It seems like we either win our bet, or we take a big lead and manage to blow it late in the game. We have a nasty streak going of blowing multi-run leads, and last night, we got burned again. Yesterday, we were able to back the Philadelphia Phillies, with their ace Aaron Nola, on the mound, at close to even money, against the New York Mets.
Nola had been basically unhittable all season at home, and Met’s starter Seth Lugo was a converted bullpen arm that I didn’t expect to stay in the game very long. In my estimation, this game was basically Aaron Nola versus the Mets bullpen, and at the price, taking Philly showed a ton of value. I did mention that the Phillies bullpen scared me, but I expected Nola to get deep enough into the game where it shouldn’t matter very much.
9th inning magic. 😏 pic.twitter.com/vceoLTZED7
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
Things were right on track for our bet through five innings, as my prediction that Lugo wouldn’t be in the game long came true, as he got hammered for six earned runs and didn’t make it out of the second inning. Aaron Nola had a rough first inning but settled down, and heading into the sixth inning, the Phillies were up 6-3 and cruising. I got my wish of Nola versus the Mets bullpen, and they spotted me a three-run lead, it was a great spot to be in heading into the late innings.
But then disaster struck in the sixth, as Nola gave up three runs and the Mets tied the game up. The game was still tied in the ninth, when Philly brought in their closer, Brandon Workman, and he promptly gave the game away, as the Mets scored four runs in the game’s final frame.
It was another frustrating late-game loss, where we blew an early lead. What can you do? 2020 has been full of unpredictability, so I guess blowing a bunch of games late, in the season’s final two weeks, fits the bill perfectly. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will hope we can hold onto a win, when we break down the action between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.
Chicago White Sox (33-17) at Cincinnati Reds (25-26)
The Cincinnati Reds find themselves all of the sudden right back in contention, after reeling off five consecutive wins. The Reds will host the Chicago White Sox tonight in game one of a three-game series, where they have to find a way to slow down the hottest team in baseball if they want to sneak into the National League playoffs. The Reds are a half of a game up on the St. Louis Cardinals and a game up on the Milwaukee Brewers for second place in the NL Central.
For Chicago, the White Sox have been on fire this month, as they have won eleven out of their last thirteen games and have taken control of the American League Central Division. Entering play tonight, the White Sox have a three-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the division and a half of a game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the top seed in the AL.
Starting tonight for the Reds is Tyler Mahle (1-2 4.31 ERA), and for the White Sox, it is rookie Jonathan Stiever (0-0 2.45 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Reds are -115 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Chicago White Sox
There is no team hotter in the American League right now than the Chicago White Sox. Chicago was in a dog fight in the AL Central entering the regular season’s final month, and they have managed to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the league in the last two weeks. Against AL Central opponents, the White Sox have won ten out of their last eleven games, and the central is now their division to lose with just a week of play left.
Tim Anderson is second in the American League in batting average, hitting a sizzling hot .365. Anderson is looking to win back to back AL batting titles after taking home last year’s honors with a .335 average. He went hitless in last night’s game for Chicago but had racked up thirteen hits in his previous five games prior to last night’s 0-4 performance.
Jonathan Stiever (0-0 2.45 ERA)
Jonathan Stiever wasn’t expected to be ready to pitch in the Major Leagues until next year, but Chicago called him up last week to make his big league debut against the Detroit Tigers. Stiever was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB draft and had never pitched above A-ball before his start last week. But this kid shined in the minors as he posted a 2.15 ERA at A+ with a K/9 ratio of nearly ten.
In his first start in the show, he handled himself well as he pitched 3.2 innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits while striking out three Tigers. He threw 73 pitches in that game, and I would expect that if he is pitching well, that he will get a chance to get a bit deeper into this game tonight.
The Cincinnati Reds were left for dead just a week ago, but after winning their last two series, both against division opponents, the Reds are right back in the playoff race in the NL Central. Despite a losing record on the year, if the season were to end today, the Reds would be playing in the postseason. They took two out of three against the St. Louis Cardinals and followed it up with a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Reds are getting the job done with timely hitting and elite pitching. In the Reds last nine wins, they have allowed two runs or fewer in seven of them. We all knew about Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Trevor Bauer coming into the season, but the Reds have also been able to get some decent production from the back end of their starting rotation as well. One of the guys that has been a pleasant surprise for the Reds this year has been tonight’s starter, Tyler Mahle.
Tyler Mahle (1-2 4.31 ERA)
The Reds knew that if they were going to truly contend this season, they needed Tyler Mahle to step his game up. Mahle lost twelve games last year and posted an ERA north of five runs. Mahle is still just 25 years old, and the Reds had reason to believe he would be able to improve, and so far, this season, he has done just that.
Mahle hasn’t been able to match the production we have seen out of the top of the rotation, but as the number four guy, he doesn’t have to. He got roughed up in his last start, but prior to that, his season ERA was a very respectable 3.89 in seven starts. Mahle had pitched into the seventh inning in each of his previous three starts before seeing his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals last just 2.2 innings.
Who Do I Like?
Yesterday I texted my buddy who is a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan and said, the White Sox lose maybe once a week, and yet they are still getting +150? I fired hard on Chicago yesterday, getting a bunch of dog money, and their hot streak continued, and they cashed my bet. I texted my buddy again this morning, and said, wow, the White Sox can’t lose, and they are dogs again today? Against a Reds team with a losing record?
It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The White Sox are playing the best baseball in the game right now, and they are mowing through the opposition. Yeah, I think that Tyler Mahle is the better side of the starting pitching matchup, but the White Sox are the far superior overall team. This team is just on another level right now, and I am not going to let this one week spurt by the Reds, where four of their recent wins came against the team with the worst record in MLB, convince me that they are now a legit championship contender like the White Sox are.
I am backing the best team in baseball in this one. Even if untested rookie Jonathan Stiever isn’t all that sharp, I would expect Chicago to keep him on a tight leash, so he shouldn’t hurt us much if he isn’t at his best. The Reds are dead last in the Major Leagues in batting average and 27th in runs scored, so if there was ever a time for the youngster to have a breakout start, it would be against this weak-hitting Reds team tonight.
And at the end of the day, I just see the White Sox finding a way to score enough runs to win this game. They are finding ways to win games each and every night, and I just can’t pass up on being able to back a team that is so hot right now. Give me the Chicago White Sox as road dogs tonight in game one in Cincinnati!