MLB Handicapping: Hot/Cold Pitchers and Hitters Betting Report
by Ricky Dimon - 8/16/2013
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won eight in a row and they are an outrageous 40-8 in their last 48 games. This is the best 48-game stretch since the St. Louis Cardinals caught fire in 1942. Once the laughingstock of Major League Baseball for the apparent failure of a big-spending experiment, the Dodgers suddenly boast a 7.5-game lead in the NL West and sport a 70-50 record that is good for third best in the National League and fifth best in all of baseball.
Who is responsible for the surge? What other teams find themselves on the other side of the spectrum? Let’s take a look at the weekly hot-cold mere to find out.
All odds provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Pitchers – Hot
Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers) – A big reason for L.A.’s success is Ryu’s left arm. The 26-year-old has won five consecutive starts, and in his last four he has not allowed more than two runs in any outing. Three of Ryu’s last four appearances were the same: seven innings and one run. Also, in his last four he has 25 strikeouts and just two walks. The Dodgers are +300 favorites to win the World Series.
Bruce Chen (Royals) – Nobody—nobody—is hotter than Chen at the moment. Since being inserted into Kansas City’s starting rotation in early July, the guy has been positively scorching. His E.R.A. in the six-game stretch is 0.93, and he has struck out 29 batters while walking only seven. Each of Chen’s last two starts was of the seven-inning, one-run variety.
Bronson Arroyo (Reds) – Arroyo is either amazing of terrible. In his last 13 outings, only twice has Arroyo allowed between three and six runs. It’s either a lights-out performance (nine times in those 13 with two runs or fewer) or a disaster (twice with seven runs surrendered). In his last two starts, the quirky right-hander has gone a combined 14 innings with six hits, one run, and 14 strikeouts compared to zero walks.
Pitchers – Cold
Aaron Harang (Mariners) – Harang’s 2013 numbers are 5-10, 5.77, and it’s not getting any better. Prior to a mediocre outing on Wednesday, the right-hander endured two starts in which he gave up seven runs—one in five innings and the other in two innings. Three of his last six starts have resulted in seven earned runs allowed. The Mariners (Iwakuma) are +150 underdogs at Texas (Holland) on Friday night.
Jeff Samardzija (Cubs) – If Samardzija is thinking about going back to football right now, could you blame him? The former Notre Dame tight end surrendered 11 hits and nine runs to the Phillies in 3.1 innings on Aug. 8. He has been torched for nine earned runs in two of his last seven outings. By Samardzija’s standards, a six-inning, four-run performance on Tuesday was stellar.
Esmil Rogers (Blue Jays) – His name is as cool as the underside of the pillow, and so was Rogers’ stuff on Wednesday (six innings, one run). But that is not enough to change the fact that the Dominican Republic native is in a serious slump. In his previous three starts combined, Rogers allowed 27 hits and 20 earned runs. In a span of six starts between July and August, four times he was pummeled for double-digit totals in hits.
Hitters – Hot
Aaron Hill (Diamondbacks) – Hill is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, and six of those are of the multi-hit variety. Arizona’s second baseman has 11 RBI in his last seven contests to go along with three home runs in his last five. The D-Backs have won six of eight, but they are still watching L.A. blow them away.
Alfonso Soriano (Yankees) – Can you imagine the pub Soriano would be getting if not for Alex Rodriguez? Still, the left fielder is back in pinstripes and doing his best to steal some positive headlines from all the negativity surrounding A-Rod. In his last three games, Soriano has a ridiculous 10 hits, four homers, 14 RBI, and seven runs scored.
Chris Johnson (Braves) – At .337, Johnson is still holding off Yadier Molina in the NL batting race. Considered the throw-in of Atlanta’s deal for Justin Upton, Johnson has hit safely in six of his last seven games. Since July 26, the third baseman owns 11 multi-hit performances. The Braves are +275 to win the NL Pennant. Odds on the NL East, of course, are off.
Hitters – Cold
Bryce Harper (Nationals) – The Nationals, out of the division race but somewhat within striking distance for a wild card, have won five of their last six. Harper, though, has just four hits in his last six games (25 at-bats), and he has a mere two RBI and zero longballs in his last seven.
Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays) – Encarnacion has 30 dingers in 2013, but none has come in his last seven contests. He also has no RBI in this seven-game stretch. His two doubles on Wednesday are his only extra-base knocks since Aug. 7.
Shin-Soo Choo (Reds) – Choo’s recent numbers are basically identical to those of Harper. Cincinnati’s center fielder has four hits in his last seven games (28 at-bats) with two RBI and no homers. He has only two extra-base hits since Aug. 3. Choo has drawn seven walks in his last nine outings, but he has also fanned 13 times in his last 11.
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