Well, when you are hot, you are hot! And we are steaming hot this week as with another win last night, we have run our record to 5-1 on the week. And this one was the biggest win yet, as we managed to pick up some serious dog money while backing the Atlanta Braves on the run line against the San Diego Padres. I tend to stay away from the run line for the most part as it is a bit of a gamble, and I much prefer to find spots to back underdogs profitably. And home run lines are even more dicey.
But in a situation like last night, where I was able to get a monster seventy-seven cent premium in a game that I fully expected to be a blowout, I pulled the trigger and rolled the dice. Max Fried continued his hot start to the season as he spun a gem last night. Fried finished his day with seven innings pitched, allowing just one run on only four hits, while striking out seven. The brings Fried to 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA on the year, and he is looking like an early candidate to make his first All-Star game this season.
For the Padres, their struggles at the plate continued. Despite rookie starter Cal Quantrill, who was making his first ever start, pitching fairly well, it was only a matter of time before this hard-swinging Atlanta lineup put some runs on the board. The big hit was a Dansby Swanson two-run homer in the seventh inning that blew the game wide open. I love this collection of young guys they have in San Diego, and at some point, this team will contend if they can keep this core together, but right now they can’t hit the baseball, and it must be taken advantage of. For today’s pick, we will head to Washington DC where the Nationals host the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Washington Thursday looking for the sweep in game four of a four-game series with the Nationals. With this recent run of success that has seen the Cardinals win nine out of their last ten games, St. Louis now has the best record in the major leagues at 20-10. For the Nationals, they are on the opposite end of the spectrum as they are 3-7 in their last ten and are hoping to salvage one game of the series today in game four.
Starting for the Cardinals is Dakota Hudson (2-1 5.63 ERA), and for the Nationals, it is Stephen Strasburg (2-1 3.82 ERA). The Nationals are -137 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington DC.
We all knew that with a lineup featuring guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, and Yadier Molina, this Cardinals team was going to be good. But I am not sure many people expected them to be the best team in baseball, and that is right where they stand. Yeah, it’s still really early, but this team can hit, and they can pitch, and if they stay healthy, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the National League.
The Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson today as they look for the sweep. Hudson is in his second year, his first year as a regular in the rotation, and has had mixed results. He tossed four and a third shutout innings against the high-powered Los Angeles Dodgers and has pitched five innings or more in each of his last two starts while allowing three runs. He did, however, get hammered by the Milwaukee Brewers. So, it is hard to tell just how well he will perform tonight, but this Nationals team is really struggling at the dish right now as they managed just two runs a game through the first three games of this series.
One guy that we know we can count on to give a good effort is the Nationals starter, Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg has been a stalwart in this Nats rotation now for close to a decade and has almost always been one of the best pitchers in the game. Injuries have plagued much of his career, but when healthy, this guy is elite.
And while Strasburg did have one really bad outing early this season against the Philadelphia Phillies, he has mostly been very good otherwise. In his last two starts, he has pitched fifteen innings, allowed just two earned runs, while striking out twenty. But unfortunately, lack of run support has been an issue for Strasburg as he went 1-1 during that stretch despite the elite stats.
I love Stephen Strasburg. The guy is just always so good year in and year out. But to see him as a fairly big favorite tonight is pretty surprising. The Nationals are really struggling to hit the baseball, and no matter how good Strasburg is tonight, he isn’t going to be able to put runs on the board. That being said, I hate to bet against the guy, as he is capable of shutting teams down.
So, I will stay away from the side and take a look at the total. Nine runs seem mighty high for a game with Strasburg on the mound. It does worry me a little bit with a young inconsistent guy like Dakota Hudson on the other side of the mound, but this Nats team is really struggling to hit, so I am not going to let that scare me off. So, I’ll take the under nine runs tonight and expect a low scoring game!