A few good calls and a few bad calls on Tuesday, but nice winners on the plus money side with the Twins and Diamondbacks softened the blow of a bad call on the Rockies. We’re right back on the horse, or is it camel since it’s Hump Day? Regardless, all 30 teams are in action, pending on the weather of course, including four getaway day games. Let’s take a look at the July 8 card and see where we can find some value.
The betting market has been fond of Mike Fiers over the last two seasons and has not been very kind to Julio Teheran in 2015. Of course, the Atlanta Braves aren’t exactly a team that people are tripping over each other to bet, even though they have greatly exceeded expectations following the fire sale last offseason.
Teheran is having a tough season. His strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up, and his BABIP has risen over 40 points from last season. The end result is a 4.60 ERA with a 4.57 FIP and a 4.22 xFIP. Some regression looked likely based on last season’s performance, when Teheran posted a 2.89 ERA with a 3.72 xFIP. A perfect storm of problems have hurt Teheran this season and there are a lot of reasons why the market is backing Fiers. Teheran has a 7.40 ERA with a .356/.427/.609 slash against on the road this season. I would caution bettors looking to lay the price on Milwaukee that Teheran has held righties to a .240/.309/.400 slash with a 47/16 K/BB ratio. That’s not great, but it’s certainly better than what lefties have done to him.
Mike Fiers has seen a 100-point rise in his BABIP against from last season, when he posted a 2.13 ERA with a 3.15 xFIP. This season is probably a better measure of his talent with a 3.83 ERA, 3.65 FIP, and 3.88 xFIP. Working up in the zone with his upper 80s fastball has hurt him at Miller Park this season with a .266/.341/.469 slash and lefties are slugging .456 against him. Hitters have progressively gotten worse against Fiers throughout the season, as a bad April is skewing his overall numbers.
I think there’s a small amount of value on Teheran, though not enough to bet it. Normally this would be a good under spot because of the getaway day game and two teams not going anywhere this season, but I think there could be some runs in this one.
The Mets aren’t a road favorite often, so it’s worth taking notice when they are. We’ve seen the betting market come in against Jacob deGrom on a few occasions this season, even though his overall performance may be better this season than it was last year when he won the NL Rookie of the Year. He’s growing as a pitcher from a maturity standpoint, as evidenced by a higher strand rate and some other plate discipline data. deGrom has added velocity since last season and it looks like he is definitely going to continue to be one of the NL’s top pitchers.
On the other side is Jake Peavy, who has seen his velocity drop off in each of the last four seasons while pitching through nagging injuries. This is a telling line on Peavy because the Mets are returning home for a weekend set before the break and have Thursday off. This would usually be the ideal spot to go against a road team. On the other hand, the Giants have had a rough schedule lately. We successfully picked against them on Monday night with a Circadian Rhythm wagering angle and then the Giants grinded out a 3-0 win on Tuesday night. A quick turnaround for this game doesn’t really benefit them.
There’s no play on this game, but the line was definitely interesting enough to talk about. If I had to play anything, it would be the Mets, because of the clear pitching advantage, but it’s hard to gauge what type of effort both teams will come out with. The under is also a lean.
The Athletics managed to win a one-run game on Tuesday night. They come right back on Wednesday with Scott Kazmir against CC Sabathia. For more on this game, check out our Oakland A’s vs. New York Yankees series preview article. It’s dated by a day, but the thoughts on this game, as well as Thursday’s game, are still very relevant.
Overnight money trickled in against Trevor Bauer for this start against the Houston Astros. The Indians are still having all sorts of offensive problems, but Corey Kluber threw 6.2 gritty innings to keep the Astros at bay. I understand this line move, but I also understand why the Indians were lined so high. Dan Straily didn’t pitch well against Boston, battling both control and command problems. The Indians don’t look like a team capable of taking advantage of that given how they are swinging the bats right now.
The real story behind the move is a lack of confidence in Trevor Bauer. Bauer has a 6.33 ERA over his last five starts and the betting markets are full of knee-jerk opinions and overreactions. I actually think that this is a good matchup for Bauer. He’s one of the most cerebral pitchers in the game and he will study the first two games of this series. Carlos Carrasco tried to stay middle-away and got hit hard. Corey Kluber worked inside and kept the Astros at bay. Bauer has a lot of different pitchers to throw at the Astros and I think he will sequence very well in this one. The Astros do have a lot of swing-and-miss in their lineup and Bauer’s swing-and-miss rate is over 10 percent.
If this line continues to drop, the Indians are worth a look.
Michael Wacha and Jason Hammel battle in Wrigley on Wednesday night. What a fun pitching matchup this is. All of the sudden, Wacha’s strikeout rate is about where it should be and he has been a very reliable starter for the Cardinals this season. The same can be said of Jason Hammel, who, in all honesty, should be an All-Star this season if we’re just looking at 2015 performance.
I don’t really see an edge in this game, but it’s a premier matchup, so I wanted to put something out about the game. The Cubs have a chance to take three out of four, so this is a big game psychologically for them. I prefer the Cardinals against Hammel over the Cubs against Wacha, but this is a solid line and a game to sit back and enjoy.
We nailed this game yesterday. Wednesday’s game is a lot different. Jeremy Hellickson is bad and Matt Harrison is making his first start since May 13, 2014. Harrison made six rehab starts between Double-A and Triple-A and his command was clearly lacking. He didn’t give up any home runs, but he did give up 43 hits in 34.2 innings of work with a 21/15 K/BB ratio. Those aren’t good numbers at all. For Harrison, the important thing is simply being healthy. The Rangers aren’t worried about MiLB numbers. They just want him back.
I won’t say he was rushed, because five starts at the Triple-A level is more than enough. But this is a tough matchup against a lineup with an extra bat and some very good right-handed sticks. Injuries took away Harrison’s velocity and he was predominantly a fastball pitcher before the injury. While he’s a good story, he’s not a guy worthy of your money.
On the other hand, Jeremy Hellickson has all sorts of command problems of his own, leading to a 5.06 ERA. It’s hard to like him in an AL park against a decent lineup, but this line move is justifiable. There’s still a shred of value on the Diamondbacks, but it will be gone quickly.
Please don’t bet on this game unless you take a random shot at Philadelphia or Philadelphia +1.5 at plus money. If you take the Dodgers, straight up or in a parlay, find a new hobby. There’s no parlay value to the Dodgers and there’s certainly no money line value. For what it’s worth, Adam Morgan throws left-handed and the Dodgers cannot hit lefties. You may want to consider that. The ONLY betting options here are the Phillies for lunch money, Phillies +1.5, or under 6.5.