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Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
7:35 PM EST. Prior to 2017, Lucas Sims’ biggest problem was control. This year, in both Triple-A and the majors, he has made significant improvement in that area, backed by an elite first-pitch strike rate. However, at least in the majors, that reduction in walks has come with a reduction in strikeouts that has basically negated any change in his overall skill level—in fact, if you go by xERA, it has been a step backward but that doesn't mean he can't take the control growth and find a way to bring back the strikeouts and lower his xERA. The 23-year-old Sims has upside, as evidenced by his strong prospect rating. The scouting reports touted his 96 mph fastball and "great 12-6 curve that ranks among the best in the organization," but added that "his changeup is inconsistent," which is why there has been much speculation that he may fair better as a reliever. After seven starts, the Braves moved him to the pen for what was suppose to be the remainder of 2017 but Mike Foltynewicz has come up lame so Sims moves back into the rotation. This kid has talent and now gets another shot but we’re not counting on him for anything. We’ve been fading Gio Gonzalez for a few weeks now and we’re not letting up.
Gonzalez is 14-7 with a 2.68 ERA. He has put up some tremendous surface stats this season but they do not have the support of his underlying numbers. The usual suspects of HR%, BABIP and strand rate are often the difference between good surface stats and weak ones. That’s not unusual as guys like James Shields, Marco Estrada, Dan Haren and Bartolo Colon to name a few out-pitched their peripherals for years. You can now add Gio Gonzalez to that list. Gonzalez brings his 83.7% strand rate to this game. That’s way above league average. He also brings his .254 BABIP, which is way below the league average of .307. Gonzalez is on his way to a fourth consecutive year of velocity decline, as his fastball now averages 88.7 MPH. Gonzalez’s 171 K’s in 185 frames is not supported by his 9% swing and miss rate and as soon as everything inevitably starts to even out, the opposition will put up crooked innings against Gonzalez. He was tagged for five runs in five frames in his last start so the wheels coming off arte already in motion. The fade continues here.
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ATLANTA +136 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.72)