It will be a somber day of remembrance around baseball tomorrow on the anniversary of 9/11. And no place more so than Yankee Stadium. But the fans in New York will also be on hand for a great pitching matchup that has Michael Pineda slated to host Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays. The home Yanks are -110 favorites.
Some of those who follow baseball closely have already begun to zero in on Alex Cobb as a Cy Young candidate for the 2015 season. The Boston native went down for over a month in mid-April with an injury and struggled to re-gain what made him such an effective young pitcher last season right away. But the 26-year-old has certainly found himself since July started. Cobb allowed three runs in five innings against the Tigers in his first start of July. And since then he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a single start. That streak has reached 11 starts and he’s lowered his ERA down to 2.83 from 4.28 in that span. Cobb has such great success because his changeup is simply one of the game’s best. According to a Fangraphs metric that measures the value of each pitch every pitcher has, the only pitcher with a more effective changeup than Cobb is Felix Hernandez. And those two stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league. I’m going to back Cobb on Thursday because it’s just impossible not to at any sort of plus money price. He’s just too good right now – probably the best pitcher going in the AL, even if Tampa Bay is out of the playoff hunt.
But for as good as Cobb has been, and for as many straight starts he has without allowing more than two runs, Michael Pineda has been nearly as impressive. In fact, Pineda hasn’t given up more than two runs all season. That stat may deceive some because Pineda has only made nine starts this season after some shoulder trouble. But when he’s been out there, he’s been lights out – that includes both before and after his injury. He’s coming off a three-hit, seven-inning shutout of the Royals his last time out, but I just don’t think he’s throwing on Cobb’s level. There probably aren’t a whole lot of numbers to back it up, but I don’t really need any to convince me of it either. For as great as he’s been, Pineda just doesn’t warrant being a favorite against Cobb, no matter where the game’s being played. Great value with the +100 roadie.
Free Pick: Tampa Bay (+100)
YTD: 35-24-2 +6.11