Rounding the Bases: MLB Straight Up Picks for Every Game Today (Fade Dodgers with James Paxton on the Mound)

Jun 5, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a small slate on Monday, we have full MLB action on Tuesday, highlighted by the defending World Series champion Rangers playing out west against the vaunted Dodgers.

However, the Dodgers may be vulnerable come Tuesday night, with left-hander James Paxton in line to start and bolstering a concerning blend of traits that make him worth a fade against the Rangers, who are hitting well in June.

Find out how to bet that high level matchup as well as every game on the Tuesday slate below!

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Braves vs. Orioles Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Orioles (+110)

The Braves are wrongful favorites in Baltimore against the Orioles. 

Baltimore is elite in all facets, including hitting lefties, and second in OPS. That’s impactful against a Braves team that has left-hander Max Fried on the mound on Tuesday night. While Fried has lowered his ERA below 3.00 (2.93), he is not throwing as hard this season after an injury-riddled 2023 and his strikeout rate is down. 

Baltimore should be able to put the pressure on Atlanta to produce at the plate, which has been tough to come by, hitting only .213 as a group in June. 

Nationals vs. Tigers Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Nationals (-105)

The line is correct in this one, the gap between these two teams is non-existent, and I’ll side with the Nationals, who took three straight from the Braves over the weekend. 

Mitchell Parker presents a tough test for the Tigers lineup that is bottom five in OPS against left-handed pitching this season, and Parker has pitched to an above-average ERA this season (3.47). 

Kenta Maeda has struggled a ton this season as his strikeout pitch has disappeared, striking out a career-low 17% this season, which has seen his ERA spike to 6.25. 

I’ll back the surging Nats. 

Cubs vs. Rays Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Rays (-140)

Zach Eflin is a prime regression candidate as we head into the summer. He is walking a career-low 1.5% of batters, in the 99th percentile of qualified pitchers this season, per MLBStatcast, and owed a handful of regression (4.14 ERA vs. 3.48 xERA). 

I think we see it real soon, starting on Tuesday against the Cubs, who are bottom 10 in batting average in June. 

Guardians vs. Reds Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Reds (+105)

Guardians’ starter Triston McKenzie is overpriced on the road against a quality Reds team on Tuesday, as his underlying metrics hint that he will drop off in a big way.

McKenzie, who missed most of last season with injuries, has seen his walk rate spike to 13% but hasn’t paid for it that much with an ERA of 4.17. However, his xERA is at 4.94 as he has been the benefactor of some lucky batted ball variance. 

Pitching in a hitter's park in Cincinnati where his 65% fly ball rate can lead to home runs, McKenzie is worth fading as a road favorite. 

Phillies vs. Red Sox Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Red Sox (+145)

This is a tricky setup for the Phillies, traveling back from London over the weekend to be big road favorites against the Red Sox. 

While Zack Wheeler is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young, he will face a Red Sox team that is hitting .277 as a unit in June and has a quality arm in Kutter Crawford, who is in the 79th percentile in hard-hit percentage this season, meaning he can limit big innings from the Phillies vaunted lineup. 

Marlins vs. Mets Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Marlins (+120)

The Mets travel back from London with only one day to get re-acclimated to being stateside with the Marlins coming to Flushing, New York. 

While the Marlins lineup is bottom three in the bigs in most notable categories, including OPS, the team has its best pitcher on the mound in Jesus Luzardo. Luzardo’s ERA is at 5.30, but he is due a ton of regression with an xERA of 4.47 and a high whiff rate of over 30% (84th percentile). 

Rockies vs. Twins Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Rockies (+165)

The Rockies are a poor team, but have its best pitcher this season on the mound in Cal Quantrill, who can limit the Twins’ ability to make hard contact. 

The veteran right-hander is in the 61st percentile in hard-hit percentage and 69th percentile in terms of ground-ball rate, which can keep the Twins scoring down. 

Given that Louie Varland has an ERA of 9.18 through four starts this season and has struggled to hold onto a role in the big leagues, I can’t justify this price. 

Pirates vs. Cardinals Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Cardinals (+110)

Paul Skenes has been breezing through lineups early on, but are there some concerning numbers as he enters as a road favorite? 

Skenes is striking out 35% of hitters this season, but it's worth noting that his OPS allowed spikes after one time through the lineup. 

With the Pirates' poor bullpen backing him up, bottom 10 in terms of ERA, I can’t trust him on the road as a favorite. 

Yankees vs. Royals Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Royals (+120)

The Royals lost the series opener against the Yankees, but I’ll trust the team to get back on track at home, where the team has been as good as any team in the big leagues this season. 

Kansas City is 24-12 at home this season. 

Yes, the Yankees have been arguably the best team in baseball this season, but Marcus Stroman’s walk rate is at a career-high 10% this season with an xERA that is much higher than his actual ERA (3.04 ERA vs. 4.53 xERA), making it a tough sell to back the Yanks on the road as favorites. 

Blue Jays vs. Brewers Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Brewers (+100)

The Brewers will start minor league arm Carlos Rodriguez in his big league debut on Tuesday, providing some question marks for the NL Central-leading Brewers, but I’m backing the home underdogs. 

Milwaukee is 19-15 as underdogs this season, a top-five hitting lineup that is capable against left-handed pitching and presents a significant edge in the bullpen, 10th in ERA against the Blue Jays’ 19th-ranked pen.

While Rodriguez doesn’t have big league experience, this price is underrated the difference between the two teams. 

Angels vs. Diamondbacks Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Diamondbacks (-175)

The Angels are hitting .195 in the month of June as the team has fallen off in a big way at the plate. 

Meanwhile, Arizona remains a top-five hitting unit, batting .276 this month, and should have little issue giving Jordan Montgomery the necessary run support to win at home. 

White Sox vs. Mariners Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Mariners (-225)

The White Sox continue to squander late leads, only making it tougher to trust the team when facing quality competition like the AL West-leading Mariners, who are starting promising arm, Bryan Woo, who has an ERA of just 1.07 this season. 

Athletics vs. Padres Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Athletics (+135)

The Padres struggled to hit lefties, only batting .229 against southpaws, so I can’t justify backing the home favorite at this number against JP Sears, one of the quality arms in the Athletics’ rotation. 

Astros vs. Giants Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Astros (-110)

Jordan Hicks has been great this season as a starter for the Giants, pitching to a 2.82 ERA, but he has struggled to pitch past the fifth inning, who has pitched six or more innings in three of 13 starts this season. 

That puts a ton of pressure on the Giants’ bottom-five bullpen in terms of ERA, and I think the Astros get it done after losing in extra innings on Monday. 

Rangers vs. Dodgers Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Rangers (+125)

Dodgers’ starter James Paxton continues to be overrated.

He is striking out only 14% of batters with a near-13% walk rate. Predictably, his xERA is far higher than his actual ERA, posting a 4.19 actual ERA against a 5.34 xERA. He has been crushed by hard contact, 28th percentile, and may struggle against a Rangers team that is 12th in batting average in June. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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Reed Wallach


Reed is a Senior Editor at SI Betting. He grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. His passion lies with the Brooklyn Nets, but is always hunting for an edge.