Saturday's Pitchers Report: Are These Three Struggling Starters Worth Backing With Your MLB Picks?

Doug Upstone

Saturday, June 6, 2015 7:08 PM GMT

On this day I will look at the chances of three different pitchers defeating the betting odds in spite of not being in very good form and talk about what they need to do to have more success.

Each is dealing with their own demons on the mound and just like MLB baseball handicappers doing MLB picks, you have to fight your way through slumps to get back in the winning trail.

 

David Phelps Slipping Some for Miami
The Marlins 28-year right-hander was shoved into the starting rotation after two bullpen appearances because Miami had no better options. Phelps was a swing man with the Yankees, sometimes starting, sometimes used in long relief and sometimes used as a setup man, whatever Joe Girardi needed.

Phelps (2-2, 3.50 ERA) has good numbers in his eight starts with a 2.98 ERA, yet we are wondering if erosion is starting to seep in. In his last three starts his ERA is 5.29, not an alarm mind you but anyone following the MLB odds closely is aware that his different pitches are all average if maybe slightly above and though he gives his best effort each time out, the more the scouts see of him on a regular basis they will continue to find flaws. None of these will be major, but one cannot ignore that the Marlins have lost each of his past four starts.

Miami and Phelps on the sportsbooks money line figure to be anywhere from -101 to -109 at Colorado and if they are to win, Phelps will have to be precise with his control, because mistakes at Coors Field are often costly. The Marlins are facing substitute starter Chris Rusin, which should work to their advantage being 8-3 and scoring 5.1 runs a game versus left-handed starters.

Slight Advantage – Phelps and Miami

 

Cashing With Cashner Hard to Do
San Diego’s Adam Cashner (2-8, 3.46 ERA) is the only pitcher in the big leagues with eight losses and in his 11 starts the Padres have come away the victors twice. His ERA is certainly good enough to merit a better record and his teammates have contributed to his shoddy record scoring 13 totals runs in the nine losses and on the season Cashner has a very high 12 unearned runs allowed with meager fielding support behind him.

The righty is coming off a bizarre start in which he struck out 12 batters, allowed 11 hits and failed to make it out of the fifth inning and he’s the first pitcher to give up double digit hits and have 10 or more strikeouts and pitch that short amount of time in 101 years!

Cashner has all the tools with a mid-90’s fastball, a typically hard-breaking curve at 10 MPH slower and a circle-change. Yet he’s not reached even frontline status because he too often has the one bad inning and focus and attention to detail appear to be his undoing more often than not.

This afternoon Cashner and San Diego will be modest underdogs in Cincinnati and with the Padres having won seven of 10 and scoring more, if the Texas native pitches to his capabilities, he should return to the winners circle, but you cannot be quite sure.

Slight Advantage – Cashner and San Diego

 

Kelly Still Attempting to Kick Start Season with Boston
Joe Kelly (1-4, 5.83 ERA) was brought to Boston to be a reliable starter and he’s not come close to achieving that notion. His lone victory of the season happened nearly two months ago (April 11th) and the Red Sox have lost five of his past six outings. Kelly has two and four-seam fastballs that register consistently in the 92-96 MPH range and his slider and big-breaking curve are often effective. He’s not walking a lot off opposing batters (22 in 54 innings) but his problem is that he’s always working deep counts and building up pitch counts quickly and then he makes a one bad toss in the at bat that haunts him.

Though his mound foe Jesse Chavez (2-5, 2.11 ERA) is not having much luck picking up wins either, he is being undone by a lack of run support and is a much more efficient hurler. Though Oakland’s record is more dismal than Boston's, it is very difficult to back Kelly this afternoon for MLB picks. At WagerWeb, home of the guaranteed next day payouts, I’ll take the A’s to win as a Pick (-105).

Slight Disadvantage – Kelly and Boston