Thursday’s MLB schedule provides the perfect balance of consistent action throughout the day, with first pitches in Atlanta and Pittsburgh happening before 1 pm Eastern and wrapping up with a loaded matchup between the Yankees and Rangers at 8:05 pm ET.
Cy Young candidates like Julio Urias, Shohei Ohtani, Shane McClanahan, Dylan Cease, and Gerrit Cole will be on the bump throughout the day as 22 teams will take the field Thursday.
What better way to spend the afternoon and evening than dabbling in a few prop plays? Last week’s best bets finished 1-1, along with a voided bet on the absent Trea Turner, and we’d like to improve on that in this edition. Today’s prop card is presented next.
The Cardinals’ third baseman is slumping hard. He’s managed four hits in 40 at-bats over his last eleven games and has drawn just one walk in that span.
He’s 3-for-13 with no extra-base hits in his career against starter Logan Webb, and we have little confidence that Thursday will be the day he breaks out of this early-season funk. Fade Arenado against the Giants this afternoon.
Keller has fanned 30 hitters in 29 ⅔ innings across five starts, and today's matchup is with a Dodgers team that strikes out at the 7th-highest rate in baseball.
The Pirates’ leader in quality starts, innings, and strikeouts has gone at least six innings in four straight starts and averaged 96.2 pitches per appearance this season.
Keller had a rocky first start against the Reds but is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.88 in four April games. We like him to retire a healthy number of Dodgers via punchout on Thursday.
Soto’s struggles have been hard to ignore. The two-time All-Star is now batting .221 in 340 plate appearances since last season’s trade from Washington to San Diego, and the Padres are hovering around .500 with Manny Machado struggling too.
One reliable part of Soto’s game, his plate discipline, has remained, and he leads the league in bases on balls again in 2023 after doing the same in 2021 and 2022. That kind of patience will pay off and provide good hitting opportunities over time.
Soto is hitting the ball hard, posting a career-best 56.9% hard-hit percentage (95 mph or more), but only managing a .211 batting average on balls in play (BABip). We expect him to get on base against a struggling pitcher on Thursday.
Ohtani started against the Athletics on Opening Day and tossed six scoreless innings while striking out ten batters on 93 pitches.
He’s gone at least six innings in every start that wasn’t severely delayed by weather midway through, and it’s feasible that Ohtani will go seven or eight innings against the worst team in baseball currently.
The 2021 MVP already has two starts with 100+ pitches this year, so it doesn’t appear that the Angels are monitoring his pitch count as strictly as other teams have with their aces. We’ll play on Ohtani to go deep into LA’s series finale against Oakland.