What is the most painful way to lose a baseball bet? When you blow a lead and get walked off on. That is what happened to us yesterday when we backed the Texas Rangers as road underdogs in Boston, against the Red Sox. The Rangers had been red-hot, and the Red Sox were struggling. I liked our side of the starting pitching matchup as Lance Lynn had been super consistent, and Rick Porcello had been in a downward spiral for over a month.
You hate to bet against the defending champs in their own house, but in the immortal words of Herm Edwards, you are what your record is. And heading into this one, the Rangers were three games better than Boston on the season. So, I took a flyer on a well-priced underdog and came up just short.
The Rangers jumped out to a two-run first inning lead, and it looked like Porcello was going to get hammered. But sadly, for us, he managed to settle down and actually ended up pitching into the seventh inning. Lynn was as good as I expected him to be as he made yet another quality start. This game was all knotted up at three runs apiece heading into the ninth inning.
In the top half of the ninth, the Rangers managed to get a runner in scoring position but could not drive him in to take the lead. The Red Sox took full advantage of the Rangers failure to score in the ninth and walked the game off, literally, when Mookie Betts was walked with the bases loaded to drive in the game-winning run. What can you do, we had a great shot to win the game and took a bad beat late. It happens. For today’s pick, we will head to Washington where the Nationals host the DBacks.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in Washington Thursday for game one of a four-game series with the Nationals. Arizona has been one of the hottest teams in the National League in June as they are 8-3 this month. With the recent surge, the DBacks have gotten themselves back over .500 and right into the thick of the NL wild-card race, just two and a half games back of the second wild-card spot.
For the Nationals, they have managed to post a winning record in June as well as they are 7-3. That being said, the Nationals are still buried near the basement of the NL East Division, seven and a half games back of the first place Atlanta Braves.
Starting for the DBacks is Zack Greinke (7-2 2.87 ERA), and for the Nationals, it is Erick Fedde (1-0 2.93 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The DBacks are small -120 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington DC.
This Washington Nationals bullpen is bad. Really, really bad. Their bullpen ERA is a sky-high 6.33. That is nearly a full run higher than any other team in baseball. Opposing batters are slashing an absurd .274 against the Nat’s pen. The one guy that was posting decent results out of the bullpen for Washington is tonight’s starter Erick Fedde.
Fedde started the season out in the bullpen and did not allow a run in his first four appearances. Then Washington decided to shift Fedde to the rotation, and he has seen his results decline rapidly. While he hadn’t been awful by any means, he isn’t getting deep into games, he has only gone past the fifth inning once in four starts. And that is bad news for the Nationals as their bullpen just can’t get anybody out. In his last twenty-two and a third innings he has allowed ten runs. Like I said above, he hasn’t been awful, but if he is only going to get you five innings max, and will certainly give up at least a couple of runs, it will be hard for the National to win games.
I keep waiting for Zack Greinke’s performance to drop off. The fifteen-year veteran is now thirty-five year’s old, and I would assume at some point, he will start to show his age. But this season, he is posting stellar results yet again and seems to be a lock to make the All-Star team again in the National League. He got rocked on opening day and struggled a bit early in the year, but since that slow start, this guy has been great.
Since opening day, he has allowed more than three runs in a start just once, and one run or less in six starts. In his last outing, he pitched six shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. His 2.87 ERA is good for seventh in the National League, and his 2.5 WAR is top ten. And unlike Fedde who can’t get deep into games, Greinke is sixth in the NL in innings pitched and has gone six innings or more in all but two starts this season.
This is a weird number. In my estimation, the DBacks should be the prohibitive favorites in this one. They are the far superior team. They have way the best of the starting pitching matchup, and we already talked about the joke of a bullpen that Washington is using. I guess since this game is in Washington is what is keeping this number tight?
But when I look at the Nationals home record, they are a very pedestrian 15-15 at home. And the DBacks? Oh, they just have the best road record in the entire National League at 22-17. I guess I will just chalk this up to being yet another bad number and hammer the DBacks and feel like I am stealing. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks as small road favorites tonight in game one in Washington!