A few days off as this weekend was a very busy one for me and simply no time to put out a card. That said we’re ready to get back in there today and hopefully start the new week off on the right foot. Here’s what I’m going with for Monday….
D-Backs (-105) Risking 1.37 to win 1.31 (Velasquez/Kelly): Last week Merrill Kelly took the mound in Florida against the Marlins and I happily faded him on my way to a Marlins winner. As the season moves on the rookie right hander is seeing his splits become more and more extreme. As I pointed out in the write up last week he’s been just awful on the road and that was sure enough the case again as even the lowly Marlins beat up on him. The other side of that coin however is that he’s been very good at home. At home he has a 3.77 ERA but his BB and K numbers show it should probably be even lower than that. At Chase field he has a 0.90 BB/9 to go with a 8.90 K/9. He’s given up 2 ER or less in 6 of his 10 home starts, and 1 ER or less in 5 of 10. He’s mixed in a few clunkers along the way but for the most part he’s pretty reliable at home in the desert. Opposing him will be Vince Velasquez who has spent time this year both in the rotation and the bullpen. He’s made 13 starts and 10 relief appearances which have led to a 4.40 ERA and a very similar 4.54 xFIP. It’s no secret Velasquez can miss bats and at 10.67 K/9 he’s doing it again this year. It’s also no secret he’s battled control issues at times, and with a 3.64 BB/9 that’s sure enough the case again here in 2019. One thing we can confidently predict is he won’t go deep in the game. In his last 7 starts he’s failed to complete 6 innings in all of them and has gone on average less than 5 innings per outing in that span. The truth here is neither pitcher is really much to write home about and that’s why the total is 10. I just see fewer concerns and a greater chance of a long outing from Kelly, especially at home. Offensively these teams are about a wash so it’s basically take the better pitcher, and home team and a very reasonable price. It’ll be the Snakes for me.
Giants (-118) Risking 1.51 to win 1.28 (Fedde/Samardzija): When a 34 year old pitcher with plenty of innings on his arm starts the wear down it’s easy to say “ok, he had a nice career, he’s probably done.” As of about 6 weeks ago Jeff Samardzija was clearly in that camp. He was looking like a guy whose career was just about out of rope and he’d limp his way to the finish line. Then apparently he found the fountain of youth because over his last 6 starts he’s actually been quite good. In that span he has a 2.09 ERA, 8.15 K/9, 1.63 BB/9 and is working nearly 7 innings per start on average. The Nats will counter with Erick Fedde who to be frank about it sucks. He might turn into something decent down the road, but at this point I don’t even really see him as a big league level pitcher. His numbers across the board are just awful. 4.87 ERA, 5.32 xFIP, 5.00 K/9, 4.17 BB/9, and overall someone I’m happy to go against. To sum it up he can’t miss bits, he has well below average control, and leaves plenty to be desired. In his 9 starts he’s only gone over 4 K’s once and again the just speaks to how bad his stuff is overall. He’s mostly a fastball/slider guy and both pitches are underwhelming. He’ll mix in a cutter and change up but again neither of those have had much success for him either. Yes offensively the Nats have a bit of an edge but the gap between SP’s is too wide for me to pass on the Giants at only -118.
Royals (+225) Risking 1.24 to win 2.79 (Montgomery/Porcello): Might as well get straight to the point here… Rick Porcello is nowhere near good enough to be laying this kind of price right now. The Sox right hander has had a horrible season and lately it’s gotten even worse. On the year he has a 5.74 ERA, 5.27 xFIP plus his K and ground ball rates are both down. As I mentioned in his last 7 starts it’s gotten even worse. During that span he has a 9.35 ERA (no that isn’t a typo) just 6.49 K/9 and just a 35.1% ground ball rate. The issues there are simple so see. He doesn’t miss many bats, and he isn’t getting many ground balls, so if you connect the dots what does that mean is left? Fly balls, lots and lots of fly balls. In this case they are leading to HR’s and he’s given up a whopping 10 HR’s in just his last 34 innings of work. Yes the Royals are a bad team but offensively they are quite as bad as you might think. They check in slightly below league average in terms of wRC+ and don’t think for a minute they too aren’t capable of beating Porcello up a bit. For the Royals it’ll be Mike Montgomery on the mound making his 4th start of the year. He worked most of the season out of the bullpen so KC is still trying to stretch his arm out in this move to the rotation. Realistically he’s going to be a 4-5 inning guy and my hope is he can just keep the Red Sox bats under control. He’s not going to go out there and dominate and I don’t expect for a minute that he will. KC will get their licks with the bats so the left hander just has to keep things in check. My guess is we get into a bullpen battle and probably have multiple late inning lead chances. In such a game I’ll happily take my chances at +225.
D-Backs (-105): Risking 1.37 to win 1.31 (Velasquez/Kelly)
Giants (-118): Risking 1.51 to win 1.28 (Fedde/Samardzija)
Royals (+225): Risking 1.24 to win 2.79 (Montgomery/Porcello)