We hit the ground running for the week yesterday when we nailed our breakdown of the game between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. I felt that Red’s starting pitcher Sonny Gray was just pitching too well right now to not want to back as a small home field favorite. And while I also expected solid results from Indians starter Zach Plesac, the fact that Cleveland’s bats had been icy cold for weeks, made my decision to back the Reds an easy one.
As expected, Gray was spectacular yet again, as he threw six innings of two-run ball, only one run was earned, and struck out eight. With the win, he runs his season record to 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA and is an early-season favorite to take home the National League Cy Young Award. Plesac held up his end of the bargain, as he lasted seven innings and allowed three runs on just four hits, but as has been the case nearly all season for Cleveland, the bats just couldn’t get the job done.
The Indians have now scored two runs or fewer in six straight games and in eight of their eleven games this season. If you get another chance to fade the Tribe against a legit ace like Sonny Gray, in the coming days and weeks, and don’t have to lay a bunch of wood to do it, you need to take it every time. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Baltimore, where the Orioles host the Miami Marlins.
Miami Marlins (2-1) at Baltimore Orioles (5-3)
The Miami Marlins return to action today after missing over a full week of play, as the team battled a COVID-19 outbreak. Miami has been sidelined since they won two out of three games against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first series of the season, and are hoping the long delay won’t slow down the momentum they had after winning their first series of the year.
For Baltimore, the Orioles have quite a bit of momentum themselves, as they are coming off of a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, and despite having very low expectations heading into the season, currently have a winning record, and if the playoffs started today, the O’s would make the cut. Baltimore is hoping to take advantage of a depleted Marlins team in this four-game series tonight in game one.
Starting tonight for the Marlins is Pablo Lopez (0-0 0.00 ERA), and for the Orioles, it is John Means (0-0 19.29 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Orioles are -143 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 PM PST from Camden Yard in Baltimore.
The ability for the Marlins to take the field tonight and play Major League caliber baseball is going to be key in evaluating if baseball is going to survive the rest of the season. Miami had over twenty players and staff test positive for the Corona Virus, and it cost the team ten days and six games. If Miami can quickly recover from the outbreak, and get back on the field, while making up those missed games, it will set a template for other teams to follow if these outbreaks continue.
Most expected the Marlins to be very bad in 2020, as they are still in rebuild mode, but if their first series against the Phillies is any indication as to how the rest of the season will go for Miami, maybe this team will be a lot better than we all expected.
While three games are certainly not a large enough sample size to make any bold assumptions, Miami did manage to beat up the Phillies ace pitcher Aaron Nola, and they scored a whopping seventeen runs in the series. We don’t have a lot to go off of, but what we have seen of Miami in 2020, has been pretty good.
Pablo Lopez (0-0 0.00 ERA)
Pablo Lopez is one of the many young guys that Miami has been stockpiling over the course of the last several seasons, and as Miami starts to emerge from this multi-year rebuild, he is expected to be a long-term part of the Marlins rotation. Lopez made his big league debut in 2018 at the tender age of twenty-two and has spent the last two seasons figuring things out in the majors.
Last year, Lopez started to finally get things dialed in, really for the first time in his short career, as he had a run in late May and June, where in a four-start stretch, he pitched a combined 25 innings and allowed just five earned runs. It was a glimpse of what could be on the horizon for the young hurler. Unfortunately for Lopez, he went down with a should injury in the midst of that run and missed two full months of action.
When Lopez returned to the team in late August, things just weren’t the same, as he got blasted in seven starts to finish out the season, with an ERA north of six runs and the Marlins went 1-6. Lopez will make his 2020 debut tonight, and it will be very interesting to see how this long layoff has affected him on the mound.
Who saw this hot start coming for the Baltimore Orioles? Not me, that’s for sure! The Orioles went toe to toe with the Tampa Bay Rays in their last series, a team that many expect to contend for a World Series title this year, and completely shut them down enroot to a three-game series sweep. The O’s managed to touch up Cy Young candidates Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell, and now find themselves in second place in the American League East Division, trailing only the New York Yankees.
Baltimore is winning games at the plate as they are 4th in the majors in slugging, and top ten in both home runs and batting average. Shortstop Jose Iglesias is putting up video game numbers as he is smashing the baseball to the tune of a .526 batting average and .798 slugging percentage. Fellow infielder, second baseman Hanser Alberto, isn’t far behind as he is hitting .429 with .686 slugging. I think we all fully understand that this level of production isn’t sustainable for Baltimore, but boy, is it fun to watch right now!
John Means (0-0 19.29 ERA)
John Means made his first All-Star team last season, as he was actually quite good in the first half. Now, I am not sure he was quite All-Star good, as he likely only made the team because the Orioles had to get at least one player onto the American League squad, but don’t sleep on this kid, as he has shown that he can hold his own in the show.
Through June last year, his ERA was just 2.50, and while he struggled in the second half of the season, he still nearly took home the AL Rookie of the Year Award, finishing runner up to slugger Yordan Alverez.
This year, Means made his season debut against the powerful New York Yankees, and things did not go his way. Means got obliterated by the Yankees, as he gave up five runs in the first inning. The Orioles pulled him out in the third inning, and his ERA now stands at a whopping 19.29 after one start.
Who Do I Like?
If this season has taught us one thing, it is that weird things can happen in small sample sizes of baseball. Weird things like the Marlins and Orioles, both having a winning record. Weird things like Miguel Rosas hitting .700 for Miami or Jose Iglesias hitting .526 for Baltimore. Weird things like John Means with an ERA of almost twenty. But when we bet on a game, we bet on the ultimate small sample size, as we bet just one game. Quite literally, anything can happen.
I don’t have an overly strong opinion on how this game plays out, but what I see right now is two teams that are both hot at the plate, with two starting pitchers on the mound, that aren’t very good. The game total is shockingly only single digits for this game, and both of these starters could give up that many runs all by themselves. I see fireworks tonight in Baltimore.
I don’t think either of these teams are going to make the playoffs this year. They just don’t have the talent to compete with the best teams in the game. But right now, these teams were both playing carefree, swinging a hot bat, and having a lot of fun. The Marlins are going to be eager to get back on the field after the long layoff, and I expect them to play with reckless abandon the rest of the way out.
Lots of crooked numbers are going up on the scoreboard tonight, and I see this game coasting to the over. This number could easily be eleven or twelve and getting it at just nine, is a bargain. Give me the over nine runs tonight in game one from Camden Yard!