I have one MLB on the go right now, well sort of.
I released a pick yesterday with the Phillies to upset the Nationals in their four-game set at healthy +165 odds, however, last night’s series opener was postponed.
The game will be made up as a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday, meaning this will remain a four-game series and the pitching matchups shouldn’t change at all. I do, however, think this is another slight advantage to the Phillies as a league-worst Nationals bullpen will certainly be more utilized in the double-header and perhaps taxed for Thursday’s series finale.
Nonetheless, we’ll wait on that one as the week goes along and turn our attention to this pick between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks from Chase Field in Arizona.
Let’s have a look at the odds for the three-game set, courtesy of BetOnline.
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks MLB Series Odds
Now let’s take a quick look at the probable pitching matchups for this series, courtesy of MLB.com.
- Tuesday: Senzatela (COL) vs. Kelly (ARI)
- Wednesday: Gray (COL) vs. Greinke (ARI)
- Thursday: Hoffman (COL) vs. Ray (ARI)
Now let’s get inside of these pitching matchups before breaking down some notes on the offenses and bullpens before making my final pick!
Tuesday: Antonio Senzatela (5-5, 5.48 ERA) vs. Merrill Kelly (7-6, 3.73 ERA)
Senzatela might be the most boring pitcher in baseball these days and his numbers on the season are both bland and bad.
Not only does he enter with that 5.48 ERA, but also a 5.77 FIP and 5.16 xFIP while his minuscule, and I mean minuscule, 4.92 K/9 clip that is in danger of falling below his 4.08 BB/9 rate. He’s also allowing home runs at a 1.55 HR/9 clip, but that number should trend lower given his 20.4% HR/FB rate is much higher than his 14.9% career mark.
I’d like to say that he should pitcher better away from the extreme hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field in Colorado, but that’s just not what the numbers show.
Yes, the pure results have been better on the road where he owns a 4.70 ERA compared to a 6.21 mark at home, but that’s where the advantage ends.
On the road, his putrid 4.11 K/9 rate is indeed lower than his 4.70 BB/9 clip while he’s pitched to a 6.57 FIP and 5.60 xFIP while allowing 1.76 home runs per nine innings on the road as well.
Keep in mind Chase Field in Arizona is among the best hitter’s parks in baseball as well, so he’s not getting all that much of a favorable park shift despite leaving Coors for this one.
He’s allowed just one earned run in two of his last three starts on the road and two earned runs or fewer in four of his six road starts as well.
He allowed two earned runs across six innings in his only meeting with the D-backs this season back on May 28th, which interestingly came at home.
Kelly has some nice surface numbers, but I’m not so sure he is an above-average starter in this league.
His 3.73 ERA is rock-solid, however, he also owns a 4.33 FIP and 4.71 xFIP while he too doesn’t strike out many with a small 6.91 K/9 clip. Kelly manages to keep walks in check with a 2.74 BB/9 clip, however, he has had some issues with the home run ball with 1.21 homers against per nine innings despite a rather normal 12.2% HR/FB clip.
That said, Kelly has been fabulous over his last three starts, allowing just two earned runs in 22.1 innings in that time, good for a 0.81 ERA in that span.
Kelly has faced the Rockies once this season and allowed four earned runs over six innings in a losing effort.
Still, there’s not much of a choice here when it comes to who holds the starting pitching advantage in the series opener.
Wednesday: Jon Gray (6-5, 4.38 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (8-2, 2.65 ERA)
After pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 3.18 FIP, and 3.45 xFIP despite calling Coors Field home in the 2017 season, it appeared a 25-year-old Gray at the time was bound to come one of the top young pitchers in the game.
It hasn’t been all that pretty since then after Gray posted a 5.12 ERA last season and has worked to a 4.38 ERA so far this season. He has been a little better than that ERA figure would suggest this season with a 4.29 FIP and 3.75 xFIP to boot.
Gray does continue to rack up the punchouts at a really healthy 9.92 K/9 on the season, however, walks have been a serious issue with a 3.63 BB/9 rate while the home runs are back to the tune of a 1.39 HR/9.
He’s kept the ball on the ground at a nice 47.3% ground-ball rate and his HR/FB rate is all the way up to 20.3% on the season, so we should expect better fortunate in the home run department from Gray moving forward.
The results so far this season have actually been better at home than on the road as he owns a 3.47 ERA at home and a 5.06 ERA on the road, and his home 3.95 FIP outweighs his 4.55 road fIP. However, his strikeout rate shoots up to 10.69 K/9 on the road from an 8.92 mark at home while his xFIP of 3.48 on the road is a wonderful number. Unfortunately, he’s also been stung by a massive 26.5% HR/FB rate on the road this season so the home run positive regression should certainly come on the road.
Of course, the Rockies could be in trouble against the D-backs’ ace, Zack Greinke.
Greinke is once again putting together a strong season that has seen him pitch to a 2.65 ERA, although his 3.37 FIP and 3.67 xFIP point towards some regression moving forward.
Still, it’s impossible to argue with a guy that is walking the opposition at a tiny 1.33 BB/9 rate while maintaining a solid 8.05 K/9 and a 1.04 HR/9.
Still, Greinke is sporting a 35.1% hard-hit rate that is well above his 29.9% career average, but he managed to pitch to a 3.21 ERA last season despite a big 40.1% hard-hit rate against.
His home/road splits are fairly even this season, although he’s walked just 0.90 batters per nine innings at home this season and allowed just 0.68 HR/9 at home as well on top of his 2.65 home FIP.
Greinke was tagged for four earned runs while lasting just four innings against the Mets in his last home start, so I suppose he hasn’t been completely dominant at Chase Field this season.
He’s faced the Rockies twice this season – both on the road – and pitched to an even 3.00 ERA with just two walks and a homer allowed across 12 innings of work. Both starts resulted in a no-decision.
Regardless of Gray’s decent work this season, Greinke has been too good to give the advantage to anyone else in this matchup.
Thursday: Jeff Hoffman (1-3, 7.04 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (5-4, 3.83 ERA)
Hoffman’s results have clearly been largely poor on the season, however, he took a step in the right direction his last time out.
In said outing, Hoffman allowed just one earned run in five innings over the San Diego Padres, a start that came at Coors Field in Colorado. Hoffman allowed only three hits and two walks in the game, but also struck out just two.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t expect strikeouts from the right-hander as he owns a nice 9.10 K/9 on the season after posting an 11.10 mark in his six Triple-A starts (seven appearances) earlier in the season.
His peripheral numbers still aren’t any good, but they do display some serious positive regression as his 5.00 FIP and decent 4.30 xFIP sit miles under his 7.04 ERA figure. Along with that nice strikeout rate, Hoffman has managed to keep walks in check at 2.64 BB/9.
Hoffman faced the Diamondbacks once this season on May 29th in Colorado when he allowed three earned runs in five innings while walking two and striking out six. That effort earned him his lone win to this point in the season.
Robbie Ray is one of the top strikeout artists the game, although his results tend to fluctuate.
His numbers are home this season are elite, something that we hadn’t seen before as he was a strong road pitcher for the most part prior to this season.
At home in 2019, Ray has pitched to a 3.46 ERA, but also a 2.79 FIP, 2.63 xFIP, and a massive 13.15 K/9 rate. His walk rate also shrinks to 3.12 BB/9.
That said, his 46.8% hard-hit rate against at home this season is a concerning number, but he’s been able to keep home runs in check thanks to a small 29.5% fly-ball rate and a big 49.2% ground-ball rate to complement his huge strikeout rate.
He’s faced the Rockies twice this season – both in Colorado – with two very different results. He allowed just one earned run across 5.2 frames in his first outing against them, but also four earned runs in 4.2 innings against them his second time.
His work at home this season has been wonderful, but he still owns a 4.66 ERA in his career at Chase Field, so it stands to wonder whether the results will continue to be positive in his home environment.
Still, given the results this season, there isn’t much of a choice either.
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks MLB Series Pick
Picking a team that is on the wrong end of the pitching matchups in all three games? Am I crazy?
Maybe, but hear me out.
I love this Rockies offense right now.
Over the last 30 days, not one team in baseball has been better than the Rockies at the plate as they own a league-best .371 wOBA in that time. It’s actually not overly close as the Twins rank second with a .359 mark.
Now, I’m not blind to the fact that the Rockies have racked up plenty of that wOBA figure at home where the ball flies at Coors Field, however, they just scored 39 runs over three games against the Padres at home. I don’t care where you’re playing, 39 runs is a lot of runs.
The Diamondbacks have surprised on offense so far and sit 12th with a .328 wOBA on the season.
Since they’ll see three right-handed starting pitchers, it makes sense to note that they slip to 16th with a .312 wOBA against righties. Their offense ranks 17th over the last 30 days with a .325 wOBA.
Rockies relievers were tagged in the aforementioned series against the Padres, but still, rank a decent 16th with a 4.43 ERA despite an 8.58 ERA over the last seven days. For the most part, they’ve been good this season.
The D-backs are actually essentially side-by-side with the Rockies in the bullpen ERA department with their 4.39 ERA checking in at 15th – one spot ahead of the Rockies.
That the Rockies have won five straight over the D-backs entering play on Tuesday night. The pitching matchups also favored the D-backs in those games, but the Rockies’ bats showed up. They’ve also won three straight over the D-backs in Arizona dating back to September of last season.
The starting pitching matchups are not in our favor in this series, however, the offense is and I like the fact the Rockies have won five in a row and eight of the last 10 over their NL West rivals.
While the Rockies are just 15-19 on the road, the D-backs are just 14-16 at home. I’ll take the valuable odds and roll with the Rockies in this series this week.