We swept the Saturday card winning by a combined 5 1/2 runs! Now on a 13-7 overall baseball streak. Sunday we are pulling off the rubber band to UNLOAD ON OUR STRONGEST PLAY IN APRIL. Join us today for our Major League Baseball Game of the Month!
952 St. Louis at Washington
Sometimes a plan comes together and it happened for us on Monday when Lance Lynn dominated a Brewers team that was on a serious roll. What it did was continue Lance Lynn's strong start to the season and make him an overvalued commodity on Saturday afternoon when he starts against the Washington Nationals. The Nationals will counter with Jordan Zimmermann.
It's important to look at both the strengths and weaknesses of Lance Lynn. Of the 27 plate appearances against Lynn over his seven innings, 18 of them were against right-handed batters. Lynn is extremely good against righties and his sharp platoon splits helped him in that start. In fact, of the nine plate appearances by lefties, three of them ended with a runner on base, and Lynn only allowed six baserunners total.
In this start, Lynn will face a lineup that entered play on Friday night with nearly 44 percent of plate appearances taken by somebody batting left-handed. There's also the issue of Lynn's home/road splits, which were very dramatic last season when Lynn had a 2.82 ERA at home and a 5.15 ERA on the road. That was a continuation of 2012 when Lynn had a 3.28 at home compared to a 4.15 on the road.
Lynn is a pitcher that gets overvalued in the betting market because of his win-loss record. Consider that Lynn's career K/BB ratio against lefties is just 1.44, compared to a 6.49 K/BB ratio against righties. Lineups that have good left-handed batters can be successful against Lynn. So far this season, nothing has changed for Lynn. He has faced 29 left-handed hitters and they have a slash line of .400/.483/.680. There are times to back Lynn and times to fade Lynn and this is one of those fade times.
Jordan Zimmermann gets overshadowed by Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, but he might be the most consistent pitcher in the Nationals rotation. He's a strike-thrower that makes hitters earn their chances on the basepaths because of his outstanding control. One bad outing has skewed Zimmermann's early season numbers and we're certainly not worried about that for a guy with a great track record.
Zimmermann works ahead in the count with a first-pitch strike rate of nearly 74 percent and the Cardinals are batting just .230/.279/.356 after falling behind in the count 0-1. Increased use of a slider has led to more swings and misses on pitches inside the strike zone for Zimmermann so far and he will start to reap the benefits of being able to miss bats on pitches in the strike zone rather than relying on hitters chasing pitches. Consider that the top six pitchers in terms of inducing swings and misses on pitches in the strike zone were Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Julio Teheran, and Yu Darvish and that will illustrate how important that stat is.
Lynn's start earlier this week against the Brewers led to some recency bias in this line and we think that Zimmermann should be a bigger favorite in this matchup. We'll gladly take the value presented to us and roll with the Nationals for a second straight day.