We took a big swing on a major underdog last night and came up just short. We backed the Seattle Mariners, who had won six out of their last seven games as they attempted to pull off the three-game sweep of the reeling Milwaukee Brewers. Mariners starter Mike Leake had been pitching well, and the M’s had won five of his previous six starts. And for the Brewers, their starter, Chase Anderson, had been getting lit up all month long with an ERA north of seven runs in the month of June.
It seemed like a great spot to take a shot at a jumbo payout, looking to fade the Brewers, who were -188. And the game was quite competitive all afternoon long with the difference being a three-run bomb from Orlando Arcia that gave the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Seattle battled back to cut the lead to just two runs, but that is all they could muster as they lost the game 4-2.
What can you do, when you take shots at huge underdogs like this one, you are likely to lose more often than you are going to win. But when you are getting so much juice, you don’t have to win anywhere near half of the time to show a long-term profit. So, we will chalk this one up to being on the wrong side of variance and move on today. For today’s pick, we will head to the Big Apple, where the New York Mets host the Atlanta Braves.
The Atlanta Braves take their first-place record with them tonight to New York, where they play the Mets in game one of a three-game series. The Braves have been steaming hot as they have baseballs best record in the month of June, going 18-7. The Braves are coming off of a series split with the Chicago Cubs in their last series but have lost just one series this month. Atlanta has used this big run to open up a four and a half game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the NL East Division.
For the Mets, they find themselves near the bottom of the standings as they have the fourth-fewest wins in the National League right now. The Mets have lost five straight games, and nine out of their last twelve. They blew leads in all four of their losses to the Phillies in their last series with last night’s five-run bottom of the ninth walk-off by Philly, being the biggest gut punch of them all.
Starting for the Mets is reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom (4-6 3.25 ERA), and for the Braves it is rookie of the year candidate Mike Soroka (8-1 2.07 ERA). The Mets are -135 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Citi Field in New York City.
As most seasons do, this season will once again not be ending well for the New York Mets. After refusing to trade off some of their best assets in the offseason to make a run at contention this year, they have once again fallen flat on their face. The biggest of those assets is tonight’s starter and last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Jacob deGrom.
After having a season for the ages last year, deGrom has regressed somewhat this year. That is not to say that he has been bad, he has actually been quite good, especially recently. But his 3.25 ERA is nearly double the number he posted last season, 1.70, when he was named the NL’s best pitcher. And the Mets have down a downright awful job on capitalizing when deGrom does pitch well as they always seem to lose with him on the mound.
This month is a perfect example of the Mets frustrations this season. deGrom has made five starts in June, he has pitched at least six innings in each of those five starts and has not allowed more than two runs in any start. The Mets are 1-4 in those five games. Ouch. After winning his first two starts of the season, the Mets are 3-11 since in games with deGrom on the mound. It is safe to say that deGrom won’t be winning back to back Cy Young Awards this season.
Mike Soroka has been very much the opposite of deGrom this year, in that the Braves seem to win a lot when he pitches. Soroka is a leading candidate for this year’s National League rookie of the year away as he has had a great season. In June, Soroka has made five starts, and the Braves were 5-0 in those games. On the season, Atlanta is 10-3 when he starts.
Surprisingly enough, especially for a rookie, Soroka has been much better on the road this season than he has been at home. His road ERA is a blink, and you will miss it 1.05 in seven starts. Opposing batters are hitting just .154 against Soroka outside of Atlanta. He did face these Mets a couple of starts ago in Atlanta and was decent. Pitching six innings and allowing three runs, with the Braves winning easily, 12-3.
I love Jacob deGrom, but this is a bad number. If you are a daily ready of my picks, you will know I have faded deGrom a lot this season, and I am killing it. The guy pitches well enough, but it just doesn’t matter as this Mets team is a garbage can fire and can’t win for losing right now. All week long, we have been able to find spots where we get to back much better teams as either underdogs or small favorites.
And we have been winning a lot. I will continue that trend tonight as the Braves are currently eleven games ahead of the Mets, yet I can get them as fairly significant underdogs. That is value that I just can’t pass up on. You hate to bet against a guy like deGrom that could go out there and throw a complete game but getting to back a team as great as the Braves as underdogs to a team as bad as New York is just too juicy not to love it. Give me the Atlanta Braves as road underdogs tonight in game one from NYC!