Stacking offenses in MLB against Pitchers can be like playing a dating game. We’re looking for a perfect match every time. Sometimes one party (the Pitcher) looks due for regression, giving up hard-hits everywhere but running into luck with those hits finding fielder’s gloves. Sometimes an offense is slapping the ball all over the field but experiencing the same bad luck. And when those two matchup, there will be times when their good or bad luck will just continue for one more day and the past does not end up predicting the future.
I’ll give a prime example of how this plays out. Last Sunday, June 6th, in this very space my featured offense to stack up was the Chicago White Sox facing off against Detroit Tigers hurler Jose Urena. At the time, Urena had been giving up too many fly balls for his usual (he’s a ground ball heavy pitcher), over 50% hard contact in his past few starts, and he had not given up a run his last few times out either. What happened on June 6th though? The White Sox scored 3 runs on 6 hits and Urena logged 5 Innings pitched, giving up all 3 runs and 6 hits while walking 2 batters and striking out only 1.
Fast forward to yesterday when the same matchup presented itself. The White Sox against the Tigers and Urena. What was the outcome? Urena threw only 1.2 innings, gave up 7 earned runs, walked 3 batters, struck out 1, and served up 1 home run. The White Sox scored 15 runs on the day and won some tournaments for those who stacked them up.
Same matchup, 6 days apart, totally different outcomes. I bring this up because it’s a worthy reflection. Trust your analysis, let the data guide you on where to focus, and let the outcomes play out how they will. Sometimes we’ll be a day early, sometimes a day late. Either way, the beauty is in the fun of finding a perfect match on the perfect Sunday.
Let’s get right into it for today!
I’ll start this week again with data. Leaders in different categories over a shortened timeframe because I’d like to remove bias and see what and where we should hone in.
Possible Pitchers to Stack Against (stats over last 14 days):
Notes: Lucchesi looks like an interesting case against the Padres today. His fly balls allowed and SIERA-ERA lead the main slate pitchers. I get the feeling Pablo Lopez may draw some ownership with his low ERA on the season and the Braves haven’t been firing on all cylinders offensively since losing Marcel Ozuna. But buyer beware on Lopez with his high HH + Barrel % allowed recently. The matchup between Wacha and Zimmermann (BAL/TB) is an interesting game stack today. Both pitchers are giving up hard-hits, walking a bunch of guys, and their SIERA to ERA ratio looks due for some regression.
Team Offense (stats over last 14 days):
Notes: The Padres ranking third on the HH% with their matchup with Lucchesi and the Mets today looks even more enticing now. The Phillies have the perfect matchup in Yankee Stadium, the ballpark which is very willing to concede home runs to any team willing to hit a lot of fly balls. Finally, the Red Sox matchup with Robbie Ray and Toronto today, Ray has served up plenty of Home Runs in his day and Boston’s offense is good enough to get out of the bottom five for HR/FB lately.
Top 25 Hitters with the highest HH rate (over the past 7 days, minimum 10 at-bats):
Notes: Tommy Pham is crushing the balls, but on the ground and via line drives. A matchup with fly-ball friendly Lucchesi could be fun today. Yasmani Grandal is still on a total bender and his HR/FB is coming down recently. If Jose Abreu can hit anything in the air, he would also be thrown into my Home Run pool for today…76% HH rate but ony 5% fly balls. That will correct itself soon. Christian Yelich is my favorite HR bet for the day as his stats look primed to get one over the wall. Finally, I’ll note Eric Hosmer and Fernando Tatis Jr. in the above. If we count Pham and Brian O’Grady (who probably won’t be in today’s lineup) that’s 4 Padres out of 25 hitters in what looks to be my favorite stack of the day.
So, who are we stacking?
As noted above, Lucchesi is giving up a lot of fly balls and the Padres as a team are hitting the ball very hard. The problem is San Diego is LAST in the MLB in ISO percentage over the past 14 days. We have to believe that gets better. It looks like today is a great time to start.
Here’s how the rest of their lineup has fared lately…before looking below I’ll also note a tidbit I threw in the MLB Discord channel last week: The Padres have stolen 21 more bases this season than the team in second (Kansas City). The difference between SD and KCR (21) is the same distance as the Royals to the 18th-place team (Angels). Those are free points if you can get them.
It’s also worth noting Trent Grisham doesn’t qualify for the above table with less than 10 ABs, but he’s back now off the Injured List. From above, Wil Myers is the only Padre with a less than stellar profile (only 14% HH). If O’Grady cracks the lineup, you have my word he’ll be my Alen Hanson today (for new readers: Hanson = player who I barely know, could not tell you what he looks like, but for that reason maybe carries my future lineup to the top #variance).
In writing this article upside down, I’ll close with some general thoughts. The main slate today overall presents many options, especially for hitters. As of this writing, the implied live totals for 5 offenses are over 5 runs (Reds, White Sox, Astros, Blue Jays, Brewers) and there’s another 6 with totals above 4.5 (San Diego is not one of these offenses). The top pitchers are clearly Bieber and Rodon, but Ray has actually been in the best form lately, albeit it with a worse matchup against Boston. The best possible game stacks that I would rank are BAL/TB, COL/CIN, and SF/WAS.
Reminder to check out the starting lineups before lock as Sundays will always be rest days! Embrace today’s variance and good luck! I’ll see you all at the top!