KC @ DET: Jon Heasley v Tarik Skubal
Neither of these teams will make the playoffsa, but neither expected to this season. The Tigers are 5 game below .500, with a chance to get thesre. For me these teams are probably pretty evenly matched. It comes down to the two starting pitchers. Heasley has exactly 1 MLB start, a week ago, against the Mariner. He gave up 4 runs on 6 hits 2 HRs) over 4 innings. That doesn’t inspire much Confidence. Skubal has now started 27 games for the Tigers, with 13 that graded as above average and 14 that graded as below average. That’s not an impressive ratio, but it is somewhat misleading. Skubal got off to a hellish start with an above average opening start followed by 4 straight below average ones. Skubal definitely has some upside, but he’s not there yet, but in this game he’s way ahead of Heasley.
Pick – DET 1st 5 RL (-106 for 2 units)
NYM @ MIL: Rich Hill v Corbin Burnes
This is the type of game that I normally would avoid. The Brewers have already clinched a playoff spot and lead the NL Central by 7 games over the Card with just 8 games left to play. This gam’s just not that important to them. The Mets have simply imploded over the second half of the season. Jacob deGrom last pitched back on July 7, an in his absence this team has fallen apart. A team that had expectations and watched them die is not a team I want to bet on. The Brewers are obviously the better team in that they are the better of two weak hitting teams and they have the better bullpen. They also have the better starting pitcher. Corbin Burnes has started 26 games, with 21 grading as above average, and just 5 grading as below average. His 0.94 WHIP and 2.34 ERA are both excellent, and his ERA metrics are totally consistent with his stellar ERA. Burnes 35.5% K rate is elite and he is combining it with a fine 49.2% GB rate. He’s also walked just 32 in his 158 innings, for a low 5.1% walk rate, with just 6 HRs allowed. Burnes is indeed having a sensational season. By contrast, Rich Hill has started 29 games, 19 for the Rays and 10 for the Mets, with 15 above average starts and 14 below average ones. Hill’s overall 1.19 WHIP and 3.87 ERA are both solid , but his xERA and ERA metrics are all significantly higher. Hill’s 22.4% K rate is about 3% lower than is career rate and his 7.8% walk rate is mediocre. At 41 Hill’s career has definitely seen its better days and he’s not likely to get any better, but he’s still serviceable and has pitched fairly well for the Mets. At this stage in their respective careers, Burnes is just much better.
Puck – MIL 1sy 5 in a series of parlays.
TOR @ MINN: Robbie Ray v John Gant
After last night’s 3-1 loss to the Twins, the Jays are now 2 game behind the Yanks in the race for the final AL wild card spot. On paper, the Jays are the better of two good hitting teams and they have the better of two weak bullpens. Tonight they also have Robbie Ray who is having one hell of a fine season.
Ray has probably been the best starting pitcher in the AL over the second half of the season. He has started 30 games this season, with 23 grading as above average, including 9 of his last 11, and just 7 grading as below average. Ray’s 1.04 WHIP and 2.72 ERA are both excellent, and while his xERA and ERA metrics are more than half a run higher than his ERA, they are all still very good. Ray’s 32.8% K rate is elite and his 6.3% walk rate is the lowest of his career, and almost 4% lower than his career rate. That’s pretty remarkable for a guy who has historically struggled with his control.
Since being acquired at the trade deadline, John Gant has now started 5 games for the Twins, with 2 grading as below average and 3 grading as above average. He started 14 games for the Cards before getting traded to the Twins for JA Happ, with 6 grading as above average, 1 grading as average and 7 grading as below average. Between allowing 84 hits and 67 walks, that’s a staggering 151 baserunners in just 103 innings! It certainly explains his high 1.47 WHIP, but the strange thing is that Gant has a decent 3.96 ERA. However, his 5.35 xERA and ERA metrics are more than a full run higher than his aERA. His 19.3% K rate isn’t good either and his 14.7% walk rate is way too high for a pitch to contact type guy like Gant. That all tells me just how poorly Gant has really pitched and just how lucky he has been to have only given up 48 runs. It should have been a lot more. Gant is nowhere near as good as his ERA says he is and I doubt that he ever will be. The Cards obviously figured that out and that’s why they unloaded him for a 38-year old stiff like JA Happ.
I don’t trust the Rays pen but for 5 innings…
Pick – TOR 1st 5 ML in a series of parlays
ATL @ SD: Huascar Ynoa v Vince Velasquez
The Braves still lead the NL East by 2 games over the Phils so they can’t afford to ease up yet . The Padres are on life support, 7 games behind the Cards with just 8 games left to play. Looks like they can kiss the playoffs goodbye. The braves have the better offense, but a lousy bullpen. However , the Brave should have a big edge at starting pitcher with Ynoa.
Ynoa has pitched really well since returning on August 17, delivering 5 above average outings and just 2 below average ones, with to a 1.02 WHIP and a 3.58 ERA. He has started a total of 14 games for the Braves with 11 grading as above average and just 4 grading as below average. That’s left him with a stellar WHIP, and ERA. His K rate is very good, as is his walk rate.
Velasquez is the Padres latest pick up off the scrap heap. And neither of his two starts for them was very good. In those 2 starts he gave up a total of 7 runs in 5 innings. I don’t trust the Braves pen but for 4 innings…
Pick – ATL 1st 5 ML (-102 for 2 units)
LAD @ ARIZ: Clayton Kershaw v ac Gallen
We again have one of the best teams in the league facing one of the worst. The Dodgers hold all the edges here, including a much better offense, a better bullpen and the better starting pitcher.Kershaw has been very good in his 2 strarts since coming off the IL, giving up 2 runs on 7 hit over 9.1 innings, with 13 Ks. Gallen has given up 8 runs in his last 2 start, including 4 to the Dodgers on 8 hits 2 starts ago
Pick – LAD 1st 5 and full game MLs in a series of parlays
SF @ COL: Anthony DeSclafani v Jon Gray
The Giants only lead the Dodgers by 1 game in the NL West. The offenses are both good, but the Giants should have a huge edge in the bullpen. The starting pitching matchup is close enough to pass on a 1st 5 and at starting pitcher.
Pick – SF ML (-126 for 2 units)