We are going through a strange period in Major League Baseball right now. Not far removed from a sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros, we now have the Commissioner's office issuing an edict where action will be taken against pitchers who use a "banned substance" to get a better grip on the ball.
Yes, they're using stick'em in order to grip that ball for the purposes of increasing the "spin rate," which generally achieves more velocity. Gerrit Cole has been "outed" by people like Josh Donaldson, the former MVP who is now with Minnesota. Tyler Glasnow of Tampa Bay has copped to using something, and asserts that after the ruling he had to adjust his grip, which led to a UCL injury that has landed him on the injured list.
Our BetOnline constituency may have to get ready for a victimization campaign.
Meanwhile, starting pitchers who may have been rolling right along but then came to a road block just recently may be worth taking a long look at (for a "fade"), since it may just be the lack of sticky stuff that has altered and/or affected their performance.
And then you have the relievers to consider, since the bullpen plays such a big factor.
It's something that we have to handicap as best we can, and we see a situation where a guy possibly headed to the All-Star Game has slowed a bit lately. What's up with that?
Let's talk about it.
CINCINNATI REDS at SAN DIEGO PADRES, 8:40 PM ET
MLB Betting Odds: Padres (Musgrove) -178 / Reds (Miley) +164
Total: Over 7.5 Runs -111 / Under 7.5 Runs -109
Since the beginning of last season, Wade Miley's "Hard Hit" percentage is less than 30%, which is pretty damn good by MLB standards. There's nothing wrong with his 1.12 WHIP either. Miley throws ground ball outs much more frequently than most (55.9%). And he's surrendered just three homers. Of course, the trend in the bigs (aside from the sticky stuff, of course) is toward batters swinging with fly balls in mind.
The Padres are not streaking; well, at least not in a positive direction (losing seven of last eight) and they are batting just .221 against left-handers, striking out almost 27% of the time. Joe Musgrove, who threw a no-hitter in his second start, went through a stretch in the second half of May where he was nearly unhittable, and we really mean that, as he went 16-2/3 scoreless innings allowing three hits and a walk with 17 strikeouts.
That gives you an idea of what he can do when he's at his best. But he appears to be in a "cooling off" phase right now, as he's dropped two starts while yielding six runs (with three dingers) in 11-1/3 innings. In situations like this, we now have to start asking ourselves whether guys like this, who appear to have made a huge jump this season, might be a bit different if they had been using a substance before and have to step away from it now.
Oh, and it's probably no small thing that San Diego only got one run over those two outings.
We could go with the Reds at +164, but we wonder if the fewer guys we have to evaluate, the better (considering the "substance" issue). In the "1st Five Innings" prop, Miley and the Reds are getting just +145. One way or the other, we're firing, probably on the latter.
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