MLB Picks for August 26th – Nationals vs Reds, Cubs vs Brewers

I’m always floored when something happens in a major league baseball game that has NEVER happened before. As someone who analyzes the numbers on a regular basis for wagering advantage purposes, I am blown away by the statistical improbability of what the Yankees accomplished last night hitting three grand slams in a single game.

Try this on for size; in nearly 200,000 games NO TEAM had EVER accomplished that feat. Not a one. Extrapolating the numbers, that accomplishment has a 0.000005% chance of happening again over the next 100 years. Wow.

It should be a great weekend in MLB, with a few fantastic matchups for our wagering delight. Let’s dig right into a packed Friday slate with a few more winners


Washington Nationals +140 @ Cincinnati Reds -150 (Total: 9.5)
C. Wang (2-2, 4.33) vs. D. Willis (0-3, 4.14)

Despite pitching well in his month-long return to the major’s stint with the Reds, the D-Train still has yet to notch his first big league win in several years. Tonight, he will try to remedy that unfortunate statistic at the visiting National’s expense.

It will be a warm summer night, which would lead one to believe lots of fireworks in run-friendly Great American Ballpark, yet recent history suggests otherwise. The UNDER is 6-2 in Dontrelle Willis’s eight starts as a Red, and the UNDER is 11-4-3 in the Reds and Nats last 18 head-to-head matchups.

Willis has looked less-than sharp in his last three outings, posting a 5.40 ERA, but even if he should find some early difficulty, the Reds pen should be well rested after an unexpected off-day yesterday due to the game being moved up on account of potential hurricane issues in South Florida.

For the Nationals, the entire fan base is probably more aware of Steven Strassburg’s minor-league rehab starts, but Chen Ming Wang has actually been pitching very well of late. In his last three starts, all Nationals wins, he has posted a 3.50 ERA and an impressive WHIP of just 0.94. If Wang can keep the ball down in the zone tonight and get some good movement on his breaking pitches, he could very well flummox a strikeout-happy Reds lineup.

If forced to pick a winner, I lean Nats simply because +140 is a good line for a game that is a toss-up on paper, but my best play tonight is UNDER the 9.5 runline.

FREE PICK: Total UNDER 9.5 (-110)

Chicago Cubs +170 @ Milwaukee Brewers -180 (TOTAL: 9)
R. Lopez (4-4, 4.97) vs. R. Wolf (10-8, 3.45)

It feels weird to type, but Randy Wolf has actually been about as good as any pitcher on their staff over the last month. His record over his last 5 starts is a perfect 4-0, with his team going a perfect 5-0. Tonight, he’ll try to make it five and six respectively hosting the Cubbies, whom he has a sparkling 1.38 ERA against this season.

The Brewers suffered a rare shutout loss to the Pirates Wednesday, but are still the hottest team going league-wide. They are 24-5 in their last 29 games, and 40-12 in their last 52 home games. Their lineup is as potent as any in the National League, and the combination of Randy Wolf, Yovani Gallardo and the surging former Cy Young recipient Zach Greinke make them a legit threat to the Phillies dominance.

Rodrigo Lopez hasn’t been as bad as many of the Cubs starters, but his WHIP of almost one and half over both the season and his last three starts is cause for concern. I like the Brewers to light him up tonight and get Randy Wolf another nice comfortable win.

In Randy Wolf’s last five starts, the Brewers have won by a more runs. The reason I mention this tidbit. Is it presents a nice opportunity to whittle down the juice a little bit by taking the Brewers minus the one and a half. Let’s make a little money tonight and mitigate the outlay, right?

That’s my official pick tonight; Brewers -1.5

FREE PICK: Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 (+105)

Chris Scheeren / Author