The Dodgers used 6 different relief pitchers to secure their comeback win on national TV last night. Logic suggests that should buy tonight’s starter, Tyler Anderson, some extra leash to pitch deeper than he otherwise might tonight.
Assuming Anderson completes 5-6 innings, I like his chances to get 4+ K’s, a number he’s hit in 10 of 13 (77%) appearances this year, including one at Coors Field.
I’ll be honest, backing Pitcher props at Coors Field can be risky business due to the well-documented “Coors Effect”. The high altitude and thinner air enables batted balls to carry father, leading to more home runs, shorter outings and fewer strikeouts. The 2nd impact relates to pitch movement, or lack thereof. Studies show the Coors Field atmosphere negatively affects pitch movement by as much as 1-3 inches relative to other parks, resulting in lower whiff rates and therefore lower strikeout rates.
So why are we betting Tyler Anderson over 3.5 Ks? It’s because if any Dodgers pitcher knows how to beat the Coors Effect, it’s Tyler Anderson — the guy that spent 4 seasons in Denver from 2016-2019. His 8.3 Ks per 9 innings metric at Coors Field ranks better than nearly every other park he’s pitched 3+ times at.
As mentioned in my open, Anderson already cleared 4+ Ks in an earlier season appearance at Coors Field. Looking back at that performance, what I find most impressive is how he did it while on a pitch count. It was his first appearance of the year, he only threw 59 pitches and still recorded 4 Ks. Fast forward to now, and he’s in the midst of a streak where he’s thrown 79+ pitches in 9 straight starts. If he collected 4 Ks with just 59 pitches in April… Am I crazy to think he could do it again with 79+ pitches tonight?
Ballpark factors aside, I also like how he matches up against Colorado’s lineup. The Rockies fare better vs. Left-Handed Pitchers (LHP) and Anderson’s a Lefty — not ideal — but they have a meaningful weakness he can (and will) exploit: they struggle vs. Changeups dealt by LHPs, which is Anderson’s go-to pitch. All 9 of their projected starters tonight have below average wOBA vs. Changeups in the last 3 years vs. LHPs. Considering Anderson’s Changeup is his Put Away pitch, I view this as a clear and meaningful edge he can exploit to rack up strikeouts tonight.
Last but not least, Colorado also has the 12th highest Chase Rate in MLB. I expect that to be problematic vs. a guy like Anderson, who ranks in the Top 6% of qualifying pitchers in Chase Rate, mostly thanks to that elite changeup.
For all these reasons, I’m willing to make an exception to my Coors Field rule and back Tyler Anderson to get 4+ Ks tonight at -116 odds available at time of writing (FanDuel).