[carefully look over my shoulder]
...I don’t want to jinx it, but we’re crushing the playoffs so far on article plays. After going 2-0 on Thursday, we now sit at 5-0 since real October baseball began last Friday. Let’s aim to stay hot with today’s three-game slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
This is an extremely aggressive line — it’s almost insulting to the Guardians — but Cleveland has managed just four runs in its first three playoff games, with one of those four needing 15 innings of build up. It’s not really a shock that a team that finished 29th in baseball in ISO (.129) is struggling to scratch across runs against elite pitching, yet I’m not sure anyone predicted it would be this difficult.
Well, bad news. Things won’t get any easier on Friday afternoon. Nestor Cortes will be taking the mound for the Yankees, sporting a 2.44 ERA and a 2.70 xERA over his 158.1 regular season innings. The left-hander has somehow improved dramatically since a first-half that earned him an All-Star appearance, as Cortes has pitched to a 2.15 ERA and held opponents to a paltry .200 wOBA since the Midsummer Classic. He’s also been nearly unhittable in New York in 2022, possessing a 1.95 ERA and an insane .161 opponent batting average within the split. If that wasn’t daunting enough, the Guardians managed only an 84 wRC+ versus LHPs during the regular season — the lowest mark in the American League.
I don’t feel wonderful about writing up a prop with odds this short, but we’ve got limited options considering the Braves have yet to name a starter for this contest. Don’t blame me, blame Brian Snitker. Now that that ugliness is behind us, let’s talk about Aaron Nola, who has been striking out everything that moves since the All-Star break.
In the 13 appearances Nola’s made since the Midsummer Classic, he’s managed to post a well-above average strikeout rate of 30.7%. Heck, if you just isolate the regular season starts Nola’s made since the beginning of September, he’s registered an eye-popping 33.6% strikeout rate — a figure that would put him in line to clear this prop without much of a sweat. It’s probably also worth noting that the 29-year-old collected at least seven strikeouts in all five outings he’s made against the Braves so far in 2022, including eight-strikeout performances on both September 17 and September 23. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Atlanta’s 24.4% strikeout rate in the season’s second-half was the seventh-highest mark in baseball, while the team’s 12.9% swinging strike rate within that same span led all National League clubs. There’s certainly some swing-and-miss in the Braves’ lineup.
This seems as good a time as any to admit that I don’t understand how Tony Gonsolin was as successful as he was in 2022. Don’t get me wrong, the stuff plays, but what exactly is it that Gonsolin does at an elite level? His average fastball velocity is in the 43rd percentile of qualified pitchers. His strikeout rate is in the 59th percentile and his walk rate is in the 60th percentile. Honestly, the stat that most jumps off the page from the right-hander’s season is a .207 BABIP, which is obviously unstable, yet isn’t even backed up by a league-average ability to suppress opponent exit velocity. We’re not dealing with Kyle Hendricks here.
None of this inspires confidence for me, and the fact that Gonsolin’s throw just two innings at the MLB level since late August isn’t helping, either. According to Dave Roberts, Gonsolin is expected to throw around 75 pitches on Friday night, but I’m not sure he even gets that far. I think a talented Padres lineup touches him up early.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.