Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:10 AM EST.
10:15 PM EST. Zach Davies is 14-6 overall with a 4.26 ERA but on the road, Davies is 7-0 with a 2.52 ERA. Those road numbers will resonate in this market against not only the weak Giants but against an unknown pitcher by the name of Chris Stratton. Thing is, Davies is not even close to being as good as his surface stats suggest. Furthermore, the Giants are coming off a four-game set against the Phillies in which they split but San Fran lost both games on the weekend including yesterday when Ben Lively defeated Madison Bumgarner. Thus, San Fran lost two straight to Philadelphia while Milwaukee won two straight in Colorado, which sets up this buy-low/sell high scenario.
Zach Davies has a weak BB/K split of 45/94 in 144 innings. His weak 7% swing and miss rate backs up his low strikeout total. In his last start against the Pirates, a 3-1 Milwaukee victory, Davies’ swing and miss rate was 4% after he struck out two batters in seven frames. One of the batters he struck out was pitcher Ivan Nova. He's struck out only 13% of the batters he's faced, down from 20% in 2016 and has reached double digit swinging strikes just once in his last 14 starts. The drop in K’s has him walking a pretty thin line. Davies’ 1.39 WHIP is not even at our barely acceptable level of 1.30. Here’s a guy that’s getting tremendous run support along with a slew of good fortune and the result is 14 wins with a great road ERA. All told, he doesn’t miss enough bats, he doesn’t stay ahead of hitters and his home/away xERA split is 4.99/4.89. Other than a strong groundball rate, Davies’ other skills are weak and he therefore has limited upside. On the road as the favorite, he’s nothing but fade material.
Matt Cain gets bumped to the bullpen and the beneficiary of that is Chris Stratton, who has made two starts since Cain’s demotion. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Stratton won't be a one-time deal either, meaning the rotation spot is his for the rest of the year with a chance to stick next year too. In his last start against Washington’s respected lineup, out of nowhere, Stratton struck out 10 batters, walked just one and allowed a mere six baserunners in 6.2 innings of work. He now has 18 K’s in 16 innings this year.
We can’t say just yet if his early results are a fluke or not. What we can say is that Stratton didn’t get overly lucky to get these results, as his fastball command was on point with a curveball that induced plenty of bad swings 19.2%). His slider and change hint at upside, though it would be asking a lot for Stratton to touch his ceiling with at least three of his pitches all working on a given night. He does have a four-pitch arsenal but he also had a 5.11 ERA through 15 Triple-A starts in 2017 and had been nothing short of a disappointment in his first two starts in the majors way back in April before this second call-up. Nevertheless, even if he doesn’t pitch at his best, Stratton should be heavily considered here because he was a high prospect back in 2012 and has a 14% swing and miss rate since he returned. He’ll now face a Brewers team that strikes out more than any team in baseball and that is coming off an intense and very important three-game set in Colorado in which the Crew won on Saturday and Sunday to take two of three. Physically and mentally, it’s a letdown spot for the Brewers and even if it wasn’t, Davies is a good fade when favored on the road.
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SAN FRANCISCO +111 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.22)