Sometimes you just lose a tough game. That is what happened last night when we took the St. Louis Cardinals as home underdogs against the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals led the game early, 2-0, only to give up the lead when Chicago tied the game up at two runs apiece. The Cards took yet another lead when they made it 3-2 on pitcher Carlos Martinez’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning. But alas, the Cardinals bullpen just couldn’t hold the game for us, and the Cubs managed to score late and steal the game 6-3.
Back and forth games like this one are tough to lose as we had several spots where we had the lead and were looking like we were on the right side of this one. What can you do, baseball is full of variance, and sometimes you come up short. The key to showing a long-term profit in these coinflip type of games is making sure your money is on the side getting the juice, not laying it. If you are consistently finding yourself on the value side of these tight matchups, you are going to get the money in the end. For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Mets.
The New York Mets are in Arizona on a Father’s Day Sunday for game four of a four-game series with the DBacks. Arizona holds a two games to one series lead heading into play today. The DBacks took games one and two of the series before allowing the Mets to pick up the win in game three last night. Arizona has really gotten their act together recently as they have won thirteen of their last eighteen games and have managed to hold onto first place in the National League West Division. For the Mets, a once-promising season seems destined for heartbreak yet again as New York is quickly falling out of contention in the National League East Division after a blazing hot start.
Starting today for the DBacks in the series finale is Clay Buchholz (1-1 3.21 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Zack Wheeler (2-5 4.98 ERA). The DBacks are -128 home favorites. The game total over-under is set for eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Chase Field in Phoenix.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a very up and down start to this season. After starting the season out as what looked like the major’s best team through April, they slumped badly in the month of May. They are now headed in the right direction once again and have eyes on taking home the National League West Divisional crown. The key for Arizona has been their inconsistent hitting.
The DBacks have had great pitching all season long but struggled at the plate, and it really hurt them. They have busted out of that slump at the plate recently, and the wins are starting to really pile up. One surprising addition to this Arizona team that was hard to see coming has been the addition of Clay Buchholz.
It looked like Clay Buchholz’s career was likely over as he missed all of last season with an injury and failed to make a big-league roster heading into this season. But Arizona picked him up and threw him in the rotation for a spot start a month ago to give their guys an extra day’s rest, and he has impressed in his short time with Arizona. Buchholz has earned himself a spot as a regular in this DBacks rotation with some stellar work.
In five starts, Buchholz has a very respectable 3.21 ERA. And that is with getting roughed up in his last start. In his first four starts of the year, Buchholz had a 1.88 ERA. Buchholz was a little shaky in his last start, but I think that may have been more of a function of how that game was going as much as anything else. The DBacks jumped out to a big lead in that game, 6-0, in the first inning and it was clear they just wanted Clay to throw strikes, and he got touched up a bit. But in the end, the DBacks still won the game, so I guess that strategy probably worked out just fine for Arizona.
Starting today for the Mets is Zack Wheeler. Wheeler hasn’t pitched all that bad this year, but his record has been absolutely terrible. Obviously, an ERA of five runs is not a good thing, but there are worse starters out their winning games. And winning has been something that Wheeler has really struggled to do this year. The Mets have lost Wheelers last eight starts going all the way back to April. That is a pretty brutal stretch for any pitcher and has to be wearing on his mind.
This is a mismatch. This Mets team is in freefall, and I see Wheeler continuing his trend of losing today. Buchholz has been solid, but I am not even sure he will need to be all that sharp in this one to find a win. These increasingly hot Arizona bats are going to punish Zack Wheeler tonight. And even if Wheeler finds a way not to be terrible, Buchholz just faced this Mets team a couple of weeks ago and dazzled as he pitched five innings and gave up just one run on two hits. All things point to Arizona winning this game, and there is a chance its not close. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks as small home favorites today at -128!