We hit another home underdog bet last night when we backed the Tampa Bay Rays against the Cleveland Indians. This was just a bad number, not much else can be said about it besides that. To see Blake Snell as a home underdog was laughable. The kid has been unhittable this year at home and had an ERA of just 1.23 at Tropicana Field. And what did he do last night?
Oh, he just went out and threw a no-hitter through six innings. Snell ended his night with seven innings pitched and allowed just one run on only one hit, a solo shot home run from Jose Ramirez in the seventh inning. In a testament to just how amazing Snell has been at Tropicana Field this season, this one hit masterpiece actually raised his home ERA!
Snell might not take home the Cy Young Award this season, but it is hard to find a pitcher that has been more valuable to his team this year. Snell is quite literally the only starter on this team and he could not be pitching any better. He is first in the American League in wins, and second in ERA, WAR, hits per nine innings. The guy has been the elite of the elite this season and if I see him as an underdog again, I am certain to jump all over it. For today’s pick I will take a look at the matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies are looking for what would be a huge series win tonight as they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in game four of a four-game series. The Rockies have taken two out of three so far in the series, and with the wins, they now hold a game and a half lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West Division race, and a three and a half game lead over these Arizona Diamondbacks.
For the DBacks, this is as close to a must-win game as they have had this season as they are quickly falling out of contention in their division. The wild-card story is an even worse one as they trail in the wild card by four games behind the surging Brewers and Cardinals. If they want to make the playoffs they have to win today.
Starting today for the DBacks is Clay Buchholz (7-2 2.01 ERA), and for the Rockies, it is Kyle Freeland (14-7 2.91 ERA). The Rockies are -139 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at ten runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
Kyle Freeland owns Coors Field this season. Not many pitchers are better in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, but Freeland has been superb at home. In thirteen home starts, Freeland is 8-2 with a 2.21 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting just .217 against him. He hasn’t lost a decision at home since June 10th!
And it’s not that he is only good at home, the guy has been really good just about everywhere this season. The Rockies have won his last six starts and twelve out of his last thirteen. When you look at this second half surge for the Rockies that has put them in prime playoff position, Kyle Freeland deserves a lot of the credit. He is carrying this team right now.
Clay Buchholz was supposed to make one spot start for the Diamondbacks this season. That one start turned into two, and then three. And now all the sudden Buchholz finds himself as an integral part of this Arizona rotation. Clay is 7-2 on the season with an ERA of just 2.01. Had he pitched enough innings to qualify, that ERA would be the second best in the National League. Nobody expected that kind of production out of Buchholz when the DBacks signed him to a minor league deal earlier this season.
Clay hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start in his last seven starts and has allowed more than three runs just one time all season long. As unlikely as it may seem, this guy has been pitching at a higher level than he ever has and has been a huge boost to the DBacks rotation.
This is a matchup of two very underrated pitchers. Both of these guys are pitching as well as anybody in the league right now, yet we see an over-under of ten runs. I get it, the game is at Coors Field, but that still feels mighty high to me. If this game were in Arizona I could see this number being six and a half or seven runs for the game total. Does Coors Field really make that much difference?
I am not buying it. The last two games of this series both went under double digits and I feel that these starters are much better than those ones. This is basically playoff baseball right now for both teams. And in games that really matter, late in the season, we see lower scoring games. That is just a fact. The last seven games Freeland has started at home, the game came in under ten runs.
So, I am going to go with the overwhelming amount of data that says this will be a lower scoring tight game tonight. Neither team can afford to give up an inch, and I expect them both to fight for every out. Give me the under ten runs today in game four!