Things have gone from bad to worse for the Cleveland Indians. They did not have a hit in a game for the third time this season (notice how I didn’t say “no-hit”), and have now lost nine games in a row.
#Rays with a combined 7-inning no-hitter vs. the #Indians.
It doesn’t technically count as a “no-hitter”, but that’s the 3rd time the Tribe’s offense has been no-hit this season.
Cleveland losing streak is now 9.The schedule has been brutal. Absolute worse time for injuries.
— John Sabol (@John_Sabol) July 7, 2021
Some in the Twitter world have given up on the Indians, and with the trade deadline looming, it is not a good time for the team’s longest losing streak of the season.
The Chicago #WhiteSox (51-35), despite their slew of injuries, are running away with the AL Central. They have an 8-game lead with Cleveland (42-42) dropping ninth in a row after being no-hit (not an official no-hitter) against the #Rays in the 2nd game of the DH. #Octoberbound
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 7, 2021
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 106-89-4 (+6.44 units)
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 runs (+100)
These days, it seems one can only find decent value on the Dodgers in games that their “big three” of Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, and Walker Buehler are not pitching. In addition, it is rare to be able to get value on Los Angeles’s moneyline odds, and one often needs to resort to their runline odds. That is precisely what we are doing with this early afternoon play, but the wager has more to do with the Dodgers’ hitting instead of pitching.
Miami Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara (5-7, 2.96) has made two career starts against the Dodgers and has allowed 14 earned runs in 6.1 combined innings. Current Dodgers hitters have 19 combined at-bats Alcantara and are 9-for-19 (.474 BA), with seven of their hits going for extra bases (five doubles, two home runs). Though Alcantara is pitching much better than his 5-7 record suggests this year, he is just two years removed from having the most losses (14) in the league. Thus, some matchups are just not in a pitcher’s favor, and the Dodgers have proven to be a thorn in his side.
The Dodgers counter with Julio Urias (10-3, 3.81), who has allowed 11 runs in his last 15.1 innings. Urias has allowed less than a hit per inning in that span but has been undone by eight walks. Regardless, he is still 7-2 on the road this season, and his road ERA is 3.40 compared to 4.27 at home. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.92 on the road and is in line for a quality start if he can cut down the free passes. The Marlins are 25th or worse in batting average and OPS against left-handed starters and are not likely to produce many runs today.
The Marlins are 5-11 in their last 16 games against a left-handed starter, and the Dodgers are 4-1 in their previous five games in the fourth game of a series. Los Angeles did not play well at the beginning of this series, but they are due.
Pittsburgh Pirates Team Total UNDER (Odds not yet posted)
In Tuesday’s column, we cashed on Pittsburgh’s team total and go back to the well with the under once again today. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the worst offensive team in the league by a wide margin. 0.44 runs per game separate them from the 28th-ranked offense in the league, which is the same gap as the 28th to the 15th best offense. The Pirates have scored more than two runs in a game just twice in their last ten games. They are 24th or worse in nearly every offensive category, including batting average, OPS, total bases, and AB/HR. Tonight, they face a Mets pitcher whose fantastic season is still largely overshadowed by the historic start of his teammate, Jacob deGrom.
Taijuan Walker (7-3, 2.44) made arguably his most important start as a New York Met his last time out, as he opened their three-game Subway Series against the New York Yankees. Walker proved unflappable in 5.2 stellar innings, taking a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed just two hits and two earned runs. Walker has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last ten starts and has issued just three walks in his previous 24 innings.
Having JT Brubaker on the mound for Pittsburgh is a good thing for their team total, as Pittsburgh’s offense has provided him with seven total runs of support in his last four starts.
The under is 4-0-2 in Pittsburgh’s last six road games, and Walker will make sure the Pirates offense does not do anything to push this game over the projected total.
Detroit Tigers ML (+120)
The Detroit Tigers are quietly playing some of their best baseball of the season. They have not lost any of their last five series, and just finished a series win over the Rangers by beating the previously unbeaten Kyle Gibson. With one of their hottest pitchers on the mound tonight, the Tigers are a great value play.
Arguably no one has turned their season around better or faster than Detroit’s Tarik Skubal. Skubal (5-7, 4.35) started the year 0-6 with a 5.73 ERA through his first eight starts. However, he has not taken a loss since May 25th, despite a brutal schedule that includes three starts against the White Sox and starts against the Astros and Yankees. Comparatively, facing Minnesota’s offense should be a walk in the park. He faced Minnesota early in the season when he struggled mightily but turned in a solid performance allowing just two earned runs (on two solo home runs) in five innings. His eight strikeouts that day were a season-high to that point, and he has since matched or exceeded that total five times.
Minnesota’s J.A. Happ (4-4, 6.09) is going the other direction after starting the season 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA through five starts. Happ is 2.2 with a 6.88 ERA in his last seven starts and allowed a startling .343 OBA and a 1.78 WHIP in June.
The Tigers are just 7-19 in their last 26 meetings in Minnesota, but this trend does not consider how hot Skubal is and how different this year’s Minnesota team is from the one that won the last two AL Central titles.
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