Oskeim Sports Major League Baseball Preview & Best Bet

May 17, 2015

Sep 9, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) pitches against the New York Yankees during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer continues to possess one of the elite arms in baseball as he toes the rubber this afternoon with a 2.59 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 2015. Archer is also 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.80 WHIP on the road and 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 0.61 WHIP in day games. More importantly, Archer’s underlying metrics fully support his breakout campaign:

Chris Archer’s 2015 Metrics:

2.62 FIP & 2.72 xFIP
2.77 SIERA
10.73 K/9 & 2.77 BB/9
0.55 HR/9 & 54.6% GB%

I also like the fact that Archer is a perfect 3-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 0.76 WHIP versus the Twins, including allowing just one earned run over his last 18.3 innings pitched against Minnesota. That success should continue today against a Minnesota lineup that struggles against right-handed pitchers, batting just .230 with a .278 on base percentage (3.1 runs per game) this season. The Twins also struggle to hit ground ball pitchers, and that is precisely what they are facing today as Archer boasts a 54.6% GB%.

Meanwhile, Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson takes the mound owning impressive peripheral statistics. The 27-year-old hurler is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season, including going 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 0.96 WHIP at home and 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over his last three starts. However, Gibson is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in two afternoon starts this season and never had success against Tampa Bay.

Indeed, Gibson is 0-3 with a career 9.98 ERA and 1.96 WHIP versus the Rays, including yielding 13 earned runs on nineteen hits in his last 9.3 innings of work against Tampa Bay. More importantly, Gibson’s underlying metrics suggest significant regression in the immediate future:

Kyle Gibson’s 2015 Metrics:

4.52 FIP & 4.88 xFIP
5.15 SIERA
3.53 K/9 & 3.12 BB/9
.252 BABIP & 81.4% LOB% (both unsustainable)

In short, Gibson is fool’s gold. The team’s respective bullpens are also heading in opposite directions. Tampa Bay relievers own a 1.99 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over the last seven games, whereas the Twins’ bullpen owns a 5.40 ERA and 1.85 WHIP over that span. From a technical standpoint, Tampa Bay is 10-2 in Archer’s last twelve road starts, including 5-1 as a road favorite. In contrast, the Twins are a money-burning 2-10 in Gibson’s last twelve starts versus teams with a winning record, 0-5 versus American League East foes and 5-16 following a quality start in his last appearance.

With Tampa Bay standing at 15-5 in the last twenty meetings in this series, including 9-3 at Target Field, take the Rays as Oskeim Sports Best Bet and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports Best Bet: Tampa Bay Rays (-123)