Rounding the Bases: MLB Straight Up Picks for Every Game Today (Justin Verlander Gets Astros on Track)

May 29, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

June baseball is underway and as teams gear up for a summer push into the postseason everyone continues to wait for the Houston Astros to find its typical form. 

Houston is eight games under .500 as the team's pitching staff has fallen off this season, but can Justin Verlander help jumpstart a run back to the top? He takes the mound against a resurgent Cardinals team that is looking to get back into the mix in the National League postseason picture. 

Here are our picks and predictions for every baseball game on the Monday slate!

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Brewers vs. Phillies Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Brewers (+175)

Can Milwaukee’s offense keep up with Philadelphia’s? The Phillies will start Zack Wheeler, the favorite to win the National League Cy Young, but this Brewers team is fresh off a month of May where the team ranked third in OPS. 

At this big of a price tag, I’m taking a shot on the Brew Crew. 

Mets vs. Nationals Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Nationals (-120)

MacKenzie Gore is pitching at an incredibly high level, posting a 2.92 ERA while upping his strikeout rate to a career-high 29% while yielding a career-low 36% hard-hit rate. 

Meanwhile, Tylor MeGill has only made three starts this season, pitching more than five innings once, so this game can fall on the Mets' bottom 10 bullpen in terms of ERA. 

Back the Nats as small favorites. 

Orioles vs. Blue Jays Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Orioles (-110)

Kevin Gausman continues to struggle this season, posting a 4.14 ERA with an xERA that is far worse at 4.72. Most of the right-hander's struggles have come by way of his diminished strikeout rate. At 24%, Gausman is punching out the fewest batters of his career dating back to 2018 and now has to face an elite Orioles lineup that is fourth in OPS this season. 

Tigers vs. Rangers Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Tigers (-115)

Tarik Skubal, the AL Cy Young favorite, will look to outduel the defending World Series Champion Rangers on Monday, and I like this matchup for him.

Texas is hitting .240 against left handed pitching, right at league average, but are 24th in OPS. 

On the other side, Nathan Eovaldi is in line to start for the Rangers, who is due for a drop-off in play, posting an xERA of nearly one run higher than his actual ERA, 3.51 vs. 2.84, meaning that he is getting fairly lucky this season. Keep an eye on the veteran’s walk rate, which is sitting at 10% which is 25th percentile.

Cardinals vs. Astros Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Astros (-180)

Justin Verlander, in his age 41 seasons, isn’t pitching at a Cy Young level but is still putting together a fantastic statistical profile, including a 96th-percentile hard-hit percentage. Hitters aren’t mashing on Verlander’s pitches and the future Hall of Famer is showcasing an elite set of breaking ball pitches (89th percentile in terms of run value, per MLB Statcast).

I believe Houston is in line for a big run in June, and it starts on Monday with Verlander keeping down an average Cardinals lineup. 

Reds vs. Rockies Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Rockies (+110)

The Rockies aren’t a great team, but I disagree that the team should be underdogs at home against the Reds. 

Ryan Feltner has some fine underlying metrics this season, posting an xERA of 3.87, which far outpaces his actual ERA of 5.46. He allows an average amount of hard contact which can limit the damage in the hitter-friendly Coors Field. 

It also helps that Colorado is an above-average hitting team against lefty pitchers, which the team is slated to face in starter Andrew Abbott of the Reds. 

Padres vs. Angels Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Padres (-140)

It’s tough to trust the Angels at this short of a price tag with Tyler Anderson on the mound. 

Sure, the veteran has a 2.47 ERA, but when you look under the hood, it’s not pretty. 

Anderson is striking out 17% of batters, 17th percentile amongst qualified big league pitchers, and is walking more than 10% of batters, which is impactful against a Padres team that is above average in walks. 

Factoring all that in, Anderson has an xERA of 4.62, meaning that his 2.47 ERA is quite fraudulent. 

I’ll take a discount on San Diego. 

Giants vs. Diamondbacks Prediction and Pick

  • Pick: Giants (+115)

I’m not sure I see the difference between the two teams in this one, with each team battling to get over .500 and neither pitcher having a noticeable edge. 

Spencer Howard is making his second appearance of the season, so there may be some questions as to his effectiveness, but the D-Backs lineup isn’t producing at the moment, bottom third in the bigs in terms of runs scored over the last 15 days. 

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s lineup is generating runs, top 10 in runs scored in the same time frame, and will face soft-tossing Ryne Nelson, who has an ERA north of 6.00 this season. 

Give me the underdog out west in the nightcap. 

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.