Fourteen games are on the baseball betting board for what will be a busy Monday on the diamond. We’ve only got one day game, which is good for me because I always feel pressured to get the article out as quickly as possible on weekends when there is limited lead time. Red Sox/Twins is the only matinee on the slate for April 12.
Another thing on the docket for today is a new edition of The Bettor’s Box, my MLB betting podcast. I’ll have lots to talk about from what we saw over the weekend and hopefully some actionable betting info and analysis. Please tune in. You can find the show right here, on Spreaker, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud, Podbean, TuneIn, basically wherever you stream and download your podcast content.
Send me an email (skatingtripods(at) gmail dot com) to get on the list for The Bettor’s Box show notes so that you can follow along or review what I talked about on the show.
Fell on the plus side yesterday thanks to the Phillies/Braves over. The Tigers and Indians both had chances early, started 1-for-6 with RISP, and never could get there. The Yankees got there late in a big sweat with the big chalk.
Picks are tracked exclusively in the ATS App, which you can download from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Follow me in the app, skatingtripods, to see how my picks are doing. Track your own picks in the app. Use the odds screen. Read the ATS.io content. Check out all the stats and helpful analysis at your fingertips.
Picks began being tracked in the app on April 6, when we also switched from using William Hill odds to the DraftKings odds in the app. I’m still keeping my personal spreadsheet and the picks are 15-18 for -4.24 units for the full season. They’ve been better since April 6, so that looks good in the app. Be sure that you are shopping around for the best prices. Every cent helps.
Let’s hope it continues.
No notes for today’s intro because they’ll all be part of today’s podcast.
Here are the MLB Picks & Tips for April 12, 2021:
The Padres continue their long road trip with a stop in Pittsburgh at PNC Park. We’ll see Yu Darvish for the Friars and Trevor Cahill for the Buccos. The Padres bullpen had to wear one yesterday because Adrian Morejon left hurt in the first inning. Craig Stammen stepped in and threw 3.1 quality innings with 47 pitches and then five other relievers combined for the shutout.
While it may not matter a ton with Darvish today, keep an eye on this as the week goes along. The Padres are 7-3. They’ve won a lot of games and when you win a lot of games, your relievers, especially your primary ones, are pitching a lot of innings. While Mark Melancon is the only guy probably unavailable today after working back-to-back days, along with Stammen, of course, workloads build up on guys when they’re constantly being called upon.
The Padres have some serious injury concerns now. With Mike Clevinger out for the year, Dinelson Lamet still not back, and now Morejon out with a forearm/elbow strain, the pitching depth has taken a big hit. Fernando Tatis Jr. is obviously out already, too. It’s a tough spot for San Diego already.
That’s really all I have to say about this game. I’m not betting the Pirates with anybody other than JT Brubaker on the hill and I wish I would have done it yesterday.
The Phillies won, but maybe they shouldn’t have last night. MLB replay is a joke all the way around, but last night seemed to take it to another level. By now you’ve read about it and if you haven’t, you will at some point today, so I won’t belabor the point. It was a good win for the Phillies, especially to steal a Matt Moore game and one where they trailed 3-0 before they batted for a second time.
We’ll see if they dig another hole here with Chase Anderson on the hill against the Mets. Anderson made his way through five innings in his return to the NL with two runs allowed on just two hits. He only struck out three and walked a couple. Anderson allowed a couple of barrels and a few other hard-hit balls, but his average exit velo against was only 81.8 mph out of 14 batted balls. That’s quite good given how the ball is springing off the bat this season.
Anderson only had the three strikeouts, but had 11 swings and misses in that game against these same Mets. He threw more cutters and more changeups in this start than we usually see from him. The fastball was hit hard, but the Mets had zero hits in nine balls in play that weren’t four-seam fastballs. Anderson has almost always had a good changeup and it’s nice to see the Phillies attempting to use it more than other teams have.
Anderson’s primary weapon against lefties is that changeup, so it’s a huge pitch for him and a big reason why he has what we call “reverse platoon splits”. That’s when a right-handed pitcher does better against left-handed batters or when a LHP does better against RHB. For his career, Anderson has allowed a .222/.296/.387 slash (BA/OBP/SLG) and a .298 wOBA to LHB, while allowing a .275/.332/.489 slash and a .349 wOBA to RHB.
Perhaps we won’t actually see more CH/FC usage all season long, maybe it was just a matchup thing, but Anderson got pummeled by lefties last season in the small sample, so it is a needed change.
The Phillies had some good swings against David Peterson in his first start of the season. The southpaw slider artist allowed six runs on seven hits in 4+ innings. He did strike out five, but the Phillies hit two homers and had three barrels. His average exit velo against on the 13 batted balls was 90.3 mph. Walks weren’t really a huge problem for Peterson in the minor leagues, but he now has an 11.5% BB% in his 53.2 innings of work. That is problematic to me against a lineup like Philadelphia’s, one that is a lot more aggressive this season so far, but was among the league leaders in BB% last season.
Peterson got 10 whiffs on 21 swings against the slider, so that pitch was working and he also saw a big spin rate increase on it. It was the fastball that really got hit hard, including the two home runs. I would expect we see increased SL usage from Peterson in this start after throwing it 38% of the time in the first one. At least we should.
The Mets had a quasi off day yesterday as the game started under questionable weather conditions and never really got going. The Phillies, meanwhile, played that late game in Atlanta and it was certainly a thriller of a game for them. Jose Alvarado and Sam Coonrod are likely “in case of emergency (ICOE)” relievers today after working back-to-back days. With Archie Bradley on the IL with an oblique, that would concern me for a full-game bet on the Phils today.
I’ll be staying off of this one, but I do want to see if Anderson has success again with the left-handed-heavy lineup of the Mets. I think it sets the stage for betting on him in other platoonish matchups down the line. There aren’t a ton of those anymore, but teams like Pittsburgh and Arizona fit the bill. Washington seems to as well.
The Braves cannot be happy with how last night transpired. We’ll see if they take out some frustration on the Miami Marlins in tonight’s action. Atlanta will send out Huascar Ynoa and the Marlins will counter with Sandy Alcantara, who is already making his third start of the season.
Bettors have been backing the Braves of late, so I wonder if some of the market-shapers are really torn here. Atlanta is a play-on team, but Alcantara has been a play-on starter thus far. I don’t think you’re going to find a ton of Huascar Ynoa fans out there, but the 22-year-old obviously has a lot of promise to be under consideration to start games for a team like this.
Ynoa did throw five innings as a starter back on April 7 against Washington with no runs on two hits. He struck out five and walked one. It was his second appearance after throwing a relief inning on the 3rd against the Phillies. Ynoa allowed 14 runs on 23 hits in 21.2 innings last year with 17 K and 13 BB. He’s had some high walk rates, but also some impressive strikeout rates in the minors. Many think this is probably a reliever profile with upper-90s smoke and no third pitch, but the Braves will exhaust all starter possibilities first.
If Ynoa is going to run 46.3% slider usage, consider me intrigued. His slider saw a huge spike in spin rate in from 2020 to 2021, so we’ll have to watch that closely. He did throw more sinkers in that first start and it was a pitch he struggled to spot effectively. He has thrown 44 four-seam/sinkers and has zero swings and misses. For a guy touching 97-98 regularly, that seems problematic, no?
Alcantara has worked 12 innings so far with 17 strikeouts against four walks. He’s given up just two earned runs on six hits. He threw six shutout against a quality Rays lineup and allowed three runs on four hits against the Cardinals. This is a really intriguing matchup to me. The best attribute about the Braves offense is the high exit velocities that they use to produce offense. They make a ton of hard, violent, quality contact.
Alcantara was in the 80th percentile in average exit velo in 2019 and 69th percentile in Hard Hit%. Those numbers fell down in 2020, but he hasn’t allowed a barrel yet this season and an average exit velo of 87.6 mph, which is very good given the baseball this season. Alcantara mixes his pitches well and it allows him to stay off of the barrel. The Braves have a lot of guys with barrel skills.
I’ll be interested to see how this start goes for him. Admittedly, I don’t hate the idea of betting the Braves here. I don’t think we see a lot of -145ish prices for them this season against clearly inferior teams. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this line comes down a little bit with Alcantara’s presence.
I don’t have action at present, but could as the day goes along if the price drops 10-15c or so.
It feels like these teams have already played each other 100 times. The Cubs will hit the middle of April having only played the Pirates and the Brewers. They’ve even gone just 3-3 against the Pirates. It could be a long summer on the North Side (edited, sorry Cubs fans). The Cubs were outscored 15-3 in the last two games of that series at PNC Park.
Adbert Alzolay and Freddy Peralta are the listed hurlers for today’s game at Miller Park. I’m still calling it Miller Park because it’s Milwaukee. It fits. Not American Family Life Insurance Fart Noise Ballpark or whatever it is now. I was happy to see Alzolay in the rotation as the Cubs made an upside play, something that they didn’t really do this winter otherwise.
He wasn’t great in his first start with four runs allowed on four hits in five innings against this same Brewers lineup. Given that the Brewers are already off to a slow start offensively, the start looks even worse in that context. It could have been a better start for Alzolay, but he didn’t throw enough competitive breaking balls to force the Brewers to chase. His Chase Rate was under 25% in that start. You can’t have guys always swinging at pitches in the zone. You need some margin for error. It was kind of interesting to see the Cubs go from his curveball, a pitch he threw 33.1% of the time last season, to the slider as his second pitch with 32.5% usage. The curveball has a huge spin rate and was actually a really good pitch for him last season.
Maybe he didn’t have a feel for it or the scouting report suggested that sliders were a better plan of attack. While Alzolay has more upside than other rotation contenders, he isn’t without flaws. He’s carried high walk rates ever since he got to a level where he was facing hitters with more of a plan in the box. We’re not talking about big sample sizes with only 38.2 MLB innings, but hitters don’t wildly flail at things at this level.
The Brewers send out Peralta for his second straight matchup against the Cubs. In a start and a relief appearance, he’s worked seven innings with no runs allowed on three hits. He’s walked seven, but struck out 14, so I guess you take the good with the bad there. A 37.9% F-Strike% is the culprit. Hitters haven’t been forced to chase anything in his two appearances, but it’s not like they’ve made good contact when ahead in the count. Peralta has already been behind in the count 1-0 on 19 occasions. Batters have two hits and seven walks.
When he throws a first-pitch strike, he’s allowed a single and has eight strikeouts in 10 such plate appearances. The difference between 0-1 and 1-0 is enormous to say the least.
Money came in pretty hard and fast on the Cubs with the overnights. Maybe the opening lines were thought to be an overreaction to losing to the Pirates twice. I also understand not being enamored with the Brewers, as they have plenty of offensive questions themselves.
What I also know here is that Josh Hader and Devin Williams are both very much rested and available again. The Brewers pen is unquestionably better than the Cubs pen and the two primary guys for the Brewers are available.
I’m a believer in Peralta. The Brewers are very smart with pitchers and he saw a big drop in Hard Hit% from 2019 to 2020 that I think is sustainable. His velo is up this season. He clearly has swing-and-miss upside. He tilts more to the fly ball side usually and the outfield defense for the Brewers is the better of the two position groups.
With the Brewers pen in the shape it is in and with the starting pitcher matchup in Milwaukee’s favor, I’ll take Milwaukee at the lower price thanks to the overnight steam against them.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers
I know that everybody is out there trying their best in Major League Baseball, but I cannot fathom how the Nationals still have Erick Fedde on the roster. I don’t know if he has compromising photos of Mike Rizzo or what, but this dude is not a MLB-caliber arm. It’s not even close at this point. He’s pitched 195.2 innings with a 5.29 ERA and a 5.55 FIP. His command tool is pathetic with a 21% HR/FB%. His K% is pathetic at 15.2% and his BB% at 10.2% is also sad.
I just don’t understand what the Nationals see in this guy to keep him around. I fully realize that they need as much depth as they can find with Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg as annual injury risks, but my God, get somebody better than this cat. There are a million fifth and sixth starters out there each and every offseason, yet the Nationals continue to wind up giving meaningful innings to Erick Fedde.
His Hard Hit% is 40.9%, so nearly 41% of batted balls have gone out at least 95 mph. He’s probably lucky to have a .298 BABIP against, though the 34 HR he has allowed don’t count towards that number because they aren’t balls in play. Even in 2020, when Fedde stunned the world with a 4.29 ERA, he had a 6.15 FIP. It was a .233 BABIP against and an 81% LOB% that led to a 4.29 ERA. Imagine running that good in BABIP and LOB% and still running an ERA over 4.
I’m not sure if you picked up the gist of what I was putting down there, but I think Erick Fedde is terrible.
John Gant’s return to starting went fine for the Cardinals. He allowed one unearned run on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks against the Marlins. Gant allowed some hard contact in that start, but pitched around it, as the hits were limited to singles and the hardest-hit ball went in the books as an error.
Not surprisingly, Gant saw big velocity decreases across the board. We almost always see this from relievers that go to starting. Instead of going all-out for an inning, you have to pace yourself through 75+ pitches. Gant did extremely well with his changeup, which generated five whiffs in nine pitches, but only had four on 23 swings on the fastball he threw 56% of the time.
I understand what the Cardinals are trying to do here. They have a lot of bullpen options and limited starting options, but I think there will be a re-learning curve here for Gant, who has not pitched as a starter since 2018. He doesn’t really have a great third pitch and going fastball/changeup with decreased velo through a lineup is tough.
The total has been bet up from 8.5 to 9 here and I agree with the move. I still like the over 9 in this one. I feel like I made my thoughts on Fedde quite clear. Gant could be fine, but I believe turning over lineups, especially with decreased velo, will be hard. I’m not keen at all on the Nationals bullpen, though just about everybody is back from the COVID list. I don’t love the Cardinals pen either.
The weather doesn’t seem to be a detriment. Small breeze blowing out to right with decent temperatures. If you want, you can look at the Cardinals team total over in lieu of betting the full-game over, but I think both offenses get some good hacks today and score some runs. I’m limited to what the app says, but there are some 8.5s out there in the market. Obviously if you can get one instead of 9, that’s a big bonus.
Pick: Over 9
The long trek away from home continues for the Reds as they head to Oracle Park to take on the Giants. Three games in Oracle Park have come nowhere near the total thus far, as we’ll have to monitor that quite closely moving forward. The yard in San Francisco became a booming offensive metropolis last season, but the three games against the Rockies featured very little offense. They also featured a Giants sweep.
Today’s game features Wade Miley and Aaron Sanchez. The Reds gave Miley a lot to work with in his first start as he threw six shutout innings with three baserunners and six strikeouts. He was pitching with a huge lead most of the game, so he put it in cruise control and coasted. He allowed 14 balls in play with an average exit velo of just 78.8 mph. Miley is actually a guy that has graded really well in the Statcast era in that department, but never seems to have great numbers. Health is a factor, but he also seems pretty damn unlucky.
Continuing what we saw last season, Miley is a cutter/changeup guy. Nearly 80% of his pitches in that first start were one of the two and the Pirates made virtually no hard contact against the pitches. He actually mixed in a few surprise fastballs and wound up with three strikeouts on those. Miley had 11 swings and misses in that start.
He’ll face a much more challenging lineup today and one where we should see line movement against left-handed pitchers as the season goes along. Today, though, we are not. I’ll assume that to be skepticism about Aaron Sanchez, who was pretty much awful in 2018 and 2019 before missing all of 2020.
Sanchez allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts in his five innings against the Padres. His velocity was way, way down from what we’re used to seeing. His spin rates were also way down from what we saw in 2019. The results don’t really show just how concerning a lot of the developments were. I’m not looking to buy any stock in Sanchez anytime soon. I’m not even sure how many starts he makes it through.
His Extension numbers are way up, though, so it looks like the Giants have done something with his arm action and his mechanics. That will add more perceived velocity to his fastball, but he was barely hitting 91-92 in that start. He used to sit mid-90s before all of the injuries. Decreased velo coupled with decreased spin rates are indicators regarding health for me and I will not bet on a pitcher I think is hurt.
I’m going to leave this game alone, as the Giants do profile as a lineup to hit lefties well, but if Sanchez posts another decent stat line with no spin or velo improvements, I’ll start picking on him because it won’t be sustainable.
After a slow opening weekend set against the Orioles, the Red Sox have been playing some pretty good ball. They’re 7-2 to the over, so the offense has gotten on track, while the pitching staff continues to have some ups and downs. We’ll see what happens in the lone day game on the docket on Monday between the Red Sox and the Twins.
Minnesota will face old friend Martin Perez and counter with new friend J.A. Happ. Perez is a guy that actually does okay most of the time with the contact management metrics, but low strikeout rates with high walk rates are not a good pairing. Things happen. Balls find holes. Perez has a .310 BABIP for his career, so a lot of balls have found holes, particularly with men on base. He brings a 4.71 ERA with a 4.50 FIP into this game with 993.2 innings under his belt.
I’m not sure he’ll make it to 1,000 innings tonight against a Twins lineup that looks a lot more like the 2018-19 versions than the 2020 version. While a repeat of 2019 probably never happens again with well over 300 home runs, the Twins are back to being a feared unit offensively, at least in the early part of the season. Their K% should drop as the year goes along, which would increase their ceiling.
To be honest, it will probably drop by a decent bit here today against Perez. The Twins are batting .262 with a .332 BABIP. Their 26.7% K% has been a detriment offensively, as evidenced by the quality contact they appear to be making when balls are put in play. A lot of balls get put in play against Perez.
He did strike out six in his first five innings of the season with three runs allowed on five hits, but I would not expect that to be the case going forward at all. Well, the six strikeouts. The three runs over five innings is par for the course.
Happ lasted 18 batters in his Twins debut. He struck out four, walked three, and allowed a run on three hits. Happ did not face a single left-handed batter in that start, so all 89 pitches were to right-handed batters. He attacked a ton with the fastball and threw 15 sliders. There weren’t many swings and misses, but there wasn’t a lot of hard contact either. Both hard-hit balls went for doubles, but he didn’t allow any others.
This will be a much stiffer test against Boston’s lineup. This is a lineup that has seen Happ a lot and vice versa. I don’t care much for stats in these pitcher vs. batter or pitcher vs. team splits because they aren’t really significant. I think about it more in terms of familiarity with the personnel.
It is expected to be an ugly day in Minnesota. The wind looks to be blowing out, but temps will be in the low 40s with periods of drizzle. Not exactly ideal hitting conditions. I wanted to ride this Boston over wave, but with a total of 9.5 on an ugly day, I’m not sure I can.
Justus Sheffield and the Mariners are a long way from home as they fire up this series at Oriole Park against the boys from Baltimore. It will be Dean Kremer for the O’s as they hope to break a three-game skid. They’re lost five of six, but have gone 4-5 playing the Red Sox and Yankees exclusively, so that’s not too shabby.
Sheffield’s first act in following up a strong 2020 season was a disappointing one. He allowed six runs on eight hits over five innings with five strikeouts and a couple of walks against the White Sox. Only four of the six runs were earned, but he wasn’t sharp at all. Nine of the 18 balls in play were hit 95+ mph and his average exit velo in the start was 95.5 mph. The White Sox made a ton of high-quality contact off the left-hander.
Chicago will do that to a lot of lefties, though. Sheffield had a 3.58 ERA with a 3.17 FIP last season in 55.1 innings of work. He only allowed two homers. He is already halfway to that total this season. He didn’t throw a single pitch to a left-handed batter, so we saw a ton of sinkers and a lot of sliders. The slider was fine. The velocity was fine. The command just wasn’t. He should adjust. I don’t know what his ceiling is as a guy that doesn’t record a ton of swings and misses, though, so keep that in mind here and down the line.
Dean Kremer allowed three runs on five hits in three innings against the Yankees in his debut start with five strikeouts against four walks. Kremer allowed 10 runs on 15 hits in 18.2 innings with a 22/12 K/BB ratio in his four starts last season. I’m not sure there’s anything overly special about this profile, but at least there’s more upside than what we’ve seen from most Orioles pitchers. He’s got some strikeout upside and allowed very few home runs in the minors.
This is a toss-up type of game and I don’t see an edge one way or the other. Sheffield does have much higher projections than Kremer, but you also see the Mariners as such a small favorite here that I don’t think he’s getting a lot of respect here. I guess I lean Baltimore with those context clues in mind, but not enough for a play here.
We usually see money come in on Gerrit Cole every time he pitches. Maybe we still do today, but he is facing the Blue Jays for the second time this season and Toronto did make some hard contact against Cole in his first start. He still had eight strikeouts and then followed that up with 13 against Baltimore in his next start.
I’m not betting against Cole and probably won’t at any point this season. I’m sure as hell not doing it to bet on Robbie Ray, who is making his season debut after resting a barking elbow.
Dane Dunning and Tyler Glasnow are the slated starters for this one at the Trop. One of the big components of my bet against the Rays on Sunday was that the bullpen is in such bad shape. That would up coming to fruition with a blown lead late and then a Collin McHugh blow-up in extra innings. It certainly looked dicey throughout the game and Jordan Montgomery was not nearly as good as I expected him to be, but it got there for us and that’s what matters.
The Rays bullpen situation isn’t any better today. In fact, it’s probably worse after using four relievers plus bulker Michael Wacha. Diego Castillo threw 27 pitches and he’s probably the most trusted arm in that unit right now. The Rays have six guys on the IL that would probably have roster spots in this pen if not for the injuries. They’re trying to cobble this all together and I’m not sure they’ll be able to do so regularly.
Even though it’s the Rangers offense, how much length should we expect from Tyler Glasnow? Glasnow has looked good so far with 12 innings of one-run ball with 15 strikeouts against two walks. His health is such a major key for the Rays right now, as the rest of the rotation has struggled and the bullpen is full of injured dudes.
Glasnow allowed 11 HR in 57.1 innings last season. His velo is up, his command looks quite a bit better than what we saw last season, and he’s back to inducing ground balls to go with his swing-and-miss upside. It has been quite impressive to this point.
Dane Dunning is a guy that I really like. He allowed one run on a solo homer against the Blue Jays in his Rangers debut with six strikeouts against no walks. He actually threw a lot more fastballs than I was expecting, but he had 10 swings and misses overall. His spin rates ticked up a bit and he was able to get through a tough Toronto lineup with a minor loss of velocity.
I think Dunning is the real deal. He looked good in seven starts for the White Sox and was the chief piece in the Lance Lynn deal. He’s had some big K and GB rates in the minors and that is a profile I absolutely love in the Majors these days.
This bet might lose. It’s expected to lose with the Rangers in such a big underdog role. I’m going to take Texas today, though. This Rays bullpen is a mess. Glasnow has been effective and efficient with his pitches to this point and he draws a bad Rangers lineup, but if we get wild Glasnow here, he’s going to leave the Rays with a mess to clean up and they don’t really have the strongest bullpen right now.
I feel like picking and choosing spots for big underdogs is a challenge, but this is one that I’m willing to try, especially as the line is running out on the Rays side with all the Glasnow love. I really like Dunning and I think the Rangers are in this game throughout. If I can get Dunning to cancel out Glasnow or at least come close to doing it, I’ll take the Rangers at a big plus price against this Rays bullpen. That’s a gamble I’m comfortable making. I’m limited to the +195 in the app for tracking purposes, but there are better numbers out there. Be sure to find one.
Pick: Texas Rangers
Triston McKenzie gets the start for the Indians today, but I think we’ll also see Cal Quantrill in this one. The Indians are trying to keep the stress levels low on McKenzie, who pitched in the 2020 short season for the first time in two years because of injuries. McKenzie worked 33.1 innings over six starts and two relief outings and was very impressive with a 3.24 ERA and a 3.91 FIP.
McKenzie worked 3.2 innings in relief of Logan Allen on April 5. He walked four, but struck out five, and only allowed one run on two hits. It was pretty clear that he wasn’t very sharp and was struggling to find his release point at times in that outing. He threw 58 pitches.
I would assume that the plan for McKenzie today is in that 60-pitch range. Quantrill hasn’t pitched since April 4. He only threw one inning, but struck out a pair. Quantrill’s under-the-hood metrics look really good and a lot of people remain excited about McKenzie. This is a pretty formidable piggyback for the Indians and one I think we should see moving forward, at least for a little while. Just keep that in mind with McKenzie starts. He’ll be limited, especially early on.
So, uh, Carlos Rodon. Rodon struck out nine over five innings against the Mariners and scattered a couple of hits. He walked three and hit two guys, so it was the full 2016 Carlos Rodon Experience, but there was something else about his outing that really stood out. Rodon SAT 95 with the fastball and hit 98 a couple times. The stuff looked way more explosive than we’ve seen it in the past. It was quite impressive to watch. He threw 26 sliders and got swings on 11 of them. He had eight whiffs. Rodon had 19 whiffs in 43 swings.
It was actually a filth display from the White Sox with Michael Kopech following Rodon. This is what Ethan Katz was brought in to do. Add some velo to the pitching staff. I have no idea if this is the new Rodon. I have no idea how long this version of Rodon exists. I don’t even know how long he stays healthy, but Rodon sitting 95 and touching 98 is exciting.
A pretty stiff wind is expected to be blowing out to left tonight, but I wonder how much quality contact is actually made in this game. Apparently a lot of bettors are wondering the same thing because the under is juiced on 8.5 here.
That being said, I’m still on the under here. I know the Indians will be more patient than the Mariners with Rodon. They haven’t struck out much this season, though they’ve also faced the Tigers for the bulk of their schedule and they don’t have strikeout guys. I’m expecting White Sox pitchers to do well with Indians hitters. With Katz in the fold, I’d expect much more comprehensive pitching plans and advance scouting reports.
I think we see a lot of nasty pitching tonight. The Indians still aren’t scoring a ton of runs and are really only scoring off the long ball. The White Sox are missing a key piece in Tim Anderson and the Indians have a lot of right-handed filth to throw at the White Sox themselves.
I’m looking for a low-scoring one tonight on the South Side.
Pick: Under 8.5
Alex Cobb was slated to start yesterday in Toronto, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Now Cobb will start for the Halos on the road in Kansas City against the Royals. Brady Singer will get the nod for the Royals.
Here’s what I wrote about Cobb yesterday:
When this one does get started, it’ll be Alex Cobb for the Angels and Tanner Roark for the Jays. Cobb allowed three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and a walk in his first start. He, like Shohei Ohtani, has had a blister issue this week. He’ll be pitching on seven full days rest in this one. I’m not sure what to do with that information because I don’t know how bad it is, but blisters can be inconveniences for pitchers to say the least. Cobb relies so much on that splitter, so it all depends on the location of the blister.
Cobb allowed 18 balls in play and nine were hit at least 95 mph. I’m thinking I can still use exit velo metrics as the season goes along, but where 35-36% used to roughly be in the average range, now the average will probably be 38-39% or so. The fact is that 50% is a high number in any context, but it was only one start and Cobb induced a lot of ground balls. High-velocity GB are not as big of a deal.
Cobb is a guy to watch closely this season. It may have just been the matchup, but Cobb had a big increase in CB% and also threw his splitter more than any other pitch. He threw one more split than sinker, but if the Angels are looking to go 64% splitter/curve and then 36% fastballs, that really elevates Cobb’s projection. His fastball is not a good one and it really never has been. His fastball is -20.7 pitching runs over his career per FanGraphs.
Now it’s eight days rest for Cobb and he’s facing the Royals instead of the Jays. A lot of these same things are still important for me to follow here. Cobb’s fastball is bad. His other stuff is average to above average. If we see a decreased level of fastballs overall, I think he can have much more success.
Brady Singer had a tough time in his first start of 2021 with six runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of work. He struck out five, but also walked three. Singer allowed a lot of hard contact in that start, but did keep most of it on the ground. His velocity looked good and his spin rates were fine. His command was just off. He also faced a ton of left-handed batters in that start. Only 13 of his 77 pitches came against right-handed batters. He’ll see a lot more of them tonight.
I don’t have a play on this game, but I’m certainly following both pitchers to see how they do.
I don’t have anything to say about Tigers/Astros, as I’m not laying the inflated price with Houston, though they should win. I’m more interested in this one, where the A’s have taken overnight money for the Chris Bassitt vs. Madison Bumgarner matchup.
We have a lot going on here. I think Oakland is a team that will take money against lefties. Bumgarner fits the bill there. I also think the market is fading Bumgarner. Finally, the Diamondbacks still don’t have Ketel Marte. Add up all of those factors and I’m honestly a little bit surprised that this line has only moved about 10c since the open.
Through two starts, it looks like nothing has changed for MadBum. He’s allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in nine innings with 10 strikeouts and five walks. He’s given up a lot of high-velocity contact and he’s thrown a batting-practice cutter. In fact, all three of his primary pitches have been bad to this point in the small sample. His spin rates and velocity look fine, so this is simply a case where he’s not throwing quality pitches.
This will be his first start at home in the humidor, so maybe that helps. He’s also pitched at Coors Field and then faced a potent Padres bunch. If he looks bad again in this start, well, that’s a really awful sign going forward.
Chris Bassitt hasn’t looked great thus far either with seven runs allowed on 13 hits in 11.1 innings of work. Both starts came at home, where the margin for error should be higher, but he also faced the Astros and the Dodgers. To say this is a step down in class is an understatement.
I guess the question to answer here is whether or not a lineup that doesn’t see Bumgarner nearly as much won’t be able to take advantage like the Padres and the Rockies did. Is there a chance that Bumgarner can survive this start with some better results? That would be about the only sticking point for me.
The A’s have the better bullpen and had a much needed day of rest on Sunday. This seems like a cheap enough price to fade Bumgarner with a lineup that projects to be a lot better against left-handed pitchers. I’d expect MadBum to be a little better than he’s been, but I’d also take the Oakland pen at -130 or thereabouts against an Arizona pen missing Joakim Soria and Tyler Clippard.