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Tuesday’s Free Sports Pick from Oskeim Sports – June 11, 2013

Colorado Rockies (-141) over Washington Nationals

Investment Advice: Please list both Dan Haren and Jhoulys Chacin

Analysis: Washington right-hander Dan Haren is allowing a league-worst 2.0 home runs per nine innings pitched this season, and a trip to Coors Field is the last venue Haren wants to find himself in at the moment.  Indeed, Haren is 4-7 with a 5.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 2013, including going 1-5 with a 5.30 ERA and 1.26 WHIP on the road, 2-6 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP at night and 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over his last three starts.  Haren’s struggles have only increased over his last five outings wherein he has gone 1-4 with a 5.83 ERA, including yielding seven home runs.  Haren’s poor results are predicated upon a career-low 33% groundball rate, together with a career-high 45% fly ball rate.  And, taking the mound at Coors Field (+55% LHB HR; +26% RHB HR) is the last place Haren wants to be pitching.

Colorado enters tonight’s game with an explosive offense that is batting .282 with a .338 on base percentage this season (5.4 runs per game), including hitting .276 with a .330 on base percentage versus right-handed starters (5.1 runs per game) and .307 with a .344 on base percentage over the last seven contests (6.0 runs per game).  Haren has also struggled in Colorado where he has allowed a combined 12 earned runs on 20 hits and 8 home runs in his last two starts (11.7 IP).  Washington also arrives in town with a pedestrian bullpen that owns a 4.66 ERA and 1.34 WHIP on the road and a 4.27 ERA and 1.28 WHIP at night.  From a technical standpoint, Haren is a money-burning 16-26 (-20.5 units) over the last two seasons, including 10-19 (-16.5 units) at night, 13-21 (-17.2 units) following a win and 10-18 (-15.1 units) in the first half of the season.

Meanwhile, Washington possesses an anemic offense that is batting just .234 with a .289 on base percentage this season (3.5 runs per game), including hitting .212 with a .269 on base percentage on the road (3.1 runs per game), .239 with a .292 on base percentage at night (3.5 runs per game) and .235 with a .289 on base percentage versus right-handed starters (3.4 runs per game).  And, while Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin has certainly struggled since returning from the disabled list, he has been victimized by negative variance.  Specifically, Chacin is stranding only 61% of base runners this season, which is significantly lower than his career average of 72.5%.  The other good news for Chacin is the fact that he takes the hill with a 50% groundball rate, which is extremely important for hurlers in Colorado (by comparison, Haren has a 33% GB%).  Chacin is also supported by an underrated Colorado bullpen that owns a 3.22 ERA and 1.23 WHIP this season, including a 2.92 ERA and 1.13 WHIP at night and a 3.23 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at night.

With Colorado standing at 25-16 (+8.8 units) versus right-handed starters this season, take the Rockies and invest with confidence.

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