On the first day of baseball without an active NBA or NHL playoff series in a couple of months, we can officially state that America’s pastime is back. Through just over 1,000 games played across Major League Baseball in 2023, the average game time is down to 2 hours and 39 minutes, average attendance is up from last season, and more than nine runs are being scored per game for the fourth time in five years.
Those numbers are courtesy of Baseball Reference, which also points out that the league payroll has reached another mind-blowing record of $4.5 billion this season.
Two teams in the bottom four of the payroll rankings, the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, are atop the league standings as the season’s halfway point draws closer. These AL East foes have won more than 63% of their games and are fueled by young talent at seemingly all positions on the diamond.
New York’s two teams have a combined payroll of nearly $600 million, as is tradition, and the Mets have some work to do to justify their league-leading $310 million roster. Through 67 games, they are 31-36, equating to $10 million per win.
With basketball and hockey out of the picture, football still months away, and some changes to baseball that have made the game more fast-paced and exciting, fans and bettors are well-positioned for a great summer. We’ll dive into some player props for today's action to celebrate baseball’s moment in the sun.
Four of Contreras’ seven hits in the month have been singles, and he’s gone 3-for-3 in pinch-hit opportunities. He’s splitting time with Victor Caratini this season and has played in twice as many games as his backup, but that could be shifting as Contreras has eight starts in June compared to Caratini’s five.
He faces Bailey Ober, the Twins’ righty with a 2.61 ERA And 0.97 WHIP through nine starts. We’re not expecting much from Contreras today. Play the Under!
The veteran has six strikeouts over his last three starts, a span encompassing 16 innings in which DeSclafani gave up ten earned runs to Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and the Cubs.
St. Louis is 7th-best in the bigs with a 21.3% strikeout rate and could extend at-bats that reduce DeSclafani’s time on the mound. He’s averaging 5.9 strikeouts per nine innings on the road this season, meaning he’d need to pitch into the seventh inning for this total to be in play. We’ll take his under this afternoon at Busch Stadium.
Yoshida has had some impressive stretches, including a 16-game hit streak in May, but the rookie has struggled to put the baseball in play in June and the Red Sox are 5-8 in the month.
The team is playing their 13th game in 12 days today, and despite a matchup against Austin Gomber, Yoshi doesn’t look primed to break out of the 1-for-16 slump he’s experienced in the last five games. He’s slashing .258/.387/.355 against lefties this season.
Baseball’s stolen base leader has cooled off this month and is slashing just .186/.205/.233 in June. That’s led to fewer opportunities to advance himself around the basepaths, and Ruiz is 2-for-4 on stolen base attempts in 10 games this month. We’ll fade him and the A’s tonight against Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow.