Top starter-vs.-opponent matchups

lauer
While most sports bettors and fans were glued to Thursday night’s broadcast of the NFL draft, I attended my first Major League Baseball game in nearly two years. It felt great to be back at the ballpark. It felt even better to score a major underdog winner with the Brewers, who took down the Dodgers in a battle of two of the NL’s best teams. The result seemed improbable to the Average Joe, as Milwaukee played as a + 185 home underdog with manager Craig Counsell late in the day naming a little-known pitcher to oppose reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.
 
Counsell’s decision is exactly what steered me the Brewers’ way, however. The pitcher named to start the contest was Eric Lauer, known as a Dodger killer. He was always tremendous against Los Angeles while he pitched for the Padres. In fact, his record and key stats against the defending World Series champions top the accompanying pitcher-vs.-opponent matchup list. In true Lauer fashion, he controlled the dangerous L.A. lineup, holding it scoreless for five innings before turning it over to the talented Milwaukee bullpen. The Brewers won 2-1, and it was a great validation of how putting in work can lead to betting profits.
 
You see, I remembered on the way to the game that Lauer had appeared on my top pitcher-vs.-opponent matchups in the past, and clearly Counsell put a lot of stock into this information himself as he searched his roster for a starter that night. It proved a crucial move as the Brewers won what would have seemed a throwaway game, setting the table for three straight wins over L.A. 
 
 
The moral of this story is that how pitchers fare against certain opponents is indeed an important part of handicapping baseball. In the first of this two-part report, I will go through 31 pitcher-opponent matchups that recently have produced at least a 100% return on investment for bettors, each with a minimum of five starts against that team. Next week I will share some of the worst matchups.
 
I’ve also listed potential schedule spots where you might be able to take advantage of the findings before the season gets too far along. Be sure to mark your betting calendars, as some of the matchups start this week and others extend into October.
 
Eric Lauer (Milwaukee): Last eight starts vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Team Record: 7-1, + 10.6 units, ROI 132.5%
Individual Record: 6-0, 47 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.89, WHIP 1.049, K’s/9 8.68
Team Run Support: 3.6 RPG
Schedule Spots: Oct. 1-3
 
Tyler Glasnow (Tampa Bay): Last five starts vs. New York Yankees
Team Record: 5-0, + 6.45 units, ROI 129.0%
Individual Record: 3-0, 24 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.63, WHIP 0.917, K’s/9 13.5
Team Run Support: 4.8 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 11-13, May 31-June 3, July 27-29, Oct. 1-3
 
Merrill Kelly (Arizona): Last five starts vs. San Diego
Team Record: 5-0, + 6.45 units, ROI 129.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 32 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 0.55, WHIP 0.826, K’s/9 9.37
Team Run Support: 4.8 RPG
Schedule Spots: July 25-27, Aug. 6-8, Aug. 8-15, Aug. 30-Sept. 1
 
Sandy Alcantara (Miami): Last six starts vs. Philadelphia
Team Record: 5-1, + 7.35 units, ROI 122.5%
Individual Record: 4-1, 38 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.82, WHIP 1.382, K’s/9 7.98
Team Run Support: 3.5 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 18-20, May 24-27, June 29-July 1, July 16-18, Sept. 3-5, Oct. 1-3
 
Taijuan Walker (New York Mets): Last seven starts vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Team Record: 6-1, + 8.57 units, ROI 122.4%
Individual Record: 3-1, 31 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 4.83, WHIP 1.452, K’s/9 9.66
Team Run Support: 6.7 RPG
Schedule Spots: Aug. 13-15, Aug. 19-22
 
Chad Kuhl (Pittsburgh): Last eight starts vs. Milwaukee
Team Record: 8-0, + 9.32 units, ROI 116.5%
Individual Record: 4-0, 43 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.3, WHIP 1.047, K’s/9 8.58
Team Run Support: 5.5 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 11-13, July 1-4, July 27-29, Aug. 2-4, Aug. 13-15
 
Madison Bumgarner (Arizona): Last six starts vs. New York Mets
Team Record: 6-0, + 6.9 units, ROI 115.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 43 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.88, WHIP 1.00, K’s/9 7.95
Team Run Support: 5.7 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 7-9, May 31-June 2
 
Jon Lester (Washington): Last six starts vs. New York Mets
Team Record: 6-0, + 6.9 units, ROI 115.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 39 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.81, WHIP 1.109, K’s/9 7.26
Team Run Support: 8.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 18-20, Aug. 10-12, Aug. 27-29, Sept. 3-6
 
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs): Last five starts vs. Washington
Team Record: 5-0, + 5.4 units, ROI 108.0%
Individual Record: 2-0, 27 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.58, WHIP 1.337, K’s/9 9.11
Team Run Support: 5.4 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 17-20, July 30-Aug. 1
 
Stephen Strasburg (Washington): Last nine starts vs. Philadelphia
Team Record: 9-0, + 9.45 units, ROI 105.0%
Individual Record: 6-0, 53 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.85, WHIP 1.155, K’s/9 10.23
Team Run Support: 5.3 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 11-13, July 4-6, July 22-23, July 27-29, Aug. 2-5, Aug. 30-Sept. 1
 
J.A. Happ (Minnesota): Last five starts vs. Texas
Team Record: 5-0, + 5.2 units, ROI 104.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 31 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.27, WHIP 1.074, K’s/9 10.51
Team Run Support: 6.6 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 5-6, July 18-20
 
Madison Bumgarner (Arizona): Last six starts vs. Chicago Cubs
Team Record: 6-0, + 6.2 units, ROI 103.3%
Individual Record: 4-0, 38 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.33, WHIP 0.905, K’s/9 10.71
Team Run Support: 4.5 RPG
Schedule Spots: July 16-18, July 23-25
 
Jose Berrios (Minnesota): Last five starts vs. Baltimore
Team Record: 5-0, + 5.1 units, ROI 102.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 33 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.24, WHIP 1.05, K’s/9 8.1
Team Run Support: 6.4 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 24-26, May 31-June 2
 
Jon Gray (Colorado): Last five starts vs. Atlanta
Team Record: 5-0, + 5.05 units, ROI 101.0%
Individual Record: 3-0, 30 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.23, WHIP 1.239, K’s/9 9.98
Team Run Support: 7.6 RPG
Schedule Spots: Sept. 2-4, Sept. 14-16
 
Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers): Last five starts vs. San Francisco
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 28 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.89, WHIP 1.214, K’s/9 11.25
Team Run Support: 8.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 21-23, May 27-30, July 19-22, July 27-29, Sept. 3-5
 
Dylan Cease (Chicago White Sox): Last six starts vs. Detroit
Team Record: 6-0, + 6 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 6-0, 35 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.29, WHIP 1.16, K’s/9 9.43
Team Run Support: 8.3 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 3-6, June 11-13, July 2-4, Sept. 20-22, Oct. 1-3
 
Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees): Last five starts vs. Detroit
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 31 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.71, WHIP 0.884, K’s/9 13.64
Team Run Support: 7.4 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 28-30
 
Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees): Last six starts vs. Los Angeles Angels
Team Record: 6-0, + 6 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 36 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.45, WHIP 1.118, K’s/9 14.24
Team Run Support: 7.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 28-July 1, Aug. 30-Sept. 1
 
Domingo German (New York Yankees): Last five starts vs. Baltimore
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 32 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.97, WHIP 0.844, K’s/9 8.16
Team Run Support: 8.8 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 14-16, Aug. 2-4, Sept. 3-5, Sept. 14-16
 
Kyle Gibson (Texas): Last five starts vs. Baltimore
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 34 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.59, WHIP 0.735, K’s/9 8.74
Team Run Support: 4 RPG
Schedule Spots: Sept. 23-26
 
Kyle Gibson (Texas): Last five starts vs. Kansas City
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 3-0, 27 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 4.88, WHIP 1.301, K’s/9 7.15
Team Run Support: 7.4 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 25-27
 
Jon Gray (Colorado): Last five starts vs. Cincinnati
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 29 2/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.94, WHIP 1.314, K’s/9 8.49
Team Run Support: 7.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 13-16, July 11-13
 
J.A. Happ (Minnesota): Last six starts vs. Baltimore
Team Record: 6-0, + 6 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 2-0, 27 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 5.93, WHIP 1.537, K’s/9 7.9
Team Run Support: 6.3 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 24-26, May 31-June 2
 
Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers): Last seven starts vs. New York Mets
Team Record: 7-0, + 7 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 45 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.18, WHIP 0.949, K’s/9 10.92
Team Run Support: 6.9 RPG
Schedule Spots: Aug. 13-15, Aug. 19-22
 
Dallas Keuchel (Chicago White Sox): Last seven starts vs. Los Angeles Angels
Team Record: 7-0, + 7 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 6-0, 50 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.32, WHIP 0.934, K’s/9 6.79
Team Run Support: 6.3 RPG
Schedule Spots: Sept. 14-16
 
Corey Kluber (New York Yankees): Last seven starts vs. Detroit
Team Record: 7-0, + 7 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 7-0, 54 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 0.83, WHIP 0.699, K’s/9 9.77
Team Run Support: 5.1 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 28-30
 
Aaron Nola (Philadelphia): Last five starts vs. Colorado
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 32 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 3.06, WHIP 1.175, K’s/9 11.69
Team Run Support: 5 RPG
Schedule Spots: Sept. 9-12
 
Michael Pineda (Minnesota): Last five starts vs. Chicago White Sox
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 4-0, 31 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.9, WHIP 0.968, K’s/9 8.42
Team Run Support: 7.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 11-13, May 17-19, June 28-July 1, July 5-7, July 19-21, Aug. 9-11
 
Zach Plesac (Cleveland): Last six starts vs. Kansas City
Team Record: 6-0, + 6 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 34 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 2.1, WHIP 1.077, K’s/9 6.81
Team Run Support: 6.7 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 5-6, July 8-11, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, Sept. 20-22, Sept. 28-30
 
Max Scherzer (Washington): Last five starts vs. Cincinnati
Team Record: 5-0, + 5 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 5-0, 34 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.06, WHIP 0.824, K’s/9 14.56
Team Run Support: 6.2 RPG
Schedule Spots: May 25-27, Sept. 23-26
 
Stephen Strasburg (Washington): Last 15 starts vs. Miami
Team Record: 15-0, + 15 units, ROI 100.0%
Individual Record: 12-0, 99 1/3 innings
Key Stats: ERA 1.54, WHIP 0.886, K’s/9 11.05
Team Run Support: 6.1 RPG
Schedule Spots: June 24-27, July 19-21, Aug. 24-26, Sept. 13-15, Sept. 20-22
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