I'm focused on a pair of nightcaps in each circuit Saturday night, with first-half bets and strikeout props in what look like lopsided pitching matchups.
Blue Jays at Angels, 10:10 pm EDT
The Pick: Blue Jays +0.5 runs – 1st 5 innings (-142) for 1 RW Buck (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Secondary Pick: Kikuchi over 5.5 Strikeouts (-123) for 1 RW Buck (Caesars Sportsbook)
Kikuchi has gotten his Blue Jays tenure off to a strong start, going 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA. The left-hander also has a career-high 25.8 percent strikeout rate, and although he's arguably been a bit fortunate as well as indicated by his 4.57 xERA and .352 xwOBA allowed, he has a good chance to keep missing bats Saturday. The Angels have been a middling team against left-handed pitching, generating the second-highest strikeout rate in baseball (27.7) versus southpaws at home, along with a .299 wOBA and -2.6 wRAA.
Lorenzen has enjoyed a solid start to the season as well and is facing a dangerous but underachieving group in the Blue Jays, which only have a .298 wOBA and -3.3 wRAA against righties on the road in May. However, Lorenzen's propensity for putting runners on and the fact he's largely built his strong numbers by facing the Marlins, the Guardians and the Athletics twice gives me confidence Toronto can at least be even with L.A. through the first five.
Pirates at Padres, 10:10 pm EDT
The Pick: Padres -0.5 - 1st 5 innings (-148) for 1 RW Buck (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Secondary Pick: Same Game Parlay: Joe Musgrove over 6.5 Strikeouts (+110) for 1 RW Buck (BetMGM)
Brubaker is 0-4 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, but he's pitched reasonably well in most of his starts, giving up no more than four earned runs in any outing while allowing a career-low 6.7 percent barrel rate, a .221 xBA and an 3.49 xERA. However, Brubaker has also walked plenty of batters, posting a career-high 4.4 BB/9. He's also facing a group of Padres that's had some success against him, as they've generated a collective .263 average and .323 OBP in 34 career encounters.
Musgrove struck out at least seven hitters in four of eight starts, including eight Pirates on May 1 at PNC Park. Pittsburgh hitters have struck out 14 times in 41 career plate appearances against Musgrove overall, and the Pirates have a 26.6 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers on the road in May.