Double Play: Struggling Offenses Give Thursday Edges

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, April 26, 2018 11:42 AM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 11:42 AM UTC

A short MLB card on Thursday still presents some gems as our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, writes up his top Thursday MLB Picks.

2018 MLB Record: 27-19-2, +7.07u (4 Pending)

Tampa Bay Rays (8-13 SU) @ Baltimore Orioles (6-17 SU)Free MLB Pick: Baltimore ML Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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There was a very interesting piece written last week in which it was suggested that Dylan Bundy was a much better pitcher on extra rest, and furthermore a better pitcher early in the season. He’s definitely been fantastic, although with a 1.42 ERA he has only put up one winning decision because of the weak Orioles offense. With a 2.00 FIP paired with an above-average .321 BABIP, there isn’t much to say that this start of Bundy’s can’t be continued. He’ll face a Tampa Bay team that hasn’t had much success from a BAA standpoint, although his historical ERA against the Rays is bad. That is as much a sequencing issue as anything, and the order in which he has given up hits.

Baltimore will face Chris Archer, who has been absolutely destroyed by lefties this year to the tune of a 2.27 WHIP and 28.6% HR/FB rate. Chris Davis should be licking his chops for the matchup he will have. Archer also gets hit around a bit by expected starters Manny Machado and Adam Jones, too, so I don’t see him getting through this game unscathed. Problem is, he should have to be nearly perfect to give the Rays a chance here against Bundy. That’s not happening, but I also can’t count on Baltimore’s offense to put up a bunch of runs to cover a run line. We are left with the value of taking Baltimore ML as one of my Thursday MLB Picks.

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José Abreu left with flu-like symptoms. He is day-to-day.

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 25, 2018

Chicago White Sox (11-8 O/U) @ Kansas City Royals (8-12 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Under 8.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Lucas Giolito of the White Sox just had a terrible outing – against one of the best offenses in the league in the Houston Astros. Not all that surprising really. The 23-year-old 6-foot-6 former top prospect has a four-pitch repertoire and has a respectable line drive rate of 14.9% on the season over 20.0 innings pitched. Walks are a big problem, though, with an 8.55 BB/9 rate to start the year. A lot of that is his blowup outing against the Astros. He’ll face a team on Thursday in the Royals that ranks 24th in the MLB in taking walks, which should help with some confidence in pounding the strike zone.

The Royals will counter with Jakob Junis, who has started the year blistering hot with a .160 BAA and 0.75 WHIP. He won’t counter much resistance from the White Sox, who have a team batting average of .237 and averaging just 3.4 runs per game against right-handed starters. This will be the first time Junis has faced the White Sox as well, giving him the element of surprise. Unlike Giolito, Junis doesn’t walk many batters with a 1.69 BB/9 rate over his first 26.2 innings pitched. Like Giolito, Junis has a superb 13.5% line drive rate. Line drives equal runs more than any other batted result, so I will be taking Under 8.5 runs here in what could be a surprising pitching duel.

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