Yesterday, I backed a team that I hadn’t backed all season long, the Miami Marlins. It was more of a play to fade the struggling St. Louis Cardinals, than an endorsement of Miami, but in the end, I did expect the Marlins to find a way to win the game. The Cards had the worst road record in the National League coming into this one, and Michael Wacha was only being added back to their rotation out of pure desperation. Miami starter Sandy Alcantara had been pitching really well in in the last month, so it seemed like a great spot to try and pick up some big dog money on a home underdog.
In the end, Alcantara pitched fairly well, until his defense let him down. This was a 1-0 game in the sixth inning when a costly fielding error led to three unearned runs. And that was enough to put the game away as Michael Wacha actually looked great. Wacha threw six shutout innings and picked up the win for his efforts. It was the first time I backed Miami this year, and it might be the last time!
But one thing is for sure, and that is that this Cardinals team is struggling right now without Yadier Molina behind the plate, and until he gets healthy, I will continue to look for ways to fade them. For today’s pick, I will head to Philly where the Phillies host the Diamondbacks.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in Philadelphia Tuesday for game two of a three-game series with the Phillies. In game one, the teams combined for an all-time MLB record thirteen home runs! The DBacks were responsible for a whopping eight of those deep balls, a franchise record. The DBacks have really hit their stride here in June as they are 7-2 on the month and have won five straight games.
For the Phillies, they are just 4-5 in June as their pitching staff has really struggled recently. The Phillies have lost two straight games and are now tied atop the National League East Division with the Atlanta Braves for first place.
Starting for the Phillies is Jake Arrieta (5-5 4.29 ERA), and for the Diamondbacks, it is Jon Duplantier (1-0 3.27 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine runs. The Phillies are -134 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Park in Philly.
When the Philadelphia Phillies signed Jake Arrieta to a major deal a couple of years ago, they thought they were getting an ace for their rotation. A guy that would finish in the top ten in the Cy Young Award voting each season, something he did for three straight years with the Chicago Cubs. Instead, they got a guy that has a 15-16 record with an ERA of 4.07 in two seasons with the team. That is a stark contrast to the guy that went 68-31 with an ERA of just 2.73 in five seasons with Chicago.
This season, Arrieta has again struggled with consistency. His 4.29 ERA is the highest he has ever posted in the National League, going back to 2013 and his time with the Baltimore Orioles. He has allowed four runs or more in six different starts already this season. In his last two starts, he has gotten hammered for ten runs in just nine and two-thirds of an inning. One thing that has really been plaguing Arrieta this year is the long ball. He has given up fourteen home runs, that is one of the highest totals in the game. He has allowed five home runs in his last two starts.
Jon Duplantier is a rookie that the DBacks are hoping can grow into a regular part of their rotation. He was rated as their number two prospect coming into the season and has looked decent in limited action, going back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen for Arizona. He has made two career starts and has pitched a combined ten innings and has allowed five earned runs. He has shown some flashes of great stuff though as he has more strikeouts than innings pitched on the season.
On paper, this is a mismatch on the mound. Arrieta is a Cy Young Award winner, and Jon Duplantier is a rookie making his third ever start. But baseball is a streaky game, and right now, Arrieta is awful, and this Arizona team is swinging a very hot bat. I have a feeling that this game will quickly turn into a slugfest. I don’t have a ton of confidence in either starter, and I see lots of runs going up on the board.
So, I will make a rare double bet on this game. I am going to back the DBacks as road underdogs and also take the over nine runs. If last night’s game is any indication about what we are in store for tonight, there are going to be a lot of balls leaving the park! And anytime a game turns into a slugfest, it could go either way, so I always want to be on the side getting juice, not laying it. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks as road underdogs at +124 and the over nine runs at -110.