Some days you are the bug, and some days you are the windshield. Yesterday, we most certainly were the windshield as we ran up an undefeated record with multiple money line underdog winners. One of those underdog winners came when we backed the Detroit Tigers against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In what was one of the most perplexing lines of the MLB season so far, the Pirates were somehow favorites against the Tigers yesterday.
The very same Pirates team that had the worst record in the Major League entering play yesterday. A team that is currently on pace to finish with the worst record in modern baseball history. And they were favorites, against a Tigers team, that while not all that talented, had a winning record on the year. It was one of those spot where you have to wonder what you are missing, as the number made no sense.
4️⃣ home runs
2️⃣ + 2️⃣ = four, which again, is how many homers we hit
1️⃣ inning pic.twitter.com/K9Ugr9FW4w
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 8, 2020
And when the Tigers blasted four home runs in the first inning alone, I knew we were on the right side, and that the books missed on this one. When all the smoke cleared, the Tigers put eleven runs up on the board, blew the Pirates out 11-5, and we won our underdog bet.
There is nothing sweeter than winning a money line underdog MLB bet, and we will get right back at it today in search of value, when we break down the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Colorado Rockies.
Colorado Rockies (11-3) at Seattle Mariners (5-11)
The Colorado Rockies are in Seattle Sunday, looking for the sweep in game three of a three-game series with the Mariners. The Rockies, despite having limited expectations entering the season, have the best record in the National League, and their eleven wins are tied with the Oakland Athletics for the most in all of baseball. Colorado has won seven out of their last eight games and will look to win their fourth straight tonight in Seattle.
For Seattle, the Mariners are mired in a nasty slump that has seen them lose seven of their eight August games. The bats have gone cold for the Mariners as they have scored four runs or fewer in each of those seven losses and combined for just thirteen runs in those games. Scoring less than two runs a game just isn’t going to get it done, and the M’s need to find a way to plate more runs if they want to get back to being competitive.
Starting today for the Mariners is Justus Sheffield (0-2 9.39 ERA), and for the Rockies, it is German Marquez (2-1 1.89 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Rockies are -150 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
We knew coming into this season that we were going to see some unexpected things happen. But I am not sure anybody could have predicted what is going on right now, with several “bad” teams that weren’t expected to be in contention, winning a bunch of games.
A quick glance at the standings in the National League shows me the Marlins and Rockies each in first place of their respective divisions. The same trend is true in the American League as well, as both the Orioles and the Tigers would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
So, how are the Rockies finding a way to lead the NL in wins right now? Well, they are doing just about everything well. They lead the Major Leagues in team batting average and are second in runs scored. On the mound, they are fourth in earned run average, and top five in batting average against and WHIP.
German Marquez (2-1 1.89 ERA)
2019 was a bad year for basically the entire Rockies pitching staff. After pitching elite in 2018, the entire staff regressed in 2019 and struggled. But that group is back now in 2020, looking a lot like the squad that was very good two years ago. One of those guys that is rounding back into form, is today’s starter, German Marquez.
Marquez had 230 strikeouts and a sub-four run ERA in 2018, which is really strong considering that half of his games came at Coors Field in Colorado. He wasn’t able to replicate those results last year, but in three starts this season, he has seen his production go through the roof.
Marquez has allowed just four earned run in three starts and has 23 K’s in nineteen innings of work. In his last start, he completely shut down the San Francisco Giants to the tune of seven and a third innings pitched, allowing two earned runs and racking up nine punchouts.
2020 was always going to be about rebuilding for the Seattle Mariners. And while they played well in July to start out the season, they have come back to reality here in August, losing seven out of their eight games this month. They aren’t scoring many runs, and their ERA against, is the highest in the Major Leagues, as they are giving up over six runs a game.
But there have been some bright spots for Seattle, as a couple of these young prospects are looking like future stars in the making. Kyle Lewis is an absolute stud and is hitting .356. Austin Nola is hitting .342, and Dylan Moore is playing like the shortstop of the future for Seattle. One of the young guys that Seattle would love to see turn into an All-Star, is today’s starting pitcher, Justus Sheffield.
Justus Sheffield (0-2 9.39 ERA)
It wasn’t all that long ago that Justus Sheffield was one of the top prospect in all of baseball. When the Mariners traded away James Paxton to the New York Yankees to snag Sheffield, it was a big get for Seattle. Sheffield got called up last year late in the season to make his mariners debut and had some ups and downs. As most young guys do, Sheffield looked great times, and other times he got hammered.
In September last year, Sheffield made five starts, the Mariners went 4-1, and in three of those starts he allowed one run or less. That showed the promise that Seattle needed to see, and the M’s made the decision to add him to the rotation for 2020, as a regular starter.
Things have not gone well for Sheffield so far in 2020 as he has made two starts and has gotten blasted in both outings. Against the Los Angeles Angels, he lasted just three innings and gave up four earned runs. In his next start against the Oakland Athletics, he made it only 4.2 innings and again gave up four earned runs. The Mariners have lost his two starts by a combined score of 21-3.
Who Do I Like?
This is another number that just doesn’t make any sense. The Rockies aren’t just beating teams, they are blowing them out, as their run differential of +38 in the second highest in the majors, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And on the flip side, the Mariners aren’t just losing, they are getting destroyed. The M’s run differential is a Major League worst -46! We have seen that played out in this series as the Rockies have won the first two games with a combined score of 13-4.
I would have expected to see the Rockies are far bigger favorites in this game. Even if Marquez wasn’t pitching at a higher level than we have ever seen from him, and Sheffield wasn’t getting blow out in each start, I could still see Colorado laying -200 or more in this game. I guess the books just aren’t ready to buy in on the Rockies being an elite team yet, despite their NL best 11-3 record?
I very rarely take run line bets. I can almost always find more value elsewhere, and I know that, on average, about a quarter of all MLB games are decided by one run, meaning that you have a built-in difficulty in cashing run line bets. But run lines were made for spots like this one. I see the Rockies blowing the Mariners out today.
Of the Rockies eleven wins, nine of them have come by multiple runs. For Seattle, the Mariners have lost eleven games in 2020, and nine of those have come by multiple runs, including their last five losses, that have come by a whopping 24 runs! I expect more of the same today, and will back the Rockies on the run line. The fact that I can get dog money on this play is outrageous value, and this feels like stealing!