MLB Friday Weather: Expect Optimal Hitting Conditions at Target Field

MLB Friday Weather: Expect Optimal Hitting Conditions at Target Field article feature image

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Gibson and Mitch Garver.

  • See how weather is impacting Friday's MLB slate, including the Phillies-Braves game (7:20 p.m. ET) and Royals-Twins game (8:10 p.m. ET).

The Braves hold a 1.5-game lead over the Phils entering tonight’s series in Atlanta. A sweep from the Phillies would mean a new division leader come Monday. The Mets and Nats could also start clawing back if Atlanta scuffles.

Nevertheless, I do believe we have some weather to discuss.

Phillies (N. Pivetta) at Braves (M. Fried)

7:20 p.m. ET
Weather Rating: 37

With a breeze blowing in from center, tonight’s Weather Rating is popping off at just 37. As you may expect, Atlanta’s warm temperatures usually lead to higher ratings. This is the first time since mid-April that the rating has dipped below 40 at SunTrust Park.

This is certainly good news for Nick Pivetta and Max Fried — two pitchers whose main downfalls have been homers. Since the end of April, Fried’s ERA has gone from 2.30 to 3.75. His K/BB ratio is fine and dandy, but his HR/FB rate of 19.1% ranks 12th highest in the majors.

Pivetta has very similar strikeout and walk rates, but has an even higher HR/FB rate at 21.2%. He hasn’t pitched enough innings to qualify, but would rank fourth highest if he had.

This breeze isn’t going to stop a 110-mph exit-velocity rocket off the bat from going deep into the stands, but will knock down balls that would otherwise be 50/50.

Given the park’s limited history, there’s not a huge sample size, but unders have fared well at SunTrust (17-12) with the wind blowing in per Bet Labs.

The under is a popular pick for this game, garnering 61% of bets. It has remained at its opening number of 9.5, but the juice on the under has gone to -115 or -120 at most books.

Royals (B. Keller) at Twins (K. Gibson)

8:10 p.m. ET

Weather Rating: 73

While the series in Atlanta could result in some changes atop the standings, the one in Minnesota won’t do jack squat. The Royals would need to sweep a 24-game series against the Twins to overtake them in the AL Central. Alas, no such series exists.

Tonight’s Weather Rating of 73 is thanks to some temperatures in the mid-70s and a 10-mph breeze blowing out to left. It also marks the highest Weather Rating at Target Field this year, beating the prior mark of 60 by a fair margin.

There have been over 100 games since 2014 with a Weather Rating of at least 60 in Minnesota, but this will be just the 35th with a Weather Rating of 70+.

In those select few games with a 70+ rating, the over actually hasn’t fared well, going just 14-18-2. The games have averaged 9.5 runs scored, but have done better over the past couple of years, in which they’ve averaged more than 11.5 runs.

As was the case with the two pitchers in Atlanta, Kyle Gibson has had some trouble with the long ball. He’s allowed nearly 1.5 homers per nine and has the third-highest HR/FB rate in the league at 21.6%.

Brad Keller, on the other hand, has been the exact opposite. He’s allowed fewer than half a dong per nine innings and at just 6.3%, has the fourth-lowest HR/FB rate in the league. He does, however, have the third-highest BB/9 at 4.50 — something that could spell trouble against an elite Twins lineup regardless of the weather.

Since opening, the over/under has gone from 9.5 to 10 thanks to a high percentage of both bets and dollars on the over. I’m personally going to wait and see if it falls back to 9.5, as there is heavy juice on the under. I’ll still take a stab at over 10 at around an even payout if I have to, though.

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