7/26 Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves
Clayton Kershaw is back and set to make his seventh start after missing nearly a month earlier this season. Since his return, he has boasted a 2.48 ERA with 8.27 strikeouts per nine to just 1.65 walks per nine innings. Essentially he is doing Clayton Kershaw things. This is good as he heads on the road to take on a mighty hot Atlanta Braves team.
Anibal Sanchez saw his career fall off of a hill for Detroit in 2017, only to come back and revive it in 2018 with the Braves. Sanchez has started 12 games and has a 2.76 ERA. He is striking out 8.79 hitters per nine and walking 2.76. Not far off Kershaw since his return.
Both teams bring strong pitching and both teams are going to be fighting for playoff positioning and bragging rights in what should be a competitive series. This should be a game where both pitchers show up, and both teams feel each other out early into the process. This could be a chance to look for a first five under to hit.
7/28 Oakland As at Colorado Rockies
The Oakland As are surging right now and hoping to get back into the swing of things in the second half. Meanwhile, the Rockies sit just two games back in their division. It will be a battle for positioning.
On the As side, the bring Brett Anderson to the hill. Anderson has had injury questions throughout his career and has not pitched 100 innings since 2015. He missed time this season but is back with six starts and 23 innings pitched. Over that span, he has been awful. He has 4.56 strikeouts per nine to just 3.04 walks. He also has an ERA sitting over 6 at 6.08. His FIP and xFIP expect regression, but those sit at 4.94 and 4.93, meaning that he is not expected to get too much better.
He heads to Coors Field in what could be a shootout of sorts. Across the hill from Anderson is Kyle Freeland. Freeland has been legitimate at home with a 2.76 ERA in Coors. However, that number appears to be inflated. His walks up and home runs are higher at home, and he boasts a 4.57 FIP and 4.44 XFIP at home. These numbers are going to normalize, and fast.
The As are hot, but Anderson is terrible. Freeland is due for regression, so it could be the As bats keeping them in the game. Look to the over in this game.
7/28 New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates will head into a weekend series with the New York Mets deciding whether or not they will be buying to contend for a Wild Card, or selling off assets for the future. The Mets have decided their fate and are fielding offers for names. The big name is Jake DeGrom, who is set to make potentially his last Mets start on Saturday.
DeGrom comes in as one of the hottest pitchers in the MLB. He faces Trevor Williams, who has a 4.36 ERA and has given up 12 runs in his last 18 innings pitched. On the surface, this should be a great chance for DeGrom to add a W and increase his value. It almost never goes that way, though.
The Mets will look to preserve DeGrom. That means pulling him at any chance of weakness. That means not letting him see any batter a third time through. On top of that, this is an anxiety-ridden start for Jake DeGrom. Could a hot Pirate lineup throw him off of his game early?
On the other side, Williams is not hot but is coming off of 6 scoreless innings. The Mets lineup is not one to fear, and he has had some high ups this summer. The Mets will be heavy favorites as the worse team on the road. They are banking on stud DeGrom, and while it may come, isn’t the most likely outcome. Look to the Pirates with some value on their side.