It’s hard to believe that the 2020 MLB season is almost a quarter of the way through considering it just started. Most teams have played between 14 and 16 games, but there are obviously some exceptions. The Miami Marlins have played just 10, while the St. Louis Cardinals have five games under their belt. Those two in particular will be playing quite a few make-up games between now and the end of September.
While it’s no surprise to see teams like the Yankees, Twins, Cubs, and Braves atop their respective divisions, the NL West has been a bit surprising thus far. The seven-time reigning division champion Los Angeles Dodgers are currently sitting in second at 11-5 on the young season. That’s because the Colorado Rockies (11-4) have been slightly better in the early going.
Colorado just went to Seattle and took two of their three games against the Seattle Mariners, and they have still yet to lose a series in 2020. The Rockies have taken series against the Rangers, A’s, Padres, Giants, and the aforementioned Mariners.
On Monday, they’ll start a three-game midweek series at Coors Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are currently occupying the NL West’s basement with a record of 6-10.
Jon Gray will toe the rubber for the Rockies, while Robbie Ray will climb the mound for the D-Backs. Colorado is a -120 moneyline favorite in a game with an over/under of 11.5 runs.
Ray’s Wobbly Form
Over the offseason, Ray reworked his delivery to try and improve his control. The left-hander shortened his windup to try to make his motion more repeatable. While he seems to have accomplished that, the results aren’t where he wants them to be.
Through three starts, Ray has a solid 25.8 percent strikeout rate, but that’s significantly lower than his career K-rate of 28.6 percent. His walk rate is also north of 16 percent, up from 10.6 percent for his career. The point of tinkering with his mechanics was to improve his control, but the walks have gotten even worse. He’s also 1-2 with a 9.45 ERA. He picked up the win in his last start despite allowing six runs on six hits in five innings of work. The bats gave him 14 runs of support that night. Otherwise, he was staring a third consecutive loss right in the face.
The matchups haven’t been easy. Ray has faced the Padres, Dodgers, and Astros, which happen to be three of the most prolific offenses in all of baseball. Still, the early results have to be discouraging for a guy that came into the season with high expectations. While the Rockies aren’t close to any of those other three lineups in terms of sheer talent, pitching at Coors Field has been a nightmarish proposal for pitchers for years.
Ray has always allowed plenty of power. The hard-throwing lefty coughed up 30 homers a season ago, and this year he’s already been taken deep six times. Dealing with right-handed sluggers like Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado in the thin air in Denver is far from an ideal scenario for a pitcher still looking to find his rhythm this season.
Gray’s Strong Start
Two of Jon Gray’s three starts so far this season have come in the aforementioned hitter’s haven known as Coors Field, so the fact that he has a 3.31 ERA is impressive. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first three starts against the Rangers, Padres, and Giants, and he’s steadily increased his pitch count with each outing.
Gray has struck out just over 10 percent of the hitters he has faced to this point, which makes his impressive showing a bit surprising. The right-hander has a career strikeout rate north of 24 percent, so the fact that he’s been able to survive despite allowing far more contact than usual is a good sign.
Opposing hitters have a batting average just over .200 on balls in play against Gray early on. However, his 5.29 SIERA is quite a bit higher than his 3.31 ERA, so some regression could be coming.
Gray has always had more pronounced struggles with left-handed hitters. Lefties have a career .324 wOBA against him, and he’s allowed more homers to left-handers (41) than righties (38). Arizona’s lineup hasn’t been lighting the world on fire early this season, but they do have quite a bit of lefty bats. Eduardo Escobar, Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Kole Calhoun, Stephen Vogt, and Jake Lamb will all have the platoon advantage against Gray tonight.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies MLB Pick
The over/under on a Coors Field game is always going to be high. Tonight’s 11.5 over/under is the highest of any game on tonight’s schedule. While Ray and Gray are normally All-Star caliber pitchers, I don’t like the way either of them matches up with his opponent tonight. Gray tends to get himself into trouble whenever he’s facing a slew of lefties, while I won’t be buying into Ray’s reworked delivery until he starts getting some actual results.
This looks like a good spot to bet the over. Neither team’s bullpen has looked all that good, and we know Colorado’s bullpen is always particularly vulnerable when they’re pitching at home. I’d expect plenty of offensive fireworks in this one, so bet the over on 11.5 runs at -100.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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