1st 5 Innings Cubs/Nationals Un 4 (-125): Two of the top 15 xFIP pitchers in baseball square off today in DC. Everyone knows about Max Scherzer and how great he’s been over the years and this year is no different. Scherzer is cruising along with a 10.9 K/9 rate and a very solid 3.40 xFIP. In short is basically the same old Mad Max, he’s as nasty as he’s always been and he should be just fine today. Less known than Scherzer is the Cubs starter tonight Kyle Hendricks. In a rotation with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and John Lackey it could be easy to overlook a lesser know guy like Hendricks. This year Hendricks has more than held his own though. His xFIP of 3.38 is 14th best in baseball, his 56.8% ground ball rate is 7th best in baseball, and his 1.98 BB/9 rate is also excellent. I expect both offenses to be held in check here early tonight.
Brewers/Giants Ov 7.5 (-105): This total feels about a run too low to me. With Chase Anderson and Matt Cain we’ve got two mediocre at best pitchers doing battle, and the 7.5 just doesn’t make sense to me. Anderson comes into the game with a 4.49 xFIP and only a 38.5% ground ball rate, to go with a very lucky .255 BABIP. Anderson has already been very average, and it honestly should get even worse. It’s been a similar story with Matt Cain who has an even worse xFIP of 4.70 and his ground ball rate of only 33% is one of the worst in the league. Simply put we’ve got 2 pitchers putting up below average numbers across the board who give up a ton of fly balls. Fly balls in general are far more likely to lead to damage than ground balls, and I think we see plenty of damage to both of these guys tonight.
Marlins/Padres Ov 7.5 (-110): It’s certainly not easy to think of this Padres offense as a good one, but surprisingly enough, against left handers that’s exactly what they are. The Pads 105 wRC+ is 7th best in baseball against lefties. Tonight they’ll have a good chance to do some damage against Wei Yin Chen who has been very mediocre this season. Without diving into the numbers too much, Chen has been pretty average across the board. Opposing him is Colin Rea who has been even worse than mediocre. Rea has a 4.71 xFIP which is very high, his 3.59 BB/9 rate is also very high, and his K rate of 6.32 K/9 is very low. In short, Colin Rea isn’t a good pitcher at all and the Marlins should do just fine against him. I’ll happily take my chances with over 7.5 in this one.
Rangers/Athletics Ov 8.5 (-105): Two lefties doing battle in this one who have some of the same problems. Both Cesar Ramos are Sean Manaea are low K guys who have a problem giving up far too many BB’s, and as a result have had bad seasons. On the year Manaea has a 4.62 xFIP and Ramos is even worse at 4.74. For those unfamiliar with xFIP if you find your way over 4.50 you’re really in bad shape, and really struggling. There’s just too much pointing over here for me to pass. Low K’s, High BB’s, two below average pitchers, sign me up.