Blake Snell did it for us against the Indians during the week and we’re 4–0 at the midway point of the month.
Even in Tampa, Snell has been getting plenty of love for what he’s done this season. Neither pitcher in today’s Pirates/Brewers game has been quite as good, nor does either get anywhere near the recognition he deserves for being a consistent workhorse.
This is the time of year when most starting pitchers who have been at it since April are either hurt or showing signs of fatigue but both Trevor Williams and Jhoulys Chacin are pitching as well as they have all season after a combined fifty-nine starts in 2018.
Williams just finished one of the most impressive runs for a starting pitcher this season in the quietest of fashions. Over a span of nine starts, nearly fifty-five innings, he gave up just four runs. He actually continued the run for three innings in his most recent start in St. Louis but gave up four runs in the fourth inning before coming back out for a shutout fifth.
The only reason his numbers don’t appear more dominant is because he struggled for just about all of May and June after a strong start and before the run I just mentioned. He did mix in seven, one-hit, shutout innings against the Brewers in between four disappointing starts in June to beat Chacin, 1–0. It’s his only start against Milwaukee this season.
Chacin signed a two-year deal worth $15.5 million with Milwaukee in the off-season and he’s already earned most of that this year. His thirty-one starts are tied with four other pitchers for the most in the Major Leagues and nearly each one has been positive since the conclusion of an iffy April.
His 4.54 ERA at the end of the first full month of the season has dwindled to 3.54, despite twice getting blown up for eight runs in four innings.
Of the other twenty-two starts since the end of April, eleven qualify as quality starts. Another seven were just an inning (or one or two outs) shy of reaching the arbitrary six-inning benchmark. He’s given up two runs or fewer in sixteen of those twenty-two starts and three runs or fewer in nineteen.
Unlike Williams, Chacin has seen Sunday’s opponent plenty this season. Including his tough-luck 1–0 loss to Williams on June 18, Chacin has given up five runs in over twenty-four innings against Pittsburgh this season.
And that was with Gregory Polanco in the Pirates’ lineup. It was announced a couple of days ago that Polanco will miss the start of next season after shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. He was enjoying his finest year as a big leaguer and leading Pittsburgh in home runs. Now, he won’t be back on a big league field until the middle of next season.
I have this game handicapped way under the 8.5 the books are offering. Milwaukee lost on Saturday and didn’t have to use any of its top relief pitchers. Felipe Vazquez did throw seventeen pitches for the Pirates.
It will be warm and humid in Milwaukee, which doesn’t do anything to help an under, but the forecast calls for a moderate wind blowing in. This is a strong play for me and I’ll sprinkle some on the under 4.5 in the first five innings, too.
Play: Under 8.5 (-110)