0-3 on Monday and no excuses, no way around it, just a bad day at the office. The Royals losing 7-5 at +225 isn’t the worst thing in the world. They hung around a bit and even brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th. A loss none the less but given the price I can live with that one. Out west however complete no shows from the D-Backs and Giants were losses that never really had a chance. It’s on me to wear those and take my medicine. Today I’ll be looking to get off the canvas and bounce back, here’s what I’m going with….
Marlins (+195) Risking 1.33 to win 2.59 (Yamamoto/Wheeler): Don’t look now but the Mets are 17-5 in their last 22, have now jumped above .500 and are just a couple of games out of a playoff spot. A scenario like this seemed completely laughable a month or so ago, yet here we are. Now however I think we are starting to see some overreaction in the market. The Mets opened at -190 favorites here which might have been slightly high but overall close enough to where I wouldn’t have had action. Now however that line has jumped all the way to -215/-220 depending on your book and in my opinion brought the Marlins into play range. Before we get to Yamamoto we’ll start with Mets starter Zack Wheeler. First of all I’ll admit that with a 9.87 K/9 and a 2.33 BB/9 Wheeler is checking two of the most important boxes I have when looking at a pitcher. The other side of that coin however is a 4.45 ERA overall and a 4.74 ERA at home. The high K’s and low BB’s are great, but let’s not confuse this guy for Jake deGrom or anything. He made 3 home starts in July and put up these numbers… 16.2 IP, 18 H, 11 ER, 5.94 ERA. Not to be overly picky against him as overall he’s been better lately, my point is simply that this is still a pitcher with some clear flaws. On the other side we have Yamamoto who will toe the rubber for the Fish. He’s a rookie who has made 9 starts this year and not surprisingly had his ups and downs, as rookies always do. To his credit however he’s managed to put up a respectable 3.94 ERA and a very solid 9.19 K/9. He’s also done his best work on the road where he has a 2.86 ERA and again over 9 K/9. He had a clunker at LA against the Dodgers but in his other 3 road starts (against PHI, ATL and STL) he went 18 IP, allowing only 2 ER, on 6 Hits, with 19 K’s. He’s gotten himself into trouble at times with BB’s but if he’s throwing strikes he’s tough to deal with because he’s very hard to hit. To this point opponents are only hitting .169 against him and no that isn’t a typo. He’s good enough to keep the Marlins in the game and if we get a late inning bullpen battle then that’s good enough for me at a price like this.
Orioles (+181) Risking 1.25 to win 2.26 (Holder/Wojociehowski): Another line that I believe to inflated here with the Yankees so I’ll take my shot with the lowly Orioles. For the Yankees it’ll basically be a bullpen game and Jonathan Holder will simply start things off. With Holder we’re likely looking at 1 inning with a max of 2 so there’s no point really going into his numbers. From there it’s probably going to be guys like Cortes and Cessa mixed in with others. Point being the total in this game is 11 and they’ll be some runs scored. For as bad as the Orioles are I think they are capable of putting up 5 or 6 tonight, just as they did last night. If they are able to get to that number I think they’ve got a solid shot to win with Asher Wojociehowski on the mound. From here out in this write up I’ll refer to him as “wojo” simply because I don’t want to have to type that name out again. On the surface at 2-4, with a 4.15 ERA wojo isn’t going to jump out at you, a deeper look however reveals more. He has a 10.9 K/9 and a 2.86 BB/9. Yes he’s one of those high K, low BB guys, and as I’ve always said if you are high K, low BB, then usually the rest is going to fall into place. This year Wojo has basically scrapped his change up and really upped his cutter usage. That cutter along with a good slider and solid fastball has given him a 3 pitch arsenal that’s proving to be tough to handle. At the end of the day this is a kid with plus stuff and he’s proven he’s capable of handling powerful lineups. We saw that last month with 7 shutout innings of 1 hit, 10 K ball against the Red Sox. He isn’t scared to compete and facing a big lineup like the Yankees isn’t going to rattle him at all. Offensively while obviously still a far cry from the Yankees, the Orioles have actually started working their way towards the middle of the pack. As a team they have a 95 wRC+ against right handers which is only 5% below league average and 20th in the league. Now of course I’m not saying the offense is good but the point here is it’s not quite as bad as you might think. Similar to the Marlins play I’m just looking for a solid SP to keep my big dog in the game and then I’ll take my chances in the late innings.
1st 5 Innings Rockies/Astros Un 4 (+100) Risking 1.2 to win 1.2 (Marquez/Greinke): I know most eyes will be on Zack Greinke tonight as the best team in baseball added a 3rd ace to bolster the best staff in baseball. That’s all fine and well and we’ll get to Zack in a minute but I want to talk a little German Marquez first. As is the case with all Rockies pitchers you have to take their overall numbers with a grain of salt. That of course is due to the fact they pitch half their games at Coors Field where at times the game being played looks less like Baseball and more like Pinball on the moon. Marquez this year is the poster boy to illustrate how extreme the difference can be. At home he has a 6.45 ERA and for the most part forgettable outings. On the road however it’s been a totally different story where he’s done this… 81.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.43 BB/9, 8.16 K/9, .198 opponents batting average. It’s quite simple really, on the road he can attack hitters and pound the strike zone because he isn’t worried a pitch that gets too much plate will be hit 800 feet. Nothing Marquez is doing is smoke and mirrors. He throws in the mid to high 90’s with a plus slider and a very nice change up. Even for an elite offense like the Astros this is a guy who when he’s one is going to be a handful to handle. Now we get to Greinke and his heavily anticipated Astros debut. He’s already excellent and the thought is now with the Astros he’ll take another step forward just as everyone else in that rotation has done since coming to Houston. Cole and Verlander went from very good to Cy Young level good. Wade Miley went from ok to very good. We’ve seen it with Charlie Morton, through one start we’ve seen it with Aaron Sanchez and the assumption is now Greinke takes a step forward too. It’s well noted how badly the Rockies hit on the road and this matchup has 7 innings, 1 ER or so written all over it for the new Astros right hander. The full game probably goes under too but I’m more comfortable going with the first 5.
Marlins (+195): Risking 1.33 to win 2.59 (Yamamoto/Wheeler)
Orioles (+181) Risking 1.25 to win 2.26 (Holder/Wojociehowski)
1st 5 Innings Rockies/Astros Un 4 (+100) Risking 1.2 to win 1.2 (Marquez/Greinke)