After a horrendous month of July, we’re red-hot on article plays at the moment, going 5-0 in the last week. That includes two winners last night with the Mets and the Diamondbacks. Can we keep the good times rolling on tonight’s massive MLB slate?
We can certainly try. Let’s dive into the action on the diamond.
I wouldn’t get too bogged down by the fact that Strider hasn’t cleared this prop in either of his last two outings. The 24-year-old remains the premier strikeout artist in the majors, leading all qualified starters by insane margins in both strikeouts per nine (14.0) and strikeout rate (37.9%). As such, Strider’s managed to strikeout at least nine opponents in a whopping 75% of his 24 starts in 2023, including eight of the last 10 times he’s taken the mound for the Braves.
This isn’t just about Strider, though. It’s equally about his matchup on Friday. Not only do the Giants currently sit with baseball’s fourth-highest strikeout rate for the season as a whole (24.8%), but the entire lineup has been unable to produce in August. To wit, San Francisco owns an NL-low .270 wOBA in the month. With the team’s bats struggling, I would be shocked in Strider is unable to work deep into this contest. As you might expect from a man averaging well-over a strikeout per inning thrown, Strider’s gone over this prop 15 of the 17 occasions he’s tossed at least six frames in 2023.
After writing up Strider, we now find ourselves at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Lambert has been underwhelming at best this season, splitting his time between Triple-A, the Rockies’ bullpen and, as of recently, Colorado’s rotation. In his six starts in 2023, the former second-round pick has managed just a 14.7% strikeout rate — in comparison to a much more respectable 24.1% mark as a reliever. This all begs the question: Why am I taking an over on his prop this evening?
It’s all about the White Sox. Since August 1, Chicago ranks third in baseball in swinging strike rate (13.4%), third in chase rate (35.9%) and fourth in strikeout rate (26.9%). To put it simply, the White Sox just can’t make contact with any level of consistency. Chicago is also incredibly right-handed heavy when it comes to positional players, sitting in the top five of the league in right-on-right plate appearances in 2023 (2,230). Those splits are massive in the context of Lambert’s season, with the RHP posting a 23.7% strikeout rate versus RHBs in comparison to a paltry 15.3% strikeout rate when facing a lefty. If there was ever a night where Lambert was going to look like Nolan Ryan, it’s this evening.
Guess what happens when you strikeout all the time? You don’t score. That isn’t just a White Sox issue, either. In fact, the Rockies are in possession of MLB’s highest strikeout rate in August at an eye-popping 30.8%. I don’t really trust Lambert or Michael Kopech in a vacuum — though the latter does own a 3.88 ERA since May 19 — but going up against lineups this anemic, I think both can muster at least an average performance on Friday. Chicago and Colorado each sit in the bottom five of the league in wOBA in the month. The Rockies’ 57 wRC+ the last two weeks is the worst mark in all of baseball. Who exactly is putting up all these runs?
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