Yesterday, we had all kinds of drama unfold in Major League Baseball as we saw three come from behind victories amongst the divisional series four games. The shocker on the day came at Dodger Stadium in LA, where the Houston Astros fell behind early to the Oakland Athletics, only to again come back and win the game. The Astros are now 4-0 in the playoffs, and after a lackluster regular season that saw them finish with a losing record at 29-31, and barely sneak into the playoffs, the Astros look poised for a trip to the American League Championship Series.
Who will the Astros play in the ALCS? Nobody knows just yet, as the series between the Yankees and the Rays has been a thrilling affair, and last night’s game was no different. The Yankees pulled a bait and switch move as they started rookie Deivi Garcia, which caused the Rays to load up on left-handed bats but pulled Garcia after the first inning and replaced him with JA Happ. The trickery didn’t work out well for New York, though, as the Rays scored five runs in the first three innings.
4 #postseason games. 5 homers. Giancarlo is on a mission.
— MLB (@MLB) October 7, 2020
Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers, including a moonshot bomb, but it wasn’t enough for New York, as the Rays held on late for the 7-5 win and tied the series up at once game apiece. Stanton has now homered in every Yankee’s playoff game so far this season, with five home runs in just four games.
In the National League, we picked up a winning bet yesterday when we backed the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres. The line just didn’t make any sense to me at all, as San Diego was clearly rushing Mike Clevinger back from injury, and I felt that he couldn’t be trusted.
I was right, as Clevinger couldn’t find the strike zone, walking three guys in the first inning alone, and was promptly pulled from the game. The Padres tried to gut it out with the bullpen for the rest of the game, but the mighty Dodgers lineup hammered them for five runs, and the Dodgers took the series lead, and we cashed our winning ticket.
— MLB (@MLB) October 7, 2020
On the other side of the NL bracket, the Atlanta Braves fell behind 4-1 early to the Miami Marlins but stormed back to take the game 9-5 to take the series lead. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will focus in on game two of the NLDS between the Braves and the Marlins.
Miami Marlins (0-1) at Atlanta Braves (1-0)
The Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins matchup today in game two of the National League Divisional Series. The two NL East Division rivals played an exciting game yesterday that saw fourteen runs hit the board, with the Braves coming out on top and taking a one-game to none series lead over Miami. The Marlins are hoping to tie the series up today in game two and continue their streak of never having lost a playoff series in franchise history.
Starting today for the Marlins is Pablo Lopez (0-0 0.00 ERA), and for the Braves, it is Ian Anderson (1-0 0.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Braves are big -220 betting favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 11:08 PM PST from Minute Maid Park in Houston.
When you look at the National League playoff picture, one team sticks out as different from the others. The Braves, Padres, and Dodgers are all established teams with lots of talent, and nobody is shocked that they are still playing in the postseason. But the Miami Marlins don’t really belong. Miami came into this season expected to finish dead last in the NL East Division, and nobody expected them to make the playoffs.
Yet here they are, playing, and winning, in the postseason. The Marlins swept the Cubs in round one and had a 4-1 lead in game one of the NLDS against Atlanta yesterday. If it weren’t for a disastrous seventh inning that saw Miami give up six runs and blow their early lead, the Marlins could be in the lead in this series. The talent on the roster would suggest that the Marlins are outmatched against Atlanta, but Marlins manager Don Mattingly has these young guys playing with a lot of confidence right now, and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected, and that anything can and will happen.
Pablo Lopez (0-0 0.00 ERA)
This Miami team is loaded with young prospects, and the fact that they are all maturing at the same time has led Miami to win a lot of games unexpectedly this season. One of those young guys is today’s starter, Pablo Lopez. Lopez broke into the big leagues at just 22 years old, and in his first two seasons, he showed a lot of inexperience and growing pains. But in 2020, Lopez has seen his strikeout rate go up, his WHIP go down, and his ERA is nearly two full runs lower than last year.
The big issue for Lopez, before this season, was giving up the long ball. But he has remedied that this year, as he has allowed just four home runs in 57.1 innings pitched. That is half the home run rate he had in his career prior to 2020.
Lopez had a couple of rough outings back to back to start out the month of September, one of those coming against these Braves, but since then, he has been very good. In his last three starts, Lopez has worked a combined 17.1 innings and has allowed only three earned runs, and the Marlins won all three games.
If the Braves keep scoring nine runs a contest, like they did yesterday, they aren’t going to lose very many games. The bats were relatively quiet in the wild card round against Cincinnati, as Atlanta managed just six total runs in the two games, but they didn’t give up any runs to the Reds, so they were able to advance in two games.
Hitting wasn’t a problem in game one though, as the Braves pounded out the nine runs on twelve hits, three of which were home runs. The Braves have yet to lose a game this postseason, and a win today would put them in a great spot to sweep Miami and rest up for what is sure to be a tough series against the winner of the Padres/Dodgers series.
Ian Anderson (1-0 0.00 ERA)
It seems like just about every player on this Braves team is in their twenties and is a former first-round draft pick. Ian Anderson fits that mold perfectly as he was the number three overall pick back in the 2016 draft, and made his MLB debut earlier this year, at the ripe old age of 22. Anderson has been mostly very good in his short stint in the big leagues, as he has a 1.95 ERA in six starts.
He hasn’t been quite as good as that ERA might suggest, though, as he has given up several unearned runs. Unearned runs technically don’t count against the pitcher, but they still count in the game, and despite the low ERA, the Braves have lost three out of his last five starts. Two of those starts have come against Miami, and Anderson has allowed a total of five runs in just 8.2 innings against the fish, and the Braves lost both games.
Who Do I Like?
I smell upset today in Houston. The Marlins are a plucky underdog, and everybody should be rooting for them in this game and this series. The Braves are a talented young team, but how great would it be to see a team like the Marlins win the World Series this year? We already have the villain on the other side of the bracket in the American League, with the Houston Astros. If the Astros are the dark side, the Marlins are the light, and if your team is out of the mix, you need to jump on this Marlin’s bandwagon.
But all goodwill aside, the Marlins can absolutely win this game. Ian Anderson is a stud, but he has a total of just six career starts under his belt. To see him laying -220 against a team that he has lost two twice in the last month, doesn’t make a ton of sense. Pablo Lopez has made three starts against the Braves this year. In one of them, he got hammered. But in the other two, he worked a total of eleven innings and gave up just two earned runs.
In fact, Lopez’s last start came against the Braves, and he worked five shutout innings, allowing just two hits in a must-win game, that came in the regular season’s final week of play. The Marlins are in another must-win spot tonight, and I think that Lopez finds a way to get the job done today.
The talent gap between these two teams is undeniable. But the Marlins are playing well right now, and I see this game as basically a coin flip. Maybe you can convince me that the Braves are favored, but -220 is absurd. Ian Anderson looked amazing in his first-ever postseason start last week against the Reds, but the Reds couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boar right now, so I am not sure how much of that was Anderson’s brilliance, and how much of it was Cincy’s incompetence.
Getting to fade a rookie with just 32.1 career innings pitched, as a huge favorite, is a high-value play. Miami had won five out of their previous six games before yesterday’s loss, knowing that any loss would cost them their shot at the playoffs. They are used to playing games that matter, and I think they steal this game today and tie the series up at one game apiece. It is a high risk, high reward play, but undeniably outrageously high value as well. Give me the Miami Marlins at +190 today in game two!