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Posted at 11:15 AM EST
9:40 PM EST. Rich Hill is coming off that well-documented, fantastic start where he went nine innings, struck out 10, and only allowed one hit, a 10th inning solo shot to lose it. Rich Hill has been terrific this season with a 3.32/3.78 ERA/xERA split, not to mention 40 walks and 122 K’s in 103 innings. We’re not going to take anything away from Hill but this start comes after that emotional 10-inning loss in which he threw a no-hitter but didn’t. Furthermore, Hill has had the good fortune of throwing more games at pitcher’s parks than any starter in baseball. Check out his last 12 starts: six at Dodger Stadium, two at Citi Field (NYM), and one start each at Petco Park (SD), Marlins Park, PNC Park (Pitt) and finally Comerica Park in Detroit. That’s zero games in hitter’s parks over Rich Hill’s last 12 starts. In his 19 starts this season, 17 have been in pitcher’s parks. The only two starts in hitter’s parks came at Miller Park in Milwaukee and at Progressive Field in Cleveland. In Milwaukee, Hill walked four and was tagged for three runs in four innings (97 pitches) and in Cleveland, he was tagged for seven runs in four innings also. That’s a combined 10 runs in eight frames in his only two starts at hitters parks this season. Again, coming off that mentally draining start, Hill will now pitch in a hitter’s park for the third time this year against a Diamondbacks lineup that has been potent at home by averaging 5½ runs per game with a .830 OPS.
There’s no way around the fact that Zack Godley was bad last year. He spent time in Double A and Triple A before getting the call and bouncing between the rotation and bullpen. He wasn’t effective in either role, carrying a 6.39 ERA with a similarly bloated 1.49 WHIP in 74.2 innings. Godley had a supremely difficult time finding the plate, as his 39.6% zone rate would have been third lowest in the league (he didn’t have enough innings to qualify). Finally, Godley could not figure out lefties to save his life, and got lit up to the tune of .281/.373/.519. Then something happened.
For Zack Godley, the proverbial switch was flipped. A light came down from above and Godley ascended into big-league pitcher paradise. Through 19 starts, he’s been lights out en route to a sparkling 3.15 ERA, which is a team best. He’s even managed to strike 124 batters over 117 frames while riding a 15% swinging-strike rate which is the 8th best in baseball for pitchers logging at least 80 innings. His .215 BAA against ranks fourth best in the league behind only Max Scherzer, Alex Wood and Chris Sale. So, what happened? Godley has made significant changes to his pitch mix and zone profile. His reliance on a cutter has decreased each season, and the 21.2 percent usage rate in 2017 is down over 20 percentage points from his 2016 profile. Instead, Godley has leaned on his curveball, a pitch that he throws about 29 percent of the time and gets nearly 25% whiffs, along with the crown jewel of his new and improved arsenal, the sinker. A year ago, Godley threw the pitch in nearly a quarter of his offerings. This season he has increased that number to over 37% and has been rewarded with groundballs in nearly 70% of batted balls. The increased sinker usage also has helped Godley keep the ball in the yard. The pitch has yielded a 0.64 percent home run rate this season, helping him to fend off the growing trend of long balls in the game. Godley even has fared better against left-handed hitting this season, again increasing sinker usage at the expense of his cutter. Righties have had no shot against Godley all season. The elite groundball and swinging strike rates make for a deadly combination that should provide a solid baseline and help Godley avoid disaster outings. He’ll now face a Dodgers lineup that everyone thinks is killing it but they’re not. Over the past 20 games, L.A. is batting a combined .238, which ranks 24th out of 30 teams. Godley a dog at home is outstanding value and we’re not going to miss it.
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ARIZONA +113 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.26)