The two 2017 Cy Young Award winners are on the bump Friday, and I am all over their strikeout props on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Kluber did not hit Friday’s over last time he faced the Orioles (five strikeouts on April 27), but he did hit the over on his strikeout prop (4.5) DraftKings Sportsbook set for that specific matchup. Since the first pitch of that April outing vs. Baltimore, the right-hander has been rolling.
While the Orioles’ strikeout rate vs. right-handed pitching is in the middle of the pack, they do like to chase pitches out of the zone. Even with his bad 2021 starts factored in, Kluber’s contact rate on pitches out of the zone is the best it’s been since 2018 — his last All-Star campaign. Also, his swinging strike rate is the best it’s been since 2017 — Kluber’s second Cy Young campaign.
The over on German Marquez’s hits allowed prop vs. the Reds (5.5) is tempting after what happened on Thursday, but I have to go with Smith at home.
Smith is a threat to exit games early, which has to be the driving force behind this prop being so low. Last time out, he got the hook after only 51 pitches in four innings. That’s the second time in his last three starts Smith got yanked before recording an out in the fifth innings. In those outings, he hit Friday’s over twice and came close the third time (four hits in his last start).
Of course, the Nationals also have a role to play here.
Washington ranks among the seven worst teams in wOBA, OPS and ISO against right-handed pitching. A proven right-hander might dice up the Nationals on Friday, but Smith has a ways to go before he earns that sort of billing.
This matchup in the Desert is the perfect storm.
Marquez usually does a good job keeping the ball in the yard, and he hasn’t seen Cincinnati’s hitters much, but the Reds are one of the best teams against right-handed pitching in all of baseball. As much as Chi Chi Gonzalez held them at bay for seven innings on Thursday, that’s not happening in back-to-back games against right-handed starters to the team currently ranked in the top two in OPS, wOBA and ISO against right-handed pitching
Even if Marquez deals, there’s still the matter of Colorado’s bullpen. The Rockies’ relievers were the ones responsible for Cincinnati’s eight runs on Thursday. Believe it or not, their showing vs. the Reds wasn’t exactly off-brand. Whether you’re more partial to ERA or FIP, Colorado’s bullpen is the second-worst in all of baseball in both categories.
Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks
Yes, the Diamondbacks don’t strike out a ton against right-handed pitching, but this is Mad Max — and he’s dealing.
Scherzer has hit Friday’s over five times in seven starts. He even managed to do so in his first start of the season, where he gave up four earned runs vs. the Braves,
Whoever’s in the lineup for Arizona, Scherzer has always found a way to rack up punch outs against his old team. In fact, he already hit Friday’s over vs. the Diamondbacks this season (10 strikeouts on April 16).
Also, while hitters aren’t chasing his pitches out of the zone as often as usual, Scherzer is getting opponents to miss those offerings the most he has since 2017.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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