Today, we recommend investing in a weak pitching performance from Arizona’s Zac Gallen and in strong pitching performances from New York’s Jose Quintana and San Francisco’s Alex Cobb.
- Jose Quintana Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365
- Zac Gallen Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+100) at Bet365
- Alex Cobb Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 – 08:10 PM EDT at Kauffman Stadium
Jose Quintana (New York Mets)
Jose Quintana starts for the Mets tonight. Quintana has made two starts this season, the first taking place in the Bronx on July 20 and the last against the White Sox on July 26.
While he is starting the season late, he hasn’t missed a beat. He held both opponents to two earned runs while averaging five-and-a-half innings in the two starts.
As part of Quintana’s good form, he has yet to allow a home run, and he is doing a great job inducing soft contact.
Quintana throws a sinker, curveball, fastball, and changeup.
Heat maps show his tremendous ability to place his pitches along the borders of the strike zone. He ably induces soft contact because he avoids the more middle parts of the strike zone, where batters tend to do greater damage.
Besides inducing soft contact, another effect of his precision is that batters are less sure of whether his pitches will land inside or outside the strike zone. So, it is harder for them to tell when to swing. When they do swing, it is often at pitches that move outside the strike zone.
Besides the precision and movement of his pitches, his strong ability to start off batters with a strike helps him induce batters to chase his pitches outside the zone because, in falling behind in the count, they become less inclined to take close pitches.
Quintana faces by far his softest challenge yet. The Royals rank 22nd with a .401 slugging rate against his pitches from lefties.
Evidently, they match up poorly against Quintana.
MLB Pick: Jose Quintana Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 – 09:45 PM EDT at Oracle Park
Zac Gallen (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Arizona starts Zac Gallen tonight. The over/under for Gallen’s earned runs allowed total tonight is 2.5. This total is too low, especially in view of his current form.
Gallen enters today’s game in poor form. He has allowed three or more earned runs in five of his last six starts – in the one exception, he mastered a lowly Pirates team that ranks 26th in runs per game.
In a similar vein, Gallen has yielded an FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) over 5.50 in three straight starts. While one of those three starts took place against Atlanta, the other two took place against mediocre St. Louis and Toronto lineups that rank 12th and 15th, respectively, in runs per game.
More specifically, Gallen is doing a terrible job of avoiding the long ball. He has allowed two home runs in both of his last two starts and a combined total of five home runs in his last three starts. In a similar vein, he is doing an awful job of inducing soft contact and of preventing hard contact.
Primarily, Gallen throws a fastball, curveball, changeup, and cutter. In terms of his pitches, there is no single culprit for his current struggles, although his fastball has been relatively vulnerable to opposing batters.
Opponents are rather able to pounce on this pitch because it lacks impressive movement or velocity. Its spin is a bit above average. But, as heat maps show, it often lands in the more middle parts of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage.
The Giants are primed to prolong Gallen’s woes.
Historically, Gallen doesn’t like facing them. He’s 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in six career starts in San Francisco. Moreover, the Giants slug .438 against his favorite pitches from righties.
Among others, look out for Michael Conforto, who enters tonight’s game on a four-game hitting streak and already slugs .800 in ten career at-bats against Gallen.
MLB Pick: Zac Gallen Over 2.5 Earned Runs (+100) at Bet365
Alex Cobb (San Francisco Giants)
Alex Cobb starts for the Giants today, entering today’s game in strong form.
He has allowed one earned run or zero runs in three of his last four starts. More extensively, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.
Among other things, he is flexing his strong command. In addition to avoiding walks, he is doing a great job both of inducing soft contact and avoiding hard contact. Since the start of June, he’s allowed all of two home runs.
Cobb at Home
Cobb is especially reliable at home. He has shut out the last three teams and five of the last six teams that he faced in San Francisco.
Most impressively at home, he limited Baltimore to zero runs in 7.2 innings. But he also achieved a complete game shutout at home against the Cardinals.
In descending order of frequency, Cobb throws a sinker, split-finger, curveball, and slider. He relies heavily on both his sinker and split-finger. These two pitches alone combine to make up just over 77% of his arsenal.
It is intelligent of him to rely so heavily on both of these pitches because they are very effective. Opponents slug .352 against his sinker and .383 against his split-finger.
He plays these pitches well off each other in that he uses them to change the batter’s eye level and to create a change of pace for the batter that likewise keeps him off-balance.
Whereas Cobb’s form is strong, Arizona’s is not.
Excluding extra innings, the Diamondbacks are averaging two runs in their last four games.
MLB Pick: Alex Cobb Under 2.5 Earned Runs (-120) at Bet365