We picked up a nice money line underdog win last night when we backed the Seattle Mariners against the Houston Astros. The Astros were -118 home favorites with Dallas Keuchel on the mound, and I loved getting the opportunity to fade the unlucky superstar. Despite pitching pretty well all year long, Keuchel was tied for the American League lead with seven losses. Well, now he leads the league with eight.
Keuchel got rocked early and often by Seattle and gave up six runs in the first two innings. Keuchel ended up composing himself and pitched into the seventh inning, but the damage was already done. Give Mariners lefty James Paxton his due as well, as the Big Maple dominated this strong Astros lineup to the tune of seven and two-thirds of an inning pitched, allowing just one earned run in the Mariners 7-1 victory. It was a great opportunity to back a very hot team with an elite pitcher on the mound while getting dog money. You won’t get too many of those opportunities throughout the year. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in San Francisco Wednesday for game three of a three-game series with the Giants. The series is tied at one game apiece after the Giants took game one 10-3, and the DBacks responded last night with a 3-2 victory to tie the series up. Arizona has won six out of their last eight games as they try and pull out of a nasty early-season slump. The Giants had won five straight before losing last night.
Starting tonight today for Arizona is Clay Buchholz (1-1 1.50 ERA), and for the Giants, it is Chris Stratton (7-3 4.50 ERA). The Giants are -133 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 PM PST from AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Arizona spent the first month if the season winning almost every game. They were running away with the National League West Division and had the best record in all of baseball. Then the wheels completely fell off, and they lost fifteen out of seventeen games in May. Miraculously they had built up such a big lead they even after that terrible run of games, they were still in first place. The DBacks have gotten the ship turned back the right direction again as they have won six out of their last eight games. Entering play tonight they hold just a scant one-game lead over the second place Colorado Rockies for the division lead.
Starting today for the DBacks is newcomer Clay Buchholz. Buchholz was brought up for a spot start two weeks ago to give the regulars an extra day of rest and has pitched his butt off ever since. In three starts this year, Buchholz has pitched eighteen innings and has given up just one run in each start. In his last start, he was particularly sharp as he pitched seven innings of one run ball and struck out nine against the Miami Marlins.
The DBacks expected almost nothing out of Buchholz when they picked him up from the Royals on a minor league deal earlier this year, and he has performed exceptionally well. If he can continue to be a productive member of the rotation it just makes this DBacks team that much better.
Starting tonight for the Giants is Chris Stratton. Stratton hasn’t really pitched all that well this year, but the Giants seem to win a lot when he is on the mound. The Giants are 9-3 in games where Stratton starts. The month of May was particularly tough on Stratton as he had an ERA of 6.31, but the Giants went 4-1 in his five starts despite the fact that he pitched just five innings or fewer in four of those five starts.
I am not sure how much longer Clay Buchholz can continue this performance, but he has been lights out. The DBacks are finally playing well again, and I like them a lot in this matchup tonight. Stratton has been winning games because his team likes to score lots of runs for him, not because he has pitched very well. If Buchholz can pitch like he has in his first three starts this year, the DBacks will coast to a win in this one.
When you look at this Giants offense, it has been fairly improbable that they have continued to score so many runs for Stratton. This offense is mediocre at best and is seventeenth in the majors in runs scored and twentieth in home runs. At some point, the Giants aren’t going to score a bunch of runs for Stratton, and the losses will start piling up.
This is another one of those coin flip type of games. I don’t see a reason to have either team highly favored, and it could go either way. So, I will take the value side and back the team that pays me dog money. I expect Buchholz to be good, likely not as good as he has been, but good enough to give the DBacks a chance to win the game. Stratton will give up his standard three or four runs, and the DBacks will sneak out of the bay with the series win. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks at +113 today in game three!