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Three StriKes for Thursday 8.6

Three StriKes for Thursday 8.6

Some nights you can tell pretty early it’s going to be a rough one and that was Wednesday in a nutshell. The Nationals game started before the main slate and Max Scherzer lasted all of one inning, falling far short of 7.5 K’s. The night went downhill as Randy Dobnak, Yu Darvish and Mike Clevinger couldn’t buy a strikeout. It’s time to rebound from a difficult night. We still have a winning record overall so let’s tackle the fresh day for Three StriKes for Thursday 8.6 and get right back on track!

StriKe One – Tyler Chatwood, Cubs

It might seem weird to kick it off with *checks notes* Tyler Chatwood, especially after the Royals bit us last night. However, there’s some good metrics for Chatwood in this one and the number is pretty low.

So, let’s talk about just Chatwood for a second. He’s come flying out of the gate with a 0.71 ERA and 2.05 xFIP through 12.2 IP so far. His K rate is a dazzling 40.4% (obviously unsustainable) and he’s cut his walks down to 8.5%. When a pitcher does this, I try and look for a reason for it and Chatwood appears to have one – his cutter.

He’s thrown that pitch 17% more through two starts, up to 27.2% of the time. The velocity is the same, but he has recorded nine of his 19 strikeouts on that pitch. It has not yielded a single hit yet while generating a 26.5% whiff rate. When we look at the Royals lineup, they are 23rd against the cutter this season. In fairness, they were top 10 against it last year.

Kansas City is only middle of the pack as far as strikeout rate goes but they are ill-equipped to take advantage of Chatwood’s Achilles heel. His walks have always been a massive issue. We mentioned this yesterday but the Royals are dead last in walk rate to RHP. I don’t expect Chatwood to be a strikeout machine forever, but five strikeouts is a good number for him to reach tonight.

Bet – Over 5.5

StriKe Two – Dylan Bundy, Angels

We really don’t have many aces today so we’ll have to be judicious in our picks. Bundy draws a sweetheart matchup, although this is the second time in a row he’s faced the Mariners. Still, Bundy is a nice fit for Three StriKes for Thursday 8.6.

Much like Chatwood, Bundy has shown some very interesting results through his first two starts. He’s posted a 31.3% K rate and his walks are down to what would easily be a career-low 4.2%. So we look for reasons that the results are atypical against the career and pitch usage once again is a good place to start.

Bundy has dialed back on his fastball usage to only about 39% so far and the pitch to see the biggest bump has been the slider. He’s throwing that almost a third of the time and its basically Chatwood’s cutter. It hasn’t given up a single hit and a whopping 10 of his 15 strikeouts have come off the slider. It’s been a strike 49% of the time and is getting a 25% whiff rate. In fact, FanGraphs has ranked Bundy’s slider the third-highest slider value in baseball so far. (If you click on cutter on that page, Chatwood ranks fourth for that pitch).

Seattle is 23rd against the slider so far after finishing 19th against it last year, so that tracks really well. Lastly, they are a top 12 team in K rate to RHP at 25.3%. I’m always slightly leery about facing the same team twice but the rest of the data is heavily in favor of the new version of Bundy.

Bet – Over 5.5

StriKe Three – Luis Castillo, Reds

I mentioned we don’t have many aces on this slate, and that is true. Castillo qualifies as an ace without a doubt and he draws an Indians offense that seems broken right now.

We talked about this yesterday in Picks and Pivots, mentioning how putrid the Tribe have been offensively so far. I mean, TeJay Antone whiffed four of them in not even five full innings yesterday. Castillo scuffled against the Tigers last time out but he is too talented to not be interested at this number.

Castillo has a 33% K rate through his first two starts and has had a couple days to tweak his game after the last start. His pitch arsenal is about what we’re used to, leaning on his fastball/changeup mix. The Indians check into this game 18th vs the change and next to last vs the fastball, so that’s a check for Castillo.

Cleveland is really still struggling to make contact with a K rate over 26%, fifth-highest in the league. They are bottom five in almost every major offensive category we look at except OBP…where they rank 22nd. Castillo should be able to hit this number. Cleveland just can’t get out of their own way right now.

Bet – Over 6.5

Record – 18-15

Thank you for reading as always. Feel free to tweet me @bucn4life with any and all questions, check out the MLB and Betting page on WinDailySports.com and let’s chat in the WinDaily Discord as well!