Rogers Centre is sometimes grouped in with the “joke stadium” crowd for being a park that is very hitter friendly. It sure looked that way on Friday, too, with eight home runs flying out when the Jays and Rays did battle (8-5 final).
However, a recent article by Rob Pettapiece at Baseball Prospectus shed light on an interesting conclusion – Rogers Centre primarily plays “up” in seasonal numbers because the retractable roof prevents games from being played at cold temperatures. It takes any poor conditioned game and makes it 72 and sunny.
This afternoon, the Dome is likely to be closed unless I get a nice change in weather fortunes as I head out to the game. So with Mark Buehrle and Jeremy Hellickson on the mound, is today a good day to pick Rays or Jays?
Well, yes, but that’s because of the pitcher and hitter quality in question more than the stadium. Sure, the roof is preventing a potential rain out today, but it’s also lowering the game time temperature. Yes, there were eight knocks in last night’s game but that was also the only time in the past four years where more than even five homers have been hit in a single game.
Ugly stadium? Yes. Joke hitter stadium? Not really. Proceed accordingly.
The Daily Five
Paul Maholm – $9,696
Paul Maholm and all day Paul Maholm, what a discount! Maholm comes in as the ninth cheapest starting option on the slate despite the fact that he’s playing the Chicago White Sox, a team that can’t hit lefties (.279 wOBA), strikes out a fair amount against them (19.7%) and will be further hampered by an 11 MPH wind blowing in from left field. Maholm, meanwhile, has suffered from an ugly HR/FB rate (14%) but still managed a 3.98 ERA and strong peripherals. A lot of groundballs, an acceptable strikeout rate and barely any walks – that’s a winning formula, especially against this team.
Corey Kluber – $13,363
I can’t quite you, Kluber. Kluber checks in at the median price among starters in a pretty favourable situation as the Twins are ho-hum against righties and strikeout 20.8% of the time against them. Target Field has a light breeze blowing in from left to help matters and rain is expected only early in the day, stopping before game time and lessening the risk of cancellation. Kluber has been very good, which is also important. He has a 3.88 ERA and even better DIPS thanks to his obscene K:BB ratio (closing in on 5:1) and has been felled only my the long-ball, something the Twins are below-average at.
Nelson Cruz – $7,416
Miguel Gonzalez has been pretty good this year, but I have trouble trusting a fly-ball pitcher who doesn’t miss a lot of bats, in Texas, with the wind creating a jet stream effect. Dial up the power-hitting Cruz, a righty (Gonzalez has reverse-splits this year) who should produce if his migraines have cleared – double check the starting line-up and downgrade to his replacement, if necessary.
Matt Adams – $8,269
Edinson Volquez has been getting bled to death this year, posting a 5.74 ERA despite a decent HR/FB ratio and limiting fly balls. He’s probably undervalued in his own right, but I’m of the mind a pitcher needs to show me correction is coming before I assume it to be true. Volquez has allowed nearly a .400 wOBA against lefties, so enter Matt Adams, one of the more inexpensive Cardinals.
Chase Utley – $7,971
Zack Wheeler’s gotta show me something before I avoid him on reputation. The 5.23 FIP and xFIP, thanks mostly to walking too many batters, intrigue me. The 90-degree game time temperature with a huge 14MPH wind to right field also intrigue me, and I’m not worried about the 30% chance of rain because of the early start time. Every Phillie is cheap today but grab Utley due to the relative positional scarcity (Domonic Brown would be a fine play, too, albeit a more boom-or-bust proposition).
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