We’re looking at a lot of day games here on Sunday as we get set for another day on the diamond. Getaway day games and series wrap-ups are always interesting this time of year. With a lot of day games, we won’t go too in-depth on some of these games, just because of the lead time of the article, but we’ll still try to make it a Sunday Funday for your bankroll.
Glancing back to yesterday’s action, we had a lot of leans, but not many concrete plays. On the bright side, several of our leans came in. The strongest was probably on the Toronto/Cleveland over, which hit in the fourth inning, which was good, because one run was scored after that. The Marlins won and so did the Diamondbacks. We were off on the Texas/TB under lean, but that was a last resort type of play.
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Per usual, the games with big lines will be overlooked, unless there is something particularly noteworthy about them or a play on the underdog is a possibility. Also, day games are usually skipped due to the lead time of the article. That will not be the case on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Sundays when there are a lot of day games.
St. Louis (-115) at Philadelphia; Total: 8.5
Mike Leake and Vincent Velasquez are the slated starters for Sunday’s matchup at Citizens Bank Park. Leake clearly doesn’t inspire much confidence in the betting market. The Cardinals have been one of the top offenses against right-handed pitchers all season long and Velasquez hasn’t been the same pitcher for a while, yet the Redbirds are only -115 chalk here?
Leake has a 4.78 ERA with a 3.98 FIP and a 3.77 xFIP. His sequencing luck has been pretty terrible this year. With a 63.9 percent LOB%, nearly 10 percent below his career average, Leake simply hasn’t been able to work out of jams. The weird thing is that his splits between bases empty and men on base and men in scoring position aren’t that far apart. His LOB% in the second half is just 54.9 percent. It’s hard to look at numbers like that and not expect some positive regression. I have to think that Leake is going to improve.
Velasquez came off the DL on June 27 and has posted a 4.73 ERA with a 4.38 FIP and a 3.70 xFIP In his nine starts. He does have 57 strikeouts in 51.1 innings of work, which is from his 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work in his last start. He does have a start with nine earned runs allowed that is really skewing his ERA. This is why context is so important. One really awful start can skew an ERA in a small sample size.
It’ll be interesting to see how Velasquez manages his next few starts. He told reporters after his last one that he hoped to have three or four more starts in 2016. Will he go all out or will we start to see some fatigue creep in?
Because Leake has so much sequencing regression coming, I do like the Cardinals today, but watch out for their lineup. It’s one of those days where Mike Matheny could give some guys a blow.
Houston (-115) at Baltimore; Total: 9.5
I realize Yovani Gallardo is past his expiration date as a pitcher, but does that mean that Dallas Keuchel should be road chalk at Baltimore? This back-and-forth series has featured a ton of offense and Sunday’s matchup could yield more of the same. It hasn’t been all that surprising to see Dallas Keuchel fall off this year. Keuchel worked 432 innings from 2014-15 and that type of workload for a guy not used to it is going to be difficult.
Keuchel’s K rate is down, his BB rate is up, and his home run rate is up. He has a 4.76 ERA with a 3.88 FIP and a 3.54 xFIP. He’s gotten a bit unlucky from a home run standpoint, although, Keuchel has carried high HR/FB% throughout most of his career. He’s been pretty hit or miss for the most part this season, with a lot of inconsistency from a game-to-game basis and some of the games have been downright ugly. I’d be concerned here against a Baltimore lineup with plenty of punch and a ton of high exit velocity balls in play lately.
On the other hand, Yovani Gallardo is the type of pitcher that the Astros feast on. Low strikeout, high walk guys are not a good match against Houston. That’s what Gallardo is and he’s given up some dingers this season as well. He has a 5.18 ERA with a 5.14 FIP and a 5.48 xFIP. Gallardo came off the DL on June 18 and has a 4.68 ERA with a 5.44 FIP and a 5.41 xFIP over those 12 starts. He has a 50/39 K/BB ratio in those 65.1 innings of work. But, he has mostly kept the Orioles in the game.
Even though Keuchel is the higher upside guy here, my inclinations are to go with Baltimore and a lot of runs in this contest.
New York (AL) (-130) at Los Angeles (AL); Total: 9
Chad Green and Jhoulys Chacin are the Sunday starters at Angel Stadium for this getaway day finale. Chad Green is a pretty interesting prospect to me. He’s posted good K/BB numbers throughout his minor league career and has done the same in a small 33.1 inning sample size at the big league level. Unfortunately, the long ball has gotten him, with a 4.05 ERA, a 4.77 FIP, and a 2.81 xFIP. He’s got a 34.8 percent HR/FB%, which is totally unsustainable.
That’s why we’ve seen a pretty significant move on the Yankees here. They’re going for a sweep and they’re managing to stay relevant in that AL East mash-up, so this would be a big win to score. They should get it, too. Chacin is a below replacement-level arm with a 5.92 ERA, a 4.50 FIP, and a 4.57 xFIP. Angel Stadium has helped his home run rate, but being in the AL has hurt both his K rate and his BB rate. The Yankees still have some parts in that lineup and they’ve shown it here in this series with 12 runs over the first two games. Shadows could be an issue in this one, so maybe we don’t see a slugfest, but I’m high on Green and feel like the Yankees are a good side if you can stand the juice here today.
Arizona at San Diego (-120); Total: 9
Braden Shipley is not getting a whole lot of love here in this one against Luis Perdomo and the Padres. The Diamondbacks eked out a 2-1 decision last night to cash one of our leans, but the market is selling their stock here today. A report came out yesterday about some dissatisfaction from ownership about the front office and manager Chip Hale, so we’re back to a lot of drama in the desert, which I have been alluding to anyway.
These are two poor starters, so I’m a little bit surprised to see the sharper players take an overnight stance on either guy. Shipley has a 4.30 ERA with a 5.98 FIP and a 5.44 xFIP in his five starts. He hasn’t been a pitcher for all that long as a converted position player. Shipley has terrible K/BB rates, so he relies on BABIP luck, which he’s gotten a ton of so far. He has a .270 BABIP against and an 80.9 percent LOB%.
My guess is that the market is siding with Perdomo because he shows some positive regression with a 6.68 ERA, but much better peripherals. Perdomo has a 65.7 percent LOB% and a .374 BABIP against. Hard contact is to blame for these numbers and also some inexperience on pitching out of leverage situations.
I’ll have to avoid this game. Remember my mantra. I’m trying to take as much variance out of the game as I can. In this instance, I can’t do it.
New York (NL) (-115) at San Francisco; Total: 7.5
We’ve got Noah Syndergaard against Jeff Samardzija here on Sunday Night Baseball. What a fascinating line this is. It’s pretty clear that things aren’t right with Noah Syndergaard, but Samardzija has been pretty terrible over a three-month stretch now. I think you know where I’m going with this. Syndergaard has given up three runs in each of his last five starts and the walks have popped up all of the sudden. His velocities have been down a little bit and he just hasn’t been as dominant.
Another side element to this is the article that Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs wrote a few days ago about how easy it has been to steal off of Syndergaard this year. With a pitcher that hasn’t been as dominant and has allowed some hard contact of late, those extra opportunities to score runs are going to come to the forefront.
I don’t believe that Samardzija has figured it out based on his last two starts. He’s still not missing enough bats and he just had some BABIP and sequencing luck. Samardzija has a 4.24 ERA with a 4.28 FIP and a 4.27 xFIP, but he has a 5.73 ERA, a 5.39 FIP, and a 4.88 xFIP in his last 14 starts. He’s got a 50/24 K/BB ratio in that span and has allowed 16 home runs. I’m not very high on the Mets offense right now with some injuries and other things, but Samardzija is a subpar starter and there’s value in this over.
As far as situational spots coming out of this game, both teams are off tomorrow, so we don’t have any.