Buy low: Four struggling MLB starters on the rise
Mark Buehrle struggled to find his form in his first few months in Miami, after pitching 12 seasons for the Chicago White Sox.
But after starting the year with a disappointing 5-8 record, the Marlins’ big offseason acquisition won four straight starts and now sits with a respectable 9-9 mark heading into Tuesday’s action.
Buehrle’s struggles allowed MLB bettors to grab the ace at discount prices during that four-game winning run, bringing in +3.92 units to those who kept their faith the left-hander. And even a loss in his most recent outing, as -119 favorites against the Chicago Cubs, stung less than compared to the hefty price tag Buehrle commanded earlier in the year.
There are more than a few stud hurlers who have stumbled during the 2012 season, forcing oddsmakers to trim their teams’ moneyline odds whenever they take the bump. These aces won’t stay down for long, making now the best time to buy.
Here’s a look at four pitchers to purchase while the price is right:
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (4-10, 5.72 ERA, -9.21 units)
The two-time Cy Young winner was way off the mark through the first four months of the schedule, posting a 3-10 record and 6.42 ERA before the All-Star break. Since the hiatus, the Giants ace seems like his old self again. He’s allowed just two earned runs on 10 hits in his last 15 innings, posting back-to-back quality starts for just the second time this season. The price has come way down on the right-hander, with San Francisco marked as underdogs in four of his last six starts.
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (1-6, 3.72 ERA, -13.41 units)
Betting on the worst money pitcher in baseball might seem like flushing hard-earned coin down the crapper, but Lee isn’t your ordinary arm. He picked up his first win of the season on July 4 and has been solid ever since, owning a 1-1 record and 2.05 ERA in July. Lee’s poor record has started the rumor mill, with Texas as a possible destination. But it might be wise for Philadelphia to hang on to the veteran southpaw. Lee was dynamite in the second half of the season last year, going 8-2 with a 1.79 ERA after the break.
Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers (5-9, 4.15 ERA, -0.79 units)
Billingsley was strong in his first start off the disabled list, giving up one run on seven hits over six innings for a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Monday. The Dodgers righty missed the past two weeks due to elbow inflammation, a big reason why he lost in the five previous starts. He told reporters he had no discomfort during Monday's start and his change-up and curveball were sharper than ever. Los Angeles has been an underdog in 10 of Billingsley’s 19 starts this season. Bettors should continue to get favorable odds as the righty plays a big part in the Dodgers’ postseason push.
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals (7-10, 4.42 ERA, -9.79 units)
Wainwright’s elbow surgery and long recovery has led to troubles with consistency, book-ending horrific outings with stellar performances. And not all of those solid showings have translated into wins. He allowed only one earned run and struck out a season-high nine batters in a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, with the defense spoiling his efforts in the first inning. Wainwright told the media that St. Louis is still a championship-caliber team and he’s done his best to prove that this month, boasting a 2.79 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in July. He got the call against the Dodgers Tuesday, with the Cardinals listed as -122 home favorites.