Padres on Fade Alert With Mitchell Starting vs. Rockies Monday

Rainman M.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 6:05 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 22, 2018 6:05 PM UTC

Colorado hosts San Diego on Monday night to begin a three-game series. Bettors can take full advantage of the pitching matchup with a play on the Rockies and a special prop bet.

MLB Monday: Padres vs. RockiesFree MLB Pick: Colorado RLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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San Diego's Bryan Mitchell (0-2, 5.03 ERA) does not deserve a spot in a major league rotation. Before this year, he had nine career starts after being in (and out of) the league since 2014. The desperate Padres decided to give him a chance and he promises to be this year's version of former Padres mega-fade Jered Weaver.

Mitchell does not have the stuff to last many innings. He throws his fastball nearly 60% of the time and lacks quality secondary stuff with which to keep hitters off-balance. Opponents are slugging over .500 against his two favorite breaking pitches, the curve and the cutter. Especially the former typically suffers in Colorado's altitude. Two decent pitches -- one of which, the change-up, he only feels comfortable throwing 3% of the time -- are not enough to carry him through an entire outing. He also struggles to get going in the first place. Mitchell is allowing a 13.50 first-inning ERA. In three of four starts, he has allowed at least one first-inning run. In the other start, he was fortunate to allow an absurdly below-average BABIP (batting average of balls in play; to a degree based on random variance). So check out a "Colorado scores first" or similarly appropriate prop bet on the MLB odds board.

His lack of stuff explains the gross disparity between opposing swing percentage and opposing contact made. His pitches reach the zone 42% of the time, but hitters make contact with them 91% of the time and 42.6% of that contact is hard. Opponents are able to comfortably sit back, wait for an appealing pitch, and make him pay. He is also struggling with command as he progresses into an outing. Between innings four and six, he is walking over 33% of batters faced. Overall, his walk per nine inning rate is an insane 7.78. For example, 41% of his fastballs, his favorite pitch, lands for balls. Opponents slug him hard in the middle quadrants of the strike zone, yet he lacks the precision to nibble corners.

Chad Bettis (3-0, 1.44 ERA) counters for Colorado. Bettis is experiencing positive regression. Throughout the space of a pitcher's career, his career ERA tends to align with his career FIP (like ERA, factors out luck) and this tendency becomes more predictive as a pitcher ages. After six years, Bettis' career ERA is still .45 higher than his FIP and it is statistically due to keep sinking. Bettis is, unlike his counterpart, a proven starter enjoying a strong streak. He has allowed two runs in his last 12.2 innings pitched at home and three runs in his last 9.2 innings pitched against the Padres.

The key for Bettis is that he can command his pitches. Whereas Mitchell, particularly with his curveball (not that he can ably locate any of his pitches!), needs to adjust to Coors Field, Bettis has acclimated to the difficult climate. In his last three home starts, he has allowed only three walks combined.

These two starters squared off on April 2, with Bettis getting the win and Mitchell the loss in a 7-4 Colorado victory. Mitchell does not have anything new to offer Colorado. His fastball will appear slightly faster in Coors Field, but that difference is an easy adjustment for hitters. After all, fastballs get slugged .100 higher in Coors Field than elsewhere since 2017. His curveball will suffer more greatly than his fastball will benefit and that is his second-favorite pitch, which, even in a climate that favors breaking stuff, opponents have been destroying.

Look out for Colorado hitters Ian Desmond and Charlie Blackmon. The former doubled and homered against Mitchell while the latter achieved two doubles. Because of the higher-scoring venue, the run line has extra statistical value and has hit in nine of the last 10 (dating to 2017) Colorado home wins in our MLB picks.

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