The driest stretch without sports ends tonight, as the second half of the MLB season starts back up. For a sports fan and sports handicapper, that layoff can be dreadful, and can drive a degenerate bettor up the wall. However, I see it as a time to recharge the batteries. As somebody that bets sports as much as I do, I need a break every once in a while. Still, with only the WNBA having meaningful games going, it had me looking forward to tonight, that is for sure. There is a host of action for us tonight to bet on the diamond, and football season is right around the corner, so it is an exciting time. Hard to believe, but we are less than a month away from the first preseason game of the NFL. I’m definitely looking forward to betting football, college and professional football.
For tonight, we’re taking a look at a team that is hoping to have a huge second half, armed with their ace Jose Fernandez. Fernandez was getting his feet wet again just before we took the break. He had a monster 2013 and 2014 before exiting with an injury, which carried over to this season. Looking healthy and strong, Fernandez is primed to carry the Marlins the rest of the season.
It will have to take more than Fernandez. It is also going to have to take more than Giancarlo Stanton. Dee Gordon has been a nice player for the Marlins as well, but at 38-51, there has to be a better team effort all the way around. Getting Fernandez is the first step of the process in being a better team. Koehler is a fine option for the Marlins too in the starting rotation. So the talent is there for the Marlins, but their 38-51 record doesn’t signify much talent. We’ll see how things play out in the second half. If Fernandez stays healthy they should be able to improve significantly after a dreadful start for them. The Marlins travel to Philadelphia for a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Jose Fernandez (2-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Adam Morgan (1-2, 4.32 ERA)
I noted the Marlins’ struggles above. But if you take a look at the records in comparison, the Phillies at 29-62 hold the honor for having the worse start. However, the start by the Phillies is to be expected. The Marlins on the other hand were looking forward to a breakout campaign. It hasn’t happened, but with a lot of the season still to be played out, the Marlins can turn it around. A series opener after the All-Star break against the Phillies should be a nice way to get the second half started on the right foot. Fernandez showed some rust in his first start, allowing 3 runs, but came back with an electrifying performance versus the Reds before the break. There he didn’t allow a run, allowing only 6 hits in 7 innings pitched. I expect a similar outing against the Phillies tonight.
The Marlins’ offense faces lefty Adam Morgan tonight. The Marlins were quite successful against left-handed pitching in the first half, hitting them with a batting average of .269. This is Morgan’s first stint at the major league level, this being his fourth start. There has been good Morgan and then bad Morgan. His last start yielded 5 runs against the Angels. However, his first start produced only 1 run allowed. I feel like he is going to have his hands full against Fernandez. I expect Fernandez to go on a major run in the second half, beginning tonight in Philadelphia. Lay the RL and forget about the ML.
PICK: MARLINS -1.5 (+103)