Even when you are as hot as we have been in the last two weeks, occasionally you are just going to miss on a game. Yesterday we reached a bit and took a shot on a major underdog when we backed the Philadelphia Phillies against the Milwaukee Brewers. To me, this was a tight game, that could go either way, so I backed Philly getting +157, and hoped I was on the right side of the variance.
Well, it turns out that I wasn’t. Phillies starter Zach Eflin was shaky from the start and got an early hook when he allowed the opposing pitcher, Brandon Woodruff, to double in a run in the fourth inning. He allowed three runs in three and two thirds of an inning worked. It was surprising to see Eflin struggle as he had been so good this season. The flood gates really opened once Eflin left the game as the Brewers unloaded on Philly, eventually running up the scoreboard to the tune of nine runs.
In the end, a loss is a loss, whether by one run or by a dozen, so I won’t let this one bother me too awful much. Baseball is a game that is chalked full of variance, and sometimes things just don’t go our way. But as long as you are doing your homework, and consistently staying on the value side of the action, things are going to work out in the long run. For today’s game, we head out west where the Los Angeles Dodgers host the New York Mets.
The New York Mets are in Los Angeles Monday looking to stay hot. The Mets have won six out of their last seven games as they look to stay in contention in the loaded NL East Division. New York has shown signs of life recently and signaled that they are still looking to win now as they just signed former MVP Matt Kemp to a minor league deal earlier this week.
For the Dodgers, they remain the hottest team in the majors, and have the best record in all of baseball, at 35-18. LA has won eight out of their last ten games and they hold a seven-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres in the NL West Division.
Starting for the Dodgers is Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (4-0 3.33 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom (3-5 3.72 ERA). The Dodgers are big -174 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at six and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
What a blockbuster pitching matchup we have in store for you today! Kershaw has been the class of the National League for nearly a decade now, winning three Cy Young Awards, and nearly winning several more. He has either won or finished in the top five, of the NL Cy Young Award voting a staggering seven times. Coming up short last year only because he was injured most of the year.
It seems the only thing standing between Kershaw and immortality, is his health. His back has been a constant issue for the last couple of seasons as he missed significant time last season and has missed time this year as well. In his seven starts this year, the Dodgers are a sterling 7-0, despite the fact that he hasn’t been all that great.
If the season were to end today, Kershaw’s 3.33 ERA would be the highest since his rookie season. Now, a 3.33 ERA is nothing to be ashamed of, but Kershaw hasn’t had an ERA above 3.00 since 2008. In May, Kershaw is sporting an ERA of 4.14 in four starts. Solid for sure, but not what we have come to expect from Clayton Kershaw.
If Kershaw represents the best the National League has had to offer in the last decade, New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom represents the best they will have to offer in the next decade. deGrom won his first Cy Young Award last season when he posted an impossibly small 1.70 ERA. Much like Kershaw though, this season has been a bit of a struggle for deGrom.
deGrom started his season out very slow as through his first five starts, he had an ERA of nearly five runs. He has been better since, but two starts ago he got lit up by the Miami Marlins of all teams, likely the worst hitting team in the majors, for seven runs. This guy has nasty stuff, but right now, he isn’t living up to all the hype that he created last season when he had a year for the ages.
Normally I would stay away from even thinking about betting the game total with these two guys on the mound. They can both go out and throw complete game shutouts, they have proven that time and again in the last decade or so. And when you see a total as low as six and a half, you don’t dare take the under. It’s either take the over or stay away.
But right now, both of these guys are pitching worse than they are accustomed to. They have been surprisingly inconsistent. And when you look at the lineups, this seems like a game that could easily sail to the over. The Mets are a middle of the road offense, not great, but they can score runs. They have scored five runs or more in six out of their last seven games. And the Dodgers just might have the best offense in the NL. LA is top five in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, and slugging percentage.
All it takes for a game to go over a total like six and a half is for one team, to have one big inning. That’s it. And of course these starters are great, but neither of them are going to pitch the whole game. When you look at these team’s bullpens, they are pretty bad. The Dodgers bullpen ranks 22nd in the majors with an ERA of 4.45. The Mets aren’t much better as they are 18th with a 4.29 ERA. So, maybe the runs will come early if one of these great starters continues to be inconsistent, or maybe they will come late when these bullpens take over. Either way, the runs are coming. So, I’ll take the over six and a half runs tonight in what should be a higher scoring game than most people expect.