St. Louis @ COLORADO
St. Louis/COLORADO 9½ -107
BEST LINE: Pinnacle over 9½ -107
3:10 PM EST. Roy Oswalt has taken the loss in each of his six appearances this season. It is safe to say that he no longer has the stuff to get MLB hitters out. Last season, his 39% hit rate seemed like an anomaly, yet he has followed it up this season with a 47% hit rate. It’s hard to even put that number into perspective but Oswalt has allowed 40 hits in just 25 innings for a BAA of .360 and a WHIP of 1.75. He takes on the best road offense in the NL in the friendliest hitting environment in MLB. Not a good combination for a pitcher struggling to get hitters out. The Cardinals may go over this number on their own today. The Rockies are almost always good for three or more runs at home and they figure to get at least that today. Michael Wacha was called up in late May and after three starts was sent back down. Upon his August 10 recall, Wacha made a mediocre start, a long relief appearance and five shorter outings. In 15.2 IP, he allowed five ER (over two of the outings), 13 H (nine in the same two outings), and five BB while tossing 23 K. He followed that up with three consecutive quality starts against Cincinnati, San Diego and Seattle. No question that Wacha has a high ceiling but the kid is also a little too green right now to maintain such a low ERA. He’s still walking too many batters (10 BB over his past 24 innings) and he’s benefitted greatly from a high 85% strand rate. Coors Field takes no prisoners and is not usually friendly to pitchers that issues walks. Afternoon games in Colorado also tend to be higher scoring and that sure doesn’t hurt our cause.
Seattle @ DETROIT
Seattle +168 over DETROIT
BEST LINE: Pinnacle +168
1:00 PM EST. The price here on the Mariners is appealing enough to make a wager. The Tigers have dropped three of Doug Fister’s past four games and over that stretch, the soft tossing right-hander has walked nine batters while striking out 14. Fister has already tossed 194.2 innings this season after throwing just 162 last year and all that wear and tear may be taking a toll. Over his past two home starts against Oakland and K.C., Fister has been tagged for 21 hits in just 12.2 innings. Over his last 32 frames, Fister is sporting an unacceptable 1.67 WHIP. Fister comes in with a BAA of .281 on the season and no matter how you break down his numbers, he’s just too risky to be spotting a price like this.James Paxton is worth riding. For a 24-year old rookie, Paxton has the poise of a 10-year veteran. He also has some solid skills. He’s made just two starts since his call-up and was outstanding in both of them, holding the Rays and Cardinals to a combined six hits in 12 innings. Paxton is coming off a six-inning, two hit shutout in St. Louis. Paxton uses a three-pitch mix, all of which flash plus, to attack hitters in any count. His fastball sits in the mid-90s while his curveball is his most dominant breaking pitch and is used to generate strikeouts. His change-up shows good fade and is used in any count. The tall lefty has continued to post high K rates and decent command throughout his minor league career. Paxton works off establishing his fastball early in counts to set up the curve, but with all three pitches capable of getting a strikeout, it keeps hitters guessing and contributes to his success. He’s been working low in the strike zone and is inducing groundballs at an elite 57% clip so far. Paxton is in tough today but he was also in tough against both the Cardinals and Rays and thrived. His confidence is high, his ability is higher and at this price, the risk is worth the reward.