Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Diego Padres Pick
Where: Petco Park
When: 10PM EST
I usually don’t target UNDERS when rookie pitchers are involved but this Joey Lucchesi kid has had incredible success at every level, including this year’s preseason. In his 2016 stint in A-ball, he tossed 42 innings, allowing only 31 hits while displaying impeccable control with only 3 free passes. He missed a lot of bats as well, fanning 56. Opposing hitters hit only .204 against him, and his WHIP was nasty at 0.81.
Last season in 139 innings between A-AA ball, the 6’5″ lefty continued to fool opposing hitters where he allowed a .200 average, 0.97 WHIP. For those not familiar with what WHIP is, it’s walks + hits divided by innings pitched. Anything below 1.20 is outstanding. Sub 1.00 is Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax type of numbers. Granted, these numbers were produced at AA-ball and below, but with no drop off in jumping levels, it’s something to take note of.
Now for the good stuff. In spring training, the Padres weaned him along in order to preserve his confidence. The southpaw pitched in 4 games, went 11.2 innings and had continued success with a 1.54 ERA, allowing only five hits. Opponents only managed to hit .128 with a 0.86 WHIP. Yeah, it’s preseason, but this kids numbers have stayed consistent since day 1.
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After doing some pretty extensive research on this kid, I was surprised to learn that his K rate isn’t because he throws smoke. His stuff is very average with a fastball that tops out at 94mph. Why the success then?
His delivery! He’s funky as all get out and I see how opposing hitters would struggle to get comfortable with him. In my opinion, he’s a hybrid of Hideo
Nomo/Clayton Kershaw. Timing plays a huge role in hitting and Brewer hitters
seeing him for the first time are at a disadvantage for their first couple
of at bats.
Lucchesi’s minor league starts averaged six innings per outing. I expect the Pads to allow him no more than five tonight. The Padres bullpen is solid, so I’m not overly concerned about that. bullpens will be something to pay attention to moving forward as teams seem to be trending to keeping starter’s pitch counts low and then having middle, setup and closer relief working the 6th-9th innings.
Lastly, I LOVE a couple more variables here with the first being the Padres defense. Defense is ALWAYS something you should be looking at when considering an UNDER bet. Chase Headley is solid at 3rd. Galvis has a gun at SS and Hosmer is a multi-year gold glove winner. The other variable working in our favor is that Petco Park yields the second lowest amount of runs in Major League Baseball.
On the flip side, Jhoulys Chacin is on the hill for the Brewers. This guy has been an incredible fade when he’s on the road as last year his ERA while away was 6.53; however, his home ERA last season was a slick 1.79 with a 0.98 whip. As many of you know, he played for the Padres last year. So this leaves us wondering does this guy have issues when he’s out of his comfort zone or ??? Going back to 2014, this dude’s ERA is almost 2 points worse on the road. This type of poor consistency tells me he may not be eating properly, doesn’t like hotel beds or heck, he may even miss his family. (The homesick thing is real; A former Major Leaguer who I cannot name once told me he was in AA ball with a guy who had Mickey Mantle type skills but missed his Mom so quit baseball!) Regardless of what the reason is, Chacin is not comfortable in road starts. With that in mind, I looked back at his previous games at Petco in which he was a visitor. There was the good semi-recent success there with a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings.
With that said, I’m going to ignore his road woes and with confidence predict that he’s going to have a good showing tonight in San Diego. Chacin sported a great 1.84 ERA in spring training and has had great success at Petco over the course of his career. I’d bet my shorts that this has something to do with him being from Venezuela and being more comfortable in warm pitching conditions. I wish I had the time to do some extensive research on this because I’d bet my shorts that this guy pitches horribly in cold climates. But that’s all dust in the wind as all we care about tonight is that Lucchesi/Chacin miss some bats and induce some ground balls.
Other variables I like about this spot: Yesterday’s game went 12 innings. Players aren’t likely to be fatigued from playing an extra three innings, especially in the first game of the season, but it surely doesn’t hurt.
As noted above, Petco yields the second least runs in MLB.
Hosmer, Myers, Headley, Galvis, and Hedges are only 4-35 against Chacin lifetime.
Brewers hitters led the league in strikeouts last year with 1571.
Kevin’s Friday Best Bet: Milwaukee Brewers/San Diego Padres UNDER 8 runs. Bet this game and ALL your MLB games at reduced odds at 5Dimes! You’ll be glad you made the switch!