We took a hard-luck loss last night when we backed the Seattle Mariners against the Los Angeles Angels as underdogs. I really liked being able to back Mariner’s starter James Paxton getting dog money. But to my horror, Paxton came out and immediately looked stiff, and his velocity was clearly down. He tried to gut it out, but the Angels jumped all over the clearly injured Paxton and smacked him for three runs before the Mariners sent the trainers to the mound.
Paxton was pulled from the game with back tightness after recording just two outs. Luckily for Mariners fans, it sounds like it might be a minor injury and we won’t see Paxton until after the All-Star break. The Mariners can ill afford to lose Paxton as Felix Hernandez is already on the DL and starting pitching wasn’t a strength of Seattle’s, to begin with.
Injuries like these ones hurt and are impossible to predict. But I don’t get too worked up about them as through the course of a long season things like these tend to even themselves out. So, we will shake off a little bad luck and look for more value today. For today’s pick, I am going to take a look at the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in Pittsburgh Friday for game two of a jumbo five-game series with the Pirates. The Pirates took game one last night 6-3 behind a solid start from Jameson Taillon. Taillon pitched six innings of one-run ball and struck out ten enroot to the win. The teams will play today and then attempt to get a doubleheader in on Saturday before wrapping up the series on Sunday.
Starting for the Brewers today is Junior Guerra (6-5 2.79 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Nick Kingham (3-4 4.26 ERA). The Brewers are small -114 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Milwaukee Brewers are doing a little treading water right now as we head into the All-Star break. They are 6-4 in their last ten games and have managed to run up the best record in the National League at 55-39. But in a testament to just how competitive the NL Central Division is this season, they hold just a one-game lead over the second place Chicago Cubs. One guy that has been really playing well for the first place Brewers is tonight’s starter, Junior Guerra.
Junior Guerra has really exploded onto the scene this year for Milwaukee. His 2.79 ERA is good for eighth in the National League, and he is seemingly getting better as the season wears on. The Brewers have won his last four starts and are 11-6 this season in gamers where he starts. In twelve of his seventeen starts this year he has allowed two earned runs or fewer.
He has been especially good so far in July as he is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in two starts. He has pitched a combined eleven innings and has allowed just one run and struck out twelve so far this month. A lot of people are scratching their heads wondering how this Brewers team is managing to stay atop the National League this season, but it has been guys like Guerra that are leading the way. The Brewers have the seventh-best team ERA in the major leagues so far this year.
Starting for the Pirates is rookie Nick Kingham. Kingham has been used sporadically throughout the season with mediocre at best results. He started his season out by pitching seven shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. Quite the MLB debut to say the least. But since then, things have been mostly downhill for the youngster. The Pirates have lost five out of his last six starts, and he has seen his ERA swell all the way to 4.26.
The Brewers aren’t known for their high scoring offense, they are just thirteenth in majors in runs scored on the year. But they do have quite a bit of power as they are ninth in the bigs in home runs. And that just happens to be where Kingham has really struggled this year. In nine starts, Kingham has allowed eight home runs. Including three in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers just over a week ago. This game could very well come down to Kingham’s ability to keep the Brewers in the park tonight.
The Brewers are the better team, and Junior Guerra is clearly the better of the two starters. Kingham has one start against the Brewers this season, and he got hammered for four runs in just over five innings pitched, including two long balls. I see and similar scenario playing out tonight. Guerra should be great, and Kingham will likely get knocked around some.
In the end, I see the Brewers evening up the series at one game apiece tonight. I glanced at the run line as this game could very well end up in a multi-run win for the Brewers, but the value just isn’t there. The books are only offering just over a fifty-cent premium to lay that run and a half, and it is just not worth it. So, I will lay a little wood on a small favorite and feel like I am certainly getting the best of it. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers tonight in game two at -114!