Christian Walker

Christian Walker

1B - ARI
Height: 6-0
Weight: 208 lbs
Age: 33
Arizona Diamondbacks

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The ScoreDiamondbacks to feast on Rockies' Freeland

Find year-round coverage of betting news and insights for all sports by visiting our Betting section and subscribing to push notifications.We have an exciting 13-game slate on the docket to begin the week. Let's waste no time in getting to our best bets.Diamondbacks (-185) @ Rockies (+155)The Diamondbacks opened the season with a four-game set against the Rockies and beat them into the ground, winning 32-15 on aggregate.I expect this game to be rather one-sided as well, particularly early on. Led by Ketel Marte and Christian Walker, the Diamondbacks mash left-handed pitching. They're hitting .319 with a .344 xwOBA and 81.1% contact rate, ranking third or higher in each category.Now they're drawing a struggling lefty - Kyle Freeland - in the most hitter-friendly environment MLB offers: Coors Field.Freeland has thrown as many called balls as strikes. He has an astronomically high barrel rate of 16.1% and sports an xwOBA above .500. You'd be hard-pressed to find a starter with worse numbers.The Diamondbacks lit up Freeland when they played earlier this season, generating 10 runs in fewer than three innings of work.I wouldn't expect that level of offense again, but it's possible given how well the Diamondbacks are hitting lefties and considering Freeland's struggles.Arizona should be able to plate at least a few runs over the first five innings. If that happens, they have a great chance of cashing in on an early lead with Zac Gallen on the mound.Gallen is one of the best starters in baseball, and only five teams own a worse xwOBA versus righties than the Rockies. It'll be very difficult for them to keep up offensively.Expect the Diamondbacks to get to Freeland early and often and earn a lead through five innings - likely by multiple runs.Odds: -125 (playable to -140)Blake Snell: Under 6.5 strikeouts Snell was a lethal strikeout pitcher last season. He piled up 7.3 strikeouts per start while throwing just under an average of 100 pitches.He didn't make any rehab starts after signing with the Giants and has only thrown in scrimmages and simulated games. He's expected to carry a pitch count in the ballpark of 70.Seven strikeouts is an awful lot to ask for someone who averaged that number throwing 25-30 more pitches than he'll get in this game.Even if Snell isn't rusty and hits his spots, this is a difficult matchup for him to hit his ceiling.The Nationals have struck out just over 19% of the time against left-handed pitchers, one of the lowest marks in the league. They posted a 17.6 K% against lefties last season, so it's not as if their results are unsustainable.With Snell on a pitch count against a disciplined offense, it'll be difficult for him to match the efficiency he produced last season.Odds: -125 (playable to -160)Mitch Keller: Over 5.5 strikeoutsKeller averaged 6.56 strikeouts per start in 2023 and exceeded 5.5 Ks over 60% of the time.He's 0-for-2 to start the season, but both of his starts were against teams outside the top 15 in strikeout rate.Keller still managed to post some encouraging numbers beneath the hood. He generated swinging strikes on more than 14% of his pitches, good for third among all of the day's projected starters.The Tigers have done a much better job at avoiding strikeouts thus far, but that likely has a lot to do with the level of competition faced. As far as right-handed starters go, the Tigers have faced Joe Boyle, Paul Blackburn, Adrian Houser, Erick Fedde, and Michael Soroka. That batch isn't exactly known for throwing strikes.Keller is a big step up in class. I expect him to put forth his best strikeout performance of the campaign while clearing this number for the first time of many.Odds: -125 (playable to -140)Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.Copyright © 2024 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Monday, Apr 8, 2024

The ScoreSkubal, Tigers to start fast vs. White Sox on Opening Day

Find year-round coverage of betting news and insights for all sports by visiting our Betting section and subscribing to push notifications.Opening Day has finally arrived and all 30 teams will be in action. Let's take a look at a couple of ways to attack a monstrous slate.Tigers (-175) @ White Sox (+150)The White Sox look to be in for another miserable season. Their offense was horrendous a year ago, outscoring only the Athletics on a per-game basis. They made no meaningful additions to improve their attack and are starting with an extremely difficult matchup against dark horse Cy Young candidate Tarik Skubal.Skubal was nothing short of incredible last season, posting a sparkling 2.80 ERA while striking out 102 batters over just 80 innings. His underlying metrics were elite, with Skubal throwing strikes at an extremely high clip while giving up little hard contact.He should have his way with a bad White Sox offense that struggled immensely versus left-handed pitching. Last season, the team ranked 27th in wOBA against lefties and struck out more than 25% of the time, one of the league's highest rates.That doesn't set the White Sox up for success against an efficient strikeout pitcher like Skubal.Garrett Crochet is a very talented kid, but he'll be making his first career start against a Tigers offense featuring a lot of guys who can make life difficult for lefties.Spencer Torkelson hit for a ton of power against left-handed pitching in 2023, Riley Greene hit .280 versus lefties, and left-handed bats Parker Meadows and Kerry Carpenter are certainly capable of doing damage.I think the Tigers will get to Crochet as he navigates his first career start - on Opening Day, at that - while Skubal should have very little trouble mowing down White Sox batters.Look for the Tigers to grind out a lead through five innings.Bet: Tigers F5 -0.5 (-125)Christian Walker: Over 1.5 total basesTo say Walker destroys left-handed pitching would be an understatement. Last season, he posted a .314 ISO and .397 xwOBA against lefties and hit 13 homers. Only Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler recorded more.All of the underlying metrics for Walker are insanely good. He posted a barrel rate of 16.2% versus lefties, nearly double the league average. Walker also posted a hard-hit rate 6.8% above average and a fly-ball rate 12% higher.Walker hit the ball hard and consistently put it in the air. Those things lead to increased extra-base hits, and Walker would only need one on Opening Day to get the job done.Walker also finds himself in the best Opening Day matchup he could ask for, squaring off against Kyle Freeland and the Rockies.Freeland allowed a .234 ISO and .383 wOBA versus right-handed bats a year ago, both abysmal numbers.When Freeland is eventually chased from the game, a Rockies bullpen that never seems to be competent will be in for damage control.Walker only needs one good swing to go over this number. He should have no problem generating one against a subpar lefty and an exploitable bullpen.Odds: -110 (playable to -125)Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.Copyright © 2024 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Wednesday, Mar 27, 2024