Welcome to Ronnie’s 3 Ups and 3 Downs! This column looks at some fascinating matchups and facts that might pique the interest of the reader as that day’s games are reviewed. This is my attempt at creating compelling thought on any given day.
On the rebound after a terrible start, Winker has been on fire in the last week. He owns a 53.3% HC in his last 17 PA en route to a .357/.471/.1.000 batting line. He’s amassed 14 total bases in his last 5 games all on just a .286 BABIP.
Walker Buehler is the pitcher for the Dodgers as the Reds are away in Los Angeles. Buehler averages 97.1 mph on his fourseam that he throws 53.3% of the time. Winker this season has a 102 OPS+ against fastballs 96+ mph.
Phegley (pronounced FEG-lee) is off to the best start of his career. He’s batting .325/.341/.600 with a 154 OPS+ and a .275 ISO in 45 PA on the year. In the last 7 days he is leading the Majors with a 54.5% LD. His opponent today is Houston left hander Wade Miley. This is particularly advantageous for Phagley as he has a career .431 wOBA against left handed pitching.
Control has been the issue for Wacha this year. He’s striking out batters at 10.0/9 but he’s walking 7.7/9. Missing over the plate has lead him to give up 4 home runs in 15.1 innings. Most of that damage, however, came in his last two starts. In those starts he gave up 3 of his 4 home runs and 9 of his 13 walks. His first start of the season, against the Brewers, was a fine performance. In that game he pitched 6 innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits with 7 strikeouts.
That might be do to his offspeed pitches. In that game he had his lowes fastball usage at 39.6% while throwing mostly his changeup (21.9%) and cutter (20.8%). That cutter in particular happens to be the weak point for the Brewers this year as they own a -2.7 wFC as a crew. Look for Wacha to bounce back today with solid outing.
Crawford has been absolutely terrible lately. In his last 18 PA he has only a single and four walks for a -15 sOPS+. In that span he’s struck out more times (6) than he’s been on base (4) and when he does put the ball in play he has the leagues highest 83.3% GB over the last week.
His opponent today, Jeremy Hellickson, is off to a great start with a 213 ERA+ through his first 8 innings on the year. At this point in his career Hellickson relies heavily on his sinker which he throws 48.1% of the time. Crawford has a -0.8 wSI over the last two seasons.
The Phillies outfielder started hot this year but has trailed off as of late. Since April 9 Herrera has played 6 games making 28 PA. In that time he has just a 10.0% LD and is making 50.0% SC. It should be no surprise then that he has a .032 ISO and a .219 wOBA in that time. Zack Wheeler pitches today against the Phillies. Wheeler is inducing ground balls at a 48.9% rate on the season.
This is just the worst possible matchup for Arrieta. The 2015 Cy Young winner is looking much like his former self this season. Through 20 innings on the year he’s struck out 15 batters while pitching to a 206 ERA+. The problem with this game is that Arrieta throws a ton of sinkers, he throws them 55.1% of the time to be exact, the 3rd highest rate in the Majors. He takes the hill today against the New York Mets, a team that is third in the Majors with a 9.8 wSI.