MLB Handicapping: Hot/Cold Pitchers and Hitters Betting Report
by Ricky Dimon - 9/19/2013
The Kansas City Royals are often out of contention one week into the season. Now they’re one week from the end of the season and still in contention. They are eight games above .500 and 2.5 back of an AL wild-card spot. Texas is among those trying to hold off K.C. Due to dismal pitching and inept hitting whenever their best pitcher takes the mound (Yu Darvish has lost two straight games by a 1-0 score), the Rangers are in danger of missing the playoffs.
All odds provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Pitchers – Hot
James Shields (Royals) – A big reason for Kansas City lurking around the unfamiliar waters of playoff flirtation is Shields. A disastrous 10-run outing on Sept. 6 is bloating his E.R.A., but—aside from that aberration—the right-hander has made seven consecutive quality starts. In his last two outings, Shields is 2-0 with just three runs allowed in 14 innings.
Mike Leake (Reds) – Leake is heating up for the stretch run after a dismal sequence in late August and early September. The Reds’ righty has made three straight quality starts and earned the win in all three of those games. In his last two, Leake went a total of 13.2 innings without giving up a single run and striking out 12 batters.
Joaquin Benoit (Tigers) – Benoit took a loss on Sept. 1 after giving up four runs in one-third of an inning, then he got eight days off. Detroit’s closer has come back on fire. In his last five appearances, he has surrendered only two hits, one walk, and zero runs in a total of 5.1 innings. Benoit has recorded a save in each of his last four appearances. The Tigers are +450 to win the World Series.
Pitchers – Cold
Matt Garza (Rangers) – Garza is 3-5 with a 4.94 E.R.A. since being acquired by Texas from Chicago in mid-July. The right-hander has gotten progressively worse with the Rangers as they cling to wild-card position, having lost eight of nine games and 11 of 13. Garza is 0-3 in September with 22 hits, six walks, and 14 earned runs allowed in just 15.1 innings. The Rangers (Darvish) are -110 road favorites at Tampa Bay (Moore) on Thursday.
Ryan Vogelsong (Giants) – Vogelsong’s appearance here is more like a season achievement award. He has not been particularly terrible of late, but he continues to be somewhere between mediocre and bad. Vogelsong (3-5, 5.73 E.R.A) has surrendered at least three earned runs and seven hits in each of his last three outings, including five runs in five innings last Tuesday vs. Colorado.
Mike Pelfrey (Twins) – Pelfrey (5-13, 5.34 E.R.A) has not made a quality start since Aug. 31, and he does not have a win since Aug. 20. Of course, he can’t be judged by wins since he is on the Twins…but he can be judged by stats. Pelfrey has not lasted more than 4.1 innings in each of his last two outings, and in his last three he is 0-3 with 23 hits and 15 earned runs allowed in 13.1 innings.
Hitters – Hot
Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) – Arizona won’t be making the playoffs, but it’s not fault of Goldschmidt. The first baseman has three home runs in his last four games (giving him 34 for the year), with nine RBI in that span. Goldschmidt is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, five of which have been of the multi-hit variety (including a pair of four-hit performances).
Josh Donaldson (Athletics) – Since Sept. 3, Donaldson’s average has climbed 10 points from an already-solid .292. The third baseman has four homers and 12 RBI since Sept. 4, a stretch that features five multi-hit games. Not coincidentally, Oakland had won nine of its last 12 contests. The A’s are +375 to win the AL Pennant.
Hunter Pence (Giants) – Pence is not exactly a home-run basher, but don’t tell him that. The right fielder has six dingers in his last eight games, good for a ridiculous 20 RBI. Last Saturday and Sunday he torched the Dodgers for a combined three home runs and 10 RBI. Pence is 14 of his last 32 with four multi-hit games since last Tuesday.
Hitters – Cold
Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) – Beltran is just two for his last 26 with no homers and three RBI in his last seven games. The right fielder has not gone deep a single time since Aug. 24. He has only one extra-base knock since Sept. 8 and just three since Aug. 26. St. Louis is -300 to win the NL Central and +275 to win the NL Pennant.
Matt Wieters (Orioles) – Wieters showed signs of heating up with two hits and two RBI on Wednesday, and Baltimore needs him to do so as it sits one game back of Texas for a wild-card spot. The catcher’s average was .232 on Sept. 3 and has actually declined to .230. He has not homered and he does not have a single extra-base hit since Sept. 6.
Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers) – If Milwaukee thought Lucroy could fill the void left by Ryan Braun, it had to think again. The catcher has not homered since Aug. 16, leaving him stuck on 17 for the season. He has only one extra-base hit and one RBI since Sept. 7. Lucroy is one for his last 14 at-bats in the Brewers’ past five contests.
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