MLB Picks - May 11, 2021
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.02 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (2-0, 2.37 ERA)
A matchup of upper-rotation pitchers commences this series between American League Central residents. The difference between the two starters set to go tonight is that only one is satisfying expectations.
That would be Cease, who appears to be in the midst of a breakout after exhibiting flashes during his first two seasons in the league. The 25-year-old took a notable step forward last year when he crafted a perfectly respectable 4.01 ERA across 12 assignments, though that also came with a head-scratching 44-34 K/BB ratio in 58.1 innings. He’s cleaned it up, however.
Through six starts, not only is Cease unbeaten with a pristine 2.37 ERA, he’s engineering a much more delightful 40-15 K/BB thus far in 30.1 innings. The walks are still a little high but at least he’s giving out fewer free passes. And it’s worth it while he’s maintaining an outstanding strikeout rate of 11.87 K/9, reminiscent of his dominance through the minor leagues.
Cease simply is not ceasing his game. Utilizing his high-90’s fastball more, the White Sox right-hander is generating considerably less contact on pitches inside the strike zone (79.7 percent) while also garnering a more sizable amount of swings outside the zone (31.4 percent).
Clearly, this is Cease at his best and he’s worth backing in this form. He couldn’t be hotter, considering he’s coming off by far his most impressive back-to-back-start stretch in which he allowed only four hits in 13 shutout innings combined. Cease also racked up 20 K’s to just three walks.
But can Maeda — the one entering this game who has not been meeting expectations thus far — hang on here?
Judging by his most recent outing, Maeda looks prime to emerge out of the funk he was in throughout April, when he posted a very uncharacteristic 6.17 ERA and 1.71 WHIP for the month. In his last start, though, Maeda kept an opponent off the scoreboard for the first time this season, pitching into the sixth and striking out a season-high eight. Additionally, the two hits off him were the lowest he’s yielded.
Remember, this is a pitcher that was a finalist for the AL Cy Young just last year. Without question, you know his numbers will start submerging closer to their norm, and although he has a tough offense to battle this evening, it’s one he’s handled.
His first campaign in Minnesota saw Maeda take on the White Sox twice, en route to registering five innings of two-run ball each time out. Notably, he also had 14 K’s compared to only one walk combined.
I see the total is already on the move, perhaps suggesting the linesmakers are carrying a similar mindset about this one. Even so, the current number merits a bet.
MLB Expert Picks
Pick: UNDER 8 @ -115 (Click to bet)
MLB Leans - Tuesday, May 11
Cubs-Indians Under 7
Orioles-Mets Under 6.5
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 17-19-2, -4.62 units
Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Giants Under 7.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit