Lo Duca: Two MLB Over/Unders I’ve Got My Eye On Wednesday
Mother Nature’s cold grip is starting to loosen around the country, which means there are finally some conditions around the Majors that are favoring the hitters.
And while the Mercury is rising at some parks, there’s still plenty of cold weather to go around, making life miserable on hitters in the Midwest.
Let’s get to some picks.
Warmer weather means more runs …
Los Angeles Angels @ Texas Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET
Jaime Barria (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Matt Moore (0-2, 11.05 ERA)
Matt Moore (0-2) was roughed up for six runs and five hits in 3.1 innings in Texas’ 8-5 loss to Toronto on Friday. Moore was all over the place, issuing four walks and striking out only one batter. It was the second straight bad start of the season for Moore, who has allowed nine earned runs in just 7.1 innings to start the year. The veteran southpaw had a 5.52 ERA in 174.1 innings for San Francisco last year and gave up 116 runs — 107 of which WERE earned — which is insane. He got great defense and still had a high era. Plus San Fran is a much better ballpark to pitch in compared to Texas. Moore is just 6-17 in his last 23 decisions. Yikes.
After planning on starting the year with a six-man rotation, the Angels actually find themselves needing more starting pitching thanks to another rash of injuries to their staff. J.C. Ramirez was diagnosed with a torn UCL on Monday and appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery, while Matt Shoemaker is also on the disabled list with a right forearm strain. The Halos have called up Jaime Barria, who is ranked as their No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, from their farm system — which was ranked near the bottom of the league over the past two seasons. Barria’s rise has been amazing, and he has a great future but he’s just 21 and I think he’s still a year or two away from being ready. Still, the Angels have no choice.
The over is a combined 13-9-1 on the season for these two teams and those numbers are even better when the Rangers are playing at home and the Angels are on the road. More importantly, it’s FINALLY going to be around 70 degrees at game time. Look for the ball to start jumping with the weather warming up this week. Plus, the Angels’ bats exploded last night in a big win at Globe Life Park. This game and the one in Colorado are the two highest totals of a great Wednesday slate, but I’m worried about the shadows and the weird start time in Denver, so I’m sticking with this one.
Pick: Over 10.5 runs
Colder Weather means fewer runs …
Detroit at Cleveland
Jordan Zimmerman (0-0, 8.71 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (2-0, 5.40 ERA)
Remember last spring when Carlos Carrasco felt a twinge in his right elbow in an exhibition game against the White Sox? For the rest of spring training there were questions about whether he’d able to start the season on time in 2017. Well, he not only started on time, he had his best season. “Cookie” set career highs with 18 wins, 200 innings pitched and 226 strikeouts. He finished fourth in the voting for the AL Cy Young award.
This spring the Indians admitted they were going to take it easy with him and he got lit up! He threw 18-plus innings and gave up 16 runs. He didn’t make a start until the ninth game, which is so unusual. He needs to build arm strength! People may argue that he had his best year after throwing only 15 spring innings, but that’s because he was hurt and rehabbing. It’s TOTALLY different when you’re healthy. When you are hurt, you’re not outside doing drills. In fact, you can’t wait to get out there.
I think the Indians’ plan backfired and Carrasco took spring training super easy. To his credit, Carrasco has two out of Cleveland’s five wins this year and hasn’t pitched badly at all. He can definitely turn on the switch, and like I said, his arm now has logged 30 innings, so he should be ready to roll tonight.
He’s matched up with Jordan Zimmermann. I wrote earlier this season that I think he has something to prove as he tries to live up to that $110 million contract. Zimmermann got the Opening Day start and he didn’t pitch poorly against the hot-starting Pirates. Unfortunately, he was awful in his next start.
Since joining the Tigers, Zimmermann is 17-20 and has been slowed down by neck and back injuries. Eight of those 17 wins have come in April, including a 5-0 stretch in 2016 before he hurt his neck. One encouraging sign this year is that Zimmermann has notched 11 strikeouts in 10.1 innings. I like him to bounce back in this spot, and he should be helped by the weather. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s.
Pick: Under 8 runs