MLB Best Bets: Friday, May 20

By Sidelines   May 20, 2022 

MLB Best Bets: Friday, May 20

In an update from yesterday’s nugget about Mets fans, their fears were partially confirmed with the news that Max Scherzer is out for six to eight weeks with a mid- to high-grade oblique strain. To make New Yorkers feel better, however, the Mets did rebound after blowing a ninth-inning lead with a Peter Alonso walk-off home run in the 10th to take three of four from the Cardinals.

Elsewhere, Boston second baseman Trevor Story had one of the most complete offensive games for someone ever at that position, hitting three home runs, logging four hits, seven RBI, and a stolen base in a 12-6 win over Seattle. Story became the first second baseman in MLB history to steal a base and hit three homers in the same game. 

The former Colorado star got off to a rocky (excuse the pun) start in Boston, but his average jumped from .205 to .230 and doubled his home run total from three to six in just one game. 

For tonight, there’s a full slate of action–except perhaps in Colorado, where snow is in the forecast and could postpone the opener between the Mets and Rockies. Adjust your fantasy lineups accordingly. Let’s take a look at tonight’s MLB best bets for this Friday night in baseball. 

Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Bet: New York -1.5 (-105, Caesars Sportsbook)

Jordan Montgomery continues to be one of the hardest-luck pitchers in MLB, as he’s pitched decently this year and is on a team that’s 28-10 yet hasn’t earned a win this season. We backed Baltimore yesterday on this trend, and the Orioles pulled off the 9-6 upset with a walk-off shot in the ninth. 

Now that the Yankees took a loss, we don’t expect it to happen again tonight, especially against the White Sox–a team they took two of three from last weekend in Chicago and went 5-1 against last season. Nestor Cortes pitches for New York tonight and is coming off a brilliant effort over the White Sox last weekend, pitching eight innings and only allowing one run on three hits while striking out seven and walking none. His last start before that was a 1-0 win over Texas where he pitched into the eighth inning again, giving up just one hit and striking out 11.

Dallas Kuechel goes for Chicago and has shown improvement over his last two starts, shutting out the Yankees over five innings last week and allowing two runs at Boston over six innings in the start before that. He’s made two starts on the road with inflated stats due to allowing seven runs in one inning of work at Cleveland on April 20.

New York is 14-4 at home this year and has the pitching advantage tonight, so we favor the Yankees to win comfortably this evening. 

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Guardians

The Bet: Detroit -110 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

The Tigers underperformed so far in 2022, but they have had their best week of the season so far, going 4-2 in a sweep over Baltimore and then taking one of three in Tampa Bay. Their best pitcher goes tonight against a Cleveland team that’s been inconsistent on offense.

Tarik Skubal (3-2, 2.50 ERA) hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts, a combined 13 innings that were Tigers victories over Baltimore and Oakland. Prior to that, he held a strong Houston offense to just two runs over six innings and struck out nine in that game in a 3-2 loss. Skubal also has 45 strikeouts against just eight walks in 39.2 innings pitched. 

The Guardians have dropped five of six and send Aaron Civale to the mound, who has been rocked in each of his last four starts. In three of the four, he didn’t get out of the fifth inning and allowed six runs. In the other, he gave up four runs in 5.2 innings pitched against Toronto. Overall, he’s 1-3 with a 9.85 ERA. 

Due to the Tigers struggling on offense, the odds for this game are even, but with the pitching matchup, plenty of value lies in Detroit here. 

Cincinnati Reds vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Bet: Under 8.5 (Bet MGM)

At first glance, an offensive powerhouse like Toronto playing against a team that’s light in pitching like Cincinnati at Rogers Centre would be a haven for runs. But both teams have been playing low-scoring contests as of late.

Two strong starters who are stretching themselves out following injury go tonight. Luis Castillo (0-1, 5.59 ERA)  has had two starts this year, going five innings and giving up three runs against both Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. He threw 90 pitches in his last outing, so if he’s more efficient, he should go deeper than five innings tonight.

Hyun Jin Ryu had a successful return off the injured list (forearm) by allowing just one run in 4.2 innings pitched at Tampa Bay last weekend. It was an encouraging start for the 2019 All-Star and ERA leader after he allowed 11 runs in seven innings over the course of two starts in early April. 

The Blue Jays have gone under the total in their last five games and in seven of their previous eight at home. Cincinnati, after going over for nearly two-straight weeks, has gone under in four of their last six. Given that recent history and two potentially strong starters on the mound, we like the under here. 

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