Here we are at the end of the 2013 regular season, and the postseason is set to get started! Join us today at Bang the Book, as we break down some of the best and some of the worst money pitchers in the game in MLB betting action, and that should lead you to victory in the most pivotal games of the season.
Zack Greinke (+$1,498) – The Dodgers know that they are going to be in the main portion of the playoffs, and in all likelihood, they’ll be counting on Greinke to start Game 2 in Atlanta. Good move. The team went 22-6 in his 28 starts this year, and the team is only going to really be making the effort to take one out of two games against the Braves at Turner Field to flip home field advantage. In the other games scheduled at Turner Field will be Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch Game 1 and Game 5 if necessary. There’s a reason that LA is one of the biggest favorites right now on the MLB betting lines, and Greinke is just a piece to that puzzle.
Max Scherzer (+$1,350) – The 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner is going to be on the Tigers, but it isn’t going to be Justin Verlander (more on him in a minute). Scherzer was certainly one of the best pitchers in the game this year. We don’t know what’s more impressive about him. The righty won 21 games this year and posted a 2.90 ERA. However, he also was only beaten three times, and two of those losses came in consecutive starts to kick off the month of September. Still, with 240 strikeouts and those 21 victories, Scherzer is a man that isn’t going to be stopped all that often. He’ll pitch one of the two games in Oakland for sure, where he will put his 25-7 mark on the line for the year.
Matt Moore (+$1,295) – We still aren’t all that sure if we are going to see Moore in these playoffs or not. He would presumably start Game 1 against the Red Sox if Tampa Bay was to get that far. The Rays are in some trouble having to go to Cleveland for the Wild Card game, but they proved that they might have the best starting staff in the league when David Price went the distance. Moore led Tampa Bay to a 21-6 mark in the regular season, including winning Game 162 against the Blue Jays to help put the team into a position to get to Game 163. Moore has one playoff start under his belt in his career, and he completely befuddled the Rangers in the opening game of the 2011 playoffs.
Ubaldo Jimenez (+$1,263) – Right behind Moore is Jimenez, who really salvaged his career this year with the Indians. The question here with this righty is whether this six-game winning streak to end the regular season was legit or not. Sure, Jimenez led his team to 21 wins this season, but he also only personally went 13-9. The Indians were good enough to pick him up, but of the pitchers that we have listed thus far, this is clearly the one that we would want to count on the least. Just like Moore, Jimenez will only get a chance to pitch if the Tribe win the Wild Card game on Wednesday.
Clay Buchholz (+$1,130) – Buchholz only made 16 starts this year, but he made the most of those starts, leading Boston to a 14-2 record in those games. This was really a resurgent year for Buchholz, who was one of the many starting pitchers who struggled under Manager Bobby Valentine last season. Since coming off of a three-month stint on the DL, Buchholz is 3-1 in his four starts, and he has allowed just a total of five earned runs in 24 innings of work. Is he ready to be a top of the rotation starter, though? We might find out as early as Friday.
Bartolo Colon (+$922) – Colon might not have the best stuff in the world, and he might not have the ability to throw nine full innings any longer, but he knows what his limitations are and makes the most out of them. The righty is 40 years old now, but he had one of the best years of his career this season by going 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA. The key? Colon only walked 29 batters. Even if he is juiced up, those steroids aren’t putting better location on your pitches, and you have to have pinpoint accuracy to only walk 29 men in 190.1 innings of work.
And then on the flip side…
Justin Verlander (-$2,151) – There was no pitcher in the bigs this year that was more disappointing than Verlander. He only went 13-12, he only pitched 218.1 innings of work, he walked 75 batters, and his 217 strikeouts were just far too low. About 95% of the pitchers on this planet would love numbers like that, but for Verlander, the highest paid pitcher in the game, it isn’t good enough. For bettors, the righty was even worse, as he was crushed this year as a massive favorite time and time again, and he is the only pitcher to lose over $2,000 in profits. That said, we know that Manager Jim Leyland is going to be trotting Verlander out to the mound in either Game 1 or Game 2 this week against Oakland, and he is going to have to cross his fingers that things are going to go well.
David Price (-$746) – There’s obviously a big difference here between Verlander and Price monetarily speaking, but it is still clearly worthwhile to mention that this lefty lost money this year. Price was an ugly short favorite against the Rangers in Game 163 on the road, and he proved his worth, tossing a complete game and giving up just two runs. Still, that wasn’t his best start by any stretch of the imagination, and he really didn’t have fantastic accuracy with his pitches. Coming off of a game where he threw nearly 120 pitches, it will be interesting to see how he gets slotted into the rotation if the Rays get to the ALDS against the Red Sox.
Michael Wacha (-$680) – Manager Mike Matheny still hasn’t tipped his hand as to whether he is going to be using Wacha as a starter in the postseason or not. The righty did go 4-1 this year with a 2.78 ERA, and his last start was a gem that nearly resulted in a no-hitter against the Nationals. However, he only rejoined the rotation in September, and even then, St. Louis only went 2-3 and lost $264 in those games. Buyer beware on Wacha for sure.
Clayton Kershaw (-$642) – Kershaw led the Dodgers to a 19-14 record this year, and though that is good for most, it wasn’t good enough for a man that is going to win the Cy Young Award. This is a nasty dichotomy for sure. On one hand, the southpaw is the best pitcher in baseball. He had a 1.83 ERA with 232 strikeouts and 52 walks in 236 innings of work, and no one touched him up for hardly anything all year long. Take out games against Colorado and San Diego, and Kershaw allowed more than two runs exactly twice all season long. However, on the flip side, the offense really hasn’t done him any favors, and for a man that is consistently at least a -180 favorite, especially while pitching at home, the results could prove to be completely damning. So far, it’s been more damning than rewarding for Kershaw in spite of the fact that he is going to waltz to the Cy Young Award.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.