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MLB Best Bets for Wednesday (5/12)

MLB Bets

We’re back at it again for a loaded day of MLB betting. With nearly every team on the schedule (sorry, Rangers and Giants) and 15 games on the slate, we’re in for some non-stop action with games starting from 12:10 p.m. until 10:10.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in to where Wednesday’s betting value is.

Philadelphia Phillies @ Washington Nationals

Philadelphia and Washington will play game two of their three-game series Wednesday after Philadelphia won the first game 3-2. Zack Wheeler will get the ball for Philadelphia, while southpaw Jon Lester toes the rubber for Washington.

Philadelphia’s offense has gotten off to a somewhat slow start in comparison with expectations, putting up a .314 wOBA and 97 wRC+ against left-handers, 18th and 19th, respectively, in the league. Even with those subpar numbers for their standards, they’ve put up a top-10 barrel rate and a hard-hit rate just a hair under 40% and have been seeing the ball even better over the last two weeks with the league’s fourth-highest barrel rate. They do tend to strike out a lot and lack walks, but they’re facing a pitcher with a miniscule K%, so if they’re able to keep squaring the ball up they could have a good day in Washington.

Wheeler has gotten off to a phenomenal start in 2021, putting up a 2.83 ERA and a 3.02 FIP through seven starts and 47 innings pitched. His 26.8% K% is the highest he’s ever posted to go along with his third-lowest BB% of his career (6.6% in 2021, 5.6% in 2020, 6% in 2019). He’s proven he can miss barrels with just a 5% barrel rate and a below-league average hard-hit rate of 27.5%. With ranks in the top 25% of the league in average exit velocity, xWOBA, xERA, hard-hit rate, barrel rate and xSLG, Wheeler is firing on all cylinders and should be a tough starter to face for Washington.

For as disappointing as Philadelphia’s offense has been to start the season, Washington’s has been even worse. They’ve only managed to scratch out a .294 wOBA and 84 wRC+, marks that ranks just 26th and 27th, respectively, in the league and are worse than Pittsburgh, Detroit and Miami. They do have a top-10 hard-hit rate on the year, but their 7.7% barrel rate ranks in the bottom-10 in all of baseball. They haven’t necessarily been that unlucky either, as their .288 BABIP and 12% HR/FB ratio are more or less what you would expect to see taking luck out of the equation, seeming to suggest that what you see is what you get with Washington.

Lester’s stats have actually been pretty good to start the year with a 2.70 ERA and a 3.10 FIP, but he has gotten very lucky in the HR/FB department by not letting up a single homerun yet resulting in an xFIP almost 2 runs higher than his ERA at 4.33. He’s able to avoid opposing batters’ barrels, ranking in the top 12% of the league in barrel rate, but he’s average at best in nearly every other category and toward the bottom of the league in xBA, K%, BB% and whiff%. The results have been good so far, but it looks like only a matter of time until the wheels fall off.

The pick

Washington has had a tough time against righties all season and I don’t see that changing much in this one, especially against a stud like Wheeler. I don’t have the stomach to back Philadelphia’s bullpen, so I’ll be cutting this to a first five bet. Philadelphia F5RL (-.5) -105

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