Colorado (Chatwood) at Minnesota (Berrios) -127 O/U 8.5
I don’t normally get involved with Game 2 of a doubleheader from a service standpoint, in large part because of the inability to gauge the effects of Game 1 on the two bullpens. But this game stands out as an exception to my basic ‘no doubleheaders’ rule for two reasons. First, we want to be on Jose Berrios RIGHT NOW, before the markets catch up. Second, both bullpens should be in decent shape after yesterday’s rainout.
Let’s start with Berrios who led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2015. Last year, he dominated at Triple-A but struggled mightily in his transition to the majors; only notching an 8.2% swinging strike rate while nibbling around the corners instead of challenging hitters with his best stuff. The end result was downright ugly: 14 starts, an 8.02 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP, with the Twins going 3-11 in those games. Berrios stuff wasn’t the problem. His ability to harness his nasty stuff effectively was.
Well, that was last year. Berrios opened this season dominating Triple-A hitters again in April to the tune of a 1.13 ERA. His control problem appeared solved, walking only eight batters in 39.2 innings. And his pitch counts were way down, lasting six innings or more in every start but one. Then Berrios got called up last week and pitched an absolute gem; allowing only two hits in 7.2 innings of work against the defending AL Champs, while walking only one batter.
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor: “You've got to be excited about what we saw out of Jose. He knows he had to fight to get back up here, and he attacked their hitters and limited the damage."
Last year, there was plenty of hype surrounding Berrios as he reached the big leagues, a highly touted prospect for years as he worked his way up through the Twins system. But bettors got burned repeatedly supporting him. The end result? There’s nowhere near the level of hype surrounding Minnesota’s potential ace here in 2017, which offers us a relatively cheap price to get involved supporting Berrios today. And with his newfound ability to last deeper into games, I worry much less about the state of the Minnesota bullpen than I do for other starters.
The Rockies offense is ‘hit or miss’. Over the past week, they’ve scored seven or more three times, and been held to three or less four times. Colorado will feast on weak pitching, for sure, but the better starters can mow them down. And with Tyler Chatwood struggling – only two quality starts in eight tries this season; allowing four runs or more in four of his last five trips to the hill, look for Minnesota to emerge victorious in Game 2 of this doubleheader.