I can’t wait for this weekend. There are excellent games all throughout this 2017 MLB week 11 weekend, starting with the Dodgers battling the Angels on Thursday, June 29. The Freeway Series brings the best out of the NL West L.A. Dodgers and the AL West L.A. Angels.
2017 MLB Week 11 Weekend
I analyze Thursday’s game between the 2 City of Angels’ rivals. On Friday, San Francisco heads to Pittsburgh to battle the Pirates. Could Johnny Cueto, SF’s ace, keep the Pirates down on June 30? The game that’s got my attention on Saturday, July 1, is Washington at St. Louis. The Cardinals are reeling. Washington’s bullpen is a mess. What happens when these 2 throw down on Saturday?
I finish up this 2017 MLB week 11 weekend preview by analyzing Atlanta at Oakland. Sunday’s interleague battle between the Braves and Athletics should be more interesting than many MLB handicappers believe. Both teams send their respective aces to the mound.
Thursday, June 29
Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels
The Dodgers are listed as starting the brilliant Alex Wood versus Anaheim, uh…I mean, the Los Angeles Angels. Wood has been so good that Cy Young voters might find it difficult to decide between Wood and Clayton Kershaw.
Wood is undefeated this season. He’s 8-0 with a 1.86 ERA. His WHIP is .92. Wood has been as good of a pitcher in the National League as anyone so far in 2017. I mean it when I write that he could win the Cy Young this season.
The Angels are listed as starting JC Ramirez in this matchup. Ramirez hasn’t been terrible. His ERA is 4.38. His WHIP is 1.29. But, his record is 7-5. What it means is that often, Angels’ bats come alive when Ramirez steps to the mound.
Before getting into stats, I’m an L.A. guy. I’ve been here since 1997. The Angels play in Orange County, not Los Angeles. Orange County is nothing, I mean nothing, like Los Angeles County.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, which team do I like in this Thursday match up?
First, I accept how difficult it is to go against Alex Wood. He’s changed something with his delivery that’s allowed him to get into Cy Young Award contention. That doesn’t often happen. Wood can throw with the very best pitchers in the National League.
But, the Angels have 12 hits off 40 at-bats versus Wood. That’s enough for me to believe that LAA has a shot to get to the Dodgers’ magnificent pitcher. What I also love is how the Dodgers have never gotten a hit off JC Ramirez. Don’t get me wrong, Ramirez has only faced the Dodgers 12 times.
That’s reason he’s shut down the La-La Land Dodgers. There’s another reason, though, why I like the Angels in this game.
Thursday’s battle will be the fourth of four games between the Angels and Dodgers. This will be the second game at home for the Angels versus the Dodgers. I’ve got the feeling that LAD goes off as the big favorite.
I’m backing LAA. To me, the odds should justify a small win wager on the OC Angels to take down the La-La Land Dodgers on June 29. Maybe, Ramirez just knows how to pitch to the Dodgers. Maybe, Wood finally has a bad day on the mound.
I like LAA on the moneyline.
Pick: Los Angeles Angels moneyline.
Friday, June 30
San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates
Johnny Cueto should take the mound for the SF Giants on Friday, June 30. Cueto is easily the best pitcher in the Giants’ starting rotation because Madison Bumgarner remains on the DL. Cueto Has a 4.20 ERA. His WHIP is 1.29. His record is 5-7. Versus Pitt, Cueto’s been okay.
The Pirates have 48 hits from 198 at-bats versus Cueto. That’s a 2.42 batting average. Cueto’s faced Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen more than any other Pittsburgh batter. Cueto’s faced McCutchen 65 times. McCutchen has 18 hits for a respectable .277 BA.
The Pirates send their ace, Gerritt Cole, to the mound for this matchup. Cole has a 4.11 ERA. His WHIP is 1.25 his record is 6-6. Cole has pitched brilliantly against the San Francisco Giants. The Giants bat .182 versus Cole. Cole has struck out 11 SF batters from 55 at-bats.
I think the Giants are in trouble big time in this match-up. Gerritt Cole has not only been terrific versus San Francisco in the past, but he’s finally hit his stride in 2017. Cole’s allowed 3 earned runs in his last 3 starts. That’s a total of 20 innings pitched. Cole is en fuego.
It’s even more impressive when you realize that Cole has shut down the Colorado Rockies, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the St. Louis Cardinals. All 3 of those teams are better than the San Francisco Giants.
Look, I believe that Johnny Cueto pitches well. Unfortunately for Cueto, his teammates have no desire to give him necessary run support. Cueto pitched 7 innings against Atlanta on June 19. He gave up 2 earned runs. SF lost 0 to 9. On June 24, Cueto pitched another 7 innings against the News York Mets. This time, he only allowed a single earned run. The Giants lost 2 to 5.
I think Pitt wins this battle on the run line.
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates
Saturday, July 1
Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
Gio Gonzalez hasn’t taken a step back since the season started. Washington has listed Gonzalez as their starting pitcher for this match up on Saturday, July 1. Gonzalez has a nice 7-1 record. He has a 2.96 ERA. His WHIP is 1.26. But, Gio’s never had a ton of success against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardinals batters are 32 out of 98 versus Gonzalez. The Cards bat .327 against Gio. Dexter Fowler is 11 from 24 for a .458 batting average. Yadier Molina, who should be behind the plate for this game, has 6 hits from 18 at-bats versus Gio.
Molina is the regular catcher for St. Louis listed starter Michael Wacha. Wacha’s just been okay this season. He has a 3-3 record. His ERA is 4.52. His WHIP is 1.48. Wacha has faced Washington batters 63 times. The Nats have 12 hits off Wacha. That’s a .190 batting average.
Although I like Wacha’s matchup versus the Nationals in this Saturday game, there’s only one way for me to describe this. Michael Wacha has been a mess in his last 2 starts. He lasted 4 innings versus Milwaukee on June 15. The Brewers pummeled Wacha for 4 earned runs off 7 hits. On June 21, in his very next start, Wacha again only lasted 4 innings. This time, Wacha faced the worst team in the NL, the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed 2 earned runs off 9 hits.
But, there’s something about the game versus the Phillies on June 21 that leads me to believe Wacha and the Cardinals win this match up against Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals. Although Wacha only lasted 4 innings, the Cardinals beat Philly 7 to 6.
Washington’s bullpen is ranked 26th in MLB based on ERA. The Nats’ relievers have a 4.88 team ERA. The BP is 11-12 on the season. Considering that Gio has trouble as it is versus St. Louis batters, I can see St. Louis coming up with a big win on Saturday.
If the Cards can chase Gonzalez off the mound after the 5th or 6th inning, I think they beat Washington. I have no faith in the Nationals’ bullpen.
Pick: St. Louis Cardinals
Sunday, June 2
Atlanta Braves at Oakland Athletics
The Atlanta Braves send ace Julio Teheran to the mound versus the Oakland Athletics this Sunday. In 2017, Teheran hasn’t pitched like the Braves’ ace. His ERA is 5.30. His WHIP is 1.44. He does have a 6-6 record. That’s not a bad sign. It means he’s getting run support.
The A’s counter with one of their better pitchers, Sean Manaea. Manaea has a 4.05 ERA. His record is 6-4. His WHIP is 1.15. Manaea has only faced Atlanta batters 5 times.
Manaea hasn’t been as sharp in his last couple of starts. He pitched 6 innings versus the Yankees on June 16. The Yankees belted Manaea for 5 earned runs off 8 hits. Then, on June 21, he pitched another 6 innings. This time, he was better. Manaea allowed 3 earned runs off 7 hits.
What’s crazy, is that the A’s beat the Yankees and lost to the Astros. What it means is that Oakland won the game where Manaea pitched worse.
Does that mean anything for this Sunday? I think it does. Manaea shouldn’t have an issue holding Atlanta to only 3 to 4 runs. I doubt Teheran does the same to the Oakland Athletics. Manaea should hand the ball over to the bullpen with at least a 2 run lead in this game.
I like Manaea and the A’s to win this matchup on the run line.
Pick: Oakland Athletics run line