Small slate of games Monday, but we’ve got a chance for a few strong pitching performances — especially in the strikeout department. Here’s what jumps out at me on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Castillo has really turned a corner since the start of June. Almost all of his last 12 outings have been quality starts — the only exceptions are his June 10 (three runs over 5 2/3 innings) and his July 11 (one run over 5 1/3 innings) appearances. So his start on Monday should have some decent length, especially against a Cleveland team that’s been middle of the pack against right-handed pitching in both OPS and ISO of late. And Castillo has gotten even better since the All-Star break.
The Cincinnati right-hander has punched out seven-plus in each of his four post-All-Star break starts — two of those outings being against teams that have struck out less frequently against righties of late than Cleveland. During this span, he’s posted the seventh-best swinging strike rate among qualified starters and has been one of the best at getting hitters to swing and miss at his offerings out of the zone.
Cleveland hitters are 0.1% from being tied for ninth in strikeout rate against right-handers this season with the Red Sox and Angels, but they instead sit at 11th in that category. Since the All-Star break, Cleveland hitters have posted the second-highest swinging strike rate and they are swinging and missing at pitches out of the zone more frequently than almost every other team.
Sam Hentges will open Cleveland’s bullpen day on Monday, but it’s unclear how long he’s expected to go. The left-hander has made eight starts this season, lasting anywhere from 2 1/3 innings to five. Hentges hasn’t exactly thrived in those opportunities either, giving up three or more runs in six of those outings.
The Reds have done most of their damage against right-handers throughout their recent hot streak, but they’re still 10th-best in OPS and ISO against left-handers over the last two weeks. Even though Cleveland’s bullpen hasn’t been bad all season, the Reds have done nothing to indicate they’ll slow down for Monday’s Battle of Ohio.
The Brewers finally stretched out Peralta in his last outing, and the righty took full advantage. Peralta followed up a five-strikeout, 68-pitch outing vs. the Pirates with a nine-strikeout, 98-pitch start against the very same team. And Pittsburgh’s lineup is not one to strike out against right-handers often. The Cubs are a much different story.
Since they cleaned house at the trade deadline, only the Diamondbacks are striking out more frequently against righties than the Cubs. Dylan Cease just punched out 10 over five frames vs. the Cubs on Sunday — two days after Lance Lynn finished with eight after six innings of work on Friday.
Lastly, the Cubs have been missing the pitches they chase out of the zone more often than any other team since the trade deadline while also posting the second-worst strikeout rate. Peralta has been able to generate a high level of swinging strikes all season long, getting hitters to miss the pitches they chase out of the zone quite often in the process.
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