MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday June 28 (2024)

MLB Best Bets Today June 28

It’s a typical Friday in Major League Baseball, as all 15 games will conclude under the lights. The first pitch of the evening will come at 6:20 p.m. ET in Philadelphia, where the Phillies and their fans wait with bated breath about the status of Bryce Harper after leaving last night’s game with a hamstring injury. That game against the Marlins is also the only one with a favorite over -200 for tonight.

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Cleveland Guardians (-118, 9.5) at Kansas City Royals

8:10 p.m. ET

We’ve got the Guardians as a slight favorite against the Royals tonight in a matchup between Triston McKenzie and Alec Marsh. I’m looking at a player prop here, so it will be a one-sided handicap for me and the side I’m looking at is the Royals offense against McKenzie.

It has been a rough season for McKenzie, who comes in with a 4.66 ERA, 5.24 xERA, and a 6.16 FIP in his 73.1 innings of work. After missing most of last season with UCL damage, he opted not to go the surgical route and did rest and rehab. His stuff is very lifeless and he seems to be pitching hurt. He has had some velocity gains in his last couple of starts, but that has created another problem for the right-hander.

McKenzie has walked four guys in each of his last two starts. He walked two guys in his previous two starts, including one against these same Royals, but had walked at least three batters in his five previous outings. Now that he’s throwing harder, he’s struggling to throw first-pitch strikes. His fastball command has been atrocious all season long and the quest for velo seems to have led to some overthrowing for him.

Also, he’s simply trying to be too fine. During his stellar 2022 season, McKenzie had a career-best 51.4% Zone% per Statcast. He’s at 46.8% this season, more in line with his 2021 campaign when he had an 11.7% BB%. This season, he has a 14.1% BB%.

The Royals don’t walk a lot, but they aren’t an overly aggressive offense and rank around the middle of the pack in Chase%. On a warm day against a lineup that hit three homers off of him four starts ago, I think McKenzie will continue to pitch with the poor control he’s had all season long. At plus money, I’ll take a shot at three or more walks.

Pick: Triston McKenzie Over 2.5 Walks Allowed (+110)

Detroit Tigers (-122, 9) at Los Angeles Angels

9:38 p.m. ET

Kenta Maeda and Zach Plesac are the listed hurlers here for the matchup between the Tigers and Angels. It has been a rough season for both pitchers, but I really think that Plesac is objectively one of the worst pitchers currently in MLB. Maeda hasn’t been great, but there are enough positive regression signs in the profile for the veteran right-hander that I’ll lay the price on the Motor City Kitties tonight.

Plesac has made two MLB starts this season and has struck out just two of the 41 batters he has faced. He has allowed 10 Barrels in two starts and a 50% Hard Hit%. He isn’t generating any chase outside the zone and isn’t missing very many bats. The Tigers offense is not good, but their biggest issue is striking out and I can’t see Plesac using that to his advantage in this one.

I mentioned yesterday in taking Davis Daniel’s Over strikeouts prop that PCL stats need to be taken with a grain of salt. That is true, but everything about Plesac’s profile is ugly. He’s allowed 14 homers in just 74.2 innings He’s got 51 strikeouts in that span. Daniel had a high ERA, but it was pretty clear that the stuff was good based on his strikeout numbers. Plesac is just bad.

Maeda comes in with an ERA of 6.00, but he has a 5.34 FIP and a 4.75 xFIP, so he’s gotten a little bit unlucky. His 63.9% LOB% is the main area where I’d be looking for some improvement. If nothing else, the Tigers bullpen is extremely rested and manager AJ Hinch has had a pretty quick hook on Maeda more often than not.

Maeda does at least rank in the 78th percentile in Hard Hit% and 65th percentile in Chase%, so I have some measure of hope that he can put together a good outing. I do not have that same faith in Plesac.

As I said, I do like Detroit’s bullpen and they are 11th in ERA and 10th in FIP this month. The Angels are 29th in ERA and 27th in FIP as a relief corps in June. That’s enough for me to take a shot on the Tigers here.

Pick: Tigers -122

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (-118, 7.5)

10:15 p.m. ET

Landon Knack gets the call for the Dodgers today and it will be staff ace Logan Webb for the Giants out at Oracle Park. This will be Knack’s second start since getting recalled from the minors. He went five shutout innings against the Angels last time out and has found a lot of success at the MLB level with six runs allowed on 16 hits in 25.2 innings of work. His FIP and xFIP are much higher than his ERA, as his 18 strikeouts and three homers allowed stand out a little bit, but this is a kid who has only allowed four Barrels in five starts and has done better with hard-hit contact in his two most recent starts.

Knack has the strikeout upside in his arsenal. He’s struck out 52 in 48.1 innings in the minors and has a 3.54 ERA over nine starts and one relief outing. The Giants are one of the league’s top offenses against lefties, but Knack is a righty and the Giants rank 25th in wOBA against RHP over the last 30 days. They are fifth against lefties, so keep that in mind if you’re looking at overall June numbers.

No Dodgers active reliever has pitched over the last two days, so the bullpen is extremely well-rested heading into this one. That’s important because Knack probably won’t work deeper than the fifth, so manager Dave Roberts will have everybody at his disposal in hopes of finishing out this game.

Webb is having another fine season by avoiding walks and inducing a lot of ground balls, but he sure does allow a lot of hard contact. He’s allowed a 49.8% Hard Hit% and has been able to pitch around an 8.5% Barrel%. The Dodgers have obviously seen a ton of him and they bring the fifth-ranked offense by wOBA against righties over the last 30 days to the table here. They have a .340 wOBA. The Giants have a .280 wOBA in that span.

The Giants pen gets a ton of work at all times because they’ve had a revolving door of starting pitchers. Five relievers were needed yesterday. Four pitched on Wednesday, including Camilo Doval and Tyler Rogers in back-to-backs. Six relievers were needed on Tuesday. Webb could very well give the team some length here, but the Dodgers are a tough lineup and a very potent one.

I like LA at a dog price here.

Pick: Dodgers -102

MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday June 28 (2024)

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