When handicapping a baseball game, the matchup of starting pitchers is typically the most critical factor when formulating a betting decision. Starting pitchers also have ebbs in flows in performance during a season. With that in mind, each month Doc's Sports will provide you with a look at the starting pitchers that have turned the biggest profit, those that have suffered the biggest losses, and whether those trends are likely to continue.
Pitcher Money Won (through 5/31)
Josh Tomlin (Cle) +683
7-1, 3.79 ERA
Failed to go at least five innings for the first time when suffering his first loss of the season on Monday against the Rangers. The veteran Tomlin hasn't been particularly dominant this season, but he seems to always give his team a chance to win while going deep into games. The Indians have also provided good run support at 5.44 RPG. Will this keep up? Probably not to this level, but Tomlin is rock-solid. Look for the profits to continue.
Mat Latos (CWS) +672
6-1, 4.02 ERA
The White Sox have gone 8-2 when Latos starts this year. This includes as a +164 underdog against the Mets on Tuesday in which he gave up two earned runs in five innings. The concern is the 28-year-old's ERA has been steadily creeping upward since his red-hot start. Latos has also received 5.77 runs of support per game, which ranks among the highest in the majors. There are indications this profitable run could be coming to an end.
Stephen Strasburg (Wash) +654
9-0, 2.69 ERA
The one-time phenom has finally put it all together in his 27-year-old season. He has gone at least six innings in all 11 starts, while the high-powered Nationals offense has provided plenty of run support (7.0 RPG). The support is certainly nice. But Strasburg has also evolved into a true ace. Barring injury, this guy should continue to be money in the bank.
Chris Tillman (Bal) +612
7-1, 2.92 ERA
The talented 28-year-old right-hander has rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2015 campaign. The Orioles are 7-1 in Tillman's last eight starts. It's worth noting for bettors that Tillman has been noticeably better at home this season (2.03 ERA). Perhaps it's best to stick with this guy at Camden Yards and punt if heavily favored on the road.
Nathan Karns (Sea) +603
5-1, 3.43 ERA
A third-year big-leaguer, the 28-year-old Karns is another that's benefited from ample run support. The contending Mariners have averaged 6.4 RPG while going 8-2 when Karns starts. He is another that isn't overpowering. And he doesn't go very deep into games. But a slew of quality starts coupled with a high-quality Mariners bullpen has made this guy a winning proposition.
Others: Johnny Cueto (Cin) +594, Tyler Chatwood (Col) +548, Colby Lewis (Tex) +537, A.J. Griffin (Tex) +528.
Pitcher Money Lost
R.A. Dickey (Tor) -713
2-6, 4.62 ERA
The Blue Jays are 2-9 in games started by the 41-year-old knuckleballer. Dickey hasn't been atrocious this season. The problem has been run support. Toronto has averaged just 2.73 RPG in Dickey's 11 starts. The Blue Jays are too potent offensively for that to continue. Things could turn around for Dickey this month.
Luis Severino (NYY) -700
0-6, 7.46 ERA
The 22-year-old prospect was batted around pretty good in seven starts before going on the DL with a triceps strain. Severino has since been activated but was sent to Triple A to try and iron out some issues. He's highly-talented and will assuredly be back up for another crack this season. Remember, last year Severino posted a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts with the Yanks.
Brandon Finnegan (Cin) -697
1-4, 4.14 ERA
The struggling Reds have lost seven straight games started by the 23-year-old lefty and are 2-9 overall. Finnegan, another well-regarded prospect, has given up at least three runs in eight consecutive starts. He'll likely continue to endure growing pains in his sophomore season, especially for a team as bad as the Reds.
James Shields -672
2-7, 4.28 ERA
The San Diego "ace" closed out May by getting shelled for 10 runs in 2 ⅔-innings by the Mariners on Memorial Day. It was so bad, Padres' chairman Ron Fowler went on local radio and said Shields' performance was "an embarrassment to the team, an embarrassment to him." Ouch. That wouldn't seem to bode well moving forward.
Other big money losers : Ervin Santana (KC) -622, Phil Hughes (Min) -588, Kendall Graveman (Oak) -587, Julio Tehran (Atl) -545, John Lamb (Cin) -500, Anibal Sanchez (Det) -481
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