For today’s Pitcher Report, we will review a scuffling starter trying to find his rhythm, a rookie with a bright future and pitching matchup that is could go either way against the MLB odds.
Hey, it’s Saturday and you have things to do so let’s get at it.
What is wrong with Phil Hughes?
Minnesota was 70-92 last season and the only reason they put up that good a record was because Phil Hughes in first season in the Land of 10,000 Lakes had a very good year and the Twins won 20 of his 32 starts. That meant he was a direct participant in 28.5 percent of Minnesota’s win total and those making MLB picks cleaned up +11.5 units against the sportsbooks in his starts.
This season with the Twins off to a stunning 17-13 start (+7.4 units) and the right-hander has been more of a liability than an asset at 1-4 with 5.02 ERA. It is impossible to get inside a person’s head, yet you have to wonder about Hughes mindset, having something to prove after leaving New York last season and after having success, does he work as hard? I am not saying Hughes has not, but the biggest differences between last year and to this point is the strikeouts are down and after surrendering 16 home runs in 2014, he’s allowed eight in six starts.
Possibly he could gain confidence in facing Cleveland since he’s 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA against them. The Indians are so desperate for starting pitching they pulled 37-year old Bruce Chen off the scrap heap in February, signing him to a minor league deal and he was 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Columbus.
If Hughes just does what is expected, he and Minnesota should be victorious again versus the MLB betting odds as a Pick (-105).
Grade – C (For Minnesota)
White Sox Prized Draft Choice Makes MLB Starting Debut
With Jeff Samardzija serving a five-game suspension, Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, will receive the starting assignment in Game 2 of the Chicago vs. Cincinnati twinbill caused by last night’s rainout. Rodon was called up from Triple-A on April 20th and has made three relief appearance and While Sox management is in no rush to force him in into the rotation, happy to take the same route they did with Chris Sale who began as a relief pitcher.
I saw the 22-year old lefthander this spring and he mixes a very good fastball with a nasty slider that can leave opposing batters mumbling to themselves after taking this pitch for a called third strike or swinging feebly at a this pitch out of the zone. Command of the fastball is still an issue and he needs to continue to refine his change-up. Nonetheless, to the trained eye of this MLB baseball handicapper, he has the stuff and poise on the mound to be at least a No.2 starter for the White Sox in the coming years.
In the nitecap, Rodon will face a cagey veteran in Jason Marquis (3-1, 5.22), who only has this good of a record because the Reds have average 7.6 runs a contest in his starts. I would not be shocked if both pitchers are done by the fifth inning, leaving it to the bullpen, giving the White Sox the edge.
Grade – D (For Chicago)
How come Houston is not favored with Dallas Keuchel Pitching?
The Astros Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 0.80) has been sensational in allowing only four runs, 21 hits and no homers over 45 innings in his six starts. In fact, Houston had won 10 straight Keuchel starts dating back to last August before losing 2-1 to Texas on Monday. When the Astros coaching staff convinced him to dump the curveball and start utilizing his wicked slider more, along with tightening up his delivery on the changeup so batter’s saw the exact same motion as the fastball, it changed everything.
Sportsbooks like GTBets released Houston as a -115 road favorite against the L.A.A. Angels but they have slid to small -103 underdogs. Two reasons for this, one the Astros have been slowed, losing four of five this week and the other is the Halos Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 5.40). The Angels right-hander does not have signature pitch; just a collection of pretty good ones and more often than not he gives his team a chance to win and the club from Anaheim is 19-7 in his starts since last year when he joined the rotation at 27. Factor in Shoemaker and Angels are 11-3 when the money line is +125 to -125 and you can understand why L.A. is being used more than expected for MLB picks.
Grade – D (For Houston)