Though not exactly precise, there certainly is a correlation between how these teams pitch and what kind of money they win or lose at sportsbooks when challenging their betting odds this season.
Three teams in the AL East rank in the bottom 10 for units lost to this point of the season and this same trio is in the lower third for earned run averages in the American League. Coincidence, we think not. Here is what you can learn to make better decisions as MLB baseball handicappers for your MLB picks from this division.
The Issues for Boston and Toronto Pitching
The Red Sox and Blue Jays have been running neck and neck all season for the worst pitching staff in the junior circuit. Each has legitimately rotten starting pitching with ERA’s approaching five. Both these staffs walk way too many batters, with Boston 14th in free passes per game and Toronto dead last in the AL. The Blue Jays' problems are compounded on failing to keep the ball in the yard, listed 15th of out of 15 teams in the league.
Is there room for improve for either? Clay Buchholz (3.82 ERA) has assembled a group of fine starts and his ERA is subsiding and if the BoSox bats perk up, he should start winning regularly. Rookie Eduardo Rodriguez looks like the real deal and is already helping. Joe Kelly (5.83) and Wade Miley (4.97) were known for their lack of consistency with their former teams and not much has changed in Bean Town. The good news is they could hardly been worse and should show improvement. Rick Porcello (5.37) is throwing like all the weight of the contract he signed is a burden. (Until he cashed the checks I’m sure).
Toronto’s problems run deeper. R.A. Dickey (5.53) and Mark Buehrle (4.97) are both older guys and are completely dependent on location because of lack of velocity. Marco Estrada (4.67) is a journeyman fifth starter at best and while young pitchers like Drew Hutchinson and Aaron Sanchez are talented, they are experiencing the growing pains of youth.
Orioles Need Mainstays to Act Like it
Before the season it was a given Baltimore was not going to have the same magical year as 2014 when they finished with 96 wins. What anyone studying the MLB odds did not see coming was that Chris Tillman and Bud Norris would be terrible and that Kevin Gausman would be injured and ineffective.
The Orioles are 5-11 in Tillman and Norris' starts this season, making them very unattractive for MLB picks. Each has an ERA north of 5 and WHIP’s above 1.6, suggesting too many hits and walks allowed.
Gausman (4.50) has been on the DL and Baltimore team reports say the left-hander should be back soon and Buck Showalter hopes he’s the pitcher he was last season and not what he’s been thus far.
New York and Tampa Bay Mediocre Wagers
There really is not anything negative you can say about the Tampa Bay pitching, with the lowest ERA in the AL and their starters second in the same category. Led by Chris Archer (2.01, 0.96 WHIP), Rays pitchers do their job in holding opponents to 3.53 RPG, but they don’t receive enough offensive support to be a play on candidate at outlets like WagerWeb.
The return of Masahiro Tanaka means New York can most likely take Chris Capuano out of the rotation, which will strengthen it overall. Michael Pineda (3.33) and Adam Warren (3.75) have solid ERA’s and the Yankees are 14-7 when they take the ball. What Joe Girardi has to figure is what to do with CC Sabathia (5.45) who has really seen his stuff diminish. The return and continued health of Tanaka will improve the chances of New York being profitable, with the benefit of a top tier bullpen.