After another entertaining weekend of MLB baseball we are back with a fresh week and 10 games on tonight’s schedule.
We will get our week started off with a little interleague action as we take a look at the first of two games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
After being swept by the division rival Mariners in a three-game set at Seattle last week, the Angels dropped two of three games to another AL West opponent in Oakland over the weekend.
Los Angeles now sits 8.5 games back of the division-leading Astros entering play tonight.
The Diamondbacks were hot entering the weekend and won seven games over an eight-game stretch, however the D-backs dropped their last two games against the Mets on Saturday and Sunday at Chase Field in Arizona.
Despite the mini two-game losing streak, Arizona maintains a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers for top spot in the NL West.
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Angels
Zack Greinke (3.87 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 1.15 WHIP) vs. Jaime Barria (2.61 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 1.11 WHIP)
The D-backs will hand the ball to right-hander Zack Greinke for tonight’s season opener, and the veteran has some concerning home/road splits on the season that do not favor tonight’s matchup.
At home, Greinke has posted a sparkling 2.40 ERA and a 2.78 FIP in eight starts. However, on the road, Greinke has pitched to a brutal 5.91 ERA and a 5.21 FIP across six starts. Greinke has allowed at least four earned runs against in four of his six starts away from Chase Field while he’s allowed five earned runs in twice in six road starts. While it was at home, Greinke is coming off a poor start that saw him allow five earned runs in just 4.2 innings of work.
Greinke also sported some wide home/road splits in 2017 as well, so I am comfortable with evaluating Greinke as a pitcher that is at his worst on the road.
He will also be up against one of the league’s top offenses against right-handed pitching. Against righties, the Angels rank fifth with a .325 wOBA, seventh with a .177 ISO and fourth with a .755 OPS. In fact, the Angels’ .286 BABIP ranks 21st league-wide despite their 38.6% hard-hit rate tanking fifth. In other words, the Angels have been fairly unlucky relative to the league against righties but have still managed to produce among the league’s best.
Taking the ball for Mike Scioscia’s Angels tonight will be 21-year-old right-hander Jaime Barria.
Barria has been very good in his rookie season with that 2.61 ERA, but he’s been even better at home with a 2.14 ERA at Angel Stadium. While Barria’s 4.30 FIP points towards some regression moving forward, it doesn’t point to regression at home. Barria owns a real nice 2.28 FIP at home while his road FIP spikes all the way to 6.39 which is more than double his road 3.10 ERA.
Barria has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of eight starts this season and has allowed only one earned run over his last two home starts combined spanning 13 innings. One of those starts came against a vicious Astros offense, so we know he can silence anyone at home.
The D-backs were hot offensively until dropping those back-to-backs games to the Mets, but they’ve also been one of the worst teams this season against right-handed pitching.
Arizona ranks 27th with a .291 wOBA and 28th with a .667 OPS against right-handed pitching.
The Angels are thrilled to return home from a nine-game road trip that saw them go 3-6, so they are likely feeling good entering this contest. They are facing a pitcher who is struggling on the road and one that is yielding a lot of power on the road in the form of a 2.57 HR/9 and .871 OPS against.
I am going to roll with the Angels tonight at a real solid price.