We got bit by the regression monster last time out trying to ride Kwang Hyun Kim’s hot streak. After not allowing a homer in his previous six starts, he got tagged for 4 homers in just 2.2 innings against Cleveland to get the loss. You need to have a short memory betting MLB, and luckily another full 15-game slate Friday should be the perfect way to keep looking forward.
I’ll look through Friday’s slate to identify the best value on the board and highlight the angle with the best betting edge.
Kansas City Royals @ Toronto Blue Jays
A three-game battle begins Friday as Kansas City takes on Toronto, with the Blue Jays back in their true Toronto home for the first time since 2019. Kansas City lefty Daniel Lynch will get the start for the visiting squad while Ross Stripling will be on the hill for the home team.
For an offense that has just barely scratched average-at-best this season — .304 wOBA and 90 wRC+ — Kansas City has been putting up eye-opening numbers over the last week. Typically in the bottom half of the league, Kansas City’s barrel rate (ninth), hard hit rate (sixth) and average exit velocity (fourth) have all seen a dramatic uptick lately. What is a better sign for Kansas City though is that during this stretch their BABIP is merely .260. They’ve been barreling balls up and hitting them harder than a majority of teams in the league but still getting pretty unlucky in the hit department. Once the positive BABIP regression starts to come their way, this Kansas City lineup could put up runs with the hard contact they’ve been making recently.
Daniel Lynch has had a rough start to his big-league career to say the least. He’s only lasted 16 innings through four starts with a whopping 7.88 ERA and a 4.28 xFIP. The gap between his ERA and FIP coupled with the bad BABIP luck (.386), but good HR/FB luck (7.1%), makes Lynch a tough pitcher to read, but his Statcast marks seem to suggest he’s closer in skill level to his ERA than his FIP. Opposing hitters have torched Lynch for a .386 wOBA (.406 xwOBA) and have barreled him up an astonishing 15.5% of the time with a 48% hard hit rate. He’s allowed a .478 wOBA the first time through the opposing lineup while getting tagged for a brutal 5.56 FIP and even worse 6.82 xFIP. Righties on the year have also seen a ton of success against Lynch with a .400 wOBA and facing a lineup with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, Marcus Semien and Teoscar Hernández will be no easy task.
Remember when I was gushing over Kansas City’s stats over the last week? Toronto has been no slouch over that span either putting up the third-highest average exit velocity (90.5), 11th-highest barrel rate (7.9%), and 11th-highest hard hit rate (40%). Facing left-handed pitchers, Toronto’s righties (Lynch’s worst split) are putting up top-five numbers in both woBA (.346) and wRC+ (118), while ranking within the top 10 in OBP (.336), SLG (.468), OPS (.805), and ISO (.198). As if they weren’t overpowering enough against lefties, they may be even better at home. They lead the league with a .357 wOBA, 123 wRC+, .495 SLG, .837 OPS, and .217 ISO, while having merely the third-highest OBP. Toronto is currently scoring a league-high 5.82 R/G at home, and I see them eclipsing that against Lynch.
The Blue Jays are continuing to throw Ross Stripling out there to start games despite his 3-6 record, 4.84 ERA and 4.99 FIP. He’s been getting absolutely rocked at home, allowing a .344 wOBA against and a FIP north of 5.00 and doesn’t do himself any favors by getting into trouble early. The first time through the lineup has been tough for Stripling to navigate so far this season allowing a .411 wOBA with a sky-high 5.87 FIP. He ranks near the bottom-25% of the league in terms of average exit velocity, hard hit rate, xwOBA, xERA, xBA, xSLG and barrel rate while also being on a tough stretch over his last five games where he’s has a 6.41 ERA and an even higher 7.07 FIP. For as intimidating as Toronto’s offense is, their pitching in this matchup is equally as mundane.
With a surging offense squaring off against an offense that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, I’m expecting runs in this game. Toronto home overs have gone 25-18-1 so far on the season and even better for the first five innings at 27-13-4. Maybe somewhat surprisingly, Kansas City also happens to be one of the better first five inning road over teams cashing in with a record of 23-19-6. Toronto, projected to start nine right-handed batters, will be looking to exploit their righty-split advantage and get to Lynch early in this one. F5 o5.5 -115.