14
AUG
2020

MLB 8/14

comment : 0

Took my first off day of the season yesterday but ready to jump back in there today. Down nearly 5 units so far on the season so it’s time to get it in gear. Hopefully it begins tonight, here’s what I’ve got…

1st 5 Innings Astros (-195): I like the Astros here but have no interest in messing with their bullpen. The starting pitching matchup of Kikuchi and Valdez is just fine for me and I’m happy to parachute out after 5 innings. We’ll start on the Mariners side with Kikuchi. He has added a few MPH to his fastball and now seems to be working on a cutter while basically ditching the curveball and cutting way back on his slider. I’m intrigued but there are still plenty of questions and this is a tough offense to deal with for lefties. As a team the Astros have a 128 wRC+ against lefties which is 7th best in baseball. On the other end the Mariners offense will have to deal with left hander Framber Valdez and that could be a problem. As a team the Mariners have a 62 wRC+ against lefties which is 28th in baseball, and Valdez is clearly emerging. The BB’s were an issue last year but if he has that under control there’s really a lot to like here. An 8.69 career K/BB, a 63.2% ground ball rate, and this year (granted just 3 starts) a 1.53 BB/9. He’s basically a fastball/curveball guy but has no added a changeup to keep right handed bats under control. Nice edge for Houston here but as I said no thanks on the bullpen.

Angels (+156): I joke around with my “Fade Kershaw day” comments now and then but the truth is I’m not just blindly fading the Dodgers whenever he takes the mound. That said, I did already catch a big dog with the Giants/Cueto over him last week and I’m going back for more tonight. To his credit his velocity is actually slightly up from recent years and while he’s had a nice start to the season I still think the market is pricing him closer to the guy he was 5 years ago than the guy he is now. As a team the Angels numbers aren’t good against lefties this year but that’s due in large part to Trout and Rendon not getting it going yet. Both of those guys have wRC+’s around 90 against lefties and you know that’s going to improve heavily for both. In general this is a lineup I expect to handle lefties well moving forward. Opposing Kershaw will be Patrick Sandoval who is a young lefty with just 49 career innings under his belt. In that time however he has an 0.4 WAR, 9.12 K/9 and a 49.6% ground ball rate. The addition of Mookie helps but this is a Dodgers lineup that still is going to be worse against left handers than righties. Bellinger, Muncy, and Seager all hit from the left side.

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