Apr 16, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) celebrates after the final out of the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Dalton Brown logged a 2-1 Friday night record to improve his season-long mark on MLB to 37-28. Saturday, he has plays on games both early in the afternoon and late at night on the MLB card.
1:10 p.m. CT: Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins
The Pick: Twins -1.5 (-115) at BetRivers
The Minnesota Twins will take on the Washington Nationals Saturday afternoon after surprisingly dropping the series opener on Friday. Minnesota has a massive pitching advantage in Saturday’s game with Pablo Lopez opposing Chad Kuhl, and I expect the Twins will take advantage of it to get back into the win column. Lopez has allowed just five runs this season over 26 innings, pitching to a ridiculous 0.77 WHIP, striking out 33% of opposing hitters, and averaging more than seven innings per start over his last three. Lopez has plenty of experience taking on Washington and pitched well against them, especially in 2022 (1-0, 2.93 ERA). Washington’s ice-cold offense (three runs scored in its last 27 innings) should also help. The Twins will take their swings against Chad Kuhl, a pitcher struggling as much as any in baseball this season. Kuhl has allowed 14 runs in 14.2 innings this season, giving him a putrid 8.59 ERA that is backed up by an xERA of 8.10. The righty is allowing almost two baserunners every inning, a recipe for disaster against the Twins – and when Minnesota’s solid bullpen enters the game (10th in MLB in FIP compared to 23rd for Washington), its early lead should either hold or expand.
5:35 p.m. CT: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pick: OVER 9 (+100) at PointsBet
Two of 2023’s least effective starting pitchers are going at it in Pittsburgh on Saturday when the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates collide in the third game of their four-game series. I expect both Rich Hill (7.20 xERA) and Luis Cessa (12.02 xERA) to allow plenty of offense. Hill allowed two home runs in five innings to Cincinnati in his first start of the season, taking a loss, while Luis Cessa has surrendered a whopping 18 runs on 25 hits and eight walks in just 12 innings through three starts. Cessa ranks in the bottom 5% of pitchers in almost every contact profile category Statcast measures, and he’s hardly missing any bats either. Pittsburgh’s surprisingly solid offense ought to torment him, and I think Cincinnati can also give Rich Hill plenty of trouble. Hill pitched well in his last two starts, but all of his advanced metrics point toward regression back into the gas can we’ve seen at times in recent seasons. Don’t overthink this one – both offenses should score early and often and won’t exactly be running into buzzsaw bullpens in the late innings.
8:40 p.m. CT: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
The Pick: Mariners First 5 Innings -0.5 (-115)
After a win for Seattle in Friday night’s series opener, the Cardinals and Mariners will do battle once again Saturday night from T-Mobile Park. Luis Castillo looks to continue his early season dominance as he takes the mound for the Mariners. Castillo has allowed just two earned runs this season in 18.2 innings of work, allowing zero runs in three of his four starts to date. He has 20 strikeouts and just four walks this season and hasn’t allowed a run at home this season after posting a 1.42 ERA at home for Seattle in 2022. In one start against St. Louis last season, Castillo allowed just one earned run over six strong innings. Struggling righty Miles Mikolas gets the ball for the Cardinals. Mikolas has surrendered an 8.10 ERA this season, but his 8.41 xERA is even uglier. Mikolas is getting pounded with hard contact this season, allowing a .368 expected batting average against – and it’s shown up with five or more earned runs allowed in three of four starts this year. This pitching matchup is slanted steeply toward the M’s at home, but let’s avoid the excellent Cardinals bullpen by keeping our wager to the first five innings.