The First Five 'Over' Look Muy Bien Against los Doyers in Monterrey

Rainman M.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 7:34 PM UTC

Saturday, May. 5, 2018 7:34 PM UTC

San Diego wraps up a three-game "home" series with the Dodgers in Monterrey, Mexico. The game is at 4 ET and can be viewed on ESPN. Both lineups are prepared to score lots of early runs.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

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Free MLB Pick: San Diego
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

After a late scratch in the starting pitching, a different play from the MLB oddsboard offers much more promise.

Ross Stripling (0-1, 2.33 ERA) starts for Los Angeles. Stripling was announced as the starter this morning, taking the place of Rich Hill. He is a reliever but he does have some experience as a starter. Compared to 83 appearances, he has 17 career starts. The Dodgers are taking an emergency measure today—meaning that Stripling is being asked to start out of necessity. When a reliever is asked to start and pitch more innings, then he has to take away some quality away from his stuff so that he can last for more innings. For example, he started once this season in Arizona. The velocity of his fastball, change-up and slider dropped 2-3 mph from his last appearance against San Francisco. His pitches also showed less movement. For instance, his slider „slid“ less.

Stripling gave up four runs, two home runs, in those four innings in Arizona. Conversely, in five relief appearances against Arizona, he’s allowed only one run in 6.1 innings. In his career, his FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) is 4.18 as a starter, compared to 3.49 as a reliever. As a starter, his FIP going against the opposing lineup for a second time in a game is nearly 2.00 higher than the first time. So even though his career numbers against San Diego are positive, bettors should throw them out. The sample size is tiny. Plus, the Arizona example shows that there’s no strong correlation between a pitcher’s performance as a reliever and as a starter even against the same team. The Padres will hit him hard before five innings are over.

Eric Lauer (0-1, 10.13 ERA) counters for San Diego. Lauer’s first career start was in the venue which is hardest for starting pitchers, Coors Field, and his ERA reflects it. Monterrey’s altitude is not as high as in Colorado’s Coors Field, but it is about 1000 feet higher than in his home ballpark in San Diego. High altitude is problematic for him as a fly ball pitcher—he’s inducing fly balls at a 4% higher rate than ground balls. Altitude contains less air density, meaning that the climate is exerting less physical resistance with which to deter fly balls from becoming home runs.

While it is true that the Dodgers are struggling against left-handed pitchers, this is only primarily true against southpaws’ softer stuff. Against fastballs from left-handed pitchers, the Dodgers are third in slugging. For example, one lefty that they dominated was Lauer’s teammate, Robbie Erlin. Erlin threw his fastball 28% of the time and the Dodgers achieved a 1.200 slugging rate against it. Lauer throws his four-seam fastball 64% of the time, making him a bad match-up for LA.

The Padres’ bullpen is one of the MLB’s strongest per FIP, so i’m sticking to a 'First Five‘ play

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