I’m really surprised that I’ve had so much to say about this series, but here we are with another take from me. I had a lean on the Cubs yesterday and even started writing it up before I scared myself off of the play realizing that Arizona starter Zac Gallen wouldn’t be as limited as I initially thought. I wish I would have stuck to it.
In any event, I’ve got a look at the total in this one today as the Bears and Snakes finish up the weekend set. We’ll see Zach Davies for Chicago and Merrill Kelly for Arizona. Kelly has been good to us lately and I’ll be looking to play on that angle again here today.
This is a really interesting game because both of these guys look to be trade candidates. Kelly has another year left on his contract, so maybe the Diamondbacks opt to keep him for much needed innings next season, but Davies is an impending free agent and will almost assuredly be traded to a team that needs rotation depth.
The full-season numbers for Davies aren’t very good. He has a 4.37 ERA with a 4.88 FIP in his 92.2 innings of work. His low K% of 14.6% and his high BB% of 11.9% may scare some potential suitors away, but Davies has excellent command and that has been something he has used to level the playing field. He has a 9.9% HR/FB% and has only allowed nine dingers in his 19 starts.
If we take a terrible month of April out of the equation, Davies actually has a 3.05 ERA in his last 73.2 innings of work. That includes one start with eight runs allowed against Miami on June 18. In his nine starts prior to that, he allowed just 11 runs total. In his four starts since that blow-up, he’s allowed seven runs.
Davies slots in here against a poor Arizona offense, one missing some really key components in Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte, and Asdrubal Cabrera. This is also a team that does not look engaged coming out of the All-Star Break. They came back to a 26-66 record and have lost twice with little to show for things offensively. That has basically been the story of the season for them, at least since the start of May.
On the other side, we’ve got Merrill Kelly. Kelly left his last start prior to the Break with some leg cramping. He pitched well anyway, with just a solo homer allowed over 5.1 innings against the Dodgers. Kelly has allowed seven runs on 27 hits over his last five starts covering 30.2 innings of work.
He’s a guy I’ve been closely following this season because he had some very extreme Cluster Luck splits earlier in the year. He was pitching well with nobody on base, but was getting very unlucky with men on base and runners in scoring position. Lately, his LOB% has risen up to 69.5% for the year, as he’s gotten some nice corrections in the luck and sequencing metrics. He now has a 4.46 ERA with a 4.05 FIP, so there is still more improvement coming based on what I can see.
Not surprisingly, Kelly has also pitched better at home with the humidor. He has a .289 wOBA against at home and a .341 wOBA against on the road. He’s pitched one more inning at home, but has allowed 13 fewer runs and five fewer home runs. Ten of Kelly’s 15 HR allowed have come with men on base, so he was hurt by sequencing and bad luck for most of the season. That seems to have dissipated now.
I’m seeing this total as high as 9.5 in some places and I disagree. These are two poor offensive teams over the last couple of months and two pitchers with nice command profiles. I’ll scoop up what I perceive to be value on the under here.