MLB August 1st

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Yesterday: 0-3, -3.32 Units 
April: 62-49 +14.93 Units
May: 62-58-6, +2.26 Units
June: 55-58-3, -4.31 Units
July: 55-55-1, +0.49 Units
August: 0-0-0, +0.00 Units
Season: 234-220-10, +13.37 Units

Frustrating 0-3 day to end the month and July ends only slightly in the black as a result. August has been one of my better months over the years though and I’m confident this year will be exception. Lets get this month off on the right foot tonight. This is what I have….

Brewers (-108) and 1st 5 Innings Cardinals/Brewers Un 4.5 (-130): 
Very quietly Jimmy Nelson has become one of the best pitchers in the NL. Right now I’m sure many of you are thinking, what the hell? Jimmy Nelson one of the best pitchers in the National League? Come on, David… give me a break. Well lets look at some numbers. Nelson has a 3.4 WAR which is 4th in the NL. He has a 3.15 xFIP which is also 4th best in the NL. He’s 6th in the NL with a 10.01 K/9, and also 6th in the NL with only a 2.19 BB/9. On top of all that Nelson checks in at 8th in the NL with a 50% ground ball rate. At home this year he’s even better with a 2.39 ERA in 71.2 IP. There’s just no way around it, however you slice this guys numbers it’s very impressive. He’s checking all the boxes, high K’s, low BB’s, lots of ground balls, great stuff, great command. If you didn’t know before then you know now, Jimmy Nelson is a stud. Carlos Martinez while not quite to Nelson’s level is certainly no slouch in his own right. For that reason in addition to the full game Brewers play I’ll also play the 1st 5 inning under. Martinez has a 3.63 xFIP, a 9.58 K/9, a 3.26 BB/9, and a 50.3% ground ball rate. All of which are very impressive numbers but still a notch below what Nelson is doing. Throw in the fact that Nelson is even better at home and it’s enough to get me on the Brewers. I’m still fully expecting a low scoring game though. I’ll go 1st 5 under instead of full game because Martinez has only worked over 6 innings in one of his last eight starts. Once we get to the Cardinals bullpen that’s where this thing could bust loose and I don’t want my under ruined by that. This feels like a 2-1 game or so after 5 with Milwaukee pulling away a bit in the late innings.

Mets/Rockies Ov 12.5 (-110): We could have ourselves an old fashioned Coors Field shootout tonight. Steven Matz and Jeff Hoffman will do battle tonight and both are frankly a mess right now. We’ll start with Hoffman who checks in with a 5.58 ERA and a 5.03 xFIP. Hoffman throws hard but he doesn’t miss enough bats. In his 100 career innings he only has a 7.15 K/9 and to go with it a BB/9 that’s on the high side at 3.67. On top of that he’s a low ground ball rate guy, and at the end of the day that’s a bad combo. Low K’s, high BB’s, lots of fly balls is generally going to lead to bad things, especially at Coors Field. Against him will be Steven Matz and you could argue his problems are even worse than Hoffman’s right now. Matz has been injured a ton so far in his young career and now he’s completely ditched his slider in hopes that less stress on his arm will lead to fewer injuries and more health. So far the results haven’t been good. He’s throwing his fastball a little less, and his change up a little bit more, but the real boost has come with his curveball usage which is up nearly 7% from last year. As I said, the results haven’t been good. His K/9 right now is all the way down to 6.46 as it was nearly 8.7 per 9 coming into this season. His BB and ground ball rates are about the same but the simple and critically important difference is flat out that without that slider he just isn’t missing nearly as many bats anymore. He’s at a real crossroads right now because while that slider very well may increase his risk of injury he just isn’t a very good pitcher without it. Tonight at Coors has the makings of another rough night for him.

Phillies (+109): Aaron Nola has had some ups and downs in his young career but overall we’ve got a pretty damn good pitcher here. In 288 career innings Nola has a 9.25 K/9, a 2.44 BB/9, a 50.9% ground ball rate, and a 3.35 xFIP all of which are excellent. In his last 7 starts Nola has really turned things up a few notches. During that span he has a 1.49 ERA to go with 11.17 K/9 and only 2.61 BB/9. Perhaps most impressive was last week when he went 6 shutout innings with 10 K’s against the Astros who are far and away the best offense in baseball. Right now the only guys in baseball throwing the ball as well as Nola are Scherzer, Sale, Kluber types. That’s truly the level Nola has been at recently. Against him the Angels will send Ricky Nolasco who is just another guy. Simply put Nolasco is a just a middle of the road ho-hum pitcher. His ERA is at 5.07, his xFIP isn’t any good, his K and BB rates are mediocre, his ground ball rate is low, he gives up a lot of HR’s, he really just isn’t any good. Honestly to even call him mediocre might be being too kind to him. I know the Angels are at home and have the better team but we’ve got a huge gap with the starting pitchers here. At +109 I can’t stay off the Phillies with Nola throwing.

Padres (-105): I’ve gone over this a handful of times already this season and you guys probably know the drill by now with Jhoulys Chacin. You have road Chacin who is horrible, and you have Petco Park Chacin who is really good. Chacin has a 7.35 ERA on the road this year, but a 2.05 ERA at home. Tonight luckily for him and the Padres he’s at home against a Twins team that’s really reeling. Just a week ago the Twins thought they were buyers at the deadline as they went out and got Jaime Garcia. Now about 6 days later they traded away Garcia and then later moved their closer Brandon Kintlzer. The relevance of this is simply that the Twins are a defeated team right now. In this last week they went from thinking they were contenders in 2017 to waiving the white flag. They went from playing what they thought where meaningful games to games that they’ve now admitted are virtually meaningless. That’s a tough spot for a young team to be in and who knows where they are mentally right now. They’ve been out west for a over a week and now heading to San Diego I think they are borderline in shambles. Now seeing a guy as good as Chacin is at home doesn’t seem like a good recipe for them to get back on track. On the mound they will be sending Jose Berrios but he’s not as good as his surface numbers indicate. His xFIP of 4.46 is about 3/4th’s of a run higher than his 3.76 ERA. He’s got an ERA of nearly 5 on the road, and now an ERA of 5.76 in his last 6 starts. There’s more than enough here to get on me on the Padres.

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