Carrasco and Archer in Expected Pitchers' Duel on Monday Night

carlos carrasco indians

Mark Lathrop

Monday, May 15, 2017 12:41 PM GMT

Monday, May. 15, 2017 12:41 PM GMT

Both of the starting pitchers come into Monday's Rays-Indians game have fantastic seasons going. Our MLB handicapper believes that the value is not on the side, but on the listed total for this game.

2017 MLB Record, 59-56-4 (-4.42 Units, -3.23% ROI)

Tampa Bay Rays At Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians look to keep up with Twins in the AL Central as the Tampa Bay Rays come into town for a mid-week series in Cleveland. The Rays have one of the worst road records in the American League, so the Indians must feel confident about winning this series. Also a reason to be confident is having Carlos Carrasco on the mound Monday, who has been excellent for Cleveland so far this year. Carrasco has not given up more than three runs in any of his seven starts and has made it into at least the 6th inning in all of them.

A big reason for Carrasco’s early season success has been his control. His BB/9 rate is currently the lowest it has been in his career at 1.49, and his 46/8 K/BB rate is a testament to that. Looking at Carrasco’s peripherals is also a vision of impressive improvement. His hard hit and pull rates are down, as is HR/FB% over last year. One thing I picked up on with Carrasco was a drop in velocity with his changup, while his fastball has remained steady. This has made his changeup an even more effective tool for him, and his PITCHf/x value for that pitch has skyrocketed. Carrasco’s BABIP is nearly 80 points below his career average through his first seven starts and is partially a result of keeping batters off balance with that changeup. The other part of that BABIP reading is of course luck, but there are signs that his 3.00 FIP is sustainable for the rest of the season.

Starting for the Rays is Chris Archer, who has been very good as well through 8 starts and 53.1 innings pitched. He’s put up an FIP of 2.77 on the season and a respectable 7.1% HR/FB rate on the year as well. Archer is coming off of two 11-strikeout starts, and his 59/16 K/BB rate is excellent and on pace to match his last two seasons of over 233 strikeouts each. Archer’s slider is his main weapon – a high-80s pitch that he pairs with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. He throws the slider a ton too, more than in any other season actually, at a 45.9% rate of all pitches. Archer is allowing a .222 BAA and 1.13 WHIP on the season, and his .296 BABIP indicates that these results are not a fluke.

With both of these starters well equipped to go late into this game I like the premise of taking the 'under' here. The bullpens should see limited action, which reduces the risk of a late innings surge. The total of 7.5 is low, but warranted and I will be taking it on Monday's MLB pick.

Free MLB Pick: 'Under' 7.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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