NL Central still 'brewing' besides Cubs
June 12, 2018 3:00 AM
by Ian Cameron
This week I will again take a look ahead at a few of the matchups taking place on the diamond that will offer up some solid wagering opportunities in MLB action.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee: The Cubs and Brewers will do battle this week with both teams neck and neck for 1st place in the NL Central. The Tuesday matchup will pit Tyler Chatwood for Chicago against Chase Anderson for Milwaukee. Chatwood has been wild in terms of his control and command in recent outings. He has issued a whopping 22 walks in his last four starts which span 15.1 innings of work.
Chatwood managed to escape trouble and minimize the damage at times despite the trouble with giving up free passes but that can only last for a certain amount of time before opposing hitters start to make you pay for walking too many hitters. Milwaukee could be that team to really make Chatwood pay for all the walks he has been guilty of surrendering. On the flip side, I mentioned Chase Anderson as a potential “bet on” starter moving forward as he keeps working his way back from his recent stint on the DL.
Anderson is still trying to find consistency but he has a very good track record of success against Chicago this season as he’s held them to 3 runs in 13 innings of work against the Cubs in 2018. I think this is a good matchup for Milwaukee. Anderson has been guilty of not eating up innings in his starts but that doesn’t matter as much here given the Brewers have one of the absolute best bullpens in the majors that is firmly capable of taking over and shutting down the opposition for several innings late in the game. Take MILWAUKEE
Cincinnati at Kansas City: Starting the week Cincinnati is on a current 8-1-1 Over the total streak in the last 10 games. That isn’t by accident either. Their starting pitching is a mess as is their bullpen but their lineup has been at least capable of scoring runs during that span with the Reds plating 4-plus runs in five of their last six contests. Sal Romano has been a disaster for the Reds in their depleted rotation as he’s been crushed repeatedly, giving up 14 runs in his last 15.1 innings pitched and his road ERA stands at an ugly 7.57 in six road outings.
The Kansas City Royals and their 28th ranked offense aren’t particularly impressive but even they should be able to score some runs here against Romano and a very shaky Reds bullpen behind him. The other side of this pitching matchup isn’t that much of a prettier picture. Ian Kennedy for Kansas City has also been roughed up, allowing 11 runs on 19 hits in his last 13 innings of work and walks have been a sore spot with Kennedy issuing 13 of them over his last five starts. Kansas City has one of the worst bullpens in baseball and for the season that unit has a brutal 5.40 ERA. Take OVER
Minnesota at Detroit: Jose Berrios, who keeps showing glimpses of being the ace of the Minnesota Twins for many years to come, continues to step up and pitch well. Berrios has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last five trips to the hill and the Twins are 5-2 in his last seven starts. Berrios pitched a gem against this Detroit Tigers team just a month ago allowing only two runs in eight strong innings. He should be good to once again hold the inconsistent Tigers offense in check.
On the flip side, Detroit is likely to send lefty Matt Boyd to the mound for this game. Boyd has been fairly good for the Tigers but there are signs regression could be on the way for him. His ERA sits at 3.20 but his advanced stats, namely his FIP and xFIP, are both higher and the latter is nearly two full runs higher. Minnesota has hit relatively solidly against southpaws this season and I think they should be able to do at least some damage here.
Minnesota scored 7 runs in their series finale win against the LA Angels on Sunday in spite of the absence of some key bats from the lineup including Jorge Polanco, Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton. Berrios remains a pitcher I have no qualms backing these days. Take MINNESOTA
Tampa Bay at NY Yankees: The one issue I have with recommending the Tampa Bay Rays right now is they are playing awful baseball having gone 1-9 in their last 10 games as of this past Sunday. However, one thing I have no issues with is finding a reason to bet on their young lefty Blake Snell who continues to pitch well and is slated to get the assignment for this game in the Bronx on Thursday.
Snell is in excellent current form entering this game on a five start streak of two runs or less allowed to the opposition. New York has a beast of a lineup but the Yankees have had at least some greater struggles against lefties as they are only averaging more than a run per game less against southpaws. Domingo German, who is the probable starter for the Yankees in this game, has had his own tough time of it since becoming a regular fixture in the starting rotation back in early May.
German has allowed four runs or more in four of his last five starts. New York has not been doing a whole lot of losing this season but the Yankees are just 1-3 in their last four games started by German. The Yankees have been impressive at 42-19 but even the mighty Bronx Bombers are not going to win every night and this looks like as good a spot and pitching matchup as there is to bet against the Yankees on Thursday. Take TAMPA BAY