MLB bettors will want to keep eye on these road warriors

In Friday’s Post, we looked at pitchers who perform much better at home than on the road. Here are some whose results have been the opposite:

Steven Matz (Blue Jays)
Home: 5 G, 25.0 IP, 5.76 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 7.92 Ks/9, team record: 1-4, -4.5 units. Road: 8 G, 44.7 IP, 3.43 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.68 K/9, team record: 6-2, +4.8 units.

Matz heads our short list of four pitchers who have accumulated far better numbers on the road than at home. That is unusual on the surface, but considering that the Blue Jays have split their home season so far between Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo, both hitter-friendly environments, the numbers are explainable. There is a significant difference, however, as Matz keeps far more runners off the basepaths and strikes out a higher percentage of hitters on the road. Manager Charlie Montoyo seems to have a good handle on the situation, too, having called on Matz eight times on the road compared with five at home. The schedule shows the left-hander slated to start Wednesday in Seattle, so get in early.

Drew Smyly
Drew Smyly

Drew Smyly (Braves)
Home: 5 G, 25.0 IP, 5.76 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.00 K/9, team record: 1-4, -6.4 units. Road: 8 G, 42.7 IP, 4.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.75 K/9, team record: 5-3, +2.75 units.

Smyly shows the same home/road number of starts breakdown as Matz, with similar moneyline unit splits, but this left-hander seems to be more of a victim of Atlanta’s overall disappointing performance at home than anything else. The Braves are just 1-4 in his five home starts, and considering that bettors have lost 6.4 units in those games, you know the hosts were playing as sizable favorites. Smyly has received an average of just 3.0 runs of support in those five home starts, compared with 5.3 in his road outings. He was slated to start Friday night at home against Miami and is in line for one more road appearance before the All-Star break.

Tyler Mahle (Reds)
Home: 6 G, 30.7 IP, 6.75 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 11.15 K/9, team record: 3-3, -1.5 units. Road: 10 G, 53.7 IP, 2.01 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 11.24 K/9, team record: 8-2, +7.57 units.

The Reds boast a respectable 20-20 road record, with Mahle having taken the hill in eight of those 20 wins. His ERA in 10 road starts is an impressive 2.01 and he’s striking out 11.24 hitters per nine innings. His home ERA is an ugly 6.75, which is hard to explain even at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. His next start is set for Saturday at home against the road-challenged Cubs, so something will have to give.

Mike Minor (Royals)
Home: 9 G, 53.3 IP, 5.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.44 K/9, team record: 3-6, -4.05 units. Road: 8 G, 43.0 IP, 5.02 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, team record: 5-3, +4.35 units.

Minor’s overall numbers for WHIP and run support are relatively similar, he’s just not timing it well at home as compared with on the road. In fact, with a WHIP of 1.24, he is just 3-6 at home. That the Royals are 5-3 in his road starts is a head-scratcher. That said, he seems to have much better command away from home and is striking out 9.4 hitters per nine innings in those starts. Solid numbers for a pitcher who has been an underdog in five of those seven outings. Before the break, Minor figures to start at home versus the Reds and at Cleveland.

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