It’s a wonderful day for baseball on a sunny Saturday, and we have a full schedule of action on tap for you today as we have fifteen games on the slate. The new normal for 2020 means that we will have some changes to the schedule today as the game between the Mets and Yankees is canceled due to a Mets player testing positive for the Corona Virus, and we will have a double-header between the Marlins and the Nationals.
The headlining games on the board for today are matchups between the Phillies and the Braves, the Blue Jays and the Rays, in a game between two of the hottest teams in the American League, and a blockbuster matchup between the Houston Astros and the San Diego Padres. For our daily betting pick, we will head to St. Louis, where the Cardinals host the Cincinnati Reds.
Cincinnati Reds (11-13) at St. Louis Cardinals (7-8)
With the series all tied up at one game apiece, the St. Louis Cardinals host the Cincinnati Reds tonight in game three of a four-game set. The Cardinals took game one of this series on Thursday in dramatic fashion, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a walk-off come from behind victory.
The Reds got their revenge last night in game two, as they returned the favor, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit to win the game 4-2 and tie the series up. The Cardinals are 5-5 in their return to action after missing over a week’s worth of action due to a Corona Virus outbreak.
For Cincinnati, the Reds are mostly treading water here in August, as they take one step forward and two steps back most days. The Reds have lost eight out of their last fourteen games and are four and a half games back of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division race.
Starting tonight for the Reds is Wade Miley (0-2 16.20 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0 3.86 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. The Cardinals are -125 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Starting pitchers Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray have both been really, really good this year for the Cincinnati Reds. Bauer is 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA in four starts, and Gray is 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts. Bauer is second in the majors, behind only Shane Bieber, who is on another planet right now, in strikeouts per nine innings, at an absurd 14.01, and Gray isn’t far behind in fourth, at 12.51 K/9.
The problem for the Reds is when these guys aren’t on the mound. The Reds are 7-3 in the ten games started by either Bauer or Gray. In their other fourteen games, they are a dismal 4-10. If the Reds could find a way to keep them on the mound, they would be a National League pennant contender. But, alas, they can only start each guy every fifth day and are barely hanging on in the wild card race in the NL as they desperately search for other consistent starters to go alongside Gray and Bauer.
Wade Miley (0-2 16.20 ERA)
None of the Reds starters are struggling as badly as Wade Miley is right now. Miley has made two starts and has yet to make it out of the second inning in either outing. On the year, he has pitched just a combined 3.1 innings and has gotten rocked for seven runs, and the Reds lost both games.
And when you look back to last year, these struggles actually started late last season. Miley was amongst the best pitchers in the league last year through August, when he posted a 13-4 record with a 3.06 ERA.
But late in the year, he completely fell apart and the wheels fell off for Miley, as he posted an ERA of nearly seventeen runs in five September starts. In three of those five starts, he didn’t last longer than a single inning. Sound familiar?
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals got dealt a tough hand this year when they lost several key players to a Corona Virus outbreak, and the team had to cancel a bunch of games. They are back now, and many of the players affected are starting to return, but the Cards are going to have to play a lot of catch up, as they have played just fifteen games this season, where the rest of the teams in the NL are approaching the halfway mark of the season, with 25-26 games played.
One place the Cardinals have excelled so far this year in limited action, has been on the mound. The Cardinals are holding teams to an MLB best .184 batting average, and their team ERA is 6th in the game at 3.71. Both Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty have pitched well, and the bullpen has been stellar.
Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0 3.86 ERA)
Kwang Hyun Kim is a Korean import that has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the KBO for the last decade. In his 12-year KBO career, Kim racked up a 136-77 record with a 3.27 ERA. Last year, at age 30, he had his best season yet, as he posted a 17-6 record with a 2.51 ERA. That performance earned him a shot in the big leagues when the Cardinals signed him to a 2-year $11 million contract.
The Cardinals haven’t gotten to see much of Kim yet, as he has made just two appearances, one out of the bullpen, and he made his first MLB start against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Against Chicago, Kim pitched 3.2 innings and allowed one earned run, on an Ian Happ solo shot home run.
The Cardinals have kept all of their starters on a very short leash as they look to get fully stretched out, and I would expect the handcuffs come off Kim tonight, and think that the Cardinals let him get a bit deeper into the game if he pitches well.
Who Do I Like?
Wade Miley was convinced that he was tipping his pitches last year when he started getting blown up late in the season. He was also convinced that whatever he was doing to give away his pitches had been fixed coming into this season. Well, either he was tipping his pitches and hasn’t figured out how to stop doing it this year, or he just sucked last season, and still sucks this season.
Either way, this guy is a huge liability of the mound for the Reds right now. Miley has never been a guy that is going to go out and throw a complete game, but when you look back to last year, he has pitched fewer than six innings in eleven out of his last twelve starts. He hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in nine of those starts, and he has lasted two innings or fewer, five times. If he can’t make it past the second inning again today, I would expect the Reds to part ways with him, and he just might be done being an every day Major League starting pitcher at this point in his career.
This bet is a straight fade of Wade Miley. He just can’t seem to get guys out anymore. And while I find Kwang Hyun Kim intriguing, we haven’t seen enough of him on the Major League level to know if he is going to be effective or not. But we do know that we have seen all we need to see from Wade Miley, to want to be on the other side when he pitches.
So, I’ll back the Cardinals and expect more of the same from Miley and wouldn’t be shocked if he gets hammered again and doesn’t see the third inning. The Cardinals haven’t been swinging too hot of a bat, but we saw last week against the Cubs, that if a starter doesn’t bring their best game, they can rough them up, when they nailed Alec Mills for six runs in the first four innings. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals tonight as small home field favorites, laying -125!