Cozart has been scratched from the Los Angeles Angels original confirmed lineup and will not start in Wednesday’s matchup against the New York Yankees due to lingering neck soreness. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Tommy La Stella, who will now play second base and slot directly into Cozart’s vacated ninth spot in the order. However, the remainder of the Angels lineup will stay intact offensively as they face off against left-hander CC Sabathia at home this evening.
Cole Hamels has been great over his last three starts (21 IP – 3 ER – 0 BB – 19 K) against a wide range of opponents (MIA, LAA, MIL). On the season, the strikeout rate is average, but he has a 57.5 GB% and 3% walk rate that have helped him navigate a pretty frightening 91.9 mph aEV. While conditions (weather, umpire) do favor Hamels at Wrigley tonight, he faces a tough opponent in the Dodgers and Justin Turner in particular. Turner has smashed LHP for a 155 wRC+, .212 ISO and 51.3 Hard% over the last calendar year. He’s a pretty good bet to make some hard contact tonight, considering Hamels’ Statcast numbers. He also costs just $3.4K on DraftKings, a tremendous value, although that price might increase his ownership. Also interesting to note that David Freese (139 wRC+, .170 ISO), batting third, costs just $2.4K on FanDuel at the same position.
Some of you may have gone into shock when looking at the Vegas Odds page and seeing Baltimore above five implied runs. The O’s unloaded on Ivan Nova last night, but what kind of pitcher does it take to get them there? Let’s consider what Ervin Santana has done so far. He’s allowed 5 HRs in 8.2 IP with a 5.0 SwStr% and 13.6 BB% through two starts. He has a 32% ground ball rate and .503 xwOBA (20.6% Barrels/BBE). His body of work over the last calendar year is not very large (96 LHBs, 62 RHBs), but the numbers are still impressive. LHBs have a .382 wOBA (.401 xwOBA) and that’s his good side! RHBs have a .560 wOBA (.503 xwOBA). That’s a lot of hard contact in the air in a power friendly park tonight. Those kind of numbers give value to nearly any bat in an opposing lineup and Baltimore does have a few competent bats. Jonathan Villar (108 wRC+, .138 ISO) is one of four above average bats against RHP over the last calendar year. Renato Nunez (119 wRC+, .205 ISO), Trey Mancini (108 wRC+, .208 ISO), and Dwight Smith Jr. (132 wRC+, .246 ISO) have all shown above average power. One other thing to mention is Steve Wilkerson (44 wRC+, .091 ISO, 17.4 Hard%) has been terrible, but costs just $2.2K or less on either site out of the sixth slot. Lastly, for those still a bit gun shy about pulling the trigger on Baltimore bats, they are actually a favorite in tonight’s game AND the line has increased despite receiving a minority bet percentage so far. Reverse line movement is generally a strong sign.
Tyson Ross has not been very good despite the 3.38 ERA. He has just an 8.0 K-BB% and has thrived on the back of a .243 BABIP and 5.0 HR/FB, neither of which is very sustainable. Batters are making contact on 93% of swings on pitches in the strike zone and sooner or later, some of his 24.3 LD% (which makes the BABIP even more absurd) are going to turn into fly balls and home runs. While the Red Sox have been a disappointment thus far (79 wRC+ vs RHP), this too is mostly BABIP driven with an 11.8 K-BB% and 19.6 Hard-Soft% vs RHP. This is a firmly positive run environment with weather not expected to impact this game and an extremely hitter friendly umpire behind the plate (Alfonso Marquez). While Ross has shown a substantial platoon split over his career, a 43 Hard% and GB% against RHP over the last calendar year boosts his .273 wOBA against them to .327 by xwOBA. LHBs are hammering him for a wOBA and xwOBA both above .350 over that span. The Red Sox are the top projected offense (5.7 runs) for good reason despite offensive struggles. Load up on bats from either side of the plate with confidence here. Both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez remain above a 160 wRC+ and .250 ISO vs RHP over the last calendar year and both are above a 140 wRC+ over the last week as well. Andrew Benintendi (136 wRC+, .184 ISO), Mitch Moreland (106 wRC+, .230 ISO) and Xander Bogaerts (125 wRC+, .235 ISO) make the entire top half of this lineup great plays. Add in the fact that Ross is a pitcher the Sox could run on if they choose.
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