A day after less than half of MLB’s teams were in action, we get back to a full slate of games on Tuesday. The newest marquee series to start today is an AL East showdown between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, which begins with the Red Sox owning a half-game lead for first-place over the Rays. The series got a little bit more exciting with the news that the baseball’s top prospect, Wander Franco, would be called up from Triple-A in time for the opening game. And in other news, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally won a game.
Wander Franco, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, is headed to the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays, source confirms to ESPN. Franco, 20, is a shortstop but can play second and third base, too. He’s been wrecking AAA, hitting .323/.376/.601. Rays could use him. Lost six in a row.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 21, 2021
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Tuesday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 91-72-3 (+10.15 units)
New York Mets ML (-110)
The Mets and Braves are running on fumes today, as both teams have played two doubleheaders in the last three days. While starting pitching is always a significant determining factor in who will win or lose a game, one also has to take bullpens into account, primarily when both teams’ relievers have been used so much in a short period. That advantage goes to the Mets.
Entering Monday’s action, Mets relievers ranked 11th in baseball with a 3.79 ERA, while Atlanta’s bullpen ranked 26th with a 4.94 ERA. The Braves bullpen has also thrown 19 more innings, as New York still has several games left to make up on their schedule after many early postponements. And according to Buster Olney’s tweet, no lead has been safe with Atlanta’s ‘pen this year.
From @EliasSports: Atlanta did not lose a game last season in which it held a lead at any point in the seventh inning or later, going 35–0. The Braves have lost nine games this year after they were ahead in the seventh inning or later, most in the NL.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 20, 2021
Marcus Stroman (6-5, 2.35 ERA) is precisely who the Mets need on the mound with a taxed bullpen. He has been an innings eater, throwing at least six innings in a career-high eight consecutive starts. He has made seven quality starts in that span while pitching to a 2.50 ERA.
Stroman is a perfect 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his four career starts against the Braves. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Charlie Morton (6-3, 4.03 ERA) has had trouble beating the Mets, as he is 1-3 with a 3.52 ERA in ten career appearances (nine starts) against them. Thus, back Stroman and New York’s pitching edge as one of the biggest reasons the Mets will be victorious tonight.
Red Sox-Rays OVER 8.5 runs (-105)
The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have played many high-scoring affairs recently, as the over is 18-6-2 in their last 26 meetings overall and 11-5-1 in their previous 17 meetings in Tampa Bay. Given the news of Franco’s callup (as mentioned in the opening of this article) and how much tonight’s starting pitchers have struggled, another slugfest should ensue.
Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.21 ERA) has not won any of his last seven starts and has pitched to an 8.55 ERA in that span. The over is 5-0 in his previous five starts, and current Rays hitters are batting a combined .297 and slugging .459 against him.
Tampa Bay’s Rich Hill (5-2, 3.64 ERA) has allowed eight earned runs over the last 9.2 innings and has looked nothing like the pitcher who won AL Pitcher of the Month in May for a 3-1 record and 0.78 ERA in six May starts. Red Sox hitters are slugging .524 against Hill in their careers, led by Hunter Renfroe and J.D. Martinez, who combined for five extra-base hits against him in 30 at-bats. Boston entered Monday ranked in the top 12 in the league in batting average and slugging against left-handed starters, and they should be able to do their part in scoring runs against the struggling 41-year old.
Los Angeles Angels ML (-132)
We are taking on the San Francisco Giants, the best team in baseball, in this series opener. The Giants have won four of the last five meetings between these teams, but Angels starter Andrew Heaney has already thrown a gem against San Francisco. In a road start on June 1st, Heaney (4-4, 4.45 ERA) allowed just one earned run on five hits over 6.1 innings while striking out seven.
Current Giants hitters are a combined 5-for-24 against Heaney, with all five hits being singles. Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani (7-2, 3.01 ERA) comes into this start with great momentum, as he is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts. However, the Angels have won their previous four interleague games and are 6-1 in their previous seven home games.
Los Angeles is a profitable 5-3 after an off day. There is something fishy about making the Angels such a big favorite over the best team in baseball against a hot pitcher, but we will not take the bait with the Giants.
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