After a slow Monday yesterday, that saw several teams get a well-deserved day off, Major League Baseball ramps back up today with sixteen games on the schedule. The headlining matchup of the day is the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, but several other quality teams will clash as well.
Games between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies, and Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, should all be exciting, in what will be an action-packed day. For our daily betting pick, we will break down all of the action between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros.
Houston Astros (5-4) at Arizona Diamondbacks (3-7)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for their first series win of the season as they host the Houston Astros for a three-game set, with game one coming at you tonight from Phoenix. The DBacks are reeling after a disastrous start to their first homestand of the year, that saw them lose three out of four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they were outscored 23-10.
For Houston, the Astros have won two out of their first three series, picking up the series win against the Los Angeles Angels in their last series. The Astros played back to back games against the Angels that went into extra innings and were appreciative of the day off yesterday, and should be rested and ready to go tonight in Arizona.
Starting tonight for the Astros is Cristian Javier (0-0 1.35 ERA), and for the DBacks, it is Madison Bumgarner (0-1 4.09 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. The Astros are small road favorites at -132. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM PST from Chase Field in Arizona.
Outside of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros have looked a lot like we thought they would, so far in 2020. They have been able to score a lot of runs and won five out of the seven games where they have played against fellow American League West opponents. While Houston has slipped to second place in the division, behind a surging Oakland Athletics team that has won three straight, Houston still seems to be the favorite out west.
And about that series with the Dodgers. The Astros famously were caught cheating in the 2017 World Series, where they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. While Major League Baseball didn’t punish any Houston players for the scandal, the Dodgers did, as they were able to exact at least a little bit of revenge against the Astros last week.
LA swept the two-game series, thoroughly embarrassing Houston along the way, when Joe Kelley threw at, struck out, and mocked several Astros players. That series seemed like karma trying to get even with Houston for their past transgressions, and I’m not going to hold those results against them all that much. It needed to happen, and it did, and I am going to move on from it.
Cristian Javier (0-0 1.35 ERA)
Cristian Javier is a stud. At 23-years old, he made his Major League debut earlier this season, after dominating in the Minor Leagues since he was 18-year’s old. Javier is a strikeout artist that had a K/9 ratio of 13.2 last year in stops at single-A, double-A, and triple-A. In 26 Minor League appearances last season, his ERA was just 1.98, and his WHIP was 0.968. He finally gets his shot in the show this year, after Houston lost Gerrit Cole in the offseason, opening up a spot for him in the rotation.
Cristian Javier's debut was 🔥
8 K pic.twitter.com/EcnCvqpUjp
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 30, 2020
Javier made his first MLB start last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers and was nearly unhittable, against what is the National League’s best hitting lineup. In that game, he lasted 5.2 innings, allowed only one run on two hits, while striking out eight. The sky is the limit for this kid, and I am excited to see what he can do on the big stage now that he has got his shot.
The Arizona Diamondbacks came into the season hoping to compete with the Dodgers and Padres in the National League West but have struggled out of the gate. They have yet to win a series this year and have gone 2-6 against the Dodgers and Padres. That is not the start that the DBacks were hoping for, and after the seasons first ten games, they find themselves with one of the worst records in the National League and buried in last place.
Update: Peralta will serve as the DH tonight and Varsho will be in left field. https://t.co/epRnKQnO67
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 4, 2020
Arizona never expected their offense to be overly strong, but what this DBacks lineup has done at the plate this year has been pitiful. Their team batting average is just .192, and they are dead last in the majors in home runs and slugging. They have fewer home runs than the Marlins, Phillies, and Cardinals, and those teams haven’t gotten to play games in over a week!
Madison Bumgarner (0-1 4.09 ERA)
The Diamondbacks brought in longtime San Francisco Giant, Madison Bumgarner, during the offseason to lead their rotation. But with over a decade of Major League wear and tear, you have to wonder how much he has left in the gas tank. Bumgarner is closing in on 2,000 innings pitched in his career, and I’m just not sure he is going to be able to be the guy that Arizona needs him to be for them to hang out west.
In his first two starts of the season, he has been decent, but he hasn’t been the lockdown guy the DBacks were hoping they were getting when they signed him. Against the San Diego Padres, he pitched 5.2 innings, gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, and Arizona lost the game. In his next start, he pitched 5.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and a walk, and again, Arizona lost the game.
Who Do I Like?
The winds of change are never-ending in Major League Baseball. Every year it is out with the old and in with the new. In this game, the old is Madison Bumgarner, who still has just enough left in him to be respectable, but not enough to lead a rotation. And the new, is 23-year old phenom, Cristian Javier.
The Astros are a much better team than the Arizona Diamondbacks. I am shocked to see this line as such a tight one. I have a feeling that the majority of the casual betting public are seeing Madison Bumgarner as a home dog, and thinking, wow, what a great spot! Don’t be like the casual betting public.
The Astros are far the better team, and I really like Cristian Javier. I think that he mows through this noodle-bat swinging DBacks team, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him shut them completely down and strike out double digits. The public doesn’t know his name yet, but you do, and you need to take advantage of it.
Bumgarner rarely gets blown out, and he will hold his own for most of this game, but the DBacks just don’t have the firepower to hang with Houston. When Arizona has played against quality opposition, they haven’t been able to compete, and I see that happening again tonight in this game. Give me the Houston Astros as road favorites in game one tonight from Arizona!