Interleague Battle Set for Wrigley Field: Texas vs. Chicago

Jul 15, 2016

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Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks toes the rubber with a 2.51 ERA and 1.03 WHIP this season, together with a 1.56 ERA and 0.80 WHIP at home and a 1.06 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over his last three starts. The 26-year-old is also 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in seven day starts and posted a 1.08 ERA in his final four outings (plus 1 relief appearance) going into the All-Star break.

Hendricks has especially excelled within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.67 ERA in 54.0 innings (9 outings). That unparalleled success at home is supported by a 2.45 FIP and a 3.16 xFIP, together with a 23.7% K%, a 3.4% BB% and a 20.3% K-BB%.

Hendricks also boasts an impressive 0.33 HR/9 rate at home this season, which supports the growing belief among baseball insiders that he rarely makes mistakes.  The underrated hurler should continue his success before the home faithful at Wrigley Field this afternoon.

Hendricks now faces a Texas lineup that is averaging just 4.6 runs per game on the road (.299 OBP) and 3.7 runs per game in interleague play (.282 OBP; .685 OPS). Let’s also note that the Cubs are a profitable 21-8 in Hendricks’ last 29 home starts, 11-4 in his last 15 home starts versus teams with a winning record and 4-0 in his last four outings overall.

It’s hard to believe that Texas southpaw Martin Perez was considered a top-50 prospect entering the 2012 season. The 25-year-old posted a 4.46 ERA in 2015 and survived due to a 5% home run per fly ball rate, which was well below his career rate of 9%.

Perez struck out just 14% of the batters he faced last season, while walking 7%. Out of 190 pitchers with 70+ innings in 2015, only 27 allowed batters to put the ball in play more than Perez!

Any hope of a career resurrection in 2016 has been lost to a 4.88 FIP, a 4.95 xFIP and a 5.35 SIERA. Even more alarming is the fact that Perez owns an even worse 11.3% K%, a 10.0% BB% and a 1.3% K-BB% this season. In short, Perez is an unqualified disaster, especially on the road where he owns a 5.23 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.99 FIP and a 5.10 xFIP in 53.1 innings.

Add to those woefully inadequate numbers his 3.88 K/9 rate and 4.22 BB/9 rate on foreign soil and it’s hard to imagine a scenario under which Perez escapes Wrigley Field unscathed.

I should also note that Perez currently owns a career-low .270 BABIP despite having a career-high 31.8% hard-hit rate allowed. In short, Perez is a prime regression candidate throughout the second half and will be lucky to be in the Rangers’ starting rotation come September.

Finally, Chicago is 51-24 in its last 75 games at Wrigley Field, 26-12 in its last 38 games versus left-handed starters and 61-25 in its last 86 games versus starting pitchers with a WHIP greater than 1.30.

With Chicago standing at 24-9 (+13.2 units) when Hendricks takes the mound in the second half of the season over the last three years, take the Cubs at Wrigley Field and invest with confidence.