Many fantasy sports players predicted a solid 2014 campaign for Los Angeles right-hander Garrett Richards, and the 26-year-old hurler has not disappointed. In fact, Richards is 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season, including going 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.98 WHIP on the road, 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.16 WHIP at night and 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over his last three outings. In the month of June, Richards has been untouchable, going 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA while holding opponents to a .178 batting average.
Following his last outing, Richards now ranks in the top 10 in the American League in ERA (8th; 2.76), WHIP (7th; 1.12), strikeouts (8th; 99) and opponents’ batting average 2nd; .203). The Sabermetrics also support Richards as he is eighth in the A.L. in wins above replacement (2.4) and seventh in defense-independent ERA (2.92). Richards’ peripheral numbers are further supported by a 3.25 FIP, a 3.42 xFIP and a 3.51 SIERA. “There’s still another half of baseball to play after the All-Star Game, so that’s kind of what I’m worried about,” Richards said after his last start, in which he gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Twins on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chicago starter Hector Noesi has been extremely inconsistent this season, going 2-4 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. While the 27-year-old has struggled at home with a 4.73 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, he has performed well under the evening lights, going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Noesi’s struggles at U.S. Cellular Field are not surprising in light of his 38% groundball rate. Let’s also note that Noesi is 0-1 with a career 6.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP versus the Angels, and his underlying metrics leave little to be desired – 4.29 xFIP and 4.24 SIERA.
However, since being claimed off waivers by the White Sox, Noesi has lowered his season ERA from 14.21 to 5.07. In his last outing, he limited the Orioles to two runs in seven innings but had to settle for a no-decision. The Angels swept a home series against the White Sox earlier this season, and despite having lost 11 of their last 15 road contests, Los Angeles has won six of its last eight in Chicago.
For the trend-lovers out there, Los Angeles is a profitable 22-5 (+18.1 units) versus teams with a win percentage between .460 and .490. In contrast, the White Sox are a woeful 14-33 (-18.9 units) following two or more consecutive wins so they cannot be relied upon to maintain a winning streak. Those trends are just the tip of the iceberg:
- Los Angeles is 13-5 in its L/18 games vs. A.L. Central opponents;
- Los Angeles is 23-9 in its L/32 games following a loss;
- Los Angeles is 39-16 in its L/55 games vs. teams with a losing record;
- Los Angeles is 8-1 in Richards’ L/9 starts vs. teams with a losing record;
- Los Angeles is 20-6 in Richards’ L/26 starts as a favorite;
- Los Angeles is 6-0 in Richards’ L/6 starts as a road favorite;
- Chicago is 8-17 in its L/25 home games vs. .501 or greater opposition
The only concern for Los Angeles bettors is the status of Albert Pujols, who has a swollen lymph gland near his groin. “It’s one of those glands that kind of grabbed something,” Pujols said. “It’s fine. They’re not too concerned about it. I don’t feel it when I’m hitting. The first time I felt it was when I was running. It’s been a couple of days.” Assuming Pujols is in the lineup Monday, Pro Edge Sports likes the road favorite as our free pick.