Reds +110: I know the Reds are absolutely awful, but it’s tough to pass up a chance to take a left hander at plus money against the Braves. On the year the Braves have a 57 wRC+ against left handed pitching, which is dead last in baseball. Brandon Finnegan isn’t any good, I’ll admit that right up front. He’s basically a middle of the road, dime a dozen left handed pitcher. Against this Braves offense though, that’s likely to be enough for him to have a good showing tonight. Julio Teheran on the other hand is a decent pitcher, but he’s been very lucky so far this year. He’s got a .228 BABIP and an 82.9% strand rate, which leaves him with an xFIP of 4.01 that’s over a full run higher than his ERA. You can expect some serious regression from Julio moving forward. He’s closer to a league average pitcher than he is an elite one, and despite that current ERA he isn’t someone I fear. At the end of the day getting plus money with a lefty against Atlanta is pretty much an auto play. That simple.
Phillies +230: Marcus Stroman as a -250 favorite eh? A guy with a 5.99 K/9? A guy who leads the league in hard hit contact allowed? By now those who follow me and read my write ups know I hate Stroman. In general I hate low K guys who just can’t miss bats. On top of that, Stroman gets squared up more than anyone in the league. What do I mean? He literally gives up more balls hit with an exit velocity of 100+ MPH than anyone else in the league. A guy like that is a -250 favorite? I just don’t see it. On the other side the Phillies are calling up prosect Zach Eflin to make his big league debut. Now with Eflin there are obviously no big league stats to go off of, but his minor league numbers are intriguing. In 11 starts at AAA this year he has 2.57 FIP to go with a solid K rate of 7.24 K/9 and an excellent walk rate of 1.45 BB/9. Now I’m not saying he’s going to be a stud or anything, but there’s reason to believe he can be a respectable big league arm right off the bat. At +230 I’ll certainly take that risk.
Cardinals -137: I’m just not buying in on Doug Fister at all. Fister has somehow found his way to a 6-3 record and the Astros have won the last 8 times he’s taken the mound. I think that ends tonight though. On the year Fister has a 3.34 ERA, but his xFIP of 4.66 is a better reflection of who he really is. He’s getting by with a .262 BABIP, 80.1% strand rate, and a very low 5.45 K/9. On top of that is a BB/9 of 3.1/9 which is also below average. Not to mention the Cardinals are tied for the best offense in baseball against righties with a 123 wRC+. A start on the road against a solid offense like that is probably the perfect situation to see this Fister run come to an end. Opposing him is Cards left Jaime Garcia. On the year Garcia has been pretty solid, as he sports a 3.59 xFIP and a very solid 58.2% ground ball rate. Garcia isn’t going to wow you with his stuff, but when he’s managed to stay healthy he’s actually been a damn good pitcher for many years now. His career xFIP of 3.42 is very good, and right now I think he’s quite a bit better than Fister. Plus he’s at home and he’s got an elite offense on his side. Plenty here for me to take the Cards tonight.
Rangers/Athletics Ov 8 (-110): I took the over with these two teams last night, and I see no reason to not do the same thing here. Martin Perez and Eric Surkamp are both awful pitchers, it’s really as simple as that. Perez has a 4.77 xFIP that is almost higher than his 4.94 K/9, now to say the least, that’s a problem. Don’t for a minute be fooled by Perez and his 3.22 ERA, as I mentioned his xFIP is 1.55 runs higher than that and is a result of a .264 BABIP and a 78.3% strand rate. On top of all that, and the insanely low K rate is the fact Perez issues 4.14 BB/9, which is a horribly high number. In a nutshell with Perez you’ve got a very low K guy, a very high BB guy, who frankly has been lucky as hell with batted balls and stranding runners. It flat out just won’t last, regression is coming in a big way for this guy. Now regression doesn’t need to come for Erik Surkamp as his ERA of 6.41 accurately tells you just how awful he’s been. Much like Perez he’s a low K guy (4.73 K/9) with an insanely high BB rate (5.06 BB/9) and he only gets 31.1% ground balls which is one of the worst marks in the league. This one is pretty simple for me. You’ve got two very low K, very high BB pitchers doing battle. They can’t miss bats and they give up a ton of free passes, there’s no way I’m passing on this over.