Two teams are off today, as the White Sox and Cubs prepare for their two-game interleague set on the South Side that begins on Saturday. Otherwise, we’ve got 14 games, 28 teams and all of the games will be played at night, as we’ll have no day baseball to distract from the end of the work week.
Over the last seven days, the league-wide K% is down to 21.7%, a level that we haven’t seen for a full season since 2017. With the K% down to 22.5%, this season and last season will mark the first back-to-back seasons with K% decreases since 2002-03. Last season was the first season without a K% increase since 2005. You have to understand these changes and what they mean to make adjustments to your handicapping.
I have not adjusted well, as May has been a tough month. Increased sample sizes are actually hurting me because of how different this season has been, as a lot of my normal indicators for positive or negative regression don’t carry as much weight. The battle continues and I’m doing my best to create better fortunes moving forward.
Cubs/Reds: Apparently the play yesterday would have been to keep riding Great American Ball Park as an over venue. The Reds scored 20 runs on 20 hits in a thrashing of Justin Steele and the Cubs bullpen. Steele had 19 strikeouts and allowed one earned run on four hits in 11 innings in his two previous starts against Arizona and then got shelled here. Baseball is a funny, high-variance game to say the least.
The Hunter Greene Experience is really something. He gave up five runs in six innings, but had 16 whiffs. The raw stuff is there. The command is not.
Rockies/Nationals: German Marquez looked bad again, as he was lucky to just allow five runs on six hits over six innings. Marquez allowed 13 hard-hit balls and only had two strikeouts. He only had six whiffs in 46 swings and his spin rates were down across the board. There’s still something going on here. I need to be more aggressive about fading him. I would have yesterday, but I have no stock in Patrick Corbin, nor do I want to make that investment. Corbin only had four whiffs in 40 swings and gave up three runs in 6.1 innings.
As I mentioned yesterday, even though we’ve seen some love for the Nats recently, we didn’t really see any with Corbin on the hill. Market confidence in him mirrors my confidence in him.
Phillies/Braves: The best way for the Phillies to win is mostly avoid the bullpen. Getting 8.1 innings from Aaron Nola with 10 strikeouts is a good way to do that. The Braves are striking out a ton and they also swing and miss a lot, which is a big reason why this offense continues to disappoint. Nola looks really good this season and the strikeouts increase his margin for error with a defense that ranks 29th in the Statcast Outs Above Average fielding metric.
Brewers/Cardinals: The Brewers are now 11-4 in one-run games after knocking off the Cardinals 4-3 to make yesterday’s only pick a loser. Adam Wainwright wasn’t sharp at all and allowed 10 hits over five innings. The Brewers probably could have won in even bigger fashion. Lauer did only have eight whiffs in 45 swings and issued four walks. The Cardinals just didn’t get any batted ball luck. They remain a good bet against lefties, though that does seem priced into the market a bit at this point.
Dodgers/Diamondbacks: Baseball can be such a cruel game. There were 31 hard-hit balls in yesterday’s 14-1 win for the Dodgers. Arizona was 5-for-13 on that type of contact. Los Angeles was 14-for-18. Arizona scored one run with an xBA of .422 in the contest. Every game is subject to batted ball variance, but to a higher degree now with the decreased K% trend around the league. In this one, the Dodgers won that battle in a big way.