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Wed, 06/04/14 - 8:05 PM Bryan Leonard | MLB Money Line
double-dime bet 958 CHC (-111) Pinnacle vs 957 NYM
Results: W, $200
Analysis: 958 NY Mets at Chicago Cubs

Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his return to the starting rotation on Wednesday night to face off against Edwin Jackson and the Cubs. Matsuzaka will start in place of Rafael Montero and it has set up a rather interesting spot for the Japanese righty. Matsuzaka pitched back-to-back days in relief on May 30 and 31 and now is starting on three days of rest. It's hard to imagine that Matsuzaka will work very deep into the game, not only because he has made one start (May 25) in 17 appearances, but that he has averaged 4.2 pitches per plate appearance. He threw 51 pitches combined in those two appearances last weekend.

Matsuzaka has walked nearly 16 percent of opposing batters faced. He's been lucky on balls in play with a .186 BABIP against. It remains to be seen how the normally fly ball happy Matsuzaka will fare in a start outside of Citi Field, but he has a 4.22 ERA away from that park on the season. Montero was demoted because the Mets desperately needed bullpen help because of their marathon series with the Phillies. Unless Matsuzaka can throw strikes and shake off the fact that he has only made one start this season, that bullpen will get taxed again.

Edwin Jackson has deserved a better fate this season. He's setting career bests in K%, FIP, SIERA, and xFIP, but Jackson has an ugly ERA of 4.81. Batted ball luck has not been on his side, despite a defense that rates right around average overall and has actually shown above average range. Jackson has a 3.24 FIP, a 3.56 xFIP, and a 3.71 SIERA. Minor changes to his repertoire have led to more swings and misses on pitches in the zone and the benefits of that will start to show soon.

The Cubs are off to a terrible start to the season because of their record in close games, but the bullpen has some stability now with Hector Rondon in the closer's role to set up a bullpen hierarchy and the Cubs pen is actually in the middle of the pack. Their starters are tied for first in WAR and lead MLB in FIP. This is a team that is going to improve in the very near future and there's no reason for it not to start with Jackson, who is due some improvement in his ERA.


Pick Made: Jun 4 2014 5:14AM PST
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