Last Updated: 2019-04-19
It felt like somebody had dumped a cup of water on my head. Those searing red numbers on the clock next to the bed, which I usually cover with a water bottle, were scorching my retinas. I had no idea why I woke up in a sweat. In order to prevent such things, I sleep with the air conditioning on, even when it’s 50 or below, and the humming white noise of a fan.
Those burning numbers read 12:50. I flipped the pillow over and tried to force myself back to sleep. I also resisted the urge to check my phone. I was already pissed off from being woken up from what I thought was a good sleep. I was scared to check the Mariners score. I hadn’t even watched the start of the game, focusing instead on catching up on the first episode of Barry from Season 2, an episode of ER, followed by an episode of Letterkenny in bed.
Being in this business can sometimes be a challenge. I don’t watch sports as much as I used to, even though I have more reasons to. Watching sports feels like work. I work enough as it is. I try to decompress and detach as much as I can when the wife is home, which usually means futily scouring Netflix for something to watch or just watching some ‘90s show on Hulu.
I try to be as level emotionally as I can. Against my better judgment, the first thing I did when I woke up was check the Mariners score. If getting up on the wrong side of the bed is a bad way to start the day, imagine that feeling of the first thing you see being a pick that lost.
Now I know why I woke up in a sweat. A picture perfect handicap of Mariners vs. Angels becoming the sweat to end all sweats. A 10-2 lead going into the seventh inning. Somehow a tie game going into the ninth. I may have retired forever if that one lost after watching Rick Renteria shit the bed in the early games and with Sunday’s bullpen collapse from Oakland fresh in my mind, on top of all of this season’s other bullshit.
Alas, I’m back for more. Hopefully with a more restful night’s sleep.
Spreadsheet is here.
Here are the picks & tips for April 19:
901/902 Arizona at Chicago (NL) (-163, 7)
A total was posted late on this game, but I did want to quickly say that I view Merrill Kelly as a regression candidate. He may not be the best matchup for the Cubs because of his low walk rate, but Kelly’s not going to sustain a .269 BABIP for long. Opposing hitters are just 2-for-23 on ground balls for a .087 batting average. League average is around .240 year in and year out. Rotation mate Zack Godley is actually better at 2-for-27. The Diamondbacks infield defense is good, but those things will start to find some holes.
No play, just a quick note on that, since I like to give information on these pages. There will be a very stiff wind blowing in from left, hence the low total.
903/904 San Francisco (-112, 7.5) at Pittsburgh
Madison Bumgarner and Jordan Lyles fire up this weekend set at PNC Park between the Giants and the Pirates. The Giants have had a pretty big week offensively. Of course they’re still 30th in wOBA at .260, but they’ve gotten better, as I outlined on yesterday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box. We’ll see how they fare in another poor offensive park against a rather interesting pitcher.
We haven’t seen full-time starter Jordan Lyles since 2015 with the Rockies. Coors Field isn’t a great place to evaluate pitchers, as we all know. He worked mostly in relief the last two seasons and may make his way back to the bullpen this season as well, but he’s made two really strong starts so far with one run allowed on six hits in 11 innings. He’s struck out 12 and walked four.
Jeff Sullivan, who has since been hired by a MLB team, had a glowing write-up of Lyles prior to the season when the Pirates inked him to a deal. I’m sure you’ve wondered why I’ve focused so much on pitch usage and adjustments that pitchers have made relative to how they attack hitters. It’s important to understand that breaking balls are better than fastballs when it comes to attacking hitters for most guys. Breaking balls oftentimes induce weaker contact and aren’t going to be hit as hard or as far as fastballs. That’s why so many teams are working on decreasing fastball usage with their pitching staffs.
In Sullivan’s article, the Pirates even referenced Lyles’s pitch usage changes in 2018 as a reason why they signed him. His numbers didn’t stand out with a 4.11/4.09/4.08 pitcher slash, but his K% was the highest of his career at 22.6% and his BABIP against at .291 was also the best of his career. Those are positive signs of contact management improvements and obviously an improvement in not allowing contact.
This has been a three-year trend for Lyles to increase his curveball usage. He’s thrown it 32.9% of the time in his two starts and has had great success with it. His velocity is down with the move to the rotation, but his SwStr% is up to 11.7%. There won’t be a lot of Lyles supporters out there, but a couple more starts like what he’s done so far and they’ll come out of the woodwork.
In fact, we have seen this line move against Lyles. Madison Bumgarner may be back. He has had some bad luck and has dealt with some bad defense this season, but he’s got a 3.12 ERA with a 4.53 FIP. The long ball has been the problem with five of those already, but he is going to a park that largely suppresses power. MadBum has a 63.2% LOB% in his 26 innings of work. He’s struck out 23 and walked four. While it’s not the strikeout per inning we’re used to seeing from Bumgarner, his pitches have increased in spin rate, which is a sign of health. We usually see spin rates decline when guys are pitching through pain. For Bumgarner to appear to be healthy going into a contract year at only age 29 is a big deal.
Interestingly, another guy whose fastball spin rate has increased is Drew Pomeranz, so it looks like the Giants may be making that change organizationally. As Jeff Zimmerman wrote about, and as I mentioned prior to one of Bumgarner’s previous starts, his spin rate is up 300 RPM on his cutter and sinker and almost the same on his curveball.
While he hasn’t been dominant, now he’s going to face a lineup that doesn’t see his arsenal 4-5 times per season. The Pirates are dead last in wRC+ against lefties at 49, which means they are 51% below league average. Only the Angels have a lower wOBA than Pittsburgh’s .245.
The Giants bullpen is in decent shape for this one and the Pirates had yesterday off, so we won’t get any surprises like Felipe Vazquez not closing out Tuesday’s game.
I’ll buy some stock in these two pitchers and I really like these two bullpens. Hopefully they get this one in with some rain in the forecast. The breeze will be blowing in a little bit, but I think we’ll get a good amount of strikeouts from each starter and these two bullpens rank second and seventh in BB%. The Pirates are first in K%.
Pick: Under 7.5 (-125) – 3.75% to win 3%
905/906 Washington (-109, 7.5) at Miami
One of today’s biggest movers is this game between the Nationals and the Marlins. Washington opened a -140 favorite at Bookmaker, a -136 favorite at Pinnacle, and a -148 favorite at BetOnline. I mentioned this on The Bettor’s Box, but the Marlins are taking a ton of money at home with very little return for bettors, as they are just 3-10 at home this season.
The markets don’t love Anibal Sanchez. I get it. The right-hander had a 2.83 ERA with a 3.62 FIP and a 3.81 xFIP last season. This season he’s got a 4.86 ERA with a 5.38 FIP and a 5.06 xFIP. It hasn’t been a good look so far. His K% is down substantially, his BB% is up, and he’s already allowed three home runs. He only allowed 15 in 136.2 innings of work last season. His velocity is down yet again and he’s pitching from behind too much.
The full body of work has been ugly for Sanchez. I do think better days are ahead. Sanchez is 10th in average exit velocity among pitchers with at least 40 batted balls and he’s fourth in percentage of balls hit at 95+ mph. Based on his batted ball data per Statcast, Sanchez has had no luck with his splitter. Despite an average exit velocity of 81.7 mph, that pitch has allowed a .357 BA and a .714 SLG on 10 batted ball events. His xBA is .254 and his xSLG is .420 based on exit velocity, distance, direction, and the other factors that go into the equation. I think things get better for him sooner rather than later, but I understand why the markets are skeptical.
Caleb Smith has been really good for the Marlins in his three starts with a 2.65/3.22/3.55 pitcher slash in 17 innings of work. Smith has 21 strikeouts against six walks. He’s also an extreme fly ball guy, so he’s capable of carrying a low BABIP, though not to the degree of his current .194 mark.
Smith showed a lot of promise last season with a 4.19 ERA and a 3.96 FIP before suffering an injury and being lost for the season. He’s got a ton of swing and miss stuff. It’s all about limiting extra-base hits and walks. As a fly ball guy, that’s one of the worries, like we saw with Marco Estrada the other day. Fly balls are great because they go for hits less often than ground balls, but they also go for home runs, doubles, and triples more often.
This is a good test for Smith as he faces the only NL East team he hasn’t seen so far. He gets them at home, which certainly helps.
I think the value is on the Nationals at this point in time with the current line, but there may be more going on with Sanchez than I can see with the metrics, especially because he’s a guy that had a ton of health problems during his Detroit days. His spin rates are up a tad, but his velocity is down again and he’s throwing a lot of balls. He doesn’t have the margin for error to pitch from behind.
I’m going to pass. We’ll see if I regret going against the line move.
907/908 LA Dodgers (-106, 9.5) at Milwaukee
The Dodgers drew first blood in the rematch after the teams split last week at Chavez Ravine. We’ll see what Friday has in store for the battle between Ross Stripling and Jhoulys Chacin. Like Julio Urias, who absolutely shoved on Thursday, Stripling’s time in the rotation is coming to an end. With Hyun-Jin Ryu back and Rich Hill back shortly, Stripling will head to the bullpen.
Stripling has a 2.92 ERA with a 4.08 FIP and a 4.16 xFIP in his 24.2 innings of work. He held the Brewers to one run on four hits last time out with a walk and three strikeouts. Stripling’s K% is down dramatically from last season, when he was at 27%. This season, he’s just at 18.6%. He’s really cut into his fastball usage to throw more changeups and curveballs so far this season. Usually that would induce more swings and misses, but it hasn’t so far, as his SwStr% is down to 9.6%. He’s been able to survive the K% decrease by continuing to be elite in the contact management department with an average exit velocity of 86.8 mph, which ranks 29th in that sample of 40 or more batted balls.
That’s really Stripling’s game. I don’t think last year’s K% increase was sustainable looking at his track record. He gets by with contact management. Ironically, so does just about every Brewers starter.
It’s been a struggle for Jhoulys Chacin so far. He’s got a 6.52/6.41/5.27 pitcher slash in his 19.1 innings of work over four starts. Chacin has allowed at least three runs in each outing and it all came to a head last week against the Dodgers when he allowed six runs on six hits. Chacin has walked 11 in 19.1 innings, so he’s really taken away any value his .204 BABIP against would have. He’s also got a 21.7% HR/FB% with five of those allowed on the young year.
I’m not real thrilled with what I’m seeing from Chacin. He’s not throwing enough strikes. His already low chase rate is down and he’s actually getting more swings and misses inside the zone. That’s usually a sign of good stuff, but I think it’s just hitters taking heavy cuts when ahead in the count. His velocity is down and his slider usage is all the way up to 48% now.
I’m not going to be invested, but I will be watching Chacin closely. He, like so many Brewers, had good value last season because there were a lot of people that faded his ERA/xFIP splits of the last two seasons. He had a 3.89 with a 4.54 in 2017 and a 3.50 with a 4.47 in 2018. Maybe this is just two years of regression building up.
909/910 NY Mets at St. Louis (-149, 9)
If Corey Oswalt had been more effective in relief of Jason Vargas, it’s entirely possible that Vargas wouldn’t be making this start against the Cardinals. He was pulled very quickly in the first inning by Mickey Callaway in our easiest win of the season with the over against the Braves on April 13.
Callaway doesn’t have many fans in Queens or anywhere else, especially after his archaic and asinine comments about Edwin Diaz only pitching one inning, no matter the leverage spot. I’m not going to sit here and stump for Vargas, who allowed two hits and walked three out of the six batters he faced last Saturday. But if you’re going to yank the guy after six batters in a mid-April game, why is he even in your rotation? This is after Vargas threw one relief inning on April 9 and got bombed.
I’m not excusing Vargas for not executing, but the dude has faced 13 batters since April 2. If you want him to get back on track, it sure as hell isn’t going to happen like that. Maybe there is no “getting on track” for Vargas. If that’s the case, swallow the sunken cost and go with Oswalt or somebody else, like Seth Lugo.
Anyway, Vargas draws a Cardinals lineup that ranks 22nd in wOBA against lefties and has a 74 wRC+. The thing is that the Cardinals have a .200 BABIP against southpaws. They haven’t hit lefties well for most of the decade, but they have to turn their 11.1% BB% into something positive at some point and have some better batted ball fortunes.
This line was moving down, which makes sense to me because a lot of people are going to say that Adam Wainwright should not be -150 against anybody, but it has come back up a little. They’re right. Waino has pitched well in his last two starts, as he’s only allowed three runs on eight hits with 13 strikeouts over those 12 frames. One was against the Padres, who are going to struggle against righties with pitchability and curveballs. The other was against the Reds, who haven’t hit anybody this season.
There hasn’t been some magic cure for Wainwright over his last two starts. His pitch usage is the same. He actually had just a 3.3% SwStr% against the Reds, so he had a lot of fortunate batted ball outcomes. The Padres chased on 36.2% of pitches outside the zone. The Reds chased on 8.1% of pitches outside the zone. They just couldn’t square anything up.
I was surprised that we weren’t seeing more money on the over for this one, but a strong north wind will be blowing back anything hit well to left field and will cause some shenanigans on fly balls hit to right field as well. Otherwise, we’re probably seeing a 9.5 here.
I won’t be invested, as laying that type of number on Wainwright is scary, but I’m sure we’ll see some movement up on the total with people not fully checking the weather report.
911/912 Philadelphia at Colorado (-138, 10.5)
I said on The Bettor’s Box yesterday that these were two big starts for Kyle Freeland and German Marquez. As bad as it all started for the Rockies, they’re up to 7-12 and it only takes a prolonged stretch of success to get back to .500 (I’d kill for one of those). Freeland was dazzling yesterday with six shutout innings and seven strikeouts against no walks.
Now it’s Marquez’s turn. While it’s totally not quantifiable and the quant crowd will laugh at me, I do believe that there’s something of a Follow the Leader element to starting pitching, especially with good starting staffs or a good 1-2 punch. The Indians, for example, have a pitching crown that has gone through 4/5 of the rotation so far. Corey Kluber’s probably above that sort of childish behavior, so I doubt he’ll be involved, but the starters really do push each other and even study each other’s video.
I don’t know what the dynamics are like in Denver, but I can reasonably assume that German Marquez wants to follow what Freeland did, both for his sake and for the team’s sake. Maybe Marquez even got the ball rolling with his complete game shutout in San Francisco. That was a one-hit performance. He struggled in his last Coors Field start, so this start is about confidence. We know he can pitch on the road. He’s done it a lot in his young career already. He’s been excellent on the road in three starts with 23 strikeouts over 20 innings and just one run allowed on six hits.
Now it’s time to do it at home. Marquez won’t keep running with an 89.3% LOB% and a .156 BABIP, so there will be a time and a place to bet on his regression. Hell, maybe it is today. It’s worth pointing out that Marquez’s home/road splits were a little overblown last season. He did have a 3.73 FIP and a 2.97 xFIP. His .369 BABIP against at home was the biggest culprit. His BB% was also 1.8% higher, though, and that’s the key against the Phillies. Don’t give them free baserunners.
The market dynamics for Vince Velasquez will be hella interesting this season. Velasquez had a 4.85 ERA with a 3.75 FIP last season. That normally means positive regression. In two starts and one relief outing this season, he has a 2.25 ERA and a 4.69 FIP. It’s a super small sample size, but we’re also talking about a guy that had a 5.13 ERA and a 5.52 FIP in 2017 over 72 innings. I’m not sure the market knows what he is quite yet.
I don’t know if I do either. What I do know is that being a fly ball pitcher at Coors Field is scary. If this was last year’s Phillies outfield defense, this would be a fade spot. The Phillies defense still isn’t very good this season, but the outfield is much improved. Odubel Herrera is out, but Roman Quinn is a decent outfielder as a replacement.
I think this game comes down to Velasquez. Marquez has been better at home than his stats would indicate. Velasquez is a fly ball guy that can exhibit a walk problem. I don’t know where the Rockies are at offensively right now, as they have been a work in progress.
I’m not convinced enough in their offense to take them here if this game does become something of a slugfest.
913/914 Cincinnati at San Diego (-128, 8)
The Reds narrowly missed the card yesterday and I wound up regretting that one. Will they make the cut today? It will be Anthony DeSclafani against Matt Strahm in this matchup. DeSclafani threw five decent innings in his first start, but has allowed 10 runs on 12 hits over his last 8.1 innings with an 8/4 K/BB ratio. That’s not going to get it done. He’s also allowed four homers in those two starts.
It’s nice to see the strikeout bump from DeSclafani, but the command appears to be a work in progress yet again. He had a 19.8% HR/FB% in his 115 innings last season. He’s been an even more extreme fly ball guy this season and it hasn’t really worked out in his favor. He’s also got a .324 BABIP, even though home runs don’t count because they aren’t balls in play.
DeSclafani has allowed a 94.5 mph average exit velocity on fly balls and line drives, including five barreled balls. His ground balls have been hit weakly, but his fly balls and line drives have not. Lefties destroyed him last season with a .385 wOBA and a .575 SLG. He was a lot better against righties across the board, so we’ll have to look for him against right-handed-heavy lineups….like this one. Eric Hosmer is the only left-handed bat in the everyday lineup.
The Padres are 21st against RHP on the young year with a .296 wOBA and just a .291 OBP. They’ve hit for a bit of pop and that’s what worries me here about DeSclafani. He has a penchant for giving up home runs. If they’re solo shots, we can deal with it. If they are three-run homers, that makes it really hard to win a bet.
Matt Strahm seems to be settling in a little bit. After allowing five runs on eight hits in his first start, Strahm has allowed two runs on nine hits in his last 10 innings. He’s only got six strikeouts of those 42 batters. He’s also 108th out of 134 pitchers in average exit velocity against. He’s had good outcomes, and the vastly improved Padres defense has helped him a lot, but there is a fair amount of risk involved in backing him, especially with that really low GB% at 26.7%.
Because the Padres have power, it scares me just enough to stay off of the Reds. DeSclafani could wind up allowing two walks and four hits, but one of them might be a three-run homer that really buries us. The Padres bullpen did mostly have yesterday off and has had essentially two days off, so I think there is a live betting opportunities here with San Diego in the late innings if the game sets up correctly.
I can’t track those officially, but that’s my course of action for this game. Nothing pregame, but look for a live spot to back the Padres if they get down early.
Look to live bet San Diego
919/920 Chicago (AL) at Detroit (-109, 8.5)
Rick Renteria sucks.
921/922 Boston at Tampa Bay (-115, 8)
The Red Sox head down to the Trop, where they’ll face opener Ryne Stanek and either Yonny Chirinos or Ryan Yarbrough in today’s series opener. Boston will counter with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
Getting back home to face the Orioles seemed to be a big help for Rodriguez, who allowed two runs on three hits over 6.2 innings of work. He struck out eight and walked zero. Rodriguez draws a much tougher assignment here in the Rays offense. He allowed 12 runs on 16 hits in eight innings against the Mariners and A’s in his two starts prior to that one. He pitched on seven days rest and threw the ball well. He’s on six days rest this time around.
I was really impressed with Rodriguez last season with his 3.82/3.65/3.90 pitcher slash in 129.2 innings of work. He went with more of a cutter than a slider and it paid big dividends for him. So far this season, he hasn’t seen those same types of returns, but it’s early. Hopefully he can simply stay healthy. He’s gotten a ton of swings and misses and he can do that when he’s locating well. He didn’t locate well at all in his first two starts and the pitching coach actually threw him and the catchers under the bus.
It’s been a tale of two batted ball types for Rodriguez. On ground balls, he’s allowed a 78.5 mph average exit velocity. On fly balls and line drives, he’s allowed a 93.5 mph average. His GB% on the season is 41.7%, so he’s induced a few more than in past seasons. Whether or not that’s sustainable remains to be seen.
The Red Sox need to figure out their offensive woes. I talked at length about that on yesterday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box. The Red Sox have had very little luck on high-velocity contact and they are definitely a group I am watching for positive regression. I’m not sure that happens in this series against the Rays, who have an elite pitching staff.
This will be Stanek’s fifth start of the season. In those previous four starts, he has struck out 11 of 20 batters and has only allowed one hit. So that formula seems to be working. It looks like Ryan Yarbrough will be the bulk reliever tonight. Jalen Beeks pitched yesterday and Yonny Chirinos threw 70 pitches on Wednesday. Yarbrough hasn’t pitched in a week. The Rays will make some moves prior to the game, but I think it almost has to be Yarbrough after Stanek.
This is a calculated decision from the Rays, so they must feel like Yarbrough matches up well with Boston because they used Beeks, who was formerly in the Red Sox system, yesterday against Baltimore. The Rays bullpen has gotten a ton of work lately with three straight openers in the absence of Blake Snell, so that gives me a little bit of pause tonight.
Yarbrough was 24th in average exit velocity last season and only 26.9% of his batted balls were at 95+ mph. I don’t think the Red Sox make a lot of hard contact against him tonight.
I need Rodriguez to show it to me against a lineup better than the Orioles. I’m willing to take that chance tonight to take the Rays and hope that they play from in front. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get Stanek for more than one inning. We saw it against Toronto on April 12 when the bullpen was in a bit of a pinch and we also saw it on April 6 against the Giants. That should be the starting point, followed by 3-4 innings from Yarbrough. Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado are definitely available tonight and Adam Kolarek should be able to match up despite 28 pitches yesterday. Kevin Cash is a smart manager. He’ll figure it out.
Pick: Tampa Bay (-115) – 3.45% to win 3%
925/926 Seattle at LA Angels (-118, 9)
Well, yesterday was an adventure. The White Sox blew leads and lost and the Mariners blew a 10-2 lead and nearly lost. Today they’ll send Marco Gonzales to the mound against Felix Pena. Guess who is looking to fade Felix Pena? This guy.
Pena has worked 12.1 innings so far this season. He’s been an extremely extreme fly ball guy with a 23.5% GB%. He’s got a 3.65 ERA with a 5.21 FIP and a 5.67 xFIP. He’s struck out 12 and walked five. He’s also hit three guys. Among pitchers with at least 30 batted ball events, Pena is dead last in average exit velocity at 95.1 mph. His fly balls, line drives, and ground balls have all been hit hard. On the season, 19 of his 34 balls in play have been hit at 95+ mph.
While it’s fair to say that Angel Stadium is a little bit of a safety net for him, there is no reason to like a guy that allows a ton of hard contact. The Brewers and Rangers haven’t taken advantage in Anaheim, but the Mariners hit a ton of fly balls, so this plays to their strengths in a lot of ways. I’m not a believer in what Pena brings to the table. I will admit that I got burned on this with Jaime Barria more than once last season, but I’m going to the well again.
Remember that league batting average on batted balls of 95+ mph is in the .527 range. Batters against Pena are 7-for-19, so just .368 with a .465 wOBA. Regression is coming for him on high-velocity contact.
This will be the sixth start of the season for Marco Gonzales, who has a 3.19 ERA with a 3.38 FIP. He’s got a 5.08 xFIP, but he’s pretty good at not allowing home runs, so I’m not too worried about that. He’s a contact management guy through and through that doesn’t hurt himself with the walk. He’s only allowed seven out of 130 batters. He’s only allowed four barreled balls this season and he’s only allowed 30.8% of batted balls to go out at 95+ mph.
I’m certainly not interested in the Mariners bullpen today after yesterday’s debacle, but I like the Mariners to have success against Pena in the early innings. They got those hitting shoes back on by not facing elite starting pitchers for the first time in five games and I would expect more of the same tonight. Pena’s fly ball style plays right into what the Mariners want to do offensively and he allows the hard contact that I’m looking for.
Pick: Seattle 1st 5 (+100) – 3% to win 3%
927/928 Toronto at Oakland (-126, 8)
Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays take on Aaron Brooks and the A’s. In theory, Stroman should have a lot of success here. I talked about how much Oakland Coliseum suppresses ground ball batting average and there aren’t many guys that induce more ground balls than Stroman.
Stroman has actually thrown the ball really, really well so far this season with over a strikeout per inning. Righties are only batting .206/.325/.235 against him with a .266 wOBA. It’s nice to see Stroman healthy above all. The game is better when guys like him are out there.
The thing that worries me about the Jays here is that this is a bit of a shock to the system. Going from Minnesota out to Oakland is a long trip. I’ve mentioned this before, but a lot of East Coast teams struggle going to Oakland because of the ballpark and the travel and the other conditions. It is not a fun place to go and play and it is usually lumped with “nicer” trips to Anaheim and Seattle. No knock on Oakland, but players never have anything nice to say about the facilities. At least not until the new park is finished.
I don’t really know what Aaron Brooks actually is. In 17 innings he’s got a .229 BABIP against, but also has allowed eight runs on 14 hits. He’s struck out 11 and walked five. My initial thought was that this line is too low, but I’m not really looking to buy stock in Aaron Brooks. Stroman could deal here. The Jays bullpen is a bit of a mess right now and Ken Giles may not be healthy.
929/930 Atlanta at Cleveland (-133, 8)
It doesn’t look like they’ll get this one in. I’d like to give you a little insight on it anyway.
A very stiff wind is supposed to be blowing in from right field, which isn’t great because the home run park factor for lefties is far greater than it is for righties with the high wall. The architectural adjustments to the ballpark a few years ago made right field something of a launching pad. It’s going to be cold, rainy, and windy tonight. Even if the game somehow starts late after a delay, the winds are supposed to pick up the later it gets.
Corey Kluber is hurt. Or something else is going on. His velocity is down. His command is down. His control is down. His spin rate on his sinker is down 27 rpm, but it’s the 120 rpm drop on his cutter that worries me. His curve is down about 69 rpm as well. That’s not nice.
I’d be worried about Touki Toussaint’s walk problems taking him in this spot, but we know he’s going to induce a lot of weak contact with that arsenal that moves around a ton. I’d also be worried that he’s only thrown nine innings since Spring Training, so I wouldn’t expect him to be all that sharp.
This is a no play, but I think Kluber is a fade going forward and I told you about weather conditions to look for at Progressive Field going forward as well.
SF/PIT Under – 3%
Tampa – 3%
Seattle 1st 5 – 3%
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