Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (21) returns to the dugout after the second inning of the MLB Interleague game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Tampa Bay Rays at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, April 17, 2023. The Reds won 8-1. Tampa Bay Rays At Cincinnati Reds
Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks for May 5, 2023
After a 3-0 day got Dalton Brown back on track Thursday, he’s hoping to keep the momentum going in an effort to improve on a 53-49 mark overall with Friday’s Gallery Sports Betting Picks. Happy Cinco de Mayo – to celebrate, here are five plays Dalton likes on a busy day in baseball.
5:35 p.m. CT: Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pick: OVER 9 (+105) at Caesars
The Toronto Blue Jays are heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in a battle between teams who were swept on the road in their previous series. Toronto played four straight high-scoring games with the Red Sox, allowing 13 or more hits in all four as its bullpen is leaking oil on this road trip. The Blue Jays will send Chris Bassitt to the bump on Friday, and he’ll battle a Pittsburgh offense that has produced a strong 106 wRC+ against righties this season. Bassitt has seen his strikeout rate plummet and his walk rate rise this season, and as a result, he’s staring at an ugly 5.51 xERA. He’s walked three or more batters in four of his last five starts and currently holds a 6.32 ERA away from Rogers Centre. Left-handed fossil Rich Hill is pitching for Pittsburgh, and I think Friday night is when his luck finally runs out. Hill’s 6.81 xERA is more than two and a half runs worse than his actual 4.18 ERA, and he’s danced around six or more hits in three straight starts, allowing just three earned runs on 20 hits. That type of disaster avoidance is unsustainable, especially when it has transpired against the Rockies, Reds, and Nationals. Toronto (107 wRC+ vs. lefties) will present a much more difficult challenge, and on a 70-degree night by the Allegheny River, the ball ought to fly pretty well.
5:40 p.m. CT: Chicago White Sox at Cincinnati Reds
The Pick: Reds moneyline (-104) at FanDuel
The Cincinnati Reds return home from San Diego after a day off to begin a three-game series at Great American Ball Park with the embattled Chicago White Sox. The White Sox did not have a day off Thursday – in fact, Chicago played 12 grueling innings in a 7-3 loss at the hands of Minnesota and used six different relievers including all of its high-leverage options. Cincinnati has advantages on the mound beyond that on Friday, though – Hunter Greene pitches for the Reds against Lance Lynn for the Sox. Lynn has struggled for more than a year now, but things have been particularly ugly of late for the burly righty. He’s allowed 20 runs over his last five starts, is walking a higher percentage of batters than he has in five seasons, and is allowing the highest expected batting average and slugging percentage of his career. At age 35, Lynn is a pitcher in decline with a fastball that has lost two miles per hour over the past two seasons. Hunter Greene, Cincinnati’s right-handed fireballer, is coming into his own one start at a time. Greene has pitched to an impressive xERA of 3.40 this season, has not allowed more than three earned runs in any start, and over his last three starts has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings. The starting pitching advantage is obvious, but the bullpen advantage might not be – still, over the last two weeks, Cincinnati’s bullpen ranks seventh in baseball with a 3.64 xFIP while Chicago’s ranks 17th at 4.29. The Reds are the side here, over the full game and likely in the first five innings as well.
6:20 p.m. CT: Baltimore Orioles at Atlanta Braves
The Picks: Braves -1.5 (+100) at FanDuel, Braves team total over 4.5 (-130) at DraftKings
The Atlanta Braves will host the Baltimore Orioles in the first of a three-game series Friday night at Truist Park, and I’m all over Atlanta to stay hot here. The Braves scored 26 runs in their three-game sweep at Miami this week, and are licking their chops ahead of the opportunity to feast on Dean Kremer Friday night. Kremer has pitched to an abysmal 7.11 xERA this season, allowing four or more runs in five of his six starts. The Braves, who boast a solid 106 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, could pose massive problems for an Orioles staff that allowed 23 runs over the last three days to an otherwise-dormant Kansas City offense. The O’s bullpen had been its strength all season but has been run ragged lately. Starter Grayson Rodriguez lasted just 3.2 innings on Thursday, and there were very few comfortable innings the rest of the way for Baltimore. Making matters worse for the Orioles is that Atlanta’s ace Max Fried awaits. Fried has been phenomenal this season, pitching to an unheard-of 1.81 xERA while allowing just one earned run, all the way back on March 30 at Washington. Over his last three outings, Fried has pitched 16.2 consecutive scoreless frames. Back the Braves and their fiery offense to continue their winning ways Friday night.
9:15 p.m. CT: Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants
The Pick: OVER 8 (-105) at Caesars
The Milwaukee Brewers are heading to San Francisco for a three-game set with the Giants after exhausting their bullpen while getting swept at Coors Field. San Francisco won two of three at Houston but is turning back to struggling Sean Manaea to start Friday night’s opener with Milwaukee. Manaea’s 8.20 xERA is a disaster, and the fly ball-reliant lefty could be in some serious trouble against the Brewers (10th in MLB in home run-to-fly ball rate). Manaea is also allowing the highest barrel rate and expected slugging percentages of his career and hasn’t finished four innings in any of his last four outings. San Francisco’s young, struggling bullpen will follow him, and I anticipate more scoring chances late for Milwaukee. On the other side, Corbin Burnes pitches for the Brew Crew – and while I think Burnes’ name brand is keeping this total from being higher, his results this season have been middling. Burnes has been merely slightly above average in 2023, partially because his sinker has lost about one mile per hour of velocity, and his strikeout rate has cratered from 35.6% two years ago to just 19.7% this season. San Francisco is crushing right-handed pitching this season, posting the second-best wRC+ in the bigs at 122 – and after Burnes exits, the Giants will take on a bullpen that struggled all week at Coors Field. Both teams should be able to get on the board here, so I love our chances with the over.