We got right back in the win column yesterday we when backed the St. Louis Cardinals, on the road, against the Kansas City Royals. I was shocked to see the number as a tight one, as the Royals have been one of the worst teams in the game all season long, and if the season were to end today, the Cardinals would be in the playoffs. Any time you can get a team that is twenty games better at such an attractive price, you have to take it.
The Cards made us sweat just a little bit as heading into the seventh inning, Royals starter Brad Keller was tossing a very efficient no-hitter. Luckily for us though, St. Louis starter Dakota Hudson was matching him pitch for pitch as he hadn’t allowed a run either. The Cards finally broke out in the seventh inning when they opened the frame with five consecutive hits and ended up posting a five-spot in the inning, putting the game away for good.
Hudson, who is very quietly putting together a great season, picked up his eleventh win of the year, with his six shutout innings of work. The win was a big one for the Cardinals as they now share first place with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central Division race. The win was the fifth straight for the Cardinals and all of the sudden they seem to be the favorite to win the central division crown. For today’s pick, we will head to Philadelphia where the Chicago Cubs play the Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies host the Chicago Cubs tonight in game three of a three-game set, looking for the sweep. The Phillies lineup has looked revived with new hitting coach Charlie Manual, as they have scored fifteen runs in the two games since he joined the team. The Phillies need to stay hot though as they are still nine games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East Division, and two games back of the St. Cardinals for the second wild card in the NL.
For Chicago, they have stumbled as of late as they have lost four out of their last five games and with that skid have allowed the Cardinals to catch them for first place, with the Milwaukee Brewers still very much in the mix as well, just a game and a half back. The Cubs must find a way to break out of this slump, and quickly, if they want to stay in the driver’s seat in the central.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Yu Darvish (4-6 4.43 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is the newly acquired Drew Smyly (2-6 6.96 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Cubs are -144 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.
Most expected the Texas Rangers to trade away a couple of starters this year at the trade deadline. Both Lance Lynn and Mike Minor were having great seasons and seemed to be on the radar of several competing teams. So, it was a bit confusing that when all of the smoke cleared at the deadline, it was Drew Smyly that got moved from Texas, not Minor or Lynn.
Smyly was struggling through what was, by far, the worst season of his career, and I was shocked to see Philly go out and get him. Smyly was 1-5 with a sky-high 8.42 ERA for Texas this season. I suppose it was a buy-low type of move as Smyly has been mostly decent his whole career before seeing his production fall off of a cliff this season. And the early returns looked great for Philly as he was untouchable in his first two starts for the Phillies. In those two games, he tossed a combined thirteen innings, allowing just one run, and the Phillies won both games.
It looked like the Phillies might have stolen a gem away from Texas for basically nothing. But in his last two starts, he has looked like the guy he was all season long as he has been awful. In his last two starts, he has gotten hammered for eleven runs in ten and two-thirds of an inning worked. That includes giving up four home runs. The long ball has plagued Smyly all year long as he has allowed twenty-three home runs in just seventy-five innings pitched. That’s not a good sign for tonight, as the Cubs are top ten in the game in homers.
Yu Darvish occasionally looks like his old self. Ad occasionally he looks like an absolute dumpster can fire. And it is very hard to tell when he is going to pitch well. He has given up four runs or more in a start nine times in his twenty-four starts. That includes six out of his last eleven starts. Much like Smyly, Darvish can’t seem to keep the ball in the park as he has gotten blasted for twenty-six home runs this year, that is the most any National League pitcher has allowed this season. Not really a stat you want to lead the league in if you ask me.
It is just too hard to predict what Yu Darvish is going to do this season, to really have a strong opinion on taking a side in this game. He has just been too inconsistent to want to back him on the road laying significant wood against a good team like the Phillies. And on the flip side, I am not sure I am ever going to want to take Drew Smyly against this powerful Cubs lineup, at any price. So, I will stay away from betting a side in this one. But I do have a strong opinion on the total.
Both of these guys are capable of blowing up and giving up a bunch of runs. And both of these guys give up a lot of home runs. With a number like nine and a half, in reality, only one of these guys has to be bad to see this one sail to the over. And that is just what I see happening tonight. Maybe they are both awful, and this game goes way over, or maybe one of these guys finds a way to get their act together, and it barely sneaks over, but in the end, I see this as a double-digit runs game.
With the way that teams have been scoring runs and hitting homers at a historic pace this season, I am expecting heavy action on the over in this one. I generally don’t like being on the same side as the betting public, but I have no choice in this one tonight. So, if you like the over, and you should, jump on it now before it goes to ten runs. Give me the over nine and a half runs tonight in game three from the City of Brotherly Love!