Humidors have slowed MLB's offenses
May 15, 2018 3:04 AM
by Ramon Scott
What’s good for one thing isn’t always necessarily good for the other.
Could Major League Baseball move to use humidors league-wide as a uniform method to store baseballs and slow offensive run production?
After seeing a strong reduction in run production at Chase Field over nearly the first quarter of this season, the Sunday Night scuttlebutt was the league may consider controlling the moisture in the balls at all stadiums.
But are techniques used in those cities going to make things fair in venues that are already more accustomed to reasonable-scoring affairs?
While there is much talk about launch angles and home run-to-strikeout ratios, it should be noted, while strikeouts are on a break-neck pace to smash the all-time single-season record, home runs, while going farther and traveling more majestically through all types of conditions, are going over the fence at a slightly lower rate than in previous years.
The Colorado Rockies started using humidors to store baseballs back in 2002 and the results were immediately noticeable even in the mile-high air. Despite the altering of the ball, games in Denver are still the highest-scoring by far in average compared to the rest of the major leagues.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, which play at the majors’ second-highest elevation in a Sonoran-desert humidity that permeates the retractable-roof stadium, have had inflated totals in comparison to the rest of the league since they joined the majors. Totals in D’backs’ games were always the second-highest on average in the NL.
But so far this season, games in Arizona are the second-lowest scoring games in the majors, trailing only Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
In fairness, Arizona’s starting pitching staff, much like Houston’s all-world rotation, has been strengthened and much-improved over the last couple of years. Still, Arizona entered the week with a 4-16-2 mark to UNDER. Also, interesting to note was the Rockies are 6-12 to the UNDER at home.
The Diamondbacks’ bats, including slugging star Paul Goldschmidt, have been affected but starters Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray have all benefitted, as well as rising stars Zack Godley and Archie Bradley.
With some major league teams that put a less-than major-league product on the field most nights, especially on the hill, putting in a humidor might not be such a bad idea. It’s not like some of these franchises will ever need one to store their victory cigars.
WHITE SOX (+160, 9) at PII PIRATES (Wed., 9:35): Bucs’ Jameson Taillon is trying to heal a cut on his finger to make this start, otherwise, it looks like Trevor Williams would get the nod. The White Sox go with Carson Fulmer, who has a noticeably higher H+BB/9 in his day starts versus night as he walks too many and strikes out too few. PIT, 6-3
CUBS (-105, 9o20) at BRAVES (Wed., 4:35): Tyler Chatwood won the money in three of his last four starts at the end of the Cubs’ rotation and has just a 2.81 ERA on the road. The Braves’ Brandon McCarthy may need a strong effort to retain his place in this surging Braves’ rotation. He’s up three units for the season, but the last two outings have been very shaky. ATL, 5-4
DODGERS (-150, 8o20) at MARLINS (Thu., 9:10): Kenta Maeda, of the Dodgers, is down almost six units so far, and has struggled with a 5.60 ERA on the road. Still, this price is likely going to be too low not to consider Los Angeles against the Marlins’ Dan Straily, who won at home at +120 last Friday against the Braves, taking some steam along the way. LAD, 6-4.
PHILLIES (-110, 8u15) at CARDINALS (Thu., 4:15): Jake Arrieta continues to defy detractors with a 2.59 ERA and has held this expected Cards’ lineup to just over a .200 average over 120 PAs. The Cardinals’ Luke Weaver had a nice outing, going five shutout innings at San Diego as a -150 favorite last Friday for his third win. PHI, 4-3
D’BACKS (-107, 8.5u15) at METS (Fri., 4:10): Godley’s overall numbers look decent, but has a 5.40 ERA on the road and allowed three HRs at home on Sunday to Mark Reynolds (two) and Bryce Harper. Mets’ lefty Steven Matz took steam and the money at +140 vs. Arrieta and the Phils on Friday. He has a 7.6 H+BB/9 in night home games. NYM, 5-4
ROCKIES (-105, 8.5) at SAN FRAN GIANTS (Fri., 7:15): The Giants’ Derek Holland had his best start last Sunday, winning at +130 in Pittsburgh, getting the money for the first time in four road starts. Colorado’s Kyle Freeland got the win with 6-1/3 shutout innings at Coors last Saturday against the Brewers to get the money for the third time in his last four starts. COL, 5-4
BREWERS (EV, 8.5o20) at TWINS (Sat., 4:10): Sharps reportedly took interest in Twins’ pitcher Fernando Romero on Sunday, who matched up well against Shohei Ohtani, but the Angels got the money in a 2-1 win. Romero has allowed one earned run in 16-2/3 innings. The Brewers’ Brent Suter had to go on three day’s rest last out after an illness in the rotation. MIN, 5-3
ORIOLES (+170, 10) at RED SOX (Sun., 10:05): The O’s have been burning money, but took three of four at home over the weekend against Tampa Bay. Andrew Cashner was down -2.75 units into Tuesday’s start at home against the Phils. Boston’s Edwardo Rodriguez was up nearly five units after scoring as a ‘dog at the Yanks last Thursday. BOS, 6-3
TIGERS (+120, 8.5) at SEA MARINERS (Sun., 1:10): Francisco Liriano’s numbers look good for Detroit with a 3.35 ERA and just one loss in eight starts, though his metrics seem poor and indicate a decline. The M’s go with Wade LeBlanc, who made just his second start on Monday at Minnesota in a game that took early sharp money Under. SEA, 4-3
INDIANS (+110, 7.5) at HOU ASTROS (Sun., 5:08): Carlos Carrasco had a spectacular start against Milwaukee last week, striking out 14 in a complete-game win at Milwaukee heading into his last start on Monday at Detroit. The Astros’ Lance McCullers had five wins and a 3.72 ERA heading into Monday’s start at a -135 favorite at the Angels. HOU, 4-3