We picked up the win last night, but it wasn’t easy. The uncertainty of the starting pitching matchup scared me off of taking a side in the American League wild-card round game. The Yankees were starting Luis Severino, a guy who was nearly unhittable in the first half of the season but who had a5.77 ERA in the second half of the season. And the A’s were going with an opener in Liam Hendricks rather than a traditional starter. So, I backed off having a strong opinion on the side and decided to take the over as I knew both offenses were explosive.
The game certainly started out well for the over eight and a half runs, as Aaron Judge rocked a moon-shot home run in the first inning to give the Yankee a 2-0 lead that left the A’s immediately regretting going with Hendricks to start the game. But then things slowed down considerably, and we hit the bottom of the sixth inning with the score still 2-0. The bats finally woke up in the final third of the game though as both teams started to score and the game sailed over the total on a Giancarlo Stanton home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Nothing is ever easy with playoff baseball betting, but we are off to a nice 3-1 start to kick off the postseason with the half of a run win. For today’s pick, we are going to take a look at the National League Divisional Series game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers from Los Angeles.
The Atlanta Braves are in L.A. Thursday for game one of a five-game series with the Dodgers. The Braves missed out of home-field advantage in this series as they lost four out of their final five games of the regular season and let the Dodgers pass them on the season’s final day to steal home field advantage. The Dodgers have been forced to do all sorts of extra work as they finished the regular season tied with the Colorado Rockies for the National League West Division title and were forced to host a one-game playoff to decide the division title. The Dodgers took care of business at home, and now here we are in the NLDS with the Dodgers as NL West Division champs.
Starting for the Braves is Mike Foltynewicz (0-0 0.00 ERA), and for the Dodgers, it is Hyun-jin Ryu (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Dodgers are big -176 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:37 PM PST from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Many, including myself, were shocked to see Hyun-jin Ryu’s name as tonight’s starter and not Clayton Kershaw’s. Most everyone expected Kershaw to pitch game one, but the Dodgers have thrown a proverbial curveball at the Braves by going with Ryu. And it is a big-time gamble. It’s not that Ryu has been bad, he has actually been very good this season, but in limited action.
Ryu missed three and a half months of the season with an injury and didn’t return to the team until mid-August. And he has pitched very well, with a sub-two run ERA in nine starts since returning to the team. But the one knock on Ryu has been his ability to get deep into games. Ryu has pitched six innings or fewer in all but two of his starts since coming off of the DL. Compare that to a guy like Kershaw who can easily give you seven-plus innings, and I am left scratching my head as to why the Dodgers decided to go with Ryu over their multi-time Cy Young Award winner.
The Braves will start Mike Foltynewicz today trying to steal a game on the road in this series. Foltynewicz has been an absolute stud for the Braves all season long. He has been the next big thing for the Braves for a while now, and it looks like he has finally come into his own as the ace of this young but talented staff. Foltynewicz is somewhat the elder statesman of this Baby Braves team at just twenty-six years old.
Man, I love playoff baseball! The games are almost always lower scoring and competitive, meaning every single swing of the bat matters. And while most people are just giving this series to the Dodgers, I have a differing opinion. I think the Braves are the better team in this one. Yeah, the Dodgers have all kinds of talent, but they have been a mess all season long and were at risk of missing the playoffs altogether late in the season.
They got their act together and turned things on down the stretch, but I am not sure this team is anywhere near as good as last year’s team that went to the World Series. There is no Corey Seager out there, there is no Yu Darvish, a guy that some people tend to forget was nearly unhittable for the Dodgers until game seven of the World Series last season. This is a different team that is trading on the name of last year’s squad.
Yeah, Brian Dozier and Manny Machado were nice rentals to add pop to the lineup, but the Dodgers seemingly never quite figured things out. I think they lose this series and that starts with getting shocked tonight in game one. The decision not to start Kershaw will be remembered as a poor one as the Braves find a way to sneak out of this game with the series lead. Give me the Atlanta Braves as big road underdogs tonight in game one at +167!