The Marlins scored in each of the last four innings, a total of six runs, to storm back unexpectedly and topple the Cardinals. It also toppled me in the process as we start off the second half of the season with a very disappointing and somewhat surprising loss. I have to admit, I felt pretty good about that game when I turned it off in the sixth inning… baseball, right??
Elsewhere, Stephen Strasburg became just the fifth person in the Cy Young Era to start the season 13-0. The last three have won the Cy Young Award, including his now-teammate Max Scherzer in 2013. However, as remarkable as 13-0 is, Strasburg has a long way to go to capture the coveted award, and some of that work might fall to hoping some of the leading contenders, well, fall. Jake Arrieta’s last four starts have taken home from co-favorite to long shot, and the injury concerns to Kershaw also open up the door a bit. But assuming Kershaw returns soon, Stras still has to contend with he, Bumgarner and Cueto – all of whom would be slightly ahead of Stras on my (fictitious) ballot.
Let’s see if we can get a little better luck today and start a nice second half winning streak.
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Francisco Giants -174 at San Diego Padres +165 (Total: 8)
Jeff Samardzija vs. Luis Perdomo (3-4, 7.38)
On paper, this is a big mismatch, and Vegas has it situated accordingly. But despite the stat line difference, the team record difference and the massive starting pitching differences, it might not be quite as massive a mismatch as it appears at first glance.
The Padres record stinks, but they have been competent at home, just a few games under .500. And Perdomo’s ERA of over seven is concerning, but things have actually been improving at a rapid clip for the talented 23-year old Dominican hurler. He has quality starts in his last three outings and he has 32 K’s to just 9 walks in his starts since the beginning of June. It ain’t Pedro numbers, but he is showing some of the promise and potential to be a very solid MLB starting pitcher.
Meanwhile, Samardzija’s numbers are much better, but the trends are not. His ERA has been steadily climbing in the two months since his hot start and he only owns two quality starts in his last eight outings. He has allowed six earned runs in two of those starts and four in two others. Batters are hitting .251 against him this season, suggesting that some of his struggles aren’t just control issues or a fluke. He has been a slightly below-average MLB pitcher since mid-May.
The Giants are still worthy favorites tonight. They have a better lineup and a more established starting pitcher. But breaking down starting pitcher splits over the last two months makes the Padres a pretty intriguing value-play at +165 and one too juicy for me not to take a shot on cashing.
I’ll take the Pads tonight at home with a conservative play with a potential large return.