On the baseball board is three ball-chuckers with betting odds money lines that are higher than one might expect because they play for good teams, yet not everyone is familiar with the names or their work.
Frias Coming through the Ranks for Dodgers
With Hyun-jin Ryu still not close to returning and Brandon McCarthy done for the season, Los Angeles was hoping for more than a warm body to fit into the starting rotation. The person chosen was Carlos Frias (3-0, 2.13 ERA), which led to collective “who?” even among the Dodger faithful. Frias was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 and finally made Los Angeles roster last August at 25 years old.
Thought to be more of reliever than starter, this will be his third time around in the rotation and he’s struck-out out nine, walking two in 10 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits. Frias comes armed with mid to low 90’s fastball, a slider and changeup and has not looked overmatched in limited action by Don Mattingly, who has not yet been comfortable to have him face the opposing lineup three or more complete times.
Sportsbooks like WagerWeb opened Frias and L.A. at -140 and that figure is up to -155, with the Dodgers explosive offense averaging 5.9 runs per contest at home and sporting a marvelous 15-2 record. Miami’s Jarred Cosart (1-3, 3.67) has an ERA of almost six on the road, thus one would seem to like the Dodgers chances for this late afternoon start local time.
Grade – B (For L.A. Dodgers)
Detroit’s Fifth Starter Getting it Done
Just the name – Kyle Lobstein – has a ring of peculiarity and just another face in the crowd at the same time. The 25-year old left-hander had a undistinguished minor league career, but needing a fresh arm late in the season because of a double-header, Lobstein (3-2, 3.00 ERA) was called up and did enough and stuck with Detroit to close last season and earned a slot in the rotation this year.
Lobstein has four pitches and scouts would not place any of them in the ‘plus’ category. On a warm day his fastball might reach 90 MPH and this season he only has 15 strikeouts in 33 innings. Nonetheless, he possess what some MLB baseball handicappers might refer to as “worm killer stuff” because his 58.3 groundball percentage is one of the highest in the AL. What he is doing is keeping the ball at the knees with sink, which makes it hard for the batter to elevate and they beat the ball into the ground and Lobstein’s fielders have to gobble them up and make the plays.
Tonight he and the Tigers are -145 home favorites against Minnesota’s Ricky Nolasco (2-1, 9.00 ERA) who has somehow won twice in spite of how he’s thrown. Off their 2-1 extra inning victory last night, Detroit is 16-5 after allowing one run or less in a win over a division rival.
Grade – B (For Detroit)
Santiago Finally Fitting in with Anaheim
With a roster full of recognizable brand names, Hector Santiago (2-2, 2.57 ERA) is not going to standout with the L.A. Angels. After a horrible start to last season coming over from the White Sox, settling in a spell and finishing so ugly he was not a part of the postseason roster, the lefty had to change something.
For whatever reason, Santiago even back in Chicago never looked liked he threw a warm-up session on his starts and his initial 20-25 tosses got him trouble. Often once past that point he was generally serviceable. Though he has not completely fixed his slow starts (.286 BA allowed on first 15 pitches), his mental strength is much better, with opposing teams batting .208 against him.
Santiago is still nibbling too much (one walk every two innings), but he’s a -175 favorite because he owns a 1.02 ERA over his last three Big A home starts and Colorado has lost 10 in a row. Hard not to use Santiago and the Angels for sports picks.
Grade – B (For L.A.A. Angels)