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dave essler

mlb wednesday

Reds-Cubs: Iglesias has quietly (at least nationally) turned into a very effective pitcher with a season-long WHIP down to 1.12. He’ll give up the occasional long ball – but he’s been pitching deeper, which could be a bad thing, if he’s getting at all tired. Double-digit strikeouts in each of the last two games. He did lose to the Cubs in Chicago, so perhaps the pitcher makes the adjustments here. Hammel has been hit or miss but what we do see is his inability of late to go deep, so quite possibly this one comes down to pens – and the Cubs’ has been pretty brutal of late – depending on lineups (day game) and bullpen usage Tuesday, slight lean to the Reds and under.

Mets-Phillies: If the Phillies are going to win, Nola arguably give them their best chance, and the Mets haven’t seen him yet. I am certainly not endorsing a fade of the Mets (yet) – not after he gave up exactly one earned run in the month of August. However, a case could be made for the Phillies RL – at that price, as well as the under. If we did that and the Phillies score three, we’re looking at a split at worst. I know that sounds like a tall order, but they’ve scored three or more in ten of the last twelve games – neither pen has been spectacular lately, slight edge to the Mets. F5 under, perhaps.

Brewers-Pirates: I just rarely can trust Jeff Locke. He’s just a fly ball pitcher more often than not, Miller Park isn’t going to hold them as well as PNC does, and he hadn’t lasted through the sixth inning in six starts until he shutdown the Fish last week. Pittsburgh has a clear bullpen advantage, so if I were to make a Brewer case it’d be the F5. The Pirates haven’t been lighting up the scoreboard. Zach Davies came from the Orioles system for Parra and is making the big league debut – so nobody’ seen him (another F5 reason). Davies was nothing special in AAA – he did keep the ball in the park, however. That in mind, Brewers F5 and under.

Nationals-Cardinals: What a difference a couple of months make in that now you can get Maz at plus-money. That certainly is tempting, but it’s also not often you get Wacha and St. Louis at home at -120, either. We know Max has been getting hit – and if you look strictly at the BvP stats it seems like he fares well against St. Louis – but it’s really a limited sample size and both Heyward and Carpenter are 2-3 off of him and Carpenter has been hitting everything lately. Wacha has allowed four earned runs in his last six starts, total. I often wonder if and when the innings he piling up start to catch up, but I don’t see it against Washington. St. Louis is streaking and Washington is not – and the Cardinals clearly have the bullpen advantage. St. Louis and under.

Arizona-Colorado: I really don’t think I want much to do with Colorado the rest of the season. Their totals at home are ridiculous (and the weather is changing which it pretty much does this time of year so the balls might not carry AS far) so unders are perhaps more doable than a side. Arizona pretty much played themselves out of contention last week. Anderson has faced the Rockies a fair bit and has been hit – so taking the D-Backs wouldn’t be the auto bet. We (I) don’t know what we’ll get from Gray other than perhaps five innings and some bullpen, so PERHAPS this is a total we could conceivably take the over, but at 10.5 not 11 (for me).

Dodgers-Giants: Leake hasn’t done anything to warrant playing on him and the Giants, which is exactly why I might. At -120 for the RL in a game that isn’t expected to see more than six runs, if they want to give us 25% of the runs before tha game starts, fine with me. Only bet I could make.

Angels-Oakland: Somewhat surprising they’re giving Sonny Gray at home out at -145, or conversely Heaney at +135 or whatever is a real bargain as well. Day games can be tough not knowing lineups – Gray hasn’t faced the Angels since June, but has faced them four times this season. He easily won the first three and then the Halos got their redemption – which also could be a confidence builder. We’re not enamored with the Angels pen (or Oakland’s for that matter) and Heaney hasn’t thrown into the 7th inning in eight starts – so any side bet might have to be F5, and the Angels, IMO, if for no other reason than the A’s haven’t seen Heaney and the fact that they are 12-24 against left handed pitchers.

Boston-New York: I guess you have to put a number somewhere, but in such a rivalry – which is pretty much the only thing that might motivate Boston from now on (or about two months ago) is the Yankees. Boston HAS hit Tanaka in the past, but what would concern me about him is that he’s thrown three straight 100+ pitch games, and the last time he did that in the fourth game (AT Texas) he was hit pretty hard. Owens had the one bad outing against Seattle, which I can get past – but I can’t get past the fly balls and the two high pitch-count games he’s had. Can’t trust the Red Sox bullpen, so New York probably is the right side.

Rays-Orioles: As I work I see that the Rays are up 4-0 and last night I said that Smyly is sneaky good at times, but of course didn’t bet them. Damn it. Now we have two pitchers that have stocks’ high. Ramirez has slowly but surely been digressing – the ground ball outs have been decreasing while the balls that leave the park have been increasing. It’s tough to take a team like the Orioles that are playing so poorly right now, especially against a team that plays games that still matter. I thought that Gausman would have more trouble seeing that he’d been coming out of the bullpen, but he’s been regularly throwing 100+ pitches with seemingly no ill effects. Based on what I see, both teams may score, or at least have the opportunities to, and at 8 (I do think it goes to 8.5) that over is doable. Can’t make a great case for either bullpen and do think we’ll see a fair amount of both.

Cleveland-Toronto: Still amazing that Dickey is -190 to a decent (potentially) team with a decent (potentially) pitcher. The way DIckey has been getting hammered – even the Jays RL is probably not an option, and given that Toronto has cooled off SOME at the plate – I can make the case once again for the Indians RL. Bauer has had two great outing in a row, but once again I go back to pitch counts and he’s had two 100+ pitch games (that’s quite normal for some, not others) and the last time that happened (and history does tend to repeat itself) he was crushed in that third game, by the Twins, at home. This one could be the over people have been looking for.

Tigers-Royals: Ah, Randy Wolf again, who hasn’t won a game yet, but he has kept the Tigers in the two games he pitched. And of course the best time to fade the Royals is against a left handed pitcher, AND I don’t trust Ventura. Almost without looking too far and knowing the Royals are behind early in Tuesday’s game (hence bullpen early, maybe) I can see this game having plenty of runs – and we’ll see who is calling balls and strikes and perhaps hop on that one at 8 which is surprisingly down from the opener. I guess that means they don’t think Wolf gets killed too badly, so it’s the Tigers in some form or fashion if we take a side, IMO.

Houston-Seattle: Just watching Nelson Cruz weakly ground out with the bases loaded in the second with a chance to make it a big number early – which occurs to me that doing sh*t when it matters is so much more important. In any sport. Since I seem to remember Cano screwing me when we needed runs, I thought I’d check something, again – and as I suspected (not living in Seattle so I had to look) the Mariners have the second worst batting average with RISP, ahead of only the Reds, in baseball. I guess that should preclude us from betting on the too often in the last month. Kazmir faced the Mariners this year when he was with the A’s (only once surprised me) and two-hit them. Seattle sucks versus left handed pitching, so inasmuch as I’d like to take Walker, he’s not as solid in a smaller park and, well, see RISP number and bullpen. Houston (especially if they lose Thursday) even at -160 might be a bargain.

White Sox-Twins: I don’t even have to look far here. We fade the White Sox against left handed pitching and we take the Twins at home against left handed pitching.

Rangers-Padres: The first thing that occurred to me is that the Padres saw Hamels in the National League, and ver the course of the year they’ve been a better bet against LHP. Hamels worked hard in the Texas heat shutting down the Orioles on 11 pitches, two hits, eight innings. Individually the Padres have hit him well enough to consider taking them. Kennedy has only given up more than two earned runs once (at Milwaukee) in his last seven starts and has a WHIP of 1.10 over that time, so I’d have to say the Padres have every reason to win a close, low scoring, game ~