This article is part of our MLB Betting series.
Previous day: 1-3, -3.03 RWBucks
Season: 26-37, -14.88 RWBucks
I loved to read as a kid. Loved. Leave me alone with a book and I was in heaven. My favorite school days came when we'd have a substitute teacher who didn't want to be bothered. She might have us fill out some worksheets and then once you were done would sigh and tell you to "just read quietly."
Think of today's column as me playing the role of that substitute. I don't have a lesson plan today, and I'm not going to stand here and make one up. Just read quietly.
I did a double take when I saw that Ross Detwiler was starting. Look, following baseball is my job, but in an era of 14-man pitching staffs and constant churn I can't keep up with the detritus that populates the back of these rosters anymore. When I first started following baseball, 26 teams might use seven or eight pitchers a week. When we started Prospectus, 28 teams might use ten a week. Now, 30 teams are using 13 to 15 pitchers a week, and I think if you let them it would be 23 to 25.
Ross Detwiler was drafted in 2007 and made his MLB debut three months later. He was the pitcher who got a playoff start due to the Strasburg shutdown in 2012. He spent 2017 in the minors and threw just six MLB innings in 2018...and here he is, at 35, the Marlins' fill-in starter. Since losing his job as a regular starter for the Nats after 2013, he has a 5.65 ERA and a 5.36 FIP in 274 innings, pitching for eight teams. He's been a little better than that of late, with a 3.18 ERA and 3.80 FIP since the start of 2020.
I guess what I'm saying is I like the matchup for the Diamondbacks, even with Luke Weaver having just one quality start so far. 1 RWBuck.
Max Fried, a popular fade target in April, comes off the IL to get the start tonight. I thought about taking the Nationals straight up here – they're second in the NL in wOBA against lefties – but I'd rather have something invested in both bullpens. The Braves' pen is 11th in FIP in the NL, the Nationals' pen is 13th. Even if neither pitcher hits a grand slam, this one should see some runs scored. 1.5 RWBucks.
This lost last night as the Tigers went 10-for-17 on contact over the first six innings. I'll go back to it at plus money because this is still an unbelievably bad offensive team. They've scored three runs or fewer nearly 2/3 of the time. 1 RWBuck.
If you read me in other venues, you know that I have been advocating for Shohei Ohtani to pick a lane for a long time, and for him to just be a hitter for nearly as long. He would be an MVP candidate as an everyday right fielder, kind of a Mookie Betts Lite.
Whatever raw mound skills Ohtani possesses, the facts are that he's thrown just 93 innings since the start of 2017. More relevant to this pick, he has a 15% walk rate in the majors with just an 89/43 K/BB – poor for an era in which the league rate hovers around 3-to-1. In three starts this season, Ohtani has failed to reach the sixth inning while walking or hitting 24% (!) of the batters he has faced.
I submit that a pitcher named "Smith" with that track record would not find his team listed as the favorite tonight. 1.5 RWBucks.