I love me some home underdogs! Home dogs are my favorite bet in every sport that I bet, and last night I got the opportunity to back the San Francisco Giants at home, getting juice, as they hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a very surprising number as the Giants were playing their best baseball of the year and entered play last night on a season-high five-game winning streak. On the flip side, the DBacks had lost four straight games, their longest streak of futility this year.
And when you looked at the starting pitching matchup, it was hard to have any confidence whatsoever in Arizona starter, Luke Weaver, as the guy had been awful all season long and had an ERA of nearly ten runs. I got the chance to fade one of the worst starting pitchers in the NL right now, while also getting to back the smoking hot Giants against a DBacks team that had scored just five runs in their previous four games? Yeah, it was a nice spot.
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 24, 2020
I expected the game to be competitive, and early on, it was. But the Giants were able to score in every inning from the fifth inning on and took this one going away 6-1. Trevor Cahill had his best start of the season as he pitched 5.1 innings and allowed one run on only one hit.
Weaver was actually somewhat decent, giving up only two earned runs, but it was still enough to earn him his fourth loss of the year, the second-highest total in the majors, behind only Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers.
Finding dogs that can win is always going to be the best path to making money betting on Major League Baseball. Particularly this year, where we all know that anything can and will happen, laying big wood on a team just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Today we will take a look at another underdog with the potential to cash a ticket, when the Miami Marlins play the Washington Nationals.
Miami Marlins (11-11) at Washington Nationals (11-14)
The Washington Nationals host the Miami Marlins tonight in game five of a five-game series with the series tied up at two games apiece. The Marlins took game one on Friday, the teams split a doubleheader on Saturday, and the Nationals took game four last night to even the series up. The Nationals have struggled this season, and their .440 winning percentage is one of the lowest in the National League.
For Miami, the Marlins are playing catch up after missing action to a COVID-19 outbreak and are more than holding their own in the NL East Division. Miami has played just 22 games on the year, but at a .500 winning percentage, have the sixth-best record in the National League, and if the season were to end today, the fish would be swimming to the postseason.
Starting tonight for the Marlins is Pablo Lopez (2-1 2.42 ERA), and for the Nationals, it is Austin Voth (0-2 5.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Nationals are -115 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM PST from National Park in Washington DC.
The Miami Marlins are finally starting to get their best players back after their run-in with the Corona Virus, and this team is absolutely in the hunt for the playoffs, now that they are getting healthy. While they still aren’t quite at full strength, this team is starting to look a lot more like the one Miami had on Opening Day.
One of those guys that has recently rejoined the team and is tearing the cover off of the ball, is Miguel Rojas. Rojas has appeared in six games this year and is hitting a sizzling hot .429. In 21 at-bats, Rojas has 4 extra-base hits, 2 of those being home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 runs scored.
While Rojas typically hasn’t shown any power in the big leagues, his two homers this year are more than he had in full seasons in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, the guy is in the zone right now and must be feared at the plate, as he has four multi-hit games already this season in only six games.
Pablo Lopez (2-1 2.42 ERA)
The Marlins rotation was hit harder than any other part of this team, as they lost their top three arms, but Pablo Lopez has done an exceedingly great job at picking up the slack while the Marlins wait for the rest of their rotation to rejoin the team. Lopez showed flashes of being very good last year with Miami, in what was his first full year as part of the Marlins rotation. This year, Lopez is having a breakout season.
Lopez has done a stellar job of forcing ground balls at a much higher rate than in the past, and he has seen his K/9 ratio jump up from a career average of 7.5 to nearly 10 this season. In four starts, Lopez has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any outing and has allowed only one home run this season. His ERA of 2.42 puts him towards the top of the NL leaderboard for starting pitchers.
The defending World Champs just don’t have the bodies right now. They lost their best player in the offseason when Anthony Rendon bolted for the LA, and before the season started, they had several players opt-out of play. This week, things went from bad to worse, as World Series hero Stephen Strasburg was shut down and will need surgery to address carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand.
One guy that they do have on the field tonight, though, is Juan Soto. Soto is an absolute stud, and after missing the first week of the season when he tested positive for the Corona Virus on Opening Day, Soto has been hammering the baseball.
Soto has played 17 games and is batting .367 with a .465 on-base percentage. He already has 7 home runs, 16 RBI, and 15 runs scored. People tend to forget that this kid is still only 21 years old and getting better every day.
Austin Voth (0-2 5.00 ERA)
None of the Washington Nationals starting pitchers are pitching very well right now. Max Scherzer currently has the second-highest ERA of his career and has just two wins in six starts. Anibal Sanchez has an ERA of almost seven runs with one winning decision on the year, and tonight’s starter Austin Voth, has yet to win a game and has an ERA of five runs.
Austin Voth only had ten big league starts under his belt coming into 2020. And now that Strasburg is gone, the Nats badly need him to step up. Voth was solid in his first two starts of the year as he pitched five innings in each game and allowed just two total earned runs. But he has really struggled the last two times out as he has pitched just a combined eight innings and has gotten hammered for eight earned runs on fifteen hits and five walks.
Who Do I Like?
I am shocked to see the Nationals as favorites in this game. They just aren’t playing very good baseball this year, and with so many of their best players not on the field, and the fact that last year’s World Series title is still top of mind for the fans, they are going to get a pass if they mail it in the rest of the way out.
I am not sure that this team was going to be able to win enough games this year to be competitive anyway, but now that all of their horses have gone out to pasture, I would expect them to start winding things down for the year. Will they give up completely? Probably not, as they are far too proud of a franchise, but don’t be shocked if we see several more players call it a year, as the Nats will look to give young guys playing time and start planning for the future.
I am taking the Marlins in this one. While Miami hasn’t been playing all that well in the last two weeks, they are staying competitive, as five of their last nine losses, have come by two runs or less. They are a ball bouncing their way a time or two away from having a winning record, and that just isn’t something the Nationals can say right now.
I expect Pablo Lopez to continue his trend of quality pitching, and I see him getting in six or even seven innings of quality work in tonight. As for Austin Voth, this Miami team doesn’t hit the ball all that well, but Voth just hasn’t shown me enough this year to want to back him as a favorite against a team that is in playoff contention. Expect a lower scoring, and tight game. I’ll call it at 4-2 Marlins. Give me the Miami Marlins tonight on the road in the series final, getting +105!