Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 PM EST.
Boston/OAKLAND over 9
4:07 PM EST. Nick Pivetta (RHP - BOS) didn't offer a strong follow-up to his gem at Tampa on June 24, as he gave up six ER in 4.1 IP vs. Kansas City on June 29. Add another disaster start for Pivetta among the many others he has thrown over his career. Although his 27% K% can help create swings and misses, giving up hard-hit balls and a start vs. Oakland's above-average OPS vs. RHP figures to be a big challenge. There are more bad signs looming under the hood too. Pivetta’s swing & miss rate is starting to wane with a less effective curveball. His iffy control has dragged K-BB% (40 walks in 85 IP), and his history of a high percentage of disasters thrown reminds us of his past and current scars.
James Kaprielian (RHP -OAK) comes into this start with a 3.06 ERA. Now he's a strong candidate for some pretty serious regression. Kaprielian has benefited from good fortune all around, with low hit and HR/FB rates, and a high strand rate. His xERA is almost two runs higher, creating a dynamic where he has the surface stats of a budding frontline starter, but the skills of a back-end rotation option.
The main issues have been too many walks and fly balls. His 2021 first-pitch strike rate is 60%, and his Ball% is 37%, both of which are right around league average, suggesting that his control could improve slightly going forward. The fly-ball tendencies match up with his fly-ball rates from the minors, so that’s a feature rather than a bug.
James Kaprielian was the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft, but his MLB career has been delayed by injuries, including Tommy John surgery and shoulder soreness that caused him to miss all of 2017 and 2018. He's likely near the peak of his value for 2021, thanks to his inflated surface stats, though improvements in his control could mitigate some of the damage that might come from ERA regression. His platoon splits show that he still has a lot of work to do to stick as a starter, and it's still possible his ultimate destination will be the bullpen. If you've backed Kaprielian through this streak of positive luck, or if you have him on your fantasy team, now would probably be a good time to try to sell high. These are two bad pitchers that both give up a ton of fly-balls, which results in balls flying over the fence. That it is the 4th of July is appropriate.
A GREAT OFFER FOR SPORTSWAGERS READERS:
We’re offering a better and cheaper alternative to cable TV. You will literally save thousands of dollars. If you’re sick of paying a fortune for programming that you don’t even want or need, this is for you. All pro sports -- EVERY GAME, tons of college football and basketball games and tons of regular programming (non-sports). Over 2500 channels, all in HD for a mere $20 per month. You have to be nuts not to get it.
Boston/OAKLAND over 9 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)