Results: L, -$250Analysis:
Atlanta at Miami
and Marlins will wrap up their series on Thursday night with a
matchup between Ervin Santana and Henderson Alvarez. Santana seems
to be pitching with a chip on his shoulder after remaining unsigned
until injuries popped up for the Braves in March, but besides that
potential extra focus, a major change in Santana's repertoire has
led to some improvements. Santana worked hard over the course of
last season and this past offseason to polish a changeup that he
had been working on. With a legitimate third weapon to go along
with his fastball and above average slider, Santana has struck out
over 29 percent of opposing hitters and the pitch has helped to
keep hitters off balance.
the new changeup, Santana has a career high chase rate of over 34
percent by PITCHf/x data, which is a good sign against a Marlins
lineup that ranks eighth in the highest percentage of pitches
outside the strike zone swung at. Santana has pounded the zone with
his other pitches and has used the changeup as an extremely
effective weapon. To date, 24 of Santana's 31 strikeouts have come
on either sliders or changeups and that's significant against a
Marlins lineup that is below average against both of those pitches.
With the spectacular Braves defense, a modified repertoire, and a
Marlins lineup that will struggle against Santana, the Braves look
like a strong play.
On the other
side, Henderson Alvarez is enjoying a quality start to the season,
but the Braves are in a better position than the Marlins in this
game. While the Marlins have seen very little of Santana, the
Braves faced Alvarez four times last season. In those four starts,
Alvarez allowed 17 runs on 25 hits in 21 innings of work. Because
of unearned runs, Alvarez has a 2.73 ERA, but if all of the runs
allowed were earned, it would be 4.24, which is in line with his
3.94 SIERA and his career 4.22 SIERA to date. Obviously errors
aren't the pitchers fault, but they are inevitable with an average
defense and a lot of balls in play. Nearly 80 percent of plate
appearances against Alvarez result in a ball in play.
believers in changes that Ervin Santana has made and a Braves
lineup that struggles against strikeout pitchers should do well
against a pitch-to-contact guy like Alvarez.
Pick Made: May 1 2014 5:12AM PST