We took a tough day on the diamond yesterday, dropping a pair of picks to wrap up a good week but a bad finale. Let’s see if we can start the week off in better fashion and pick up some early momentum.
But first, a quick thought on the power and danger of some common baseball metrics; namely, the runs for and against measure. I’m a fan of it in general. If you look at run differential and then projected it out to expected win total, it is remarkably accurate over the past ten seasons. However, it is still very useful to dig a little deeper into the numbers when assessing a team’s relative offensive and defensive prowess.
A good case in point is the Cincinnati Reds. They are 4-8, yet have a positive run differential. How? By getting really fat in two big games and then failing to bring the sticks in six of them. They have scored two or less runs six times this season, but a 12-run outburst makes it look a lot better on paper. They averaged nearly five runs a game against the Rays this weekend, but put a 2 and a 0 on the board to open the series. That’s a problem.
The point is simply that baseball wagering is nuanced with many layers, far more than any other team sport, in that there are so many variables that alter the meaning of statistics, starting with the obvious fact there is a different starting pitcher every day.
Let’s dig into the new slate of matchups kicking off today and find a few good opportunities to notch some winners.
Today’s Free Picks:
St. Louis Cardinals +104 at Milwaukee Brewers -113 (Total: 7.5)
Lance Lynn (2-0, 6.55 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (0-1, 2.57 ERA)
Consider this a case study in the “importance” of wins when assessing a starting pitcher. Lance Lynn is 2-0 with a 6.55 ERA. That’s ridiculous. Meanwhile, Matt Garza is 0-1 on the best team in baseball over the first two weeks of the season and has an ERA of 2.57 and a beautiful WHIP of just 0.93. He deserves a win, and with the way Lynn is struggling and the way the Brewers are swinging the bats, I’ll bet on him getting his first win as a Brewer tonight.
This one has the potential for some runs denting the plate, but I’ll take Garza and the on-fire Brew Crew to dent the plate more often. I know I cautioned against run differential as the end-all be-all measure, but the fact the Brewers are scoring 4.75 and allowing 2.72 is pretty compelling. They’ve won 9-0, so the baseball Gods will come calling for them sooner or later and knock them back to earth, but I’ll give the streak at least one more night tonight.