Yesterday I got the chance to fade Wade Miley, starting pitcher of the Cincinnati Reds, at a very reasonable price, in a matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals. Miley hadn’t made it out of the second inning in either of his two starts this season, and when you looked back to 2019, he had been dreadfully bad to finish up last season as well. So, positioning myself on the other side of Miley, and his Reds team that has a .285 winning percentage when anybody not named Trevor Bauer or Sonny Gray starts a game, seemed like a high-value spot.
Cardinals starter, Kwang Hyun Kim, was a bit of an unknown, as he had made just two MLB appearances before yesterday’s start, but the guy was a superstar in the KBO, and I expect him to at least be serviceable. The starting pitching matchup in a game is very important, but don’t let some uncertainty on one side of the pairing, talk you out of a high-value play.
Miley was actually kind of decent, at least in comparison to how he has been pitching this year. I mean, he did give up seven hits and walked three guys in five innings of work, but for the most part, he was able to work out of most of his jams and only gave up three earned runs. You know you have been bad when you post an ERA of close to five and a half runs in a game and your season total drops nearly six runs.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 23, 2020
The real star of this game turned out to be Kwang Hyun Kim. Kim worked a very efficient six innings that saw him allow no runs on only three hits and no walks. He threw just 83 pitches and picked up his first-ever Major League win for his efforts.
With the win, the Cardinals get back to .500 on the season at 8-8, and are still alive and kicking in the NL playoff picture, despite the fact that they will have to make up a lot of games before the end of the regular season. For the Reds, they are now just 4-11 in games when they don’t have Bauer or Gray on the mound. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to sunny San Diego, where the Padres host the Astros.
Houston Astros (15-12) at San Diego Padres (17-12)
The Slam Diego Padres host the Houston Astros today in game three of a three-game series. The Padres earned that nickname of Slam Diego this week, as they set an all-time MLB record by hitting a grand slam in four consecutive games against the Texas Rangers. And while that streak has ended in this series with the Astros, the Padres are still slamming, as they have scored seventeen runs, with six homers, in the first two games of the set and will be looking for the three-game sweep today in the series finale.
For Houston, the Astros came into San Diego red-hot, having won eight straight games before this trip to SoCal, but they have dropped the first two games of the series and are hoping to salvage at least one game tonight, in game three on the road.
Starting for the Padres today is Adrian Morejon (0-0 0.00 ERA), and for the Astros, it is Zack Greinke (1-0 1.84 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Astros are small road favorites at -115. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from PETCO Park in San Diego.
The Houston Astros were riding high before this series with the Padres, as they had won nine out of their previous ten games. They managed to string together a bunch of wins by breaking out the bats, really, for the first time this season.
Houston scored double-digit runs three times over the course of that ten-game stretch. The Astros haven’t managed to catch up with the streaking Oakland Athletics yet in the AL West, but the early season fears that Houston might miss the playoffs after a slow start, look like they were unfounded, as this team is safely above the playoff cutline in the American League at this point.
Zack Greinke (1-0 1.84 ERA)
After a shaky finish to last season, and a slow start to this season, many wondered if Zack Greinke’s days as an elite starting pitcher were behind him at age 36. But Greinke has proven recently that the rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated, and he has pitched really well here in August.
In four August starts, Greinke is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA. He has pitched a combined 26 innings and has allowed just three earned runs. What has been even more impressive, has been his ability to control the baseball, as he has 23 Ks and only two walks during the month, and he has yet to allow even a single home run this season.
San Diego Padres
What else can you say about what the Padres have been doing in the last week? They are hammering the baseball, having fun, and breaking all of the rules. We have talked a lot about the youth movement in baseball, and right now, the San Diego Padres are the face of baseball’s next generation of stars. Major League Baseball started pushing their tag line, “let the kids play” last season, and no team lives that every day more than the San Diego Padres.
Adrian Morejon (0-0 0.00 ERA)
One of those young up and comers is today’s starting pitcher, Adrian Morejon. Morejon made his big league debut last year at just twenty years old and made five appearances, two of them starts, and pitched eight innings. He got roughed up pretty bad in the limited action but returns this year older and wiser, and ready to make an impact on this Padres team.
Morejon has made one appearance so far this season when he pitched three no-hit innings earlier this week against the Texas Rangers. This kid has been pitching professionally since he was a teenager, and while he certainly has a lot of maturing still to do, he is undeniably talented and I would expect him to be a big part of the Padres future plans.
Who Do I Like?
It is really hard to ever bet against a team that is on fire. And this San Diego Padres team is certainly on fire. Yesterday, they hit five home runs in the first two innings off of Houston starter Brandon Bielak, who came into the game with an ERA of just 1.69 on the year. But, when you are betting baseball, you always have to remember that your hot or cold streak is only as good as your last game.
Both of these teams are great examples of how quickly fortunes can change in Major League Baseball. The Astros were 2-6 in August before they reeled off nine wins in ten games. The Padres had lost five straight before this recent six-game spurt. The winds of change move quickly in baseball, and you always want to make sure you are one step ahead of it, not one step behind.
There is nothing worse than backing a hot team three or four times in a week before you realize that they aren’t hot anymore. And while I am not sure that this Padres team is done winning games, I do think that they lose this one. Zack Greinke has been really good lately, and I expect him to stop the bleeding for Houston tonight with a strong performance.
I think the Houston bats get to Morejon early in this game, and Greinke does enough against this heavy-hitting offense to lock down the win for Houston. I particularly like what I have been seeing out of Jose Altuve lately as the former MVP and batting champion is finally seeing his bat come alive and has nine hits in his last four games.
Expect Altuve and his band of trash can banging brothers to show Adrian Morejon what pitching in the big leagues is all about in this one. Give me the Houston Astros as small road favorites today in game three from San Diego!