We have still yet to lose a game since the All-Star break as we picked up another win last night. Last night’s winner came when we backed the Los Angeles Dodgers at even money, on the road, against the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. It was the Sunday Night Baseball game of the week, and I expected a closely contested game but couldn’t pass up on getting to back the best team in baseball, by a fairly wide margin if you at their win/loss record, at even money. Usually, if you want to back LA, you are having to lay -200 or more. That wasn’t the case last night, so I jumped all over it.
It looked like this game was going to be a blowout early on as the Dodgers smashed Boston starter David Price for three runs in the top of the first inning. I felt really good about our side as the Dodgers were starting Hyun-jin Ryu, who hadn’t allowed more than two runs in any game this season that wasn’t played at Coors Field. Game over, right? Not so fast.
The Red Sox posted a two spot of their own in the bottom of the first to tighten the game right back up. The game was a bit uneventful after that as the Dodgers hit the eighth inning with a 4-2 lead. It looked like we would coast to an easy victory. But once again, the Red Sox showed a lot of heart and battled back to tie the game up in the eighth on back to back bombs from Xander Bogarts and J.D. Martinez.
This game wasn’t decided until the top of the twelfth inning when the boys in blue posted a three-spot to blow the game wide open. Joe Kelley came in and finished it off in the bottom of the frame, and we picked up our tenth win in our last fifteen bets. For today’s bet, we will head to Milwaukee, where the struggling Brewers host the red-hot Atlanta Braves.
The Atlanta Braves are in Milwaukee Monday for game one of a three-game series with the Brewers. The Braves have been sizzling hot as of late as they have won seven out of their last eight games and eleven out of their last fifteen, going back to the end of June. Atlanta now has a seven-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in eth National League East Division.
For the Brewers, they are headed in an opposite direction as they have lost seven out of their last nine games. Despite coming into this season as one of the favorites to win the NL pennant, if the season ended today, the Brewers wouldn’t even make the playoffs.
Starting for the Braves is Max Fried (9-4 4.29), and for the Brewers, it is Adrian Houser (2-3 4.01 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten runs. The Brewers are slight -109 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Max Fried was light’s out to start the season this year. He actually started the season pitching out of the bullpen but was so good when he finally got a chance to start, that the Braves had no choice but to leave him as part of the regular rotation. And he produced great results through the first couple months of the year. On May 22nd, Fried was 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA.
But, since then, the youngster has had his fair share of struggles. In June, his ERA was 5.68 in six starts. But it didn’t seem to slow down the Braves much though as they were 5-1 in those six starts. But it hasn’t been all bad for Fried, and he is clearly doing enough to give his Braves team a chance to win games, and they are getting the job done.
On the year, Fried has a 5-1 record in nine road starts. Fried has one start against the Brewers this year and was nearly perfect as he pitched six shutout innings while allowing just two hits and the Braves won the game.
What is going on with the Milwaukee Brewers? This team is as talented as any team in the league, yet they are losing to poor competition. They have lost all three of their series this month, to the Reds, Pirates, and Giants. Not only are none of these teams going to sniff the playoffs, all three of them have losing records. This should have been a soft spot in the schedule for Milwaukee to string together some wins. Instead, they got pounded and have blown out their bullpen.
In their last series against the Giants, the Brewers bullpen was used and abused. They got hammered for seventeen runs in twelve innings of work. And that could end up getting worse tonight as Milwaukee will start opener, Adrian Houser. Houser hasn’t been a typical opener recently, as he does occasionally pitch deeper into games than many openers who pitch just one inning.
And he was having a solid season before seeing the wheels falls off here as of late. Hauser had an ERA of just 2.21 when he was being used for very short outings. The Brewers have tried to stretch his innings as of late, and the results have been disastrous. In his last three appearances, he has pitched a combined eleven innings, and he has given up eleven earned runs. Ouch.
This is another bad number. The Braves are establishing themselves as legit World Series contenders, and the Brewers are fading from contention. I think Milwaukee still ends up finding a way to pick up some talent before the trade deadline and get back into the mix in the NL, but right now this team is in freefall. To see them as favorites against this Braves team right now is laughable.
The Brewers have been much better at home this season than on the road. But the Braves are the best road team in the National League, as they are a whopping eleven games over .500 on the road. Fried’s recent struggles worry me a little bit, but you have to remember, this is his first stint as a full-time starter in the big leagues, and he was bound to tire out and hit that mid-season wall that many young pitchers suffer through.
But with the All-Star break coming at the best possible time for Fried, he hast pitched in nine days and should be fully rested and ready to go in the second half of the year. And even when he was struggling through some growing pains in the dog days of summer, the Braves still managed to win nearly every time he pitched. I think the Braves hammer the Brewers in this one. The Brewers bullpen is worn out, and this Braves team is swinging a hot bat.
Maybe Fried will be great, maybe he will be shaky, but in the end, I don’t think it will matter as this Braves team is just the much better overall team. I preach it nearly daily, if you have the opportunity to back the much better team as underdogs, you have to take advantage of it. And that is the case tonight as the Braves are eleven games better than the Brewers entering play tonight. Give me the Atlanta Braves as road underdogs tonight in game one from Miller Park!