A lot of games are on the docket for Sunday, including the completion of a suspended game between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets, and doubleheaders for the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, as well as, the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. Once again today, there are a lot of big lines and mismatches, but there are some good games to bet on and get some solid line value. Let’s see what might on your radar for Sunday.
First, I’ll repost what I wrote about Tillman yesterday: Chris Tillman has been awful this season. Nothing has worked for him. He has a 6.22 ERA with a 5.10 FIP and a 5.08 xFIP. His home run rate jumped up once again, along with a huge spike in walks. Over the last two seasons, hitters have basically stopped chasing Tillman’s stuff outside of the zone. The Indians, for all of their offensive warts, are a patient team. They will make Tillman work.
The interesting this here is that the line isn’t much different from when Cody Anderson was starting against Tillman. It opened in the -125 range and has been bet up, even though Trevor Bauer is now the starter for the Indians. Bauer is looking to bounce back from one the worst starts of his career against the Tigers his last time out. Things really snowballed on him in that one, but the Orioles are a different type of lineup. They are ultra-aggressive and will chase. Bauer is one of the game’s most cerebral pitchers, so I would expect him to have a strong gameplan in this one.
This line is out of whack. Tillman’s been terrible. Bauer has a good matchup in this one. The Indians are the play in Game 1. With rookie Toru Murata on the bump in Game 2, you can bet that Tito Francona will do everything he can to win Game 1.
Jeff Locke isn’t very good. Neither is the Atlanta offense. With Freddie Freeman out of the lineup, the Braves are trotting out a Triple-A lineup on a daily basis and the results have been ugly. They have scored eight runs during this five-game losing streak and it doesn’t get any easier when they return home on Tuesday against Washington. Only the Chicago White Sox have been worse against left-handed starters.
Alex Wood is having a rather interesting season. With a big drop in strikeouts and a terrifying BABIP against, he has a 3.44 ERA with a 3.36 FIP and a 3.92 xFIP. Last season, Wood had a 2.78/3.25/3.19. The drop in strikeouts is a concern, especially with more baserunners allowed, but he has done a good job of stranding runners.
Locke’s BABIP against has jumped 50 points this season as his control and command seem to have regressed. His strikeout rate is up a bit and his home run rate is down a tick. You can see the respect that Locke gets in the market. The Braves have been a huge dog in every game of this losing streak, but then they are a small dog with Locke on the mound.
Based on this line, the books are begging for Pirates money. I can’t advocate the Braves with the current state of their lineup, but you know what often happens when oddsmakers are dying for money on one side.
The Yankees and Astros have had an interesting series so far. The Yankees have a chance to take three of four on Sunday if they can snag this one. Masahiro Tanaka was given a 6-0 lead yesterday and lost it the following inning. Michael Pineda has been the more consistent of the two pitches in Sunday’s game, but he was shellacked by the Phillies his last time out. Pineda now has a 4.25 ERA, but sparkling peripherals with a 2.89 FIP and 2.75 xFIP.
McHugh is also due for some positive regression in his traditional metrics. His 4.80 ERA comes with a 4.21 FIP and 3.98 xFIP. McHugh’s command has really dropped off this season, as his BABIP is 60 points higher due to a higher line drive rate and his HR/FB% is up about three percent. I’m still a believer in McHugh. What I don’t like about this start for the Astros is that Pineda has done an excellent job of getting hitters to chase and miss.
I like both of these pitchers here. Powerful lineups aside, I think this one could be low scoring. Give the under a look, especially the first 5 under.
We’ve seen some interesting line movement in this game so far. King Felix opened a -120 favorite and money has come in on Hector Santiago. What is surprising about this is the betting market has blindly faded pitchers with a high discrepancy between ERA and xFIP/SIERA. Santiago is one of those pitchers. His 2.68/4.40/4.51 pitcher slash suggests regression, especially his 89 percent LOB%. Bettors clearly don’t think that the Mariners can take advantage and deal out that regression.
There are some concerns about Felix Hernandez right now. Felix doesn’t seem to be as sharp this season, with a spike in walk rate and home run rate. His strikeout rate has dropped back to what it was in 2011. Seven straight 204+ inning seasons may be part of the problem.
I don’t have a pick on this game, but I do think the line movement is interesting given the tendencies I have seen from the betting market this season.
No respect for Jason Hammel tonight. Both Hammel and Carlos Martinez are having very fine seasons. Hammel has found success over the last couple of years with increased use of his slider and the end result has been a lot of weak contact. He’s also elevated his strikeout rate because of the heavy slider usage and the high chase rate that comes with it. He’s experiencing career highs in chase rate, swinging-strike rate, and first-pitch strike percentage. On the other hand, Carlos Martinez has developed into a bona fide starting pitcher for the Cardinals with strong peripherals and a high ground ball rate. Martinez’s walk rate is his only red flag, but high strikeout pitchers can overcome that and he limits damage by forcing hitters to hit the ball on the ground.
This is a really great pitching matchup. The line value is trending towards the Cubs because I’m a believer in Hammel, but this is a game in which both guys could be dealing for quite a while. Hammel has not faced the Cardinals yet this season and he has been throwing the slider even more, so that could be an advantage to him.