola is in for an adventure during the third time through the order, a point made by his opponent’s .360 average and 1.240 OPS, but Seattle’s lineup has yet to prove they can provide consistent offensive output with their combined 16 runs in their last eight games.

This is a battle of good, but inconsistent pitchers, both of which give up a ton of taters (11 combined). There should be some fireworks in this game, which means it could be higher scoring. It’s hard to not back the team that is at least scoring.

PREDICTION: Phillies ML (-122)

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Houston Astros (-136) @ Minnesota Twins (+116) | Over/Under 7 (2)

This is probably one of the better matchups on Tuesday’s MLB slate. Two of the hottest teams in baseball with a couple of dealing pitchers in Justin Verlander and Joe Ryan. Which 18-11 squad gets their week started right?

Justin Verlander has been killing it in his return from a two-year injury hiatus with a 3-1 mark and 1.93 ERA. Even at the ancient age of 39, there barely looks like a drop off from his Cy Young glory days. Having gone at least six innings and surrendering three runs or less in four straight starts, Verlander will be put to the test against a Twins lineup that is in the top half of the league in most offensive categories. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) depending on which way you look at it, Carlos Correa is not projected to be on the field today as he is still dealing with an injured finger.

One of the real surprises early on is rookie Joe Ryan and his 1.63 ERA. Although it has been largely against a butter schedule, Ryan has been quietly compiling a nice start to his 2022 campaign. Minny has also managed to win his last four outings combining for 21 runs in the process. Tuesday is likely their toughest test yet, but aside from being 11-4 at home this season, they have won nine straight in their own place. Any way you dice it, the rookie has been amazing to pretty much every lineup he has faced. Now, he draws an offense that is just 19th in runs scored (110) and fourth last in batting average (.217).

There has been a lot of action since last night coming in on Minny. It’s a good day for an upset.

PREDICTION: Twins ML (+116)

Yusei Kikuchi O/U 5.5 Strikeouts vs. New York Yankees (3)

My Weekly Taste, my weekly tradition. Yusei Kikuchi came back on the slate with yet another K prop of 4.5 for the sixth time in a row, but some early morning nuke action raised the total up. Last time out, Kikuchi faced the Yankees and had one of his outlier stellar outings going six shutout innings and punching out seven. That was the first time all season YK went past five innings, but can he do it again?

Yusei will now draw the Yankees for the THIRD time in six outings to begin his year. The first time he was an easy cash to the under in the Bronx. Simply put, Kikuchi is 1-4 to the over this season on strikeout props, and now he faces a NYY lineup that hits lefties as good, if not better, than righties. The Baby Bombers have struck out the 12th fewest times (235) this season. While he was on point and lights out last time, I just don’t think it happens twice in a row. There seems to be a bit of an overreaction from his last time out. We need to grab this 5.5 under while it is still on the board, though I think his under 4.5 comes home as well.

PREDICTION: Kikuchi U5.5 K’s (-136)

Justin Verlander O/U 6.5 Strikeouts vs. Minnesota Twins (4)

The knockoff JV truly disappointed me last time out. Against the Mariners, he only punched out three hitters but had about FIFTEEN (15) two-strike counts that he blew. Nothing aggravates me more than when a pitcher has a batter 0-2 or 1-2 and gives them a fastball over the plate. It’s moronic to me. Nevertheless, it’s time for arguably the league’s least attractive pitcher to make it up to me. After all, he is still a “JV.”

The Twins are a fairly decent K team with 248 (14th most) thus far. The best part is they probably have a bit of skewed numbers as of late since they have had the likes of Oakland, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Detroit, none of which have dominant pitchers, except for the Rays’ Shane McClanahan who struck out 11. In fact, the White Sox were the last team they saw that had solid K arms where Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito both notched at least seven punchouts (Dylan Cease did not pitch in the series).

The point is Verlander is one of the best arms they have seen this year, and the way he is throwing it’s hard to not to dabble on an over 6.5 strikeout number. With a longer leash on a rising pitch count, we should see JV notch about seven innings and eight K’s.

PREDICTION: Verlander O6.5 K’s (-118)

Have a Taco Tuesday taste, kid

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