When studying today's MLB odds, came up with two ideas for this article, one that featured several pitchers who are returning from injury or three of the Top 11 starting pitchers in the WHIP category.
The latter made more sense as the ball-chuckers coming back from injury might not have as much an impact on their particular games being on a short leash for pitch counts versus those who have proven to be more effective at least is this measured area, if not necessarily against the sportsbooks betting odds for MLB picks.
Here is what to look for from each of starters with low WHIP's on the season.
Pirates vs. Tigers: Pittsburgh's Liriano Could Be Poised for Strong Finish to 2015
When you look at Francisco Liriano's (4-6, 3.21 ERA) surface stats you see a mediocre record on a team with a good record and you wonder why he's not making greater contributions. In fact, Pittsburgh has lost 10 of Liriano's 15 outings this season and collectively they are -7.6 units in his starts.
However, as a baseball handicapper you often have to shovel below the surface and in spite of the Pirates wrapping out 26 hits in taking the first two games of the series, for close to seven weeks they were having problems scoring runs and the veteran left-hander was a frequent victim.
Consider in 10 different starts he allowed three or fewer runs pitching at least six innings, yet he the Bucs were only 3-7. Upon close inspection, Liriano has a solid ERA and his WHIP of 1.01 is 11th in the majors and he's the only pitcher in the Top 12 with a losing record.
This afternoon, the Pirates and Liriano are -130 road favorites in the Motor City and he has a bad past against the Tigers with a 5-10 mark and ERA of 4.79. If the Dominican native gets the type of run support from his teammates we have seen in this series, he should be fine and it is noted his club is 20-5 as a road favorite of -125 to -150 the last two seasons.
Slight Advantage - Liriano and Pittsburgh
Cubs vs. Mets: New York's deGrom Might Have to Help Himself
Jacob deGrom has a top shelf ERA of 2.15 and his WHIP is the fourth-best in baseball at 0.93. He's averaging a strikeout an inning yet his K-to-W ratio is fantastic at 5-1. However, on this day in the Queens, deGrom might have to borrow fellow pitcher Steven Matz batting stick to earn a victory.
New York has not scored in this series (20 innings) and lost both games to the Chicago Cubs despite allowing only three runs themselves. In fact, the Mets are averaging a scurvy-like 1.7 runs per game in their last 13 contests and the only real highlight offensively in this stretch was when Matz made his pitching debut last Sunday and besides throwing well was 3 for 3 with four rbi's.
deGrom has a .176 batting average and will face Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.94), whose allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 of 15 starts. The Metropolitans are -130 favorites (-125 at last look at Wagerweb) and in their favor this afternoon is the fact that teams like the Cubs that are road underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150, after scoring three runs or less in five straight games, against opponent after a combined score of three runs or less, are 14-48.
Slight Advantage - deGrom and New York
Nationals vs. Braves: Baseball's Best Pitcher in Atlanta Tonight
Forget win/loss record, if you have been watching baseball this season, Clayton Kershaw has had to face the fact there is a new sheriff in town and his name is Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79). To understand how dominant Scherzer has been consider he has the best WHIP in the game at 0.79, with Zack Greinke second at 0.91. This gigantic different is over 13 percent. To look at this another way, take Greinke's WHIP and add 13.2 percent and that takes us up to the No. 13 spot in the pecking order, showcasing what Mad Max is doing.
The Washington ace has given up only 73 hits in 110 1/3 innings, striking 130 and walking just 14, which leads to the Nationals being -195 favorites against Atlanta. Highly touted prospect Manny Banuelos makes his first big league start for the Braves after being 6-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.
While the number is imposing, Scherzer is a top choice for your MLB pick with a 22-2 mark as a favorite of -175 to -250 the last two seasons. (Team's Record)
Advantage - Scherzer and Washington