We picked up a nice win yesterday when we backed the red-hot Seattle Mariners against the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners are likely the hottest team in all of baseball right now and we were getting even money at home, and I loved the value. The game itself was a close one as I had anticipated, and the Mariners managed to stage a late-game comeback and win the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off home run from Mitch Haniger.
In my pick, I mentioned that Seattle has been elite this season at winning close games and they did it again last night. I also mentioned that this Seattle team is starting to swing a heavy bat as Mitch Haniger, Ryon Healy, and Nelson Cruz were all heating up. In an ironic twist of fate, each of those three guys homered in last night’s game. Baseball is a weird sport, and when teams get hot, it is best to jump on the bandwagon and ride it out rather than trying to jump in front of the freight train. That is what I did last night, and it worked out great with the win. For today’s pick, I will get on another hot team’s bandwagon as the Arizona Diamondbacks host the New York Mets.
The New York Mets head to Arizona Thursday for game one of a four-game set with the Diamondbacks. The Mets have completely fallen apart after a hot start and are losers of nine out of their last ten games. To make matters worse, they have lost yet another starting pitcher as Steven Matz was sent to the disabled list yesterday. The DBacks are heading in just the opposite direction as they have won nine out of their twelve games in June and have managed to stay atop the ultra-competitive National League West Division.
Starting tonight for the Mets is Jason Vargas (2-4 7.71 ERA), and for the Diamondbacks, it is Matt Koch (4-3 4.20 ERA). The DBacks are -141 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Chase Field in Phoenix.
This Arizona team is regaining the stride they had to start the season. Arizona came out of the gates hard and won a bunch of games and then fell into a nasty early-season slump. They seem to have figured things out recently though as they are back to their winning ways. They are winning games by finally starting to score some runs.
This Arizona lineup was in a brutal drought to start the season, and even with their elite starting rotation, the DBacks were struggling. They appear to have gotten past those struggles though as in the month of June they are swinging a hot bat. This month the DBacks have scored at least six runs eight times, they have won every one of those games. If this team scores runs, they just very rarely lose. It will be interesting to see what this Arizona lineup is able to do against a struggling Jason Vargas.
Jason Vargas was probably the worst pitcher in the major leagues through his first several starts. After his first five starts, his ERA stood at a laughable 10.62. He has pitched decently in his last two starts to bring his ERA down to where it stands now at 7.71, but I am not ready to say this guy is back to his old form. The deepest Vargas has gotten into a game this year is five innings. He has gone fewer than five innings in four of his six starts. That type of performance is always going to be tough on the bullpen and makes it hard to win games. The Mets record reflects that as they are just 2-5 in games where Vargas starts.
Arizona started Matt Koch has been a little up and down this season as well. He got rocked in his last start at Coors Field, but everyone gets rocked at Coors Field, so I am not going to beat him up too much for it. In his start before that, he threw seven shutout innings against the Miami Marlins and picked up the win. It seems that every time Koch has a rough outing he follows it up with a strong one. Here’s to hoping that trend continues tonight at home.
I love Arizona in this matchup. They are playing good baseball again, and they have caught this Mets team at the perfect time. The Mets are struggling to even stay competitive in most games. During this recent skid where they have lost nine out of their last ten games, all but one of those losses have been by multiple runs. They aren’t losing, they are getting blown out. And when you look at Arizona and their recent stretch? Of their nine wins, eight have come by two runs or more.
That tells me I need to take a hard look at the run line. The money line in this game is fairly steep at -141. I would still back Arizona at that price if pressed, but when you look at the run line, we are getting a huge premium. Arizona is getting +155 on the run line in this game. That nearly hundred-point premium is usually reserved for games where the books think runs will be hard to come by. In this game, the total is nine runs so it wouldn’t be shocking to see double digits runs on the board. The more runs scored, the easier it is to cover that run and a half.
So, I will take another shot on a huge payout and take the run line in this one. New York can’t stop getting blown out, and the DBacks can’t stop blowing people out! Let’s hope that trend holds for one more night! Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks laying a run and a half at +155 tonight in game one!