I am rarely one to complain about bad beats in baseball, they are part of the game and happen to everyone, but I am going to be honest here, I felt a little salty last night when I lost my over/under bet in the game between the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. I fired on the under eight and a half runs as the two teams combined, had scored two runs or fewer in seven of their nine games on the year, entering play last night.
I also felt that both starting pitchers, Lance Lynn for Texas, and Madison Bumgarner for Arizona, both Opening Day starters for their respective teams, would be very good. So, I felt like this game would be low scoring and jumped on the under and felt good about the play. When the game hit the seventh inning at 2-0, I felt great about the play.
Lance Lynn tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed just one hit, and Madison Bumgarner was decent as well as he lasted 5.1 and gave up just two runs. Late in the game, the under looked like a lock with both teams struggling mightily at the plate. We were coasting to the easy victory when disaster struck in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Rangers exploded for five runs, pushing the game over, and costing us our bet.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 30, 2020
To put into perspective just how unlikely that late-inning rally was for Texas, the Rangers hadn’t scored five runs in a single game this season, before they posted the five spot in the eighth! What can you do, sometimes you run bad late in games and lose bets you should have won. For today’s pick, we will look to get right back on track when we head to New York, where the Mets host the Boston Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox (2-4) at New York Mets (3-3)
The New York Mets are looking for the series win tonight as they host the Boston Red Sox in game four of a four-game set. The Mets took the first two games of the series in dominating fashion, before seeing the Red Sox rally from behind in a back and forth game last night, for a 6-5 win in game three, to tighten up the series.
The Mets lost their first series of the year, to the Atlanta Braves and would love to find a way to pick up the series win tonight against Boston, as they head right back to Atlanta after this game, to kick off a brutal road trip against the Braves and the Washington Nationals.
For Boston, the Red Sox season started out about as bad as could be imagined, as they lost two out of three games to the hapless Baltimore Orioles, and had lost four straight games before last night’s comeback victory.
Starting tonight for the Red Sox is Martin Perez (0-1 7.20 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Steven Matz (0-0 1.50 ERA). The Mets are -157 home field favorites. The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM PST from Citi Field in New York City.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox were never going to have a great pitching staff in 2020. They lost David Price in the Mookie Betts deal, and Chris Sale was shut down in the offseason for Tommy John surgery. Entering the season, their “ace” was Eduardo Rodriguez, a guy with a lifetime ERA north of four runs. And imagine the Red Sox horror when Rodriguez went down with a COVID-19 infection that is now affecting his heart and hasn’t pitched an inning yet this season.
There just isn’t much left of this pitching staff, and we have seen that reflected in their results so far in 2020. The Red Sox are dead last in the Major Leagues in batting average against, as teams are hitting a blistering .290 against them! The team ERA is a sky-high 5.83. After allowing just two runs to the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day, Boston has allowed 34-runs in their last five games, that is, nearly seven runs a contest, and they are 1-4 in those five games.
Martin Perez (0-1 7.20 ERA)
Martin Perez is the definition of an inning’s eating veteran starter. He is a guy that has been around for nearly a decade and has never had too much success. Early in his career with the Texas Rangers, he was able to pitch to contact and get away with not striking many guys out, as he very rarely allowed any home runs. But now that he has lost a bit of his command, hitters are squaring up on him and making hard contact.
In his last four seasons, he has been jumping around the American League, with stops in Texas, Minnesota, and now Boston. He has allowed an average of twenty home runs a year in the last four seasons, with an ERA of over five runs. He has never been a great pitcher, but he is really starting to see his results dip recently. In his first start of the year, he got blasted for five runs in five innings against a Baltimore Orioles team that is starting a triple-A level lineup.
New York Mets
We are going to find out right away if the New York Mets are going to be able to stay in contention in the very competitive National League East Division. After tonight’s series finale against Boston, the Mets will play six straight series against divisional opponents. If they find a way to win more games than they lose during that stretch, they will be right in the mix of the playoff hunt.
If they continue to struggle against the division, they lost two out of three games to the Braves on opening weekend and were outscored 19-5 in the series, their season might be over in terms of winning a division title. One thing that has looked promising for New York has been their lineup. The Mets are in second place in the majors in batting average and in the top ten in slugging and on-base percentage.
Steven Matz (0-0 1.50 ERA)
It seems like every year we hear about how good Steven Matz is going to be someday, yet he never really seems to deliver. He has shown flashes of ace level stuff at times, and he is still on the right side of thirty, but when you look back on Matz results, they are a bit underwhelming. His career record is 31-36, with a 4.02 ERA. Last year he was 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA, and that is the only time in his five-year career that he has won double-digit games.
In his first start this year, he again showed those flashes of why so many people like this guy, as he threw six innings against the hard-hitting Atlanta Braves and allowed just one run on only two hits while striking out seven. Matz didn’t pick up the win for his efforts though as the bullpen blew the lead, and the Mets lost 5-3 in extra innings.
Who Do I Like?
I think the Mets will win this game, but I feel that they are a bit overpriced. New York just hasn’t shown me enough consistency this season to want to back them as heavy favorites against a quality team like the Red Sox.
While Boston isn’t going to win the American League East Division, they should be a fringe playoff contender in the newly expanded MLB playoffs, and -157 is more than I would want to lay to fade them right now.
One area that I do see significant value in, though, is the game total of nine and a half runs. We already talked about have bad Perez can be, and I expect him to get roughed up in this one. The Mets are the second-best hitting team in terms of batting average right now in the majors, and guess who is number one? You guessed it, the Boston Red Sox.
Even if Steven Matz ends up being pretty good, and he certainly could, I just don’t trust this Mets bullpen to not give up at least a couple of runs. New York closer, Eddie Diaz, struggled through the worst season of his career last year, as he couldn’t stop blowing saves and giving up home runs. And this year, he started out right where he left off, as he already has one blown save where he gave up a homer, in just two appearances this year.
Runs are coming early in this game, and runs are coming late in this game. You have two hard-hitting teams against a bad starter and an awful bullpen, and that equals a lot of crooked numbers hitting the scoreboard tonight. Give me the over nine and a half runs tonight from the Big Apple!