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Major League Players Club MLB (4/28/24)


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1:35PM EST: A's ML +165 (3 Units) A's starter Paul Blackburn has a 2.03 ERA on the season. He started the year with 3 straight scoreless outings before his 2 most recent. He was off in his start against St. Louis but only allowed 3ER over 5.2 IP. He was blitzed early in his most recent outing against NY. Surrendering 4 runs on 5 hits across 6 IP but all 4 runs and 4 of those 5 hits came in the first inning. He struggled with his command early and the Yankees sluggers took advantage. It's not uncommon for starters to struggle in the first before they find their footing. The advanced stats hold up, allowing a Hard-Hit rate of just 36% and outside his STL start he's walked just 3 batters on the year. His 1.39 GO/AO ratio is also good and helps induce double play's. The A's bullpen is very good, pitching to a 2.86 ERA this season. It's fresh after yesterday's loss, only needing 1 bottom half reliever. Oakland doesn't score a ton of runs but they've won 11 games with great pitching and defense and they have the makeup to grind this one out too. Baltimore will start Albert Suarez. He's pitched 5.2 scoreless outings in each of his first 2 MLB starts since returning from Japan. His xERA is a 2.64 which is still very good but not quite a 0. He was a reliever in Japan and is working his way back to being a starter. He just threw 89 pitches and there's question marks on how stretched out his his arm is. Regardless the A's offense has a path to runs against him. He's allowing a Hard-Hit ball 51.6% of the time and has a .5 GO/AO ratio. He has a 20.9 K% which is solid but not elite. He's a fly-ball pitcher that's getting a lot of outs on Hard-Hit balls in the Air. Oakland's offense doesn't do a lot of things well but they are 10th in HR's and At-Bats per HR on the year. They have the highest % of runs scored via the long ball of any team. It's also the warmest day at Camden Yards this season with 80°+ weather and light winds blowing out so the ball will have a little more life off the bats. 1:35PM EST: Guardians ML +145 (4 Units). CLE starter Ben Lively has looked sharp in his 2 starts this season. Both came against Boston, surrendering a combined 3 Runs on 8 Hits and 1 Walk (.79 WHIP). He's struck out 14 for a K% of 33.3. His ERA is 2.38 and xERA is 2.29. His Sinker Usage is up, and 4-Seam fastball usage is down. He's managed to throw exactly 42 of each (29.2%) and they both come in at nearly identical Velocity. It's keeping hitters guessing and keeping them off the barrel. He has 7 strikeouts on his Sinker alone and it was his best pitch in 2023, so it made sense to increase its usage. Cleveland also does a tremendous job with its pitching staff and always finds a way to reload and re-tool their Pitching. They've ranked Top 10 in team ERA in 9 of the last 10 seasons and they've lost a ton of SP over the last few years. Lively isn't some frontline Ace but it's not surprising or a fluke to see him at his best in a Cleveland uniform.

The Braves offense really isn't swinging the bats great either. They managed to score 6 runs on 8 hits in Game 1 of this series, but Cleveland gifted them at least 2 of those runs on mental mistakes alone. They scored 2 runs on 7 hits in yesterday's game and didn't plate a single run in either of the 2 Extra Innings. Atlanta's offense came into this series as an average group. Despite the 2 extra innings no Guardians reliever has thrown more than once in this series. With a scheduled day off tomorrow Ben Lively will only have to get through this Braves lineup twice before they unload the 2nd best bullpen in baseball. This Braves lineup has just 6 career At Bats against Lively and they came way back in 2017 and 2018. He'll have that working for him the first time through the order.

Bryce Elder starts for Atlanta. He threw 6.2 shutout innings against the Marlins in his season debut, allowing 8 hits and plunking a batter. He surrendered 10 Hard Hit Balls (47.6%) and struck out just 4. The Marlins rank 29th with an OPS of just .599 on the season and are dead last in OPS over the last week. Elder came away with an xERA of just 4.64 from that start. Cleveland's offense was humming coming into this series and against good pitching teams, but they've struggled through games 1 and 2 of this set. Those struggles came against Chris Sale and Charlie Morton, who are true studs when at their best. The Guardians have 7 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings against this Braves bullpen this series. Atlanta’s bullpen is solid too. Sale and Morton were just exceptional. They catch a much friendlier starter in Bryce Elder today and if this goes to the bullpen’s tight it's advantage Guardians.


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