Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 2:05 PM EST and are subject to change.
Kansas City +165 over L.A. Angels
9:38 PM EST. We’ll keep it short and sweet on the Royals, but Kris Bubic (LHP - KC) is in a favorable position here with a Halos side that cannot hit lefties, ranking 25th in the majors in average, as well as 26th in On Base and Slugging Percentage. Only two teams in baseball whiff more than these Angels when facing left-handed pitching. With a couple of stops and starts, it can be easy to forget that Bubic was well regarded as a graduating prospect who was projected to be a valuable piece of the rotation. This season, it might not be pretty on the surface, but under the hood, Bubic has shown to be on the wrong side of some bad luck. His xERA is nearly a run and a half lower than his surface number. Bubic’s .345 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) proves his luck has been poor. His 58.7% strand rate, which is very low, also points to Bubic being unlucky.
After a nearly month-long stretch of bad baseball that cost former manager Joe Maddon his job when its losing streak hit 12, Los Angeles would go on to lose two more games before getting off the schneid with a win over Boston on June 9. In the 10 games since that win over the Red Sox, the Angels are 5-5 with a three-game winning streak to their credit. However, those wins came against a Mariners team that cannot get out of their way right now. That does little to raise the Halos’ stock from where we sit.
Noah Syndergaard (RHP - LAA) is still a serviceable starter in this league, but he is no longer the ace he once was. “Thor” has started 10 games this season and has seen a considerable decline in his strikeout rate (9.00 K/9 to 6.18 K/9). That is by far the lowest of Syndergaard’s career and not likely what the Angels were hoping for when they decided to give him $21-million to pitch this season. Again, Syndergaard is not gawdawful, he’s pretty much, “what you see is what you get.” “Thor” is no longer a superstar, nor an “All-Star,” nor a solid starter. He’s a “role player,” at best, with his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rating of 0.9. If one really wanted to be cruel, a sub rating of 1.00 technically puts Syndergaard into the “scrub” category.
“Thor’s“ 3.53 ERA is backed by an xERA of 4.24, which is not elite by any measure. His strand rate is in line with the league average, as is his BABIP. In his last three turns, Syndergaard went 0-3 with just 12.3 innings pitched and eight strikeouts. One of those starts was a total blowup while the others showed some potential cracks in “Thor’s” armor. A 35% groundball rate in six innings against the Red Sox on June 6 was bundled with just three strikeouts. Last time out, Syndergaard went 4.2 innings against the Dodgers, but he walked three and benefited greatly from some solid defense, as his BABIP in that game was a damage limiting .182, which is well below his season average of .270 (which as we said is neither great nor poor, but about where it should be).
In those three starts against the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees, Syndergaard was priced at +117, -115 and +180, respectively. Now, “Thor” is now a near 2-1 favorite against these Royals, who by the way, are a bottom-six side in strikeouts when facing right-handed pitching. Sure, Syndergaard is taking a step down in competition tonight, but this price is far too steep to find out if his recent struggles were a byproduct of playing some tough teams or a sign of something more.
Kansas City +165 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.30)