A+ pitching matchup in Toronto in Jays’ Ace Kevin Gausman vs. Houston’s Framber Valdez. Both are coming off excellent starts holding opponents scoreless through 6+ innings.
Gausman ranks near the top of MLB in K%, Chase Rate and Whiff Rate thanks to his tantalizing Splitter. He’s also in the Top 3% of MLB in Walk Rate, enabling him to pitch with efficiency despite all the strikeouts, which tend to be a drag on pitch count.
Since allowing 3 runs on opening day Gausman has tightened up, holding opponents to 2 or less runs in each of his last 3.
Houston’s lineup struggles vs. Splitters. Last year, Gausman struck them out 9 times in just 4.33 innings. This year, he’s struck out 8+ batters in 3 straight starts, yet his Over/Under today is just 6.5 with Plus Money odds? Very interesting.
Houston pitcher Framber Valdez has also been excellent with a 2.97 expected ERA through 4 starts this year. His elite curveball ranks near the top of MLB in Spin Rate, which has helped him limit opponents to just a 0.275 expected Slugging Percentage (top 9% in MLB). Toronto’s lineup is decent against Curveballs — but Valdez has one of the best, and he’s in great form. Last year he also pitched better in Day games and on the Road.
With all that information considered — here are my picks: