Haven’t done any write ups yet this year and I’ll admit now they’ll be more scarce this season than in the past. That said got a little time today so figured I’d give a few thoughts on my plays. Here we go…
1st 5 Athletics/D-Backs Un 4.5 (-120): I’m going with the 1st 5 under in the desert as the A’s take on the D-Backs. We’ll start with Oakland starter Jesus Luzardo who at first glance isn’t going to impress with an 0-1 record and a 6.10 ERA. A deeper look however shows there really isn’t much to worry about. Those first two outings came against two of the best teams in the league, the Astros and Dodgers. I’ll instead choose to focus on his 12.19 K/9 and the fact his fastball is still mid-high 90’s. His BB rate is high, but so early in the season one bad start (4 BB vs. the Dodgers) can skew that heavily. In his brief career he sports a very respectable 2.77 BB/9 and he was a low BB guy in the minors as well. As far as the D-Backs offense goes there isn’t a ton that scares you against left handed pitching. Marte and Peralta hit them well, but aside from that there’s really nobody in the lineup who hits them better than about league average. The recent loss of Christian Walker to the IL further weakens the lineup, especially against southpaws. On the other end the A’s will deal with Zac Gallen. Gallen will be fresh off the IL and making his first start of the year, which is even more reason I opted for the first 5 under rather than full game. Gallen is only 6-8 in his young career but he’s done it with a 2.78 ERA and 10.54 K/9 ratio. The A’s lineup is very right handed heavy and that’s good news for Gallen who held right handed hitters to a .217 AVG in 2019 and .207 in 2020. This feels like a 2-1 type game after 5.
Blue Jays (-112): This line has come down slightly from open and that’s just fine with me. It still seems the market is a bit reluctant to believe that Ryu is indeed a legit ace. He’s not a household name, not a superstar, etc but the numbers don’t lie. Since 2018 he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league. Check out these numbers since that start of that season… 2.33 ERA, 8.78 K/9, 1.49 BB/9, and a 49.6% GB rate. Nothing has changed in his two starts this year with solid outings at New York and Texas. The guy is simply picking right up where he left off. He turned 34 last month and with most guys you’d worry about age and too many miles on that arm. Velocity isn’t Ryu’s game though and his fastball velocity of 90.0 MPH in his first two starts this year, is right where it was (90.3 MPH) when he broke into the league in 2013. In recent years he’s ditched his slider and instead now throws a very good cutter and that switch has directly correlated with his lights out numbers since ’18. Opposing him will be Jameson Taillon making his 2nd start of the year, and 2nd since 2019 after missing 2020. He’s tweaked the way he attacks hitters a bit and is now throwing more 4 seamers and may have scrapped the 2 seamer entirely. That’ll likely lead to more K’s, but also a good chance it leads to more HR’s allowed too. The Blue Jays have plenty of power in that lineup and while Taillon might K 7 or 8 in 5 innings, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see him 2 or 3 bombs too. The margin for error doesn’t figure to be large with Ryu on the other side.