Today is my birthday, but instead of receiving gifts (I’m too old for that), I’m giving you a couple of nuggets. Will it turn into a diamond, or remain a lump of coal?
Pick 1: Chicago White Sox/Astros over 8.5
Lucas Giolito (White Sox) 5-7 6.93ERA vs Dallas Keuchel (Astros) 5-8 4.12ERA
This matchup screams OVER to me right off the bat, as Giolito takes his 6.93ERA into Minute Maid against the powerful Houston Astros, and their struggling starter Dallas Keuchel (4.12ERA). As I dig deeper into this matchup, I see Giolito does have a better road split (5.36ERA) than at home, but a 6.59ERA over his last five starts. On the other side is Keuchel, who is really struggling this season at home (4.96ERA). His ERA over his last 5 starts is 4.06.
Now lets look at the offenses. The White Sox rank 20th in BA (.263) and OPS (.688) vs lefties which is not great, but they are much better than when they face right handed pitching. The Astros are a powerhouse, that’s for sure. Their numbers vs. righties are 5th in BA and OPS (.258), and (.763) respectively.
As I write this, the score on Saturday is 9-5. Yikes! Get this over early…
Pick 2: Dodgers ML (-130)
Alex Wood (Dodgers) 5-5 3.84ERA vs Andrew Heaney (Angels) 4-6 3.94ERA
Let’s face the facts. The Angels really struggle vs. left handers and Alex Wood is on the bump for the Dodgers on Sunday. Wood’s numbers seem pedestrian (3.84ERA overall 4.04ERA on the road), but his form is good. Over his last 5 starts, his ERA is 2.45. On the other side is southpaw Andrew Heaney and his 3.94ERA. He has been very good at home (2.18ERA), but has not been sharp lately with at 5.72 ERA over his last 5 starts.
Looking at the offenses, the Dodgers rank 19th in BA (.237) and 14th in OPS (.729) vs lefties, but remember this includes pitchers hitting stats. Since the game is being played at Angels Stadium, they will get a DH. On the other side, the Angels really struggle against lefties. They rank 28th in BA (.218) and 26th in OPS (.677) in all of baseball, and they of course are an American League team. Double Yikes!!!
Still not convinced? The Angels are 6-16 when facing a LH starter in 2018. The Dodgers are 18-12 vs. lefties.
Pick 3: Braves ML (+115)
Sean Newcomb (Braves) 8-3 3.10ERA vs Junior Guerra (Brewers) 5-5 2.87ERA
The Braves have been the surprise team in the National League so far, and Sean Newcomb has been one of the key ingredients. His road ERA sits at a comfortable 3.21 through 10 starts. The offense is much better vs. RHP this year, ranking 6th in BA (.255) and 12th in OPS (.733). The Braves are 36-25 vs RH starters.
The Brewers struggle mightily vs left handed pitching, ranking 29th in BA (.223) and 25th in OPS (.679). This is a glaring weakness for a contending team, which will be addressed as we near the trade deadline. Junior Guerra has fared well at home with a 2.67ERA in Miller Park. They are also only 9-9 vs LH starters so far.
Pick 4: Marlins/Nationals over 9
Trevor Richards (Marlins) 2-5 5.26ERA vs Tanner Roark (Nationals) 3-10 4.60ERA
The Marlins are what they thought they are, garbage. They rank 19th in BA (.245) and 25th in OPS (.683) against righty pitchers in MLB. Over his last five starts he’s just as bad, with a 5.55ERA and his numbers are even worse on the road with a 6.08ERA in 6 starts. He’s facing a Nationals lineup that is showing signs of waking up after coming back from a 9-0 deficit on Thursday.
Roark has been one of the weak links this season for the Nats, as his ERA at home is 5.73, which is two runs better than his road ERA. He’s pitching even worse over his last 5 starts, with a 7.57ERA. The offense is waking up, but still sits at 20th in BA (.243) and 16th in OPS (.727) . As I write this, they are bludgeoning the Marlins 18-4.