If you are putting together MLB picks, here are some scenarios to ponder, as mismatches with starting pitchers on the mound offer opportunities for us to exploit for profit.
Yovani Gallardo No Longer “The Guy” Not Even in Texas
For years if you were making MLB picks, a reliable choice versus the MLB odds was Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers. The right-hander averaged a strikeout an inning from 2009-12. But 2013 saw a precipitous drop in striking out batters which at the age of 27 was alarming. Last season was more of the same, but Gallardo decided he did not want to be a – washed up – pitcher and began pitching to contact having lost four-to-five MPH on the fastball.
This transition is never an easy one and the Milwaukee organization was not sure they wanted to be part of this transformation and shipped him to Texas. Gallardo went to the Rangers understanding he no longer would be the ace of the staff and he was fine with that. But when Yu Darvish and Derek Holland were injured again, he was elevated out of necessity to the top spot in rotation.
Playing for a Texas squad that should do better than score 3.8 runs per game, Gallardo is 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA. His strikeouts have actually been up (26 in 26 2/3 innings), but so have his hits at 29. Sportsbooks have him and Texas as +125 home underdogs against Oakland, who will have their top pitcher going in Sonny Gray (3-0, 1.98 ERA). Gallardo would seem at a disadvantage and is 4-13 at home against teams whose hitters draw three walks or less a game the last three seasons. (Team's Record) However, the A’s are the only team in baseball that has yet to win a day game (0-8), thus the Rangers have a shot.
Grade – D (For Oakland)
Former Studs Now Just Working to Stay Relevant
A few years ago, MLB baseball handicappers would have been excited to try and beat the MLB odds in matchup that featured Jered Weaver (0-3, 5.83) against Tim Lincecum (1-2, 3.27). Not anymore, as both hurlers are passed their prime and not close to what they used to be.
Weaver is trying to end his worst start to a season and avoid matching his longest single-season win drought. He went six straight games without a victory in 2010 and '11, but his earned run average was never at this level.
Lincecum has been in decline for a few years and the former two-time Cy Young winner has lost a tremendous amount of velocity off his heater, which has made his secondary pitches less effective. After a pretty good start to the year, Lincecum lasted only four innings in 8-3 setback to the Dodgers in his previous start, surrendering eight hits and walking three.
These two pitchers are very unfamiliar to their opponents in this interleague clash, with Weaver last throwing against San Francisco in 2012 and Lincecum seeing Angels red in 2009.
Let’s give a slight edge to Weaver and L.A. who is attempting to avoid being swept and is 83-49 (Angels Record) when the money line is -100 to -150. Note that the Greek is offering Angels on the Money Line at -101.
Grade – D (For Anaheim)
Which Anderson Do You Choose?
Chase Anderson (0-1, 4.24) for Arizona and Brett Anderson (1-1, 5.49) for the Dodgers are not brothers, they are not even related, but they will use the same pitching mound in Los Angeles today, both hoping to lead their respective teams to victory.
This will be their second matchup of the season having faced each other on April 10th and prior to that, the last time two pitchers with the same last name who went head to head was 2000. (Coincidently, it was a pair of Anderson’s Brian and Jimmy).
Brett Anderson has not made it through a full season since 2009 with a variety of maladies which has led to frequent trips to the DL. These events have robbed him of what used to be very good stuff and now he’s a low volume strikeout ball-chucker who allows quite a few hits (25 in 19 2/3 innings).
Chase Anderson throws pitches that sink, yet has quite a few punch-outs (20 in 23 1/3 innings) because one of his changeups looks hittable with two strikes yet tumbles out of the zone and batters miss it. Where this Anderson gets into problems is when he cannot locate is his tosses at the knees and will get rocked.
The Anderson in Dodger Blue is on the better team and they are 12-2 at home and should take care of their division rivals in Sedona Red as -155 favorites.
Grade – B (For Los Angeles)