The Diamondbacks continue their surprise beginning to the season. Now 3 games above .500, they face off against the Marlins in an afternoon game. Merrill Kelly will take the mound for Ari, a huge reason for their success. Merrill has 1.22 ERA and a 3-1 so far in the early season. I am sure his ERA is due for a bit of regression at some point, but all we need today is 5 strikeouts.
Merrill is not a monster strikeout guy like I normally target, but I think we're getting a favorable number that I will take advantage of. Firstly, Merrill has racked up 5+ strikeouts in 4 of 6 starts this season and 3 out of 4 at home. Dating back to last season, he has 5+ strikeouts in 13 of 17 starts in his home park (76%). He has averaged 5.5 per game in that span and has jumped off to a quick start this season averaging 6.25 K in his 4 home starts in 2022. Merrill strikes out .92 batters per inning, which is not a number that jumps off the charts. However, I like his ability to work deep into games. This season he is averaging 6.2 innings per start despite only throwing 75 and 79 pitches in his first 2 starts. He has since worked comfortably into the 90-100 range, maxing out at 106 pitches in his last start. Miami is about middle of the pack in K% vs righties, but they are top 10 in strikeouts per game at 8.87 K so I like Merrill’s chances at getting up to 5 before he is relieved by the bullpen.