MLB schedule today has 14 games
We are one short of a full dance card today because the Giants and Padres are preparing to play in Mexico City on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll mention more about it in tomorrow’s article, but Mexico City is at a dramatic elevation (about 7,350 feet), so it should be a glorious environment for offense.
But, we have to get through Friday’s card to worry about Saturday and there are a lot of games on the docket, including one day game. With the podcast and my Ohio radio show recording to get to, let’s get right down to business with today’s article. (Tracking sheet)
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Tune in for a new edition of VSiN Daily Baseball Bets coming out shortly.
Here are some thoughts on the April 28 card (odds from DraftKings):
Marcus Stroman and Jesus Luzardo are both off to good starts this season and look likely to continue that trend given the low total of 7.5 here at Marlins Park. Stroman has a 2.17 ERA with a 3.87 FIP across his 29 innings of work, which includes a very low .214 BABIP on a 58.9% GB% and an 89.1% LOB%. Those are two pretty glaring regression signs. Stroman also has a 26.1% K%, which would be a career-high by 4.5%, so I’m very skeptical of that continuing.
His SwStr% of 9.9% is right around his career mark of 9.7%. His first-pitch strike rate is actually down from the previous two seasons and below his career average. None of his plate discipline metrics suggest sustainability to his K%. His 27% Chase Rate is also right in line with his career mark. In other words, Stroman is outperforming at a fairly high level right now.
He is a guy with a career 3.58 ERA and a 3.64 FIP, so he’s been a well above average pitcher throughout his career. He’s just not this good and a blow-up or two are coming. The question is whether or not we can trust the Marlins offense to be the one to deal such a fate.
Luzardo has a 3.62 ERA with a 3.53 FIP in his 27.1 innings of work. He’s running an 80.5% LOB%, but he’s also got a .361 BABIP against, so there are some dueling regression signs in his profile. He’s struck out 32 and walked nine, with four of those walks coming in his first start of the season against the Mets. However, Luzardo has allowed 10 runs on 24 hits in his last three starts against the Phillies, Giants, and Guardians.
He’s back home in the friendly confines now. His wOBA against is 190 points higher on the road this season and he’s only given up four runs in 17 innings at home with a .210 batting average against. Ironically, he was worse at home than on the road last season, where he ran a .234 wOBA and posted a 2.64 ERA on the road in 58 innings compared to a .309 wOBA and a 4.25 ERA in 42.1 home innings.
I’m not going to take Miami today, but I will hope that Stroman pitches well to keep those regression signs well intact. The Fish only have a .292 wOBA and an 84 wRC+ against righties. They actually have a top-10 offense against lefties, which is something to keep in mind.
Former Pirate Chad Kuhl gets a crack at his former team as the Nationals host Pittsburgh. The Buccos will counter with Rich Hill, who has seemingly played for every team in baseball except for the Nationals.
Hill made a mechanical change that I talked about, but I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else out there and it has paid huge dividends. He allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in his first nine innings and everybody dismissed him. Well, he changed his horizontal release point for his next start against the Astros and had good results, which he followed up with strong efforts against the Rockies in Denver and the Reds. Since the change, Hill has allowed just four runs on 17 hits in 17 innings with 14 strikeouts against seven walks.
His full-season numbers show a 4.85 ERA with a 6.20 FIP, but that is hardly indicative of how he has pitched since making the change. He also allowed five homers in his first two starts, but has surrendered just two in his last three efforts. I’m torn a bit here because Hill has clearly improved for the better, but this Nationals bunch is ninth with a .337 wOBA and 10th with a 111 wRC+ against lefties this season.
Kuhl isn’t much of a pitcher. He’s got a 7.36 ERA with a 7.33 FIP and has given up 15 runs on 20 hits in just 18.1 innings of work. His last outing against the Twins was useful with one run allowed on a solo homer and two other hits in 3.2 innings, but he did walk four of the 18 batters he faced. He’s got 14 strikeouts against 12 walks on the season, has allowed a homer in every start, and has a 50.8% Hard Hit% against with a 15.3% Barrel% against.
Kuhl used to be able to survive as a pitcher when his velo sat 94-96, but he’s sitting primarily 92 mph now and that’s just not going to get it done. Out of 18 batted ball events on sinkers/fastballs, opponents have nine hits, with five singles, two doubles, a triple, and a homer. Then he’s also allowed three homers on his slider, which is far and away his most-used pitch.
Hill has ramped up the swing and miss on his fastball with better extension to add more perceived velocity to the pitch and it comes in there about 14 mph faster than his curveball, so he’s been able to mix it up well. As much as I want to like the Pirates today, the Nationals are the first top-10 offense against lefties that Hill has faced this season. The Astros are 15th in wOBA and the others are all bottom-10 groups.
Let’s see how Dick Mountain does here. I actually lean over, but weather is a major factor here and this game could get banged.
Weather is also a huge factor here and it is much easier to reschedule games between division opponents. If it goes, and that seems pretty unlikely given the forecast models, it will be Max Fried and David Peterson in a battle of left-handers. Fried has not allowed a run in two starts since his return from injury with nine strikeouts against three walks and seven hits in 11.2 innings.
Fried has faced the Padres and Astros in those outings, so two pretty talented offenses. He’s allowed just five hard-hit balls out of 30 batted ball events, which is some thoroughly impressive command. He’s been really sharp and should be getting the benefit of the doubt today, especially true when you consider what the Braves do against lefties.
Peterson has a really tough assignment today. Atlanta is third in wOBA at .370 and third in wRC+ at 131 against southpaws. Only the Rays and Cardinals are better. The Mets, meanwhile, rank 17th in wOBA and 13th in wRC+ against lefties, so respectable, but not nearly on Atlanta’s level.
To make matters worse, Peterson has also not pitched well. He’s given up 13 runs on 14 hits in his last 11 innings, including five home runs. His best pitch is the slider and it’s been hammered this season with a .412 BA against and a .765 SLG. His fastball is better than some, but not good enough if his slider isn’t going to be a primary out pitch. Opposing batters hit .175 with a .292 SLG on it last season. He gave up three homers on sliders last year and has already allowed two this season.
His slider spin rate was down in his last two outings and he looks a little out of whack mechanically. Like I said, I doubt this game gets played, but this is not a good matchup for him and what he’s dealing with at present.
I like the Braves here. I don’t think it gets played, but I think they’re the side. The Mets are struggling right now. David Robertson and Brooks Raley have pitched back-to-back days and this bullpen is not very deep in light of the current injuries. The Braves used a lot of relievers yesterday, but Fried is likely to pitch deeper into the game and this is a far deeper unit.
Pick: Braves -140
A battle of Team USA starters from the WBC takes place in Denver here with Merrill Kelly and Kyle Freeland. I pointed out some major concerns about Freeland after his strong start to the season and he’s validated my opinion, though I haven’t been able to take advantage and make money off of it. He allowed two runs on 13 hits in his first 18.2 innings, but has allowed 13 runs on 13 hits in his last 8.2 innings.
Freeland allowed a 52.9% Hard Hit% in his smoke-and-mirrors start against the Cardinals back on April 11 and has allowed 14 hard-hit balls in 34 batted ball events in the last two starts. He’s given up six homers in his last three starts and is still managing to run a .244 BABIP this season. His 4.28 ERA comes with a 5.66 FIP and has thrown a lot of sinkers this season. He threw more sliders last time out and had a few more strikeouts, but it still wasn’t an effective pitch for him.
Freeland still hasn’t gotten his velocity back either. He’s sat 91.6 for his career on the fastball and sits at 88.5 mph this season. He is a couple ticks below on his sinker velo as well. For walking at just a 4.5% clip, the fact that the Diamondbacks have a league-average wOBA against lefties and a 96 wRC+ is rather impressive. They have a .404 SLG in that split and are running a .332 BABIP as a really aggressive group. Freeland doesn’t walk many guys, so jumping on his pitches in the zone is a smart move.
On the other hand, how much can I trust Kelly here? He’s walked 17 guys in 26.1 innings of work. He’s got 25 strikeouts to go along with it, but he hasn’t been super sharp this season either. The WBC really threw off a lot of guys, though some have thrived, so it’s a case-by-case basis for analysis going forward. Nevertheless, Kelly has had major control issues, leading to a 4.60 FIP. He has only allowed two homers and has a 3.42 ERA, but there are some regression signs in the profile as a byproduct of his walk rate.
Fortunately for him, the Rockies don’t walk much. They also have just a .302 wOBA against righties with a 73 wRC+, which ranks 28th, though I’ve been vocal about how park-adjusted metrics for Coors Field don’t properly account for how much harder it is to hit on the road as a Rockie.
Another element that should help Arizona in this series is a big defensive advantage. The Diamondbacks are tops in baseball in Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric at +10. Colorado is dead last at -15. Per the FanGraphs all-encompassing Def metric, Arizona is second in baseball at 9.5, while Colorado is 27th at -7.5.
I think Kelly should be just fine here and the limited movement of pitches at Coors may actually cut down his walk issue and make his pitches a little bit easier to control, so long as they aren’t mistakes over the middle of the plate. His spin rates are up this season and I think the control issues may be his inability to adjust. Coors may slide him back towards last year’s numbers, when he only had a 7.6% BB%.
Pick: Diamondbacks -125
Two of the season’s biggest underachievers meet in Chavez Ravine today as the Cardinals and Dodgers open up a weekend set. It will be Jack Flaherty for the Redbirds and Dustin May for the Dodgers.
On the surface, this is not a good matchup at all for Flaherty. He’s walked 19 batters in 27.1 innings of work and the Dodgers annually have one of the most patient lineups in baseball. That is true again this season with a league-leading 11.6% BB% overall to go along with an 11.7% BB% against righties. Only the Padres are higher, but the Dodgers have a .342 wOBA and a 116 wRC+ against righties. The Padres only have a .296 wOBA and an 88 wRC+.
I’ve seen a lot of Dodgers frustration and even some hyperbole about this team being 13-13 so far. They’re still scoring over five runs per game, despite being one of the worst offenses in baseball against lefties. They’ve struck out a lot, but that sometimes comes with the territory of working a lot of deep counts.
Flaherty might be a good chance to get back on track after a tough road trip. Flaherty has a 3.29 ERA with a 5.18 FIP, so he’s looking down the barrel of some major regression. He’s got a .242 BABIP against and an 80.5% LOB%, which is important because he’s allowed a lot of baserunners with that walk problem. He’s also given up 17 hard-hit balls in 28 BBE over his last two starts. The oft-injured righty may be showing signs of another one, as his command is now declining towards his poor control.
May has only allowed 10 runs on 17 hits this season. He’s had some walk rate issues of his own with 10 of those against only 19 strikeouts. But, his Hard Hit% is 37.3% and he’s done a decent job of limiting hard contact. His SwStr% is down to just 6.8%, though, so I’m not sure what that’s all about. He is throwing way more fastballs this season than in past seasons. Maybe that adjustment is coming.
If nothing else, May has held righties to a .196/.238/.285 slash with a .232 wOBA in 345 plate appearances. He’s been less effectively against lefties because of a much higher walk rate, but the guys you really worry about in the St. Louis lineup are the righties. So far this season, righties have a .136/.174/.136 slash with a .147 wOBA in 46 PA.
The Dodgers pen is in good shape after a couple lopsided losses the last two days. I think they’ll have a lead to protect here and I expect the Dodgers to get a lot of scoring chances with their patience against Flaherty. With all the strikeouts, the Dodgers have the second-fewest chances with RISP, but rank 11th in batting average and seventh in wOBA. They just need chances and I think they’re coming here.
Pick: Dodgers -135
The Royals have all of those positive regression signs on offense that I’ve tried to play into this week, but the results have definitely not been where they should be. I can’t imagine they’ll find much success against Pablo Lopez today. Lopez is coming off of a surprisingly bad outing against the Nationals, but had allowed just five runs on 15 hits in his first four starts across 26 innings of work. He’s got a 39/8 K/BB ratio and there aren’t any red flags in his profile.
His .304 BABIP is high for his 85.1 mph average exit velocity and 32.9% Hard Hit%, so there is a path in which he gets even better. The Royals have made a lot of hard-hit contact and squandered it. What will they do today if they can’t make that hard-hit contact? What will they do against a guy running a 32.2% K%? Probably not much.
Jordan Lyles gets the call for the Royals and he’s just serving as an innings eater right now. He’s allowed four or more runs in each of his last four starts. He’s given up five homers in the last two. With seven homers allowed out of his 19 hits, he’s running a .237 BABIP, so that’ll be on the rise at some point since homers don’t count towards BABIP and he’s getting lucky on balls in play. He does have a league average Hard Hit% at 39%, but has already allowed 12 barrels.
No play here with the big number and limited equity on the run line, but it would be a surprising result to see anything other than a Twins victory. By the way, the team with fewest PA with RISP than the Dodgers? It’s the Twins with only 212. They’re second in wOBA with RISP to the Rangers.
It got really, really dicey last night with Felix Bautista and the Orioles run line, but it managed to get there because the Tigers couldn’t put balls in play. That has been an ongoing problem for the team to say the least.
This game has a good chance of getting washed out as well, so we’ll see if the forecast improves for Rodriguez vs. Rodriguez. Grayson goes for the O’s and Eduardo goes for the Tigers. Eduardo has actually been quite good this season in 31 innings with a 2.32 ERA and a 3.48 FIP. He’s been a rare bright spot for the Tigers in what has already been a tough start to the campaign. He missed a lot of time tending to personal issues last season and has come back with a vengeance this season.
He has only allowed one run on 12 hits over his last three starts covering 21 innings of work. He’s in a nice groove and just shut down a Baltimore lineup that has been strong against lefties this season, holding them to one hit over seven shutout innings. How will Baltimore adjust today?
Grayson is also getting his second run at the same team and he had a successful start with five shutout innings, but he also allowed six hard-hit balls and an average exit velocity of 94.8 mph over 13 batted ball events. He has a 44.2% Hard Hit% on the season with an average exit velo of 90.8 mph. We’ve seen the good and the bad from him, as he has a 28.7% K%, but an 11.5% BB%.
I think this line will look short on the surface with how well the O’s are playing and how bad Detroit has been, but the pitching matchup is a big reason why. For those betting Baltimore, keep in mind that Bautista is completely unavailable after his long innings yesterday in a back-to-back appearance.
We’ve got a dandy pitching matchup at Rogers Centre between Luis Castillo and Alek Manoah. It is hard to get a handle on Manoah this season, though, as his results have been all over the place. He allowed seven runs on nine hits to the Rays two starts ago with four walks in just 4.2 innings. He walked 13 batters in a three-start stretch against the Royals, Tigers, and Rays, but then threw seven shutout innings against the Yankees in his last start with just one walk and two hits.
Manoah was a guy that a lot of people in the analytics community were pegging for regression coming into the season and it has happened. He has a 5.13 ERA with a 5.78 FIP in 26.1 innings of work. He’s worked seven shutout innings twice, but also given up five or more runs twice. His Hard Hit% is up over 11% from last season. He allowed 29 barrels in 540 batted ball events last season and has already allowed nine in 82 this season. His K% is down with a decrease in SwStr% and his Chase Rate is down over 6%.
He had a 2.24 ERA with a 3.35 FIP last season, as a .244 BABIP and an 82.6% LOB% did a lot of heavy lifting. But, I honestly thought he was set up pretty well, especially piggybacking off of 20 solid starts in 2021. His 2023 is not off to a good start and we’ll have to see if he can figure things out.
Castillo has nothing to really figure out except for how to keep rolling right along. He has allowed just five runs on 18 hits in 29.2 innings with a stellar 34/6 K/BB ratio. He’s got a 1.52 ERA with a 1.67 FIP in his five starts. As always, there are caveats. Four of the five starts have been at home and T-Mobile Park is a great pitching environment. He’s also allowed a 48.6% Hard Hit% on the season, though most of that contact has been on ground balls. Maintaining a .250 BABIP with a Hard Hit% that high is a tall task.
On the other hand, his Hard Hit% has never been higher than 39.7% (2016) and his high mark in the last five seasons is 37.2%, so I would assume that rate of hard contact comes down as the season goes along. He’s also throwing a lot more hard stuff and hasn’t really unleashed his slider or changeup as much as of yet. He’s throwing 66% fastballs and dominating teams. Once he shuffles his pitch mix a little more, the sky is the limit.
I was all set to bet on the Mariners here, but then I looked at some Castillo numbers. His vertical release point is dropping and his spin rates are down from the beginning of the season. His four-seam fastball spin rate started at 2399 rpm and is down to 2254 rpm. His slider spin rate has been down in his last two outings. His last start also featured his lowest velocity of the season and it was his worst start of the year with three runs allowed on seven hits and his highest by exit velo (96.2 mph) and Hard Hit% (57.1%). That was enough to scare me away.
This may look like a low number for Shane Bieber, but I am not thrilled with where things currently stand. Bieber has a 3.23 ERA with a 3.74 FIP, but he also has a 5.13 xERA because he’s not generating many strikeouts and is allowing a lot of hard contact. Bieber’s K% is down to 17.6% and his Hard Hit% is up at 46.2%. The decreased velocity is not something that the Guardians can hide their heads in the sand about anymore.
Bieber is still working deep into games, but he’s allowed three runs in three of his five starts. In four of his five starts, he has allowed a 50% Hard Hit%, with the lone exception coming against the lowly Oakland A’s. We also have a serious Cluster Luck situation emerging with Bieber. He has allowed a .279/.353/.492 slash and a .367 wOBA with the bases empty, but a .189/.228/.245 slash and a .213 wOBA with men on base. With RISP, he’s allowed a .184/.238/.263 slash with a .226 wOBA.
So this speaks to a few different possibilities. One is simply luck and/or variance. Another is a mechanical flaw from the windup. Another is a pitch usage thing based on situation. It is worrisome to me that Bieber is actually throwing his lowest percentage of four-seam fastballs with a career high in cutters and sliders, but is still experiencing some of these red flags. At this point, his fastball is virtually useless other than an efficient strike-throwing pitch. I’m not sure why he’s gotten away from the curveball, other than to say that maybe hitter handedness has played a part.
Interestingly, Bieber’s fastball usage has increased in his last two starts against the Nationals and Marlins and they haven’t gone terribly well. It feels like he was maybe trying to steal his two starts against them while saving some breaking ball bullets for the future. I don’t know, but I’m not terribly impressed.
Nick Pivetta has gotten a couple extra days of rest heading into this start. He’s allowed 12 runs (10 earned) over 19.2 innings with a 23/9 K/BB ratio. Pivetta has a 4.58 ERA with a 5.18 FIP. He allows a lot of hard contact and this season is no different with a 56.4% Hard Hit%. He’s also allowed 10 barrels already and four homers this season in starts against the Pirates, Rays, Angels, and Brewers.
The Guardians don’t really hit the ball hard. They are 26th in Hard Hit% at 33.8% and 29th in Barrel% at 4.8%. Are they going to be able to take advantage of Pivetta’s shoddy command? They might and maybe this is the game where the offense breaks out, but I have no faith in Bieber right now.
Tough game. I could see Over 9 if the Guardians actually bring the bats to Fenway, but that’s a dangerous gamble to make.
Zach Eflin makes his second start back for a rotation badly in need of some health and good news. He’ll draw the lowly White Sox and be opposed by Lucas Giolito in this one. Helping breezes will be blowing out to right field here, but it’ll be in the low 50s and upper 40s, so that doesn’t really provide much of a boost for offense.
Eflin allowed one run on three hits over five innings against the White Sox on Sunday and now runs it back against the same team. He missed 16 days and didn’t make a rehab start prior to his return. In that start, he allowed a couple of barrels and three other hard-hit balls, but the White Sox didn’t really do any damage. Eflin’s long injury history has kept him from reaching his potential, but he hasn’t posted a FIP higher than 3.68 since 2019, which was the year that most everybody suffered because of the juiced ball.
Giolito’s results have been a box of chocolates this season. We truly never know what we’re going to get. He threw six no-hit innings on April 18 against the Phillies and had a terrific start against the Twins prior to that. He’s also had a start with seven runs allowed on 12 hits against the Pirates and his last start with four runs allowed on five hits against the Rays. Even from pitch-to-pitch, it feels like Giolito has been tough to read with a Hard Hit% of 40.7% and a Barrel% of 12.3%.
Given that he’s facing the Rays for his second straight start, I’m not sure we can expect anything crazy. One thing that is a little odd is that Giolito has made four of his five starts on the road. His home start was the one against the Phillies. I don’t have a play here, but I do like a lot of Giolito’s peripherals with a 28/6 K/BB ratio and a better pitch mix this season. I’d love to see the command catch up and maybe a few more changeups, but I think he’s on the right track.
If the question is “Do I want to bet against Jacob deGrom?”, the answer is usually no. The answer is no today. deGrom has allowed four earned runs in 23 innings of work since his Opening Day disaster against the Phillies. He has 43 strikeouts against three walks, which is laughably ridiculous. What is also ridiculous is that he has a 54.9% LOB% while striking out 42.2% of the batters that he has faced.
Clarke Schmidt doesn’t have a lot of runway tonight for the Yankees if he wants to hang in there with deGrom. I was happy to see Schmidt have a good start against the Blue Jays last time out. I’d love for my Guardians to get a hold of him given the spin rates and the solid velo numbers. He’s given up at least three runs in each of his five starts, though all three were unearned last time out. He has 24 strikeouts in 20 innings.
However, he also has a 57.4% Hard Hit% against. If Cleveland actually hit the ball hard, it would be a lot worse for him. Speaking of guys who hit the ball hard, Aaron Judge will be out for a few days at a minimum for the Yankees after leaving with hip discomfort yesterday. Given that Giancarlo Stanton is already out, the Yankees lineup looks a good bit watered down without those two cogs.
We’ll see Framber Valdez and Aaron Nola at The Juice Box as the Astros return home following a really successful road trip against the Braves and Astros. Valdez has allowed 13 runs in 32 innings, but five of them have been unearned. He has 34 strikeouts against eight walks and everything looks pretty okay on the surface, but there are some concerns that I have.
Valdez has a 65.5% GB% and a .310 BABIP against, which makes sense in the post-shift world. He has a 74.7% LOB%, which falls well within normal range. He also has a 49.4% Hard Hit%. The strikeouts and the ground balls are going to limit multi-run innings, especially with the inability to hit home runs on ground balls, but he’s giving up a lot more hard contact than he did last season at 41.4%. He’s already allowed eight barrels in 87 batted ball events after allowing 32 in 555 last season.
Valdez’s velo is up and his spin rates look fine, but that’s a lot of hard contact to be giving up. Still, he’s a guy that can pitch around it, so those that put a lot of stock in xERA might not want to think too much about it with him. That being said, I think there will be a game or two where it catches up with him and provides a correction in some of his numbers.
I am displeased with what I’ve seen out of Nola this season. He’s only got 22 strikeouts in 28.1 innings of work. He’s given up 18 runs on 29 hits and the lack of strikeouts is a contributing factor to a 59.2% LOB%. On the other hand, his Hard Hit% is just 32.2% and his 10% SwStr% does suggest more strikeouts should be coming on the horizon. He’s allowed at least three runs in every start and hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row recently with the Marlins, Reds, and Rockies.
Nola’s velo is down and hasn’t really shown signs of coming back up. I do think there’s something to be said about a pitcher possibly babying his arm a little bit without a contract extension in hopes of not getting hurt. Maybe that’s what is happening with Shane Bieber. Despite the decreased velo, Nola’s spin rates are fine compared to his career numbers, so we aren’t talking about an injury situation or anything.
He just hasn’t been very sharp. Let’s see if he’s better here. Let’s also see if Yordan Alvarez returns for the Astros.
Tyler Anderson and Wade Miley square off in a battle of pitch-to-contact lefties. There are also two guys with opposing regression signs. Anderson has a .318 BABIP against and a 65.5% LOB% while running a 36.6% Hard Hit%. Among a few issues, one is that he only has 11 strikeouts in 20 innings and it’s hard to strand runners without strikeouts. The other is that he has allowed five home runs. He’s given up 17 runs in his last three starts.
Even for soft-tossers, velo matters. Anderson’s velo is down a tick on his fastball and at a career-low on the sinker. As primarily a sinker/changeup guy, you need that separation to be effective and he hasn't had as much of it this season. He’s also throwing his curveball harder, which is a little bit strange.
That being said, he’s nowhere near this bad. He’s been a guy that has excelled with the contact management metrics throughout his career and this year’s .318 BABIP is his highest in a full season since his rookie year in 2016. His 12% K% and 8.7% BB% are outliers relative to his career numbers as well. His 36.6% Hard Hit% is the highest of his career and, remember, league average is 39%. He was at 28.5% last season.
This may be Anderson’s chance to get back on track. The Brewers are 29th in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties. Of course, a lot of that has to do with a 32.8% K%, which Anderson cannot replicate.
It’s tough because I want to fade Miley badly. He’s allowed five runs on 18 hits in 23 innings. His Hard Hit% is 33.3%, yet he’s got a .239 BABIP against. He’s struck out 17 in 23 innings and has an 89.1% LOB%. He’s really overperforming right now with a 1.96 ERA and a 3.66 FIP. The Angels are fourth in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties over 255 plate appearances.
I’m going to take a chance on the regression signs for both pitchers and roll with Anderson and the Angels for the 1st 5 at +105. Miley is going to get rocked by somebody soon and why not a top-five offense against lefties? Similarly, Anderson should improve and a matchup against a bottom-five Brewers bunch against southpaws could be a good spot.
Pick: Angels 1st 5 (+105)
How bad is Luis Cessa? The 5-21 Oakland Athletics are favored. Cessa allowed 11 runs on 14 hits two starts ago against the Phillies. In his other three outings, he’s allowed nine runs in 13.2 innings of work. He, too, has given up a ton of hard contact with a 52.1% Hard Hit% across 73 batted balls.
The A’s starter is listed as TBD. It could be Drew Rucinski, who was a KBO standout, but hasn’t pitched at the MLB level since 2018. It could be Kyle Muller, who is on regular rest, but it seems like he’ll go tomorrow. Rucinski had a 6.52 ERA with a 4.28 FIP in three Triple-A starts over 9.2 innings of work prior to his expected call-up.
In what may end up being a bullpen game, Cincinnati’s pen actually ranks second in fWAR behind Baltimore’s. The Reds are ninth in ERA and fifth in FIP, while the A’s are pretty much last in almost every category.
This game could have a lot of runs with a plethora of hard-hit contact, but these are also two lacking offenses, which is especially true of the Reds when they hit the road and can’t play at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is 1-9 away from home this season.
Angels 1st 5 (+105)