Does it still count as a jinx when you predict it in the intro to your own article? We missed on all three bets last Friday, bringing our record to 9-7 for the young season. Still, even after that beating, we’re up 2.5 units in this space. Not too shabby. I’ll try and do better tonight.
Let’s dive into the action around the diamond.
Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies
Matt Strahm Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-150)
I know. It’s an underwhelming number. It’s a prop that might be better served as part of a same-game parlay, if we’re being honest. However, that doesn’t change that fact that I think it’ll hit. Strahm’s pitch count has been limited as he’s transitioned from the Phillies’ bullpen to their rotation — he maxed out at 67 pitches in his last outing — but he’s posted some jaw-dropping peripherals in that small sample. Strahm’s strikeout rate is sitting at 32.0%. His swinging strike rate is an even more enticing 14.8%. It’s how he’s managed to rack up 12 strikeouts in his last two starts despite throwing just 7.2 innings.
Meanwhile, we’re talking about a Rockies lineup that loves to swing and miss, particularly on the road. When hitting away from Coors in 2023, Colorado possesses a 27.1% strikeout rate with a lowly 67 wRC+. For the season as a whole, the Rockies sport the National League’s highest chase rate (34.7%) and its highest swinging strike rate (12.9%). If Strahm can last even four frames, he’ll find his way to at least five strikeouts.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
Under 11 (-115)
While I am fully aware that the wind will be blowing out of Wrigley this evening, I had to double-check to make sure this game wasn’t accidentally scheduled in a PCL ballpark. 11 runs? That’s a huge total this early in the season for a contest that isn’t taking place at Coors. It’s not as if these two clubs have been amazing at hitting overs to this point in the calendar, either. The Dodgers are just 9-9-1, while the Cubs are 9-8. Nothing really to see.
This tilt features a better starting pitching matchup than some might realize. Michael Grove does own a 9.00 ERA across his first three starts of 2023, yet a 3.32 FIP tells a more important story. Grove’s only managed to strand 40.8% of opponent base runners this season — a number that is ridiculously low. For context, it’s the lowest mark of any NL pitcher with at least 10.0 innings thrown. Jameson Taillon has also been plagued by a low strand rate (57.9%), which is why his FIP is a delightful 1.89. The fact he’s striking out 10.3 opponents per nine is pretty compelling, too.
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
Fernando Tatis First PA Exact Result: In Play Out (+155)
Let’s have some fun, shall we? Tonight is the long awaited return of Fernando Tatis Jr., who has been absolutely tearing up minor league pitching the past week. As such, you can bet on the exact result of his first plate appearance this evening. I guess I’ll be the stick in the mud that plays the percentages here and says he’ll hit into an out.
There’s method to my mundaneness. Ryne Nelson will be on the bump for the Diamondbacks and he has some pretty telling splits so far in 2023. Nelson’s faced 40 right-handed batters this season and he’s held those RHBs to a .211/.205/.368 slash line. He’s struck out just 15% of those opponents, while he’s yet to walk a single righty hitter across his 17.0 innings of work. That tells me Tatis should at least produce a batted ball event in this spot, eliminating strikeout (+220) and walk/HBP (+700) from my mind. Considering Nelson’s success against RHBs and the fact that this is Tatis’ first regular season PA at the MLB level since October of 2021, I’ll side with the pitcher. Sorry. No storybook ending until the second at-bat.
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