Pittsburgh (Cole) -120 at Atlanta (Foltynewicz) O/U 8.5
It’s impossible not to like the personal results Pittsburgh's Garrett Cole has posted thus far this season, especially if you subtract his Opening Day start at Boston. He has now recorded eight consecutive quality starts which have produced these numbers: 0.96 WHIP, 2.25 ERA, 4.36:1 K:BB ratio and 15.0 pitches per inning. The latter is very impressive (5 of the 8 starts have been below 15.0) because it indicates Cole has been able to get through a majority of his innings pretty economically. Every opponent he has faced during this stretch ranks in MLB’s Top 15 in OPS (Atlanta, St. Louis Cubs twice, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Arizona & Washington), five are in the Top 10 and only once has he allowed more than two earned runs. That start was against the Braves back on April 9th in his second start of the season when he went six innings, allowed eight hits (2 HR) three earned runs. It should be noted that three of the eight hits he allowed (1B/2B/HR) were to Atlanta's Freddie Freeman who is now on the DL.
While it’s easy to take on glance and immediately praise Cole’s statistics, you have to dig just slightly to come up with similar praise for tonight’s Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. His numbers overall are skewed by a pair of tough starts but his last six starts have seen five brilliant ones sandwiched around a brutal one. Minus out Foltynewicz’s four inning, seven earned run debacle on May 5th against St. Louis and you have five starts which are all quality and show a 1.00 WHIP, 2.25 ERA, 3.2:1 K:BB ratio and 15.2 PPI. The results are almost mirror images of Cole’s with the exception of the K:BB ratio. He has one start versus Pittsburgh this year where he lasted only 3.2 innings but gave up just two runs.
Offensively there is a major gap between these teams and the lack of Pirates offense is what has caused Cole to be just 2-4 on the season with three no decisions. That lack offense (MLB OPS rankings of 27th Total at .672 / 29th vs RHP .665 & 29th on the road .649) figures to help Foltynewicz tonight. Cole will be glad to not see Freeman in the lineup especially since he’s held newly acquired replacement 1B Matt Adams to 2/14 .143 with five strikeouts in their matchups. Home plate umpire is unknown at this time but factors here suggest a play on the under 8.5.