New York Faces the Phillies in Afternoon Clash

Jul 30, 2014


New York right-hander Zack Wheeler is one of the most underrated young arms in baseball as the 24-year-old toes the rubber this afternoon with a 3.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 21 starts this season. Wheeler also boasts a 2.42 ERA and 1.13 WHIP versus division opponents and a 1.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over his last three outings. “I think I just found a good rhythm,” Wheeler said. “I was able to repeat on the mechanics, and that’s really the biggest thing for me is just repeating everything and being able to try to get ahead of guys earlier in the count and try to keep them away a little bit faster.”

Let’s also note that Wheeler owns a 2.55 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in three career starts against the Phillies. I also like the fact that Wheeler is supported by a very good New York bullpen that owns a 3.13 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 2014, including a 3.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in day games and a 2.95 ERA and 1.32 WHIP versus division opponents. Finally, Wheeler’s peripheral statistics are fully supported by advanced analytics:

Zack Wheeler’s Metrics:

  • 3.38 xFIP & 3.47 SIERA in 2014
  • 3.47 xFIP & 3.25 FIP at home
  • 3.45 xFIP & 3.07 FIP in June
  • 2.95 xFIP & 3.68 FIP in July
  • 2.49 xFIP & 3.84 FIP in the second half

Meanwhile, Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick’s skill set is worse than pedestrian as the 29-year-old takes the mound with a 4.86 ERA and 1.34 WHIP this season, including a 5.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP on the road, a 5.60 ERA and 1.31 WHIP versus division opponents, a 5.98 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in day games and a 7.71 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over his last three starts. Lazy handicappers will cite the fact that Kendrick is 8-6 with a career 3.36 ERA versus the Mets, but that statistic is completely irrelevant in that Kendrick is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA over his last three outings against New York. Kendrick’s underlying metrics also raise significant red flags:

Kyle Kendrick’s Metrics:

  • 4.34 xFIP & 4.39 SIERA in 2014
  • 4.52 xFIP & 4.66 FIP on the road
  • 4.48 xFIP & 5.24 FIP in July
  • 4.76 xFIP & 4.91 FIP in the second half

Kendrick also finds little support in the Philadelphia bullpen where its relievers own a 3.90 ERA and 1.29 WHIP this season, including a 6.61 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over the last seven games. From a technical standpoint, New York is a profitable 31-20 (+15.1 units) versus teams with a losing record and 22-13 (+11.1 units) in day games, while Wheeler is 8-1 (+8.5 units) in the month of July and 11-5 (+8.8 units) versus teams who strike out seven or more times per game over the last two seasons. I skipped the offensive numbers for both teams simply because neither squad can hit the ball so it’s a wash in that category. Take New York to win its ninth home game in 11 tries and invest with confidence.