Another day and more NL Central! The Reds and Brewers jockey for divisional positioning from Great American Ballpark. And we have a nice pitching matchup between two young arms who find success very differently. Mike Leake will try to defend his home field when Wily Peralta brings his gaudy April numbers and high velocity to town. Oddsmakers favor Cincinnati with a posted total of 8.0.
It’s no secret this matchup features two guys who get outs very differently. Wily Peralta has been one of many nice Brewer surprises early in 2014. Although decent in 2013, Peralta has taken his game to the next level this year – posting an ERA of 2.56 with a WHIP just over 1. One of the hardest throwers in the league, Peralta doesn’t rely on a deep repertoire as much as he does his fastball and its placement. Peralta consistently sits about 96, 97 MPH, but his ability to locate the fastball has been the difference between this year and last. Peralta’s walked just seven batters in five starts this year, which means he forces the opposition to string together hits against his plus heat. And he surrenders less than a hit, on average, per inning (29 in 31 innings). He may not have the diverse toolbox to throw complete game shutouts, but Peralta has been a tough egg to crack for offenses and he’s riding a string of four consecutive quality starts.
Meanwhile, Mike Leake just keeps getting from a young age. What an impressive, young professional Leake has been the moment he took the field as a 21-year-old right out of Arizona State for the Reds. It’s tough to believe Leake is still that young because he’s been around and effective for five years now. But he’s been a mainstay in Cincinnati’s rotation from a young age because of his athleticism and tools. Leake does an amazing job of changing speeds and moving in and out of the zone with a slider, curve, change-up and sinker.
Consistency and reliability shine through here. With both offenses struggling a little, whether with injury or effectiveness, look for both starters to throw quality outings and hand the ball over to the bullpens in a close game. Getting a round 8.0 is an important number here in a game where the line will probably slowly move closer to 7.5. As long as 8.0 is available, the under is the play.
Free Pick: Under 8 (-110)
2014 YTD: 10-5 +4.40