We took a tough loss last night when we backed Patrick Corbin and the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Corbin had been dominant against the Dodgers this season, and I liked that trend to continue last night. I was able to get what I believed to be the better starter and pick up some dog money, so I took a shot on a money line underdog.
To be fair, Corbin was actually very good as he pitched five innings and gave up just one earned run on three hits and struck out seven. Unfortunately for us, Corbin’s pitch count swelled early, and he couldn’t go past the fifth inning. The DBacks bullpen immediately came in and got rocked for five runs in their four innings of work, and we lost the game. If I find another spot to back Corbin as an underdog against just about anyone I am going to jump all over it. This guy has been on another level so far this year, and I will gladly back him as a dog any chance that I can get. Today I will look at the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins.
The Atlanta Braves will take their first-place record with them to Miami Thursday for game one of a four-game series with the struggling Marlins. The Braves cooled down a little bit when they got swept by the San Francisco Giants but rebounded nicely in their last series to pick up a quick two-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Marlins have struggled all year to stay competitive. They are in last place in the National League East Division and have the worst run differential in the NL at -70 runs.
Starting for Atlanta is Mike Foltynewicz (2-2 3.65 ERA), and for the Marlins it is Caleb Smith (2-3 3.67 ERA). The Braves are small -118 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Marlins Park in Miami.
I love this Atlanta Braves team. They are one of the youngest teams in the league, and they are figuring out how to win on a big-league level day in and day out. Ronald Acuna Jr. is the youngest player in all of baseball, and all this kid is doing is hitting .302 with a .566 slugging percentage. The future is bright for Acuna and the rest of this baby Braves team. They are really young, and really good, and are only going to get better as the season wears on and they get more experience.
Another one of those young guys is Mike Foltynewicz. The young right-hander is just twenty-six years old himself but is one of the more experienced guys on the team as he has five years of service under his belt at the major league level. Foltynewicz was enjoying a really strong start to his season until he got shelled in his last start. Foltynewicz gave up six earned runs in just five innings against the Giants and picked up the loss.
Before that start, he had six starts and hadn’t given up more than two earned runs in any of them. He has forty-three strikeouts in thirty-seven innings of work and looks like he is finally living up to the hype that surrounded him when he came up as a twenty-one-year-old.
The Marlins will counter with Caleb Smith. This is his first season as a regular starter in the big leagues, and it has gotten off to an ok start. After a shaky first couple of starts, he has really settled down and has pitched twelve and two-thirds of shutout ball in his last two starts. Smith has been one of the few bright spots for this Marlins team that is clearly in rebuilding mode. He is one of the few guys that they are likely to hold onto and build around as they get geared up for the future.
I like what Caleb Smith is doing this season. And I hate to bet against a guy that is hot, but the Atlanta Braves are the much better team in this game. A lot of guys get so wrapped up in the starting pitching matchup that they fail to look at anything else. The starters are important, but the overall strength of the team is very important too. And this Atlanta Braves team holds an eight and a half-game lead over Miami. That matters, a lot.
I glanced at the run line options for this game, but with Smith pitching so well, I quickly decided against it. On the money line, I get to back the far superior team at a very reasonable price. Getting to bet against what might be the worst team in the National League, the Reds and the Padres might have something to say about that, but know the Marlins are really bad, and only having to lay -118 seems like a bargain to me, and I am going to take it. Give me the Atlanta Braves at -118 tonight on the road in Miami!