Bets of the Day — April 9

Ryan Amore highlights Friday's best bets around baseball.

Phillies at Braves Total Runs


OK, maybe this is an overreaction to one game, but Zack Wheeler was phenomenal in his first outing against these same Braves just five days ago. He was remarkably efficient, as he required just 90 pitches to breeze through seven frames. And his fastball velocity was noticeably up too, averaging 97.7 mph, as opposed to 96.9 mph last season. The heater also returned a 38.1% whiff rate. That whiff rate is not going to stick, of course, but still, last time out we saw how stifling Wheeler can be when he’s at his best. The other encouraging thing for the Phillies after their first few games has been the bullpen. Last year, it was historically bad, as their relievers combined for an ERA of 7.06. This season, however, key additions José Alvarado and Archie Bradley have given the pen a much-needed boost early on. Combine that with Charlie Morton also looking strong in his debut for the Braves (42% CSW) and you have all the makings of a pitcher’s duel.

Pick: Under 8 (-110 DK)


Yankees at Rays Moneyline


Last year’s version of Rich Hill was a bit deceiving. On the surface, a 3.03 ERA and 1.16 WHIP might make you think of that awesome version we saw with the Dodgers not too long ago, but peel back a layer and you’ll see a 6.5% swinging-strike rate and just a 19.9% K rate, a nearly 10% drop from 2019. In his first start, we saw more of the same, with his curveball returning just a single whiff. The Rays will almost certainly have him on a short leash (71 pitches in his last start) but even so, a Yankee lineup loaded with righty power should have the veteran lefty at a decided disadvantage from the jump. Meanwhile, Yankee pitching, which is off to a stellar start leading the league with a 1.74 ERA, will look to put the clamps on a scuffling Rays offense that’s slashing just .208/.294/.337 in the early going.

Pick: Yankees (-139 DK)


Reds at Diamondbacks Run Line


Through six games, the Reds offense has produced 57 runs while pacing the league with a 1.002 OPS. OK, we know that’s not going to stick and it’s a silly sample size, but regardless, this is an impressive lineup top to bottom. Nicholas Castellanos (career .340 wOBA) is leading the charge at the moment with four home runs and a .435 batting average. Mike Moustakas (.234 ISO past three seasons combined) and Eugenio Suárez (.272 ISO past three seasons combined) give them an excellent L/R power tandem in the middle. They’ll face off against the unproven righty Taylor WidenerHe only threw 20 innings last year, so it’s difficult to gauge what to expect. THE BAT projections (via FanGraphs) aren’t particularly ambitious, however, pegging him for a 4.73 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. In 100 innings for Triple-A Reno back in 2019, Widener struggled with an 8.10 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. He’ll also have to face Joey Votto and potentially Jesse Winker (DTD, illness) both of whom have a career wOBA north of .380 vs RHP.

The Reds should also have an advantage with Tyler Mahle on the hill. The righty was impressive last season for multiple reasons, as Michael Ajeto points out here. And in his first start, he showed improved velocity with his heater sitting 95.1 mph, up from 93.9 last season. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, will also be without by far their biggest offensive threat in Ketel Marte, who was placed on the IL with a hamstring injury. It’s not too difficult to imagine the road favorite Reds (-130 ML) pulling away in this one.

Pick: Reds -1.5 ( +125 DK)


Ryan Amore Overall Record: 2-1-0


Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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