We have three games we are liking for Saturday night in MLB. All three of these bets will focus on the analysis of the pitchers as we see an edge in our favor in regards to pitching. Here’s the breakdown:
Pittsburgh Pirates – Philadelphia Phillies
Pirates ML @ (1.76/-130)
We’re going with the Pirates to take down the Phillies with Joe Musgrove pitching for Pittsburgh and Zach Eflin for Philadelphia. Both of these teams are much different in terms of lineups. The Pirates have a very left-handed heavy-hitting lineup (5 lefties in the lineup), while the Phillies are the opposite, very right-handed heavy (5 righties in the lineup). With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at each pitcher:
Joe Musgrove (Pirates)
The charts above represent Joe Musgrove’s success against right-handed batters as well as left-handed batters. The first chart is from the last three years and the second is from this year. This is important to note as Musgrove has had mixed results this year, but has histroically dominated right-handed heavy teams like the Phillies. In his last five games, in 26 2/3 innings, he has given up just 8 runs, yet in 3/5 he gave up 1 run or less. Musgrove is a player that is either hot or cold. Given the limited experience Phillies hitters have against him and his massive splits, Musgrove should be in line for a good performance.
Zach Eflin (Phillies)
Speaking of another player with massive splits, Zach Eflin has been awful against lefties in his career. From these two charts, you will see much like Musgrove, he cannot get left-handed batters out. The problem for him though is Pittsburgh will roll out a left-handed heavy team. He’s been struggling as well lately, a total of 22 runs in his last 20 innings pitched! While he may turn things around, this is not the spot he’s likely to do it.
Cincinnati Reds – St. Louis Cardinals
Under 9.5 runs @ (1.86/-115)
After the Reds collapsed epically last night and blew a 7-0 lead to lose 12-11, we’ll go with the under in this game as we see less runs being scored due to a step up in pitching.
This first chart shows the Cardinals hitters lifetime averages against Luis Castillo for the Reds. What stands out the most is the Cardinals have a 33% strikeout rate against him through 84 at-bats and have a batting average under .200. The Cardinals are still missing many key players in their lineup and if Castillo can limit the walks, he should be in a spot to have some success. Cincinnati is not always the best ballpark for pitchers, but Castillo has a groundball rate around 50% which helps significantly. In his first meeting with a much healthier St. Louis team at the time, he gave up only one run and two hits in six innings of work.
While Castillo is in a great spot, Miles Mikolas appears to be as well. Despite struggling more on the road, the Reds present a good opportunity for Miles Mikolas. The Reds may have a split on four lefties and four righties in the lineup, or three lefties and five righties. Ideally, we’ll get the second scenario, as Mikolas has very good numbers against right-handed batters as you can see in the chart above. However, if we the first scenario, note that two of the Reds lefties have some concerns. Joey Votto is only 3 for 14 in his career against Mikolas and Scott Gennett (if he plays) is only batting .161 this month. Considering these two pitchers and their ability to keep the ball on the ground,
Arizona Diamondbacks – Milwaukee Brewers
Diamondbacks ML (1.71/-140)
Much like the Pirates – Phillies, we see another game with a major difference pitching between Zack Greinke for Arizona and Gio Gonzalez for Milwaukee. Again looking at the lineups, we see many of the Brewers top hitters being left-handed and Arizona having a very right-handed heavy team. Let’s break it down further:
Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks)
As mentioned, the Brewers top hitters are mostly left-handed. Players like Yelich, Grandal, and Moustakas. The Brewers will have their fair share of lefties in the lineup and looking at Zack Greinke this year, he has been very good against lefties. Much lower averages in nearly every statistic. Even better for him, the Brewers have poor numbers historically against him, as you can see in the graph below:
Gio Gonzalez (Brewers)
For the Brewers, Gio Gonzalez is making his first start since May 27th and it comes against in inopportune opponent. Looking at these charts below, take a look at how he has struggled significantly against right-handed hitters in the last three seasons. He has had limited pitching opportunities this year, but given he has not pitched in an MLB game in nearly three months, this is not the matchup to target him.
We’ll conclude with these last two charts. The first shows Arizona’s projected lineup which will include all right-handed batters factoring in switch hitters. To make the case for them even more, they destroy left-handed pitching. Targeting Arizona against lefties has worked much of the year, and we will do it yet again this evening.