MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Rockies vs. Brewers: It Won’t Be Fun, But Bet Against Runs (Friday, June 25)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Corbin Burnes.
- The Rockies and Brewers begin a three-game set Friday afternoon at American Family Field.
- The Brewers currently sit atop the NL Central, thanks almost exclusively to the strength of their pitching staff.
- Tanner McGrath explains below why this game has the perfect ingredients to be a low-scoring affair.
Rockies vs. Brewers Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon and via PointsBet.|
With Christian Yelich back in the lineup, the Brewers offense has made enough of a surge to snag the top spot in the NL Central. Milwaukee’s pitching has been insane, and Corbin Burnes has the Brewers posted as -200 favorites.
Despite being 17.5 games out of the NL West lead, the Rockies have been kind of fun lately. I wouldn’t sleep on Jon Gray today either.
That being said, let’s see where we can find value in this series opener.
Colorado Is Very Rocky On The Road
At Coors Field, the Rockies are a legitimate Major League Baseball team. The Rockies have a 25-16 record at home while posting a +38 run differential.
On the road, however, the Rockies couldn’t beat South Denver High. The Diamondbacks have lost 23 consecutive road games and still have a better away record than the Rockies.
Colorado has posted a 6-28 record on the road this season, scoring the fewest road runs per game (2.62) while allowing the fourth most (5.35). They went just 1-5 in their most recent road trip, at Miami and Cincinnati.
While playing on the road is a huge issue, and will be in this series, the Rockies have made some noise recently. They’ve posted an 11-10 record so far this month, including destroying the Padres in a three-game sweep and splitting a four-game series with these Brewers.
If you’re a Rockies fan, I’ve isolated three fun things to get excited about for the rest of the season:
- C.J. Cron: The man has been mashing recently. In his last 10 games, he’s batting .361 with a 1.286 OPS and has hit five home runs while striking out only six times. He paces Colorado in OPS+ (126), and hopefully he’ll be more than just a trade piece for the rest of 2021.
- The Defense: Believe it or not, Ryan McMahon leads the whole league in defensive runs saved this year (13). Josh Fuentes is tied for second place in that stat (11). The whole Rockies defense grades out as elite, even pacing the league in FanGraph’s Defensive Ratings. And, they’ve been a huge support to the No. 3 on this list.
- The Starting Rotation: German Marquez has been a legit ace, especially recently. Meanwhile, Austin Gomber is proving that the Nolan Arenado trade might not have been as bad as we all thought, as he’s posted a 1.29 ERA in June and a 1.09 ERA at home this season. Meanwhile, Kyle Freeland and today’s starter – Jon Gray – provide some decent arms in the back-half of that unit.
Starting pitcher: Jon Gray (RHP)
There is nothing wrong with what Jon Gray is doing right now.
Scratch his most recent outing – five ER over 2 1/3 innings vs. Oakland – and Gray has posted a 3.71 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP on the year. Moreover, the Rockies are 5-2 in Gray’s Coors Field starts, where he’s posted a 3.25 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
His insanely low barrel rate (3.7%) and launch angle (5.9 degrees) has led to a career high ground ball rate (52.4%).
Gray relies on a fastball-slider combo while mixing in a changeup. His fastball has been just OK (.383 wOBA), but his slider is holding opponents to just a .152 BA and producing a 36.1% whiff rate (.230 wOBA).
Brewers Just Need Offense To Have A Pulse
We barely have to speak about the Brewers pitching. Milwaukee’s rotation trails only the Mets in FIP (3.41), and they pace the league in xFIP (3.30). Their top four leaders in WAR are all pitchers, including today’s starter (who we’ll talk about in a few sentences).
The question is if the Brewers bats can do literally anything to support their guys. The Brewers rank 23rd in runs per game this season (3.99) and rank 28th in home runs per game (3.79). They’ve posted a season-long OBP of just .301 and a season-long OPS of just .666, both among the bottom 10 teams.
Luckily, the return of Christian Yelich has provided a much-needed Brewer boost. He’s posted a .400 OBP since returning from the IL in mid-May, and since June 1, Yelich has posted an .882 OPS.
With Yelich, the overall team numbers haven’t gotten considerably better. But there’s a reason why the Brewers are 24-18 with Yelich and just 18-15 without him. If the BrewCrew can do literally anything to support their pitching, they can win games.
Either or, Milwaukee’s at the top of the NL Central for now. If they add a bat at the deadline, look out.
Starting pitcher: Corbin Burnes (RHP)
Corbin Burnes is a madman.
Yes, he’s posted a 2.62 ERA and a .93 WHIP through 12 starts this season, but he’s done it all with a .342 BABIP! That number is sure to regress to league average (.300), and combined with his 3.4% barrel rate and 50% ground ball rate, Burns has posted a 1.75 xERA and a .207 xwOBA – both stats that trail only Jacob deGrom among qualified pitchers.
Additionally, he’s striking out almost 15 batters per nine while walking a career low 1.57 per nine, and he’s only allowing .26 homers per nine. Add that all up, and you get a 1.13 FIP – a stat that, again, only trails deGrom among qualified pitchers.
It’s hard to think it was just two years ago that Burns posted an 8.82 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP in a relief role. Since then, he’s turned his career around. What happened?
Burns totally abandoned his fastball and started throwing a hard cutter. This year, he’s tossing that cutter over 95 mph on average and batters have posted just a .187 xBA and a .235 xwOBA on it.
Despite all of this, the Brewers have posted the same record in Burns starts as the Rockies have in Gray starts — 5-7. Milwaukee needs to get Burns some run support, ASAP.
How do we expect the Rockies, who have been the worst road offense all season and have averaged just 3.25 runs per game in their last eight road contests, to score against Burns?
We shouldn’t. Especially because the Rockies struggle against cutters and rank 28th in weighted cutter runs created since June 1. Burns is going to eat this Rockies lineup alive in Milwaukee today.
Meanwhile, Gray might be able to do some stuff today. The Brewers rank dead last in weighted slider runs created (-36.3) and Gray should be able to rely on that pitch a lot. Additionally, against righties at home this season, the Brewers have posted the worst wRC+ (76). Against righties at home over the last 30 days, the Brewers have posted just a .665 OPS and a .292 wOBA – both stats that rank near the bottom of the league during that stretch.
These two teams are 4-2 to the under in their last six contests in Milwaukee, and we’ve already tracked sharp money coming in on the under. Look for these two pitchers to take advantage of their mismatches and overwhelm two underwhelming offenses.
I played the under 7.5 at -109 Thursday night, and am looking to play either under 7.5 to -115 or under 7 to -105.
Pick: Under 7.5 (Play to -115) | Under 7 (Play to -105)