Will Paolo Espino Record More or Less than 4.5 Strikeouts Tonight?
Paolo Espino and the Washington Nationals will face off against Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves in Truist Park. Fried’s been throwing at a significantly higher level than Espino this season, as Fried’s xFIP sits nearly a full run below his. Oddly enough, Washington’s offense has been playing at a higher level than Atlanta’s over the last 14 days. With that being said, the Braves boast a massive edge with their bullpen. It’s been one of the best in the MLB over the last 30 days, while the Nationals has been one of the worst.
The massive difference in pitching is on display in the odds, as Atlanta is currently a -240 favorite over Washington. The Braves are also fighting for the playoffs, while the Nationals are working on a rebuild after trading several starters at the deadline. Another key factor in this game is that Atlanta’s playing at home, where they will have a distinct advantage.
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Paolo Espino and the Nationals opened as massive +260 underdogs against Max Fried and the Braves. The odds have moved significantly throughout the day, as Washington’s now only a +195 underdog. The game total opened at 8.5 runs, increasing to 9 thus far. As you can see on our Trends page, the Braves boast an implied team total of 6.4 runs tonight.
Espino’s seen mixed results in terms of strikeouts throughout the 2021 season. His total is set at a couple of different numbers depending on the book. DraftKings and BetMGM are offering plus odds on under 3.5 strikeouts tonight. FanDuel’s still offering 4.5 strikeouts, although the under is sitting at -176.
Espino isn’t a dominant strikeout option, recording 19.7% strikeout and 8.2% swinging-strike rates in 2021. His K/9 sits at only 7.33 this season, which is his lowest since Triple-A in 2015.
Espino owns 70 strikeouts over 86 innings through 30 games (14 starts) in 2021. He’s quietly posted 5+ strikeouts in each of his last 3 starts, flashing with advanced metrics, as well. Overall, Espino’s recorded fewer than 5 strikeouts in 9 of his 14 starts this season.
He’s been better on the road, where his strikeout rate jumps to 23.3% and his xFIP dips to 4.22 on the season. He’s also at his best against right-handed pitching, recording a 22.4% strikeout rate against them in 2021. With that being said, he’s a reverse splits pitcher in terms of xFIP, as it increases to 4.98 against that handedness in 2021.
Most importantly, Espino gets a terrible matchup against the Braves tonight. They haven’t found the most success in recent games, posting a .307 team wOBA over the last 14 days. With that being said, they feature one of the lowest strikeout rates in the MLB at 19.5% over that span.
Espino’s thrown 9.1 innings against Atlanta this season, recording 7 strikeouts in those games. He posted 3 strikeouts over 4.1 innings in his only start against them in 2021. The Braves are expected to utilize more right-handed batters than lefties, although I don’t believe that will matter tonight. Espino should struggle to get in a groove, and it’s unlikely he’ll throw deep enough in this game to find 5+ strikeouts.
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