For the second time this week, we saw an early four-run lead evaporate, costing us a winning bet. Both times, we were on an underdog and were in line for a jumbo payout if the team managed to hold onto the big lead. Yesterday, we felt that disappointing sting when we backed the Colorado Rockies as home underdogs against the San Diego Padres.
Padres starter Zach Davies had his worst outing of the year in his previous Coors Field start, and I expected the Padres to be tired and come out flat after an unexpected doubleheader and a lot of travel the day before. For Colorado, their starter Kyle Freeland, has historically always had a lot of success pitching at home, so I felt that a play on the Rockies as home dogs was a high-value proposition.
And I certainly felt like I was on the right side when Davies got smashed for four runs in the first inning, and Colorado jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The lead was still intact, heading into the fourth inning as Freeland was cruising, and it looked like I was going to cash a ticket.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 29, 2020
The Padres got one run in the fourth, and three in the fifth, to tie the game up, and once Freeland was out of the game, the flood gates opened up, and San Diego battered the Rockies bullpen to the tune of six runs, and the Padres took this one going away, 10-4.
It was certainly a frustrating way to lose a bet and seeing the Padres score ten unanswered runs was a gut punch. But what can you do, I still think it was as a decent play at the price, and if you offer to spot me a 4-0 lead on a home dog in a game, I am going to love it every time. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to St. Louis, where the Cardinals host the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland Indians (20-12) at St. Louis Cardinals (11-12)
The Cleveland Indians exploded for fourteen runs on twenty hits last night, in game one of a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals, and will look to make it back to back wins today in game two. The Indians are heating up, as yesterday’s win was their third straight, and they have won ten out of their last thirteen games. With the recent surge up the standings, the Indians are now in a three-way tie for first place in the American League Central division.
For St. Louis, the Cardinals have lost three straight games, including an ugly doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and have now lost four out of their last five games after playing some quality baseball for most of the month. With the loss last night, St. Louis now dips below .500 on the year, and they are clinging on to second place in their division, the National League Central, with a scant two-game lead over the suddenly streaking Cincinnati Reds.
Starting today for the Cardinals is Jack Flaherty (2-0 1.98 ERA), and for the Indians, it is Carlos Carrasco (2-3 4.50 ERA). The game total over/under is set at seven and a half runs. The Cardinals are -125 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 AM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The Cleveland Indians have an elite pitching staff, and with the recent return of Mike Clevinger from COVID-19 purgatory, they are going to be even better on the mound the rest of the way out. Pitching hasn’t been the problem for Cleveland. It has been their run production and power at the plate, that has been the Achilles heel for the Indians this season.
They managed to hit the baseball last night against St. Louis, as they had twenty base hits and scored fourteen runs, both season highs. Franmil Reyes was the star of the show in that one as he had three hits, two of them for extra bases, and drove in five runs. Reyes started the season out slow, but in his last three games has six hits, and now has hit batting average up over the .300 mark for the season.
Carlos Carrasco (2-3 4.50 ERA)
Carlos Carrasco is a great feel-good story as he missed a big chunk of last year with Leukemia. He was able to beat the disease and make a triumphant return to the field late last season and was named the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year. Some things transcend baseball, and his battle with the deadly disease has been a great story for the Indians.
But when you look at his on the field production since returning, he doesn’t seem to be quite the same guy that he was when he left the game. Carrasco averaged a low three-run ERA in five straight seasons for Cleveland and was consistently one of the most reliable pitchers in the American League, three times eclipsing the 200 K mark in a season.
In 2019, he posted one of the highest ERAs of his career at 5.29 in 29 appearances. This year, he has had a slow start to the season as well, as he is just 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts. His first three starts of the year were solid, as he pitched at least six innings in each outing, and his ERA was a strong 2.50. But in his last three starts, he has yet to make it out of the fifth inning and has given up ten earned runs in just twelve innings worked.
St. Louis Cardinals
What has happened to the St. Louis Cardinals in the last two days? The doubleheader sweep to the Pirates was unforgivable, and then getting blasted by the Indians last night has this St. Louis team’s head spinning. Before this awful two day stretch, the Cardinals were humming right along in August as they had had a 9-6 record and were looking a lot like a playoff contender in the National League.
You have to wonder if this was just a bad two days or have the Cardinals been exposed, and you can expect more struggles to come? The Cardinals are playing a brutal schedule to try and make up from missing action to a COVID-19 outbreak, and they have been forced to play an absolutely absurd, eighteen games in the last fourteen days.
Jack Flaherty (2-0 1.98 ERA)
While some of the Cardinals might be worn out due to this jam-packed schedule, Jack Flaherty likely isn’t one of them. The Cardinals have decided to bring their starters back very slowly, and the leash has been short on Jack Flaherty and the rest of the Cardinals rotation. But the handcuffs seem to have loosened some for St. Louis since Flaherty’s last start, as three of their four starters have pitched into the sixth inning or later.
The only one that didn’t, was yesterday’s starter, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and he got pulled because he could get an out, not because he was on a pitch count. If Flaherty gets to pitch a full game tonight, he is very hard to fade as he is one of the best pitchers in the National League. Flaherty has seen his ERA drop in each of the last three seasons, and this year he has been lights out with a 2-0 record and a 1.98 ERA in three appearances.
Who Do I Like?
Don’t let last nights run production fool you, this Cleveland Indians team is having a lot of problems at the plate this season. Cleveland is near the bottom of the Major Leagues in batting average, runs scored, home runs, and slugging. Although their bats have looked somewhat better as of late, they still have only managed to score more than six runs just twice before last night’s explosion during this recent thirteen game run of success.
I try to never overreact to one game as its too small of a sample size to make any strong inferences from. So, as great as the Cleveland bats looked last night, I am going to mostly dismiss it, and chalk it up as a fluky good game, and remember that Cleveland has not been hitting well for the vast majority of the season. And if I can back Jack Flaherty at a cheap price against what has been a bad hitting lineup, I am not sure I can ever pass up on it.
I would have to think that the Cardinals will let Jack Flaherty pitch tonight. If anything, their recent decision to stretch their starters out more has to at least somewhat be about getting the overworked bullpen a break with the highly condensed schedule. And with this recent skid, they know they have to stop the bleeding and ASAP if they want to stay in playoff contention.
Flaherty pitched seven innings or more thirteen times last year, one of the highest totals in the National League. He pitched at least six innings in 26 of his 39 starts last season. This guy is a workhorse and is the best the Cardinals have got. I expect seven-plus innings of quality work out of him today.
I think Flaherty carries his team to this win. He will be dominant against the weak-hitting Indians, and Carlos Carrasco will continue his recent struggles. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals as small home field favorites today in game two!