It’s been a tough week with the picks and analysis. The analysis has been pretty good but the picks have not worked out. Thursday brings another opportunity to cash some tickets, with the help of this article and with the help of The Bettor’s Box. Make sure that you tune in to hear today’s podcast pick, as well as other insight to help you throughout the weekend and for other upcoming games.
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How about this? A Thursday with no day baseball. The San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates begin a four-game series on Thursday night with Jake Peavy against Charlie Morton. All things considered, this should be a good park for Peavy. Like AT&T Park, PNC suppresses home runs hit to right field and has pretty spacious gaps. Peavy does have a bit of a fly ball split. The concern with Peavy this season, outside of health, is that his strikeout rate is down. His swinging strike rate is down, so the stuff isn’t nearly as sharp as it has been in the past.
Charlie Morton will take on a Giants lineup that really struggled in St. Louis over the last three games and will be without Hunter Pence. Pence is on the DL for an oblique problem and the Giants were brutal in April without him. Morton is basically a ground ball version of Jake Peavy. They have similar K/BB peripherals. One of the differences here is that Pence is a pretty good outfielder that will be out of the lineup. The Pirates use a lot of defensive shifting to hide Morton’s shortcomings and play to his strengths. They do that with a lot of their pitchers.
Both teams have good bullpens, so despite the amount of balls in play, I do really like the under in this one. What Peavy lacks in stuff, he compensates for with pitchability. What Morton lacks in stuff, the team compensates behind him.
I really expected a letdown from the Royals during their brief interleague series against the Reds. Instead, they persevered through an extra inning game and a rain delayed game to sweep the series. Perhaps it’s my sabermetric mindset, but I have to stop undervaluing the Royals. Yeah, their starting rotation is horrendous, but they continue to overcome it in every way, shape, and form. It defies logic in terms of how my logic is generated.
They’ll find a way to win on Thursday as well. Dan Duffy should be a bad fit for Fenway Park with a poor K/BB ratio and a fly ball split. Because the Royals make no sense, Duffy has a 4.09 ERA with a .260/.350/.381 slash against at home and a 3.97 ERA with a .262/.338/.449 slash on the road. Seven of Duffy’s 10 home runs allowed have come on the road and all 10 have come off of right-handed bats. On the other hand, since a god awful May, Duffy has posted a 2.85 ERA with a .244/.320/.390 slash against and a .253 BABIP against with a 28 percent line drive rate over his last 60 innings pitched. Normally that would signal regression. Normally Fenway Park would be a place for said regression to happen. But the Royals aren’t normal.
Wade Miley will give up 13 earned on eight slap singles, an Eric Hosmer grand slam, two Salvador Perez walks (which are a common as Halley’s Comet) and something like a pinch-hit Jeremy Guthrie three-run homer. I know these are supposed to be serious and you come here for serious analysis, but the Royals are just beyond my comprehension.
After an awful offensive showing against the Royals, the Reds are getting some love in the betting market today against the Diamondbacks. Patrick Corbin faces John Lamb in this battle of two teams that have been solid against southpaws this season. The Diamondbacks are 10th in wOBA at .314 and the Reds are eighth in wOBA at .319. What the Reds lack in BABIP, they make up for in SLG. What the Diamondbacks lack in SLG, they make up for in BABIP.
It takes a special pitcher to make it look like Tommy John never happened and that’s what Patrick Corbin has done so far this season. His command has tailed off a bit from his pre-injury levels, but that’s fine because that strikeout rate has taken a big jump. Corbin has a 3.43 ERA with a 3.84 FIP and a 3.18 xFIP in eight starts. The home run rate should start to normalize as the sample size gets bigger. It’s fair to wonder just how long Corbin was hurt because his velocity has spiked this season. He missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery and rehab and has come back stronger. With an elite infield defense behind him, Corbin’s increased ground ball rate will play well.
John Lamb fought with command in his MLB debut, allowing five runs on eight hits over six innings, but he struck out seven and flashed some of the swing-and-miss potential that he has. That start came against the Dodgers, who are one of the league’s better offensive teams. Of course, the Diamondbacks lead the National League in runs scored this season, so they are a pretty good offensive club in their own right.
I’m not sure I understand this line move, except to say that the Diamondbacks aren’t at a level where they should be -130 on the road against a decent team. It’s hard to find fault with Corbin’s performance to date and the advanced metrics suggest that his numbers will improve as his home run rate normalizes. I have to defy the line move and look at the Diamondbacks here. I’m a believer in Corbin and I’m a believer in this Diamondbacks offense.
I was beating the Collin McHugh drum before it was cool. McHugh owns a 2.84 ERA over 38 innings in the second half and a major improvement in command is the reason why. McHugh allowed 14 home runs and a .419 SLG over 114 first half innings. In the second half, McHugh has allowed one home run and a .358 SLG over 38 innings.
His offense will face a stiff test against Chris Archer. Archer is six punchouts away from 200 on the season and has a great chance of getting there against an Astros lineup that will swing and miss. Is there some recency bias in this line because of Archer’s last start? He fell apart in the sixth inning and was eventually tagged for eight runs on 11 hits. Archer has had a couple of these blowups during the season. They are understandable, though. He’s still just 84 starts into his Major League career and learning how to sequence is a work in progress. Overall, Archer has been great with a 2.93 ERA, 2.64 FIP, and 2.69 xFIP.
As much as I like Archer, I agree with this line move, due in large part to the fact that the Astros have a much better bullpen and this should be a close game late. The value is evaporating on Houston as the line continues to grow, but I’m content with looking at the Astros as the right side in this one.