MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies
Date/Time: July 24, 8:40 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Anthony DeSclafani (5-7, 3.99) vs. Eddie Butler (3-6, 4.80)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Colorado -120
Uncertainty surrounds both the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies. The Reds are grabbing more headlines than the Rockies right now with players like Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, and Mike Leake firmly on the trade market. Rumors have swirled about Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman, but neither player seems likely to be moved. The only name that regularly comes up this time of year for the Rockies is Troy Tulowitzki, but nothing ever comes of it. The Rockies have uncertainty in the future, with aging, oft-injured position players and not a whole lot of pitching depth.
As a result, the Rockies are mired in another bad season and continue to be overvalued because of the Coors Field factor. The Rockies are just 22-26 at home this season, which was usually their saving grace. They are the only NL team giving up over five runs per game and their offense isn’t performing up to par. The Rockies have a team wRC+ of 91, an advanced metric that is adjusted for park factor. Take the Rockies out of Coors Field and they would be nine percent below league average offensively.
Anthony DeSclafani is part of a young Reds rotation that has a fair amount of upside. Some unrealistic expectations were placed on DeSclafani after he gave up just three earned runs over his first four starts. Since then, he has a 4.95 ERA with a .288/.358/.446 slash against over 14 starts. Sequencing continues to be an issue with a 69.4 percent LOB%. The stuff is passable, but the pitchability needs some work. DeSclafani is only 139 innings into his MLB career and rose fairly quickly through the system with the Marlins.
In every start at Coors Field, it’s important to look at pitchers’ home run rates and walk rates. DeSclafani has done a pretty good job of keeping the ball in the park. The walk rate leaves something to be desired at nine percent, but above average fastball command and some average secondary pitches might be enough to silence a lackluster Rockies lineup. DeSclafani should have less bust potential than his opponent in this start.
Eddie Butler has had a very hard time getting Major League hitters out in his first 70.1 innings at the highest level. The control is a big worry and so is the command. Butler has a 5.25/5.58/5.13 career pitcher slash, with a spotty minor league track record and a lot of injuries. The raw stuff shows potential, with a fastball that sits mid-90s and an above average changeup, but Butler definitely projects as more of a reliever. It’s a small sample size, but lefties are batting .345/.441/.584 over 162 plate appearances against Butler in his career.
The Catch-22 for the Rockies is that they have a handful of these guys that project better as relievers, but it’s impossible to get anybody that wants to pitch in Colorado as a free agent. That means that they have to develop arms from within and that means putting guys like Butler in the rotation to stay. The raw stuff hasn’t shown up in the strikeout totals or the command and that makes a guy like Butler very hard to back at home.
MLB Prediction: Cincinnati Reds
Assuming everybody is still in the lineup for the Reds, this pitching matchup should favor them. At least DeSclafani has the ability to consistently get outs, even if his maturity is a work in progress in high-leverage situations. Butler has the raw stuff and the ground ball rate to succeed in Colorado, but it’s not there yet. That makes the Reds the value side in Friday night’s battle.