Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
8:10 PM EST. The Marlins just got eaten up in Philadelphia by scores of 9-8, 8-1, and 10-0 last night. That now runs their losing streak to five, not to mention that they’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games. Miami’s stock has hit rock bottom, which makes us instant buyers in this very winnable game. Jose Urena has upgraded his control by doing a better job of getting ahead in the count and pounding the zone. He has thrown his best pitch more often (Slider: 13% swing and miss; usage 2016/2017: 14%/27%). This is an under the radar pitcher with raw stuff, including a 96 mph fastball and decent change-up (12% swing and miss), that just keeps getting better. Urena has an elite 61% groundball rate over his last 10 starts too. Urena’s ERA over his last five starts is 2.91 with an xERA of 4.31. No doubt he still has work to do but he’s trending the right way to be sure and he gives the Marlins their best chance of winning among the rest of the starters. That said, Urena is not our target.
What are relief pitchers? Relief pitchers are former starters that usually have two pitches in their arsenal with only one pitch considered to be plus. Pitchers with three pitches (or more) usually end up as starters. No pitcher has ever started out their career wanting to pitch in relief. The goal of every pitcher on the planet is to start. A reliever is a former starter that could not crack the rotation because he just wasn’t good enough. Even Cleveland’s Andrew Miller was a starter for years before they gave up on him in that role and put him in the ‘pen. Very few pitchers in the history of this game have made a successful transition from relief to starting. Jeremy Jeffress will attempt that here for the Crew.
Jeffress has appeared in 53 games this year, all in relief. He has appeared in 263 games in his MLB career, all in relief. The most innings he’s pitched this season in any one outing is 2.1 innings. Mostly, Jeffress has been asked to come in and get three unimportant outs this year when the game is not really on the line. As a member of both the Rangers and Brewers (he was traded at the deadline), Jeffress’ team has lost 15 of the past 20 games he has appeared in. Again, he’s been asked to pitch in low pressure situations for the most part and rarely if ever in the eighth or ninth inning with the game on the line. Last year, he lost his closer role in July. Aside from that, his numbers aren’t even that good. He has walked 30 batters over 57 frames in 53 appearances this season. His first-pitch strike rate is 47% and now he’s going to come in with a different mindset than he’s ever had at this level and chances are very strong that it doesn’t end well for this career reliever with poor control.
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Miami -1½ +187 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.74)