CJ Wilson has a WHIP of 1.35. Roberto Hernandez‘s is 1.32. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are 16 games behind Tampa Bay in the American League Wildcard standings. Wilson’s record shows 13-6 while Hernandez’s reads backward at 6-13. Funny how things like that can happen.
The contrast between Wilson and Hernandez’s records based on their other measurables is odd. It also helps support my intuition that I don’t exactly trust either’s reliability.
Roberto Hernandez has been on a roller coaster all year. The 1.32 WHIP isn’t horrible but an ERA just under 5.00 doesn’t instill much confidence. He capped a string of quality starts together with a nice nine inning performance against Arizona about a month ago and he hasn’t turned in a great outing since. Hernandez has labored in August, failing to go six innings a single time out. He’s always had decent stuff but struggles with mistake pitches at the most unfortunate of times. The Angels haven’t lived up to large expectations that comes with a payroll over $140,000,000. Still, LA should find opportunities to capitalize on Hernandez’s unpredictable command with a lineup that has some decent career success against the former Fausto Carmona. Five Angels have homered against Hernandez in their careers. And Albert Pujols isn’t one of them.
On the flip side, Tampa Bay is battling in a brutal Wildcard race in the American League with four teams hot on their tails. CJ Wilson’s numbers look nice on the outside with a 13-6 record and an ERA of 3.30. A little more than just pure pitching dominance goes into determining ERA and win/loss record, however. In Wilson’s first three August starts he’s allowed 26 hits and only conceded six runs. An ability to bear down? Certainly. But he had some help from the “baseball Gods” – if that’s what you prefer to call them. Wilson also sprinkled in an outing against Boston earlier this season where he allowed 10 hits and just one earned run in a loss in early July.
Regardless, Wilson struggles to put away righty batters. Joe Maddon probably has some sort of knowledge of this. Not great when you face the Rays’ lineup. Tampa comes out, stacks the lineup with right-handers, plugs in the usual right-handed studs and puts up four or five against Wilson. Hernandez isn’t nearly trustworthy enough to back the Rays straight-up. The over is the play.
Free Pick: Cleveland/Tampa Over 8 (-105)