It was a tough night for Angels’ right-hander Jaime Barria which meant bad things for my MLB pick.
Barria has been real consistent for the Angels as last night’s game marked just the second time in nine starts that he yielded more than two earned runs. Barria was tagged for six earned runs on six hits including two home runs in just four innings of work.
The Angels’ bullpen held the D-backs mostly in check from there on out, but the damage had already been done and the road team took a 7-4 victory to kick off their two-game set.
Tonight we will head to Pittsburgh where the Pirates will play host to the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a three-game set.
The Pirates blanked the Brewers in a low scoring affair last night by a 1-0 count with Jordy Mercer’s RBI double accounting for all of the scoring in that one.
The win moved the Pirates back to the .500 mark at 36-36 and six games behind the first place Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central.
With the loss, the Brewers fell to a strong 42-30 mark, although they have now dropped three straight.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Freddy Peralta (3.72 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 1.24 WHIP) vs. Jameson Taillon (3.94 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 1.20 WHIP)
22 year-old right-hander Freddy Peralta will make his third big league start in Pittsburgh tonight and we’ve seen him at both ends of the spectrum across his first two.
In his MLB debut in Colorado on May 13th, Peralta was brilliant with 5.2 innings of scoreless ball to go along with a whopping 13 strikeouts.
In his next start six days later, Peralta pitched just four innings and surrendered four earned runs and walked six.
Peralta has a nice 2.75 ERA at the Triple-A level this season, but the control issues are nothing new. He has posted a walk rate above 11% at each minor league stop over the last two seasons. He relies on the strikeouts to get out of some jams, but the problem against the Pirates is that they don’t’ strike out much. Pittsburgh’s 18.9% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching is the third lowest mark in the majors. They don’t walk a ton at just 8.1% (21st), but they handle the bat well and that could very well take the bread and butter of Peralta’s game out of his hands.
Despite last night’s one-run output, the Pirates’ offense has been among the hottest in the big leagues as of late with their .344 team wOBA ranking fourth in the big leagues over the last seven days. Their strikeout rate over that same stretch is just 17.4%.
Getting the ball for Clint Hurdle’s Pirates tonight is the right-hander Taillon who is enjoying a solid season. He has been blown up for six or more runs twice this season, but has otherwise been very good.
He’s been especially good against right-handed hitters, yielding just a .547 OPS to them. With left-handed hitter Travis Shaw questionable for tonight’s game after missing last night’s contest with a wrist injury, Taillon could face as many as six right-handed hitters in the Brewers’ lineup tonight.
Taillon ramps up the strikeouts at his home ball park as he sports a nice 26.8% strikeout clip at home while his road k-rate sits at a poor 17.5%. Taillon also cuts his walk rate down by almost three percent at home to 5.1% compared to 7.8% away from PNC Park. Milwaukee can be a free-swinging offense at times as their 24.7% strikeout clip against righties is the eighth highest mark in the league.
In his lone start against the Brewers this season, Taillon threw five innings of one-run ball in a no decision in Milwaukee on May 5th.
The Pirates’ bats are hot and they are facing a pitcher with some control issues. Given their low-strikeout ways and ability to handle the bat, it’s likely they force Peralta to throw strikes and get to him when he does. Taillon is consistent and I think he’s able to handle a slumping Brewers team tonight. Take the Pirates and run.