Apr 7, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches to the Houston Astros in the fifth inningat Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
After a 1-1 Saturday left Dalton Brown wanting more after the Braves and Mets were rained out, he’s back with three more MLB picks on Sunday’s slate of games hoping to improve on a 46-41 mark overall.
11:05 p.m. CT: Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins
The Pick: Cubs First 5 Innings -0.5 (-105) at BetMGM
The Chicago Cubs will look to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins on Sunday from LoanDepot Park, and I trust left-handed pitcher Justin Steele to handle business for Chicago through the game’s first five innings. Steele (4-0, 1.19 ERA) has won four straight starts and allowed four earned runs in 30 innings of work this season. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts, and boasts an impressive 0.89 WHIP. Chicago’s offense should be able to get going against Marlins starter Bryan Hoeing, too. Hoeing has an 11.57 ERA over 16 career major-league innings, and allowed four runs over 3.2 frames in his only start of this season at Atlanta. The righty has not shown much evidence that he belongs at this level yet, and the Cubs rank fifth in baseball with a 117 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. This handicap is not complicated – Chicago is sending the far superior pitcher to the mound, so it would be a surprise if they do not have a lead heading to the sixth inning.
12:40 p.m. CT: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
The Pick: Braves First 5 Innings -0.5 (-118) at FanDuel
If this handicap sounds familiar, that’s because this bet was on Saturday’s card before the game was rained out. The odds haven’t changed, and neither has my opinion on the game.
The Atlanta Braves will look to make it two in a row over the New York Mets on Sunday when Spencer Strider takes the hill against Mets righty Tylor Megill. Strider is a pitcher worth trusting, as evidenced by his 14-inning scoreless streak and near-perfect game in his last start. The young flamethrower sports an otherworldly 42.6% strikeout rate and a stellar 2.40 xERA to back up his performance to this point in the season. Tylor Megill, in direct contrast to Strider, is due for steep negative regression. Megill’s 3.96 ERA is overshadowed by an xERA of 6.49, and the facade has begun to fade over his last two starts (seven runs, 13 hits, and five walks over nine innings at Los Angeles and San Francisco). Atlanta’s lineup has been in much better form of late than New York’s as well, scoring 24 runs over its last three games vs. Miami before a shortened 4-0 win over New York on Friday. Atlanta should be a bigger favorite here, especially over the game’s first five innings.
1:10 p.m. CT: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
The Pick: Twins -1.5 (+105) at PointsBet
My next targeted pitching mismatch on Sunday’s MLB schedule will take place in Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Twins are hoping to win their third of four games against the Kansas City Royals. Sonny Gray (3-0, 0.62 ERA) will head to the bump for the Twins in the midst of an incredible hot streak that’s seen him allow one run or less in each of his five starts this season. Gray pitched five scoreless innings in Kansas City on April 1, and allowed just one run over 20 innings against the Royals in 2022. Overall, Sonny Gray is 8-2 with a 1.54 ERA in his career against Kansas City over 11 starts. Brady Singer (2-2, 6.67) will pitch for Kansas City. Target Field has been a house of horrors for the young righty to this point in his career – over four starts there, Singer is 1-3 with a 6.50 ERA and has allowed seven homers in just 18 innings. Singer is allowing higher average exit velocities and a higher hard-hit rate than any other starter in baseball this season, and Minnesota ranks 10th in wRC+ in baseball against righties so far in 2023. Minnesota’s bullpen ranks third in MLB in xFIP at 3.70, so I trust the Twins to hold onto – and expand on – a lead late in the game.