We capped off what was a strong week with a loss on Sunday. After going 6-2-2 last week, with four of those six winners coming on games that were either even money or underdogs, we managed to pick up four full betting units on the week. But we came up short Sunday when we backed the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals.
We had taken the Braves the previous two games of the series, both as underdogs, and cashed both tickets. But in the series finale, the Braves were slight favorites after opening as underdogs for the third straight game. It felt like a great value spot as the Braves were starting Max Fried, who was second in the league in wins. And when you looked at Washington, Anibal Sanchez has had a very up and down year, and the Nats bullpen has been in shambles all season long.
Unfortunately for us, the Nationals jumped all over Fried, hammering him for five runs in just two and a third innings of work. And with a comfortable lead, Sanchez tossed a gem as he lasted seven innings and did not allow a run. Even the Washington bullpen, who had got blasted for eleven runs in the first two games of this series, found a way to pitch two clean innings to close the game out.
What can you do, sometimes the variance gets the best of you, and that is what happened last night. For today’s pick, we will head to the Rocky Mountains in Denver, where the Rockies host the New York Mets in a game with heavy playoff implications.
The New York Mets are in Colorado Monday for game one of a three-game series with the Rockies. We like to throw around the term, must-win a lot in baseball, but this is truly a must-win game and series for the Mets. New York enters this series trailing the Chicago Cubs by four games for the second wild card, and final playoff spot, in the National League.
But with just a couple of weeks left of the season, the Mets must find a way to string together a bunch of wins if they want any shot of sneaking into the playoffs. Looking ahead on the schedule through the rest of the season, the Mets should have ample opportunity to pick up wins as they have series against the Rockies, Reds, and Marlins, before ending the season at home against the Atlanta Braves. New York needs to take advantage of this soft spot in the schedule and win these next three series, that starts tonight in Denver.
For the Rockies, they are trying to play the spoiler role as they are well out of contention at this point. Injuries destroyed what was a promising team coming into the season, and the Rockies find themselves a whopping thirty-one and a half games back of first place in their division, the National League West. The Rockies have been playing well as of late though as they have won five out of their last six games.
Starting tonight for the Rockies is Antonio Senzatela (9-10 6.87 ERA) and for the Met s it is Steven Matz (10-8 3.84 ERA). The game total over-under is set at thirteen and a half runs. The Mets are -145 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
Antonio Senzatela has been absolutely terrible in the second half of the season. After being roughly a replacement-level starter for the first couple of months of the season, Senzatela has been getting blasted since the All-Star break. In seven starts since July 1st, Senzatela has allowed thirty-nine runs in just twenty-six and two-thirds of an inning.
That is an ERA of nearly fifteen runs! He has allowed five earned runs or more in six of his last seven starts, and the Rockies have gone 2-5 in those seven games. Senzatela was shockingly good in his last start though, in St. Louis, against the Cardinals. In that one, he pitched six innings and gave up just one run and picked up his first win since mid-July.
Steven Matz has very quietly put together a strong second half of the year. Much like the rest of this Mets team, Matz was garbage early in the year. But the Mets and Matz caught fire in July and August and played themselves right back into contention. It really has been a tale of two seasons for Matz as pre-All-Star break he was 5-6 with a 4.89 ERA in sixteen starts. Since then, he has made eleven starts and is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA.
Coors Field is always going to be a tough place to pitch. We can see by the game total of thirteen and a half, that the books expect lots of runs to go up on the board. We know that Senzatela is going to give up his fair share of runs as the guy has been dreadful in the last two months. But how will Matz fair? Coors Field tends to favor guys that strike people out and force ground balls. If you are letting guys tee off on you with fly balls, some of them are going to leave the ballpark that wouldn’t anywhere else in the game.
So, a guy like Matz that pitches to contact and gets a lot of ground balls tend to have much better results in the high altitude. For that reason, I see the Mets as clearly the side to back in this one. They are playing for everything with a starter on the mound that has really found his groove in the second half. And the Rockies are just going through the motions at this point, and you can argue that a guy like Senzatela shouldn’t even be pitching in the big leagues right now with his awful results.
So, now that we have determined the Mets are the side to be on, let’s take a look at the numbers. -145 isn’t a terrible price, and I do see value in backing the Mets in what appears to be a free money type of situation. But when I look at the run line, I am really intrigued. You can get about a forty-cent premium for laying the run line in this one.
Now, that isn’t a huge premium for sure, but that is because the books know that with this many runs expected to be scored, the value of a run and a half is greatly diminished. It can be really hard to cover that run line in a three-run type of game. But in a game that is nearly assured of hitting double-digits, the run line isn’t all that tough to cover. And with the Mets as the road team, they are guaranteed the full nine innings of at-bats, regardless of the score, so they won’t get robbed of their last at-bats like if they were at home with a lead after eight innings.
So, we will take the rare run line bet tonight, and expect the Mets to win, and win big. Matz should be at least decent, and Senzatela is going to get hammered. It feels like an 8-4 Mets victory if you ask me. Give me the New York Mets, laying a run and a half, tonight in game one at -107!