MLB 8/25

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1-2 last night as the first day of the week didn’t go as planned. Easy winner with the Angels/Astros over but losers from the Reds and Tigers made it a losing night. No real regrets on the losses. Anderson shutting down the Reds offense was pretty surprising, and Mize had a rough outing but with a youngster like that the truth is you’re always running that risk. No major damage done though and we move on. Here’s what I have for Tuesday…

1st 5 Innings Mariners/Padres Un 4 (-105): Going to go with the first 5 under here as Paddack squares off with Marco Gonzales. Paddack is a bit more well known so I’ll get to him in a minute but we’ll start with Gonzales. In 5 starts this year he’s been very good and that’s due mostly to his command. In 29.2 innings this year he has an 0.91 BB/9 which is about as good as you’ll find. He won’t pile up K’s but at 7.89 K/9 this year and 7.21 per 9 career he’s still missing a respectable amount of bats. As far as Paddack I still think to take the next step and handle elite offenses he needs to add a solid 3rd pitch. Right now he’s basically a fastball/changeup guy with a ho-hum curveball that he’ll mix in. Against the Mariners however simply going at them with that fastball/changeup is probably good enough to hold ’em down. I’ll opt for the first 5 instead of full game because I don’t want to deal with these bullpens. The Pads have been great but the bullpen isn’t why, as a team they are 21st in the league with a 4.84 bullpen xFIP. The Mariners have been even worse at 29th with a 5.51 bullpen xFIP of their own.

Indians (-167): Shane Bieber has been great this year and while that’s certainly not a secret I’m still a bit above market on him. I made this line Indians -191 and see no reason Bieber doesn’t put up another excellent start. Check out some of these numbers he’s put up so far this season. In 6 starts he’s gone 40.2 innings with a 14.39 K/9, 1.33 BB/9, 51.3% ground ball rate, 1.11 ERA and 1.52 xFIP. There’s no luck here, there’s no fluke stuff going on, he’s just a dominant pitcher who has great stuff and great command to go with it. He’s cut his slider usage nearly in half and added a cutter which he’s throwing over 20% of the time. He’s one of those any pitch, any count kind of guys and right now you could easily argue he’s turned himself into a top 3 pitcher in the league. On the other side the Twins will go with Rich Hill whose made 2 starts for a combined 7.2 innings this year. Last year due to injuries he only went 58.2 innings. He’s now 40 years old and it’s safe to say just about at the end of his rope. His velo is the lowest it’s been since 2009 and there’s just nothing here that really worries me. Yes the Indians offense has been shaky but odds are they won’t need to do much damage with Bieber on the mound. Thought about the under but I don’t trust Hill enough.

1st 5 Innings Reds/Brewers Un 4 (-110): Nothing terribly complicated here as I’m going with two solid right handers against two offenses that are struggling against right handed pitching. The Reds will send Luis Castillo who checks arguably the two most important boxes I’m looking for with a pitcher. High K’s and high ground balls. A 12.30 K/9 and 57.5% ground ball rate are almost always going to lead to good things. Yes his ERA is 4.44 right now but his 3.04 xFIP shows it should be much better. He’s dealt with a terribly unlucky .403 BABIP and as that normalizes his surface numbers will certainly improve. Tonight is a good time for that to start as the Brewers are 28th in baseball with a 67 wRC+ against right handers. The other half of the pitching matchup is Brandon Woodruff who should be in line to have some success too. He’s cut from a similar cloth as Castillo, high K’s, high ground ball rate. Career he has a 9.66 K/9 and is right on track this year at 9.68. His ground ball rate is at 53.6% and not surprisingly the rest is falling into place. 3.23 ERA, 3.47 xFIP, and a solid 2.35 BB/9 to go with it. As mentioned earlier the Reds also struggle against righties with an 89 wRC+ which is 23rd in the league. Full game under also looks good but I have a few concerns with the Reds and the Brewers being very cautious with Hader steers me to first 5 instead.

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