Chicago @ San Francisco
Chicago +108 over San Francisco

Pinnacle +108 BET365 +105 Sportsinteraction +105 888Sport +105

Posted at 1:45 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

Chicago over San Francisco

9:45 PM EST. Hayden Wesneski (RHP - CHC) is not our target here, and to be honest, we don’t know how much out of him we are going to get, as he has floated between being a starter and reliever this season. During his three starts this season, Wesneski pitched 4, 6.1, and 6 IP, respectively, but the last of those came on May 8. The point is, dude is capable of pitching beyond that of a typical reliever on a bullpen day, especially if he’s pitching well. On the year, Wesneski has 37 Ks to 16 BBs in 41 IP and he sports a swing-and-miss rate of 10.3%.

Hayden Birdsong (RHP - SF) is a big guy with big stuff who has never run a K rate south of 30%, but whose quick jump to the majors may be premature if his brief Triple-A numbers are indicative of his fastball struggles. At 6’4” and 215 pounds, Birdsong is athletic on the mound with a relatively long arm path, which aids in deception but hinders his command. Coming into the year, Birdsong’s four-seamer led the profile, sitting at 94 and touching 97 with a plus grade, but pitch metrics so far in Triple-A (again, just two starts) say the pitch is playing well down, with lots of contact (.375 oppBA, 88.5% in-zone contact) and little swing-and-miss (8.5%) stuff.

Both Birdsong’s breaking balls hovered around average-to-above-average coming into the year, with the curve taking the lead over the slider. Birdsong’s well-below-average change-up looks like it’s on its last legs, and all three have been supplanted in usage by a cutter, which currently runs his highest swing-and-miss rate (25%) by far. The cutter gives Birdsong a fighting chance at remaining in the rotation as he continues to show no platoon splits and regularly gets 5.0 IP in a start. How well this high-contact fastball will do in the majors remains to be seen, but we’re not willing to pay to find out.

Still relatively young at 22, some pains should be expected on transition. Long term, Birdsong has mid-rotation upside, but he’ll really need to push a third offering while getting the rip back on the fastball; otherwise, he’s more of a bulk/set-up guy. Right now, Birdsong is pretty much a two-pitch starter, and two-pitch starters rarely do well at this level. Making his first major league start, you can add nerves to the equation and thus, we’re fading until we see something that says we shouldn’t be.

Sherwood

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Our Pick

Chicago +108 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.16)

Cincinnati -1½ +114 over Miami
Washington +130 over Milwaukee