Last Updated: 2017-04-21
MLB Favorite of the day: Chicago Cubs -171
The Reds very well may have the worst starting rotation of any team in the last five years. They have given Bronson Arroyo a starting spot, and have potential to finish the season with a rotation with below replacement value. While the Reds do have an interesting offense with Votto being one of the smartest hitters in baseball, and Billy Hamilton being one of the most exciting players in the sport. But when the starting rotation is so bad, it’s hard for the offense to carry the team in a tough division. The Reds are going to be starting Tim Adelman has pitched four innings so far on the season. For what it’s worth, they were four effective innings where he only allowed one run, and struck out five batters. He is a flyball pitcher, which is not ideal as he will be pitching in Great American Ballpark where balls carry often. This is part of the reason Baltimore was willing to part ways with him, as balls carry at Camden as well.
The Reds are playing the defending champions in baseball, and their best pitcher in Jon Lester. While the Cubs haven’t had the best start to the season, most projections viewed them as the second-best team behind only the Dodgers. The odds are high in this game, but the Reds don’t have a good starting rotation, and there may be fatigue problems that develop in their bullpen as they may get forced to come into games early frequently. I like the Cubs even at the high odds in this game.
MLB Underdog of the day: Pittsburgh Pirates +100
Tyler Glasnow is going to be starting for the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight against CC Sabathia and the Yankees. Glasnow is off to a pretty disastrous start to the season where he has displayed his main issue in allowing walks. He is averaging over a walk per inning which is about as shockingly bad as possible. This still seems like a trend that can’t possibly continue, but he is still going to continue striking guys out. He was projected by Steamer to walk almost five batters per nine innings, but as with most high walk pitchers, he is also exceptional at striking batters out. Even as he has been terrible to start the season off, he has been effective striking out opposing batters as he has averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings which is about what he was projected for. Glasnow also has great batted ball numbers when he can actually throw strikes. His curveball is almost impossible to hit for left hand hitters as it can dive inside, or he can go backdoor with it. The problem is that he can never get ahead in the count with his fastball to throw the curveball in optimal situations. But Glasnow has so much talent that it can be so easy to bet on him.
Sabathia is seeing something of a career renaissance in the early season. Sabathia has been a pretty bad pitcher for the last few years, but last year he was at least an above average pitcher. Some of this can probably be attributed to him cleaning up his personal life, and going to rehab for alcoholism. Quitting drinking probably helped get him into better shape, and has helped with his stamina in a game. even still though, when I watch Sabathia I see a 36-year-old pitcher whose aging curve has not been beautiful. Part of this is because of bad conditioning which may be better since he quit drinking, but there are lingering effects to getting out of shape. Sabathia has lost his stellar changeup, because the difference in velocity from his fastball isn’t large enough anymore. He has also been allowing a 30%-line drive rate so far this season, and allowing around a 27% hard hit ball percentage. His BABIP figures don’t reflect this at all however, as his BABIP is currently .204. Maybe it’s too early to judge his line drive percentage effectively, but he’s a lefty going against a right hand heavy lineup. I’d have concern for Sabathia’s ability to go deep into the game. I think the Pirates should be able to score runs against Sabathia somewhat easily.
Bonus Favorite of the day: Detroit Tigers -130
There were no totals picks that I liked today, but I did like the Tigers at this line. Justin Verlander is starting for the Tigers going against the Twins tonight. Verlander has had a rough start of the season as far as ERA, but his peripheral stats still show him as a very good pitcher, and he has continued striking batters out at a high rate. Verlander is not projected to be the borderline Cy Young candidate that he was last year. He is barely even viewed as a top of the rotation starter by most projections, but I think Verlander will have a nice late career. His velocity is still up, and he is still throwing his great curveball. Projection systems generally assume pitchers will lose some velocity as they age, but that hasn’t been the case so far for Verlander. He is throwing his fastball at over 94, which is the highest since 2011. While the velocity measurements have changed, his increase has been far more than the mean increase in the MLB. This probably means that he has seen some legitimate increase in his velocity. With Verlander going against the Twins, I feel pretty good about getting the Tigers at -130 even if they’re playing at Target field.