I said in yesterday’s pick that I didn’t think the Seattle Mariners should be favored against anybody right now. I was surprised to see them as home favorites against the Los Angeles Angels, and I was even more surprised to see the number move towards Seattle all afternoon long. This line ended up moving nearly thirty points before first pitch with all of the action coming in on the Mariners. What did the public see that I see missed?
Nothing, I guess. The Angels scored in each of the first five innings to build up a huge lead, and they won the game going away in blowout fashion. Depending on how late you bet LA you could have gotten them as high as +125. I suspect that the reason the number moved towards Seattle is the fact that the Angels announced late in the afternoon that Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani would not be playing.
The media hyped it up a lot as Ohtani was high school teammates with Seattle starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi and the Japanese media was out in droves. So, when Ohtani was scratched, I guessed the public figured that it would magically turn Kikuchi and the Mariners into big favorites? As a general rule, the public tends to put WAY too much emphasis on injured players.
Yeah, it sucks not to have all of your best players on the field, but when you look at what one individual player contributes to a one-game sample size, it just shouldn’t change the odds all that much. We were able to take advantage of a bad number from the books that was only made worse by an ignorant betting public. If you can find yourself on the other side of the general public, you are usually in pretty good shape. For today’s pick, we will head to the Big Apple where the New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox.
The best rivalry in all of baseball is renewed today as the Boston Red Sox are in New York for game one of a four game series with the Yankees. Both of these teams came out of the gates slow this season but have turned it up recently. For Boston, the Red Sox have finally gotten their record on the right side of .500, but just barely. The Red Sox trail the Yankees by seven and a half games in the AL East Division.
For New York, they have been punished by injuries to several key players, but that hasn’t slowed them down a bit as they have been the best team in the AL the last five weeks. The Yankees have the second-best winning percentage in the American League, trailing just the red-hot Minnesota Twins.
Starting for the Red Sox is Chris Sale (1-6 4.19 ERA), and for the Yankees, it is J.A. Happ (4-3 5.09 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Red Sox are -140 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankees Stadium in New York City.
If you are an avid reader of my daily picks, you know that I have been betting against Chris Sale a lot this season. And it’s not because I don’t respect Sale or what he is capable of, the guy is certainly a beast. But he is being valued much too highly right now when you look at his production. I try and value my bets based on data, not on names, and right now, the data tells me that Chris Sale shouldn’t be favored in this one.
The Red Sox have lost eight of Sale’s eleven starts this season. Through April, sale was 0-4 and the Red Sox had lost all of his six starts, his ERA was over six runs. He has pitched somewhat better since then, as he had a four-start stretch where he averaged seven innings a game and allowed just over one run a game. But in his last two starts, he was shaky again as he pitched a combined eleven and a third innings and allowed seven runs.
When Sale faced these Yankees in mid-April, he got hammered for four runs, on a season-high seven hits, in just five innings of work, and the Red Sox got blown out. Sale will have his hands full tonight with a Yankees team that can really mash the baseball.
The Yankees will turn to veteran J.A. Happ to get them a series lead tonight in game one. Happ has been very mediocre this season, but that hasn’t seemed to slow the Yankees down much. Despite a high ERA of over five runs, the Yankees have won eight out of his last ten starts, including four straight. In his last three starts, he has allowed twelve runs, the Yankees won each game anyway. Happ has one of the highest run support totals in the league for a starting pitcher at over five and a half runs per game.
At some point, betting against Chris Sale every fifth day is going to catch up with me. But until he finds a way to turn his results around, I can’t imagine not wanting to fade him against what is my pick for the best team in baseball. Yeah, I wish the Yankees had Stanton and Gregorious and Andujar on the field, but it hasn’t mattered for this Yankees team as they are using a next man up philosophy and are still scoring lots of runs and winning a lot of games.
Imagine what this team will look like when they fully get healthy, they could be scary good. But for now, I will back one of the hottest teams in baseball, at home, as underdogs. Home dogs are always my favorite place to find value, and I will exploit that again today. Give me the New York Yankees at +130 tonight in game one!