We had a pretty disastrous day yesterday, dropping all our MLB picks as Atlanta and Cincinnati combined for zero runs and six hits. Not a pretty evening, and not to justify missing a few picks (though it will happen more than once in a 162-game season…) but it was pretty tough to see two of the top offenses in the National League hitting the skids this badly.
To put the Reds one-hit performance in perspective, they were one-hit in back to back games for the first time in… one hundred and thirteen YEARS! Yup, not since 1900 have the Reds performed so anemically in back-to-back games with the bats. Today, they will try to bounce back against the struggling Dan Haren (7.36 ERA) and the Braves will try to rebound against the also-struggling Ricky Porcello (11.08 ERA). You know the old expression, momentum is only as strong as the next day’s starting pitcher…
Cincinnati Reds -104 at Washington Nationals -104 (Total: 8)
Mike Leake (1-0, 3.81 ERA) vs. Dan Haren(1-3, 7.36 ERA)
Not much to say on this one, other than I am going back and playing the probabilities. Dan Haren has been struggling, but so has the Reds offense. They’ve managed two hits in the first two games (see above note on the unlikelihood of that feat). Surely they break out today against the struggling Haren…
I’ll go with the odds on this one and take the Reds to snap their two-game skid and offensive funk.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN -104
Atlanta Braves -111 at Detroit Tigers +105 (Total: 8)
Kris Medlen (1-2, 2.16 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (0-2, 11.08 ERA)
Same logic as above. You can’t hold big time offenses down forever, and usually the back of the rotation starter, especially one who is struggling, pays the price. I think Porcello is a strong candidate for just that in today’s 1pm EST matinee.
Medlen may not be on the same magical run as he enjoyed last season, losing basically NEVER, but he is still pitching exceptionally well. He certainly doesn’t deserve a 1-2 record with his numbers, and his last three starts have been even more dominant. His ERA is under two, and his WHIP is a dominating 0.95.
I like Medlen to pitch well and the Braves bats to make up for yesterday. Give me Atlanta to win.
Free Pick: Atlanta Braves to WIN -114
Los Angeles Angels +146 at Seattle Mariners -154 (Total: 7)
Joe Blanton (0-3, 7.48 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-2, 2.08 ERA)
We had rough luck with the underdogs yesterday, but here is an interesting underdog opportunity with really good value. The Mariners are the huge favorite with King Felix on the mound, but he hasn’t been particularly effective against the Angles over the course of his career. He is just 6-12 against them with an ERA over four; his second worst numbers against any team. Last season in five starts against them he posted a 6.25 ERA. With the line swelling to almost 3:2, the Angles have some good value tonight.
Making the case for the halos even more compelling is the good history Blanton has in Safeco Field. Granted, it’s been a few years since he has pitched there, but he is 5-0 with a 2.46 ERA over the course of his career. No one would take Blanton over Felix straight-up, especially with Blanton’s rough start to the season; but the numbers historically in this matchup do favor Blanton and the Angels tonight.
Over the course of the baseball season, terrible teams win 60 games and really, really good ones win 90 – it’s a slimmer margin between great and terrible than in any other major professional sport. That means great teams lose 60 to 70 times every year. There are no ‘sure-things’ so instead you look for good value opportunities with favorable lines.
I wouldn’t bet my life on the Angels beating King Felix in Seattle, but at +145, it’s a good value line.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Angels to WIN +145