Marlins -137: I like Vincent Velasquez as much as anyone, i’m a huge fan of his and I think he’s the real deal. This play however isn’t about fading him as much as it is going against a Phillies offense that is just awful against left handed pitching. On the season the Phillies have a wRC+ of 36 against lefties. Good enough for dead last in MLB. For those who don’t know a league average wRC+ is 100, so a 36 (granted only 1 month sample size) is disgustingly bad. Tonight they take on Wei Yin Chen and the Marlins. Chen is by no means a star but he’s been a solid under the radar pitcher for a few years now. Chen has always been a low BB guy and he’ll make you earn everything you get it. Frankly a guy like this should carve right through the Phillies tonight. As I mentioned I like Velasquez quite a bit, but the Marlins shouldn’t need many runs to pull out a victory tonight.
Cardinals -123: Francisco Liriano is a mess right now. His stuff is still good and his K rate is still high, but his BB’s are just through the roof. Walking nearly 5.5 guys per 9 IP is just begging for trouble. Liriano has always been nasty, but trouble for him has come when the control goes, and at least so far this season that’s starting to happen. The Cardinals are a patient team and have an 11.2% BB rate against lefties this year putting them in the top 5 in that category. If Liriano is wild tonight, the Cards aren’t going to do him any favors. They’ll have no problems taking their walks and getting some traffic on the bases.
Athletics -106: Most wouldn’t realize it, but in terms of K rate and swinging strike rate Rich Hill is one of the nastiest pitchers going right now. Hill is showing that 4 start flurry late in 2015 was no fluke as he’s stormed out of the gate here again in 2016. His 11.53 K/9 is one of the best marks in the league and to put it most simply the less guys put the ball into play, the less chance you have to get into trouble. On the other end we’ve got Ubaldo Jimenez. Pretty much your same old Ubaldo. High K’s, high BB’s, high pitch count, short outings. He’s just not a very efficient pitcher as he seemingly always is piling up those 20-25 pitch innings and by the 5th he’s crept past the 100 pitch mark. Clearly the Orioles are the better all around time here but we’ve got a massive gap in the SP’s tonight. Hill is just miles better than Ubaldo right now. Good enough for me to get in there on the A’s.
Rays -125: Chris Archer has had some bad luck with BABIP and HR rate so far this season and as a result his ERA sits at 5. Don’t let that fool you though, this is still one of the nastiest pitchers in the game. Archer is working at about a 12 K/9 rate which is absolutely through the roof. Not only that but it speaks to how dirty his stuff still is. If that 5 ERA came along with a dipped K rate i’d be concerned about Archer but the K rate tells me there’s nothing to worry about here. Tonight the Angels throw Cory Rasmus in a spot start. Rasmus hasn’t been stretched out and the Angels would be thrilled to get 5 innings from him. More realistically he won’t even be able to give them that. The Rays will get into the underbelly of that Halos bullpen nice and early and should be able to do some damage. I’m not big on taking road chalk but this is a spot where I just can’t help myself.
1st 5 Innings Phillies/Marlins Un 3.5 (-110): I’m doing a little double dipping in this game. In the write up for my Marlins play I mentioned why the Phillies should have plenty of trouble scoring tonight, on the flip side the Marlins will have some trouble with Velasquez too. I don’t want to repeat too much of what I mentioned in the Marlins write up but i’m expecting a low scoring Marlins win tonight so i’ll come at this one from both angles.
1st 5 Innings Mets/Padres Un 3 (-110): You all know about Noah Syndergaard by now. Throws harder than anyone in the league, probably the nastiest stuff of any SP in the league. No surprises, no secrets, this dude is a savage. What you might not realize is how dominant (yes I said dominant) Drew Pomeranz has been this season. Pomeranz is working on an 11.4 K/9 rate as well as only allowing contact on 68.8% of his pitches. Meaning over 30% of the time hitters swing off Pomeranz they can’t even put the bat on the ball. For those unfamiliar with that stat inducing that percentage of swings and misses is very impressive. Pomeranz was a stud prospect when he came up 4-5 years ago and now it looks like he might finally be putting things together. Thor and Drew should be racking up zeros in the early going tonight.