Colorado right-hander Jon Gray’s fielding-independent metrics suggest a strong second half campaign. Gray toes the rubber with a 4.77 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this season, but his 3.56 xFIP suggests that he has performed significantly better than his surface statistics would indicate. Gray has been particularly unlucky with men on base as evidenced by his 65.8% strand rate, which is seven percentage points below the league average.
The positives for Gray include a 25.9% K% (9.64 K/9), a 7.9% BB% (2.94 BB/9) and an 18.0% K-BB%, together with a career-best 48.5% ground ball rate. While a 1.22 HR/9 rate is concerning, it’s much higher than what Gray has posted in his career (0.72 HR/9 in ’14; 0.71 HR/9 & 0.89 HR/9 in ’15) and should regress closer to 1.0 HR/9 based upon his underlying skill set.
The third overall pick in the 2013 draft is also backed by a surprisingly effective Colorado bullpen that owns a 3.44 ERA and 1.26 WHIP away from Coors Field this season.
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran is being shopped as a #1 starter based upon his 2.96 ERA and 0.96 WHIP this season. However, the 25-year-old is surrounded by red flags, including a 3.91 FIP and a 4.10 xFIP, two fielding-independent metrics that suggest regression is around the corner.
Teheran has also been aided by a career-best (and unsustainable) .235 BABIP, which is likely to regress closer to his career level of around .279. A lucky 80.1% strand rate has also helped the right-hander maintain a misleading 2.96 ERA.
Atlanta’s bullpen enters today’s game with a 4.60 ERA and 1.51 WHIP at home and a 5.04 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in day games. The Braves are also a money-burning 11-18 in afternoon contests wherein they are averaging just 3.3 runs per game (.226 AVG.; .285 OBP; .614 OPS).
The Rockies are actually above-.500 in day games where they are averaging 5.0 runs per game (.260 AVG.; .433 SLG; .763 OPS). Let’s also note that Colorado is averaging 5.2 runs per game versus right-handed starters (.278 AVG.; .448 SLG; .784 OPS) and 6.3 runs in its last seven games (.296 AVG.; .351 OBP; .456 SLG; .807 OPS).
Technically speaking, the Braves are a woeful 1-10 in Teheran’s last 11 home starts, 1-6 in his last seven starts versus teams with a losing record (0-4 L/4 at home) and 0-10 in his last ten home starts with a total between 7 and 8.5 runs.
Atlanta is also 3-25 at home with a total of 7.5 runs or less, 2-9 as a favorite of -150 or less, 16-35 during game 3 of a series, 27-63 following a loss, 17-44 versus National League West foes, 9-23 versus right-handed starters and 8-22 in its last 30 home games versus teams with a losing road record.
With Colorado standing at 10-1 in the last eleven meetings in this series, take the Rockies behind arguably the better starting pitcher and invest with confidence.