We had a solid day yesterday with a couple of underdog winners coming in for us, but it was almost a huge day as we came up just short of hitting another underdog when we backed the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I really liked being able to back Zack Greinke getting dog money, and the game was going according to plan late, as the DBacks held a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh inning.
In my estimation, the DBacks errored in letting Greinke come back out for the eighth inning. He was really sold through the first six innings, but after giving up the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, I would have likely made the change and went to the bullpen. Instead, Arizona left him in the game, and he gave up the go-ahead run on a lead-off home run by Justin Turner. And that was that. The DBacks couldn’t get a run against this struggling Dodgers bullpen, and we lost our bet.
It is easy to play armchair quarterback and say that they should have pulled Greinke, but in the end, it is all just speculation. Clearly, these teams were very evenly matched up in this one as the game was very tight, so I will just chalk it up to a little variance and late game bad luck and move on for today’s pick. For today’s pick, I will break down the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds.
The St. Louis Cardinals host the Cincinnati Reds for game two of a three-game series with the Reds. The Cardinals hammered the Reds last night in game one, 12-5. Paul DeJong homered and drove in five runs, and the Cards had three other players with double-digit RBIs in the blowout win. With the win, St. Louis closed out August with an MLB best 22-6 record. The Reds haven’t fared nearly as well recently, as they are losers of eight out of their last nine games.
Starting tonight for the Reds is Luis Castillo (7-11 5.07 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Daniel Poncedeleon (0-0 2.08 ERA). The Cardinals are -121 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Do you believe in magic? Well, I will tell you who does, and that is this St. Louis Cardinals team. At the trade deadline on July 31st, most of the National League contenders made moves to bolster their squads and make a playoff push. The Cubs, Brewers, Braves, and Dodgers all made big moves. The Cardinals? They were actually moderate sellers at the deadline as they did not acquire any current year talent and actually traded away some key pieces of the bullpen.
And yet since that day they have been the best team in the National League. So, while it might not be magic, it has left me scratching my head saying how did they do that? Recently, they have seen several of their best player’s miss time with injuries, and it just hasn’t seemed to slow them down a bit. It’s been next man up for St. Louis all season long and this team looks poised for a playoff berth.
Starting for the Cardinals is Daniel Poncedeleon. The 26-year-old rookie is just the next in a long line of next man up for St. Louis. He has pitched mostly out of the bullpen this season in limited appearances but has made two starts on the season as well. In his two starts this season, Poncedeleon has pitched a combined eleven innings and has allowed just one earned run. In his MLB debut, he pitched seven no-hit innings but had to be pulled from the game before he had a chance to make history, as he has already thrown 116 pitches. It is hard to say just how good this kid is as his time in the bigs has been limited, but if the last four weeks has shown us anything for the Cardinals, it is that they are going to get the best effort possible out of him tonight.
The Reds will start Luis Castillo tonight. The road has been a bumpy one this season for Castillo. He has had amongst the highest ERA of any regular starter in the NL all season long with an ERA right around six runs. Even though he has dropped his ERA almost a full run in the last month, he still has the second highest ERA of any qualified starter in the National League.
Castillo is in just his second year as a big leaguer, and many believe he will eventually blossom into a solid starter, but right now he is clearly still learning to pitch on the major league level. In August he has really struggled as he is 1-3 with a 5.57 ERA in four starts.
I believe in magic. It doesn’t seem to matter who is on the field for the Cardinals right now, they just win. Gyorko is out, Wacha is out, Wong is out, Ozuna is out, and it just doesn’t seem to hurt them. I don’t know exactly how they will get the job done tonight, but I have been riding this hot hand all month, and I am not about to jump off the bandwagon just yet. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals as small home favorites tonight in game two from St. Louis!