Hopefully, all of the April showers bring us May flowers (and winners), and we can avoid another record month of postponed games. May baseball will officially kick off today after a wildly unpredictable first month. Besides all of the weather issues, we ended April with some very surprising division standings. I’m not sure many thought the Mets would sit in first place and the Diamondbacks would hold an eight-game lead over the Dodgers on May 1.
We will kick off the new month by focusing on the following three matchups:
- Phillies (Eflin) at Marlins (Garcia) -105 | O/U: 8 | 7:10 p.m. ET
- Dodgers (Kershaw) at Diamondbacks (Koch) +190 | O/U: 7.5 | 9:40 p.m. ET
- Athletics (Triggs) at Mariners (Hernandez) -115 | O/U: 8.5 | 10:10 p.m. ET
Let’s get to it, starting with an NL East matchup in Miami.
Philadelphia Philles (-105) at Miami Marlins (-105) | O/U: 8
Zach Eflin (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Jarlin Garcia (1-0, 1.00 ERA)
7:10 p.m. ET
Fade Fishing: Jarlin the Marlin. Kinda catchy if you ask me. Though that 1.00 ERA may catch your attention, don’t expect it to last. Garcia has been one lucky son of a gun this season.
In 68 appearances out of the pen last year, the 25-year-old southpaw posted a 4.73 ERA with an accompanying xFIP of 4.93. That essentially means he pitched to his ability. This season, his xFIP of 4.60 has improved slightly, but that ERA of 1.00 is clearly an outlier.
This trophy fish strikes out fewer than seven and walks four batters per nine innings — both very subpar numbers. He’s achieved that gaudy ERA thanks to an unbelievably lucky BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) of .121.
By comparison, Lance Lynn finished with the lowest 2017 BABIP among all qualified pitchers at .244. I’ll most likely fade the fortunate Jarlin and the Marlins barring any unforeseen supersharp market action. — Mark Gallant
As Mark mentioned, Garcia has had Lady Luck on his side all season. While the kid has good stuff, he should come crashing back down to earth very soon. In addition to having a ridiculously low BABIP, he owns an absurd 100% LOB% (Left on Base) as a starter. In fact, he’s the only starter with at least 10 innings pitched to have a perfect strand rate, which means not one single baserunner has scored on him this year. The only three runs he has allowed over 27 innings have come via home run. For reference, the league-average LOB% is in the 70% to 72% range, and Clayton Kershaw had the highest in 2017 at 87.4%. — Stuckey
Lehigh Lease: As a result of the plethora of pitching injuries the Phillies have suffered, they called up Zach Eflin from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple-A) for tonight’s start. This won’t be a new experience for the right-hander, as this will mark his 23rd career MLB start. He is just 4-10 with a 5.85 ERA in those starts, but has shown flashes in two complete games.
Not only have the Phils had to deal with a number of starters on the disabled list, but they also recently placed Victor Arano on the DL. That will certainly hurt their bullpen, as he has pitched very well in 2018. — Stuckey
Did You Know? Garcia enters this start with an ERA of just 1.00. Since 2006, when the Marlins’ probable starter has an ERA below 3, they are 55-31 on the moneyline at home against divisional opponents, profiting 16.9 units. The Marlins are the most profitable team in baseball in this situation over that span. — Evan Abrams
Los Angeles Dodgers (-210) at Arizona Diamondbacks (+190) | O/U: 7.5
Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84 ERA) vs. Matt Koch (1-0, 1.93 ERA)
9:40 p.m. ET