Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, is quickly gaining a reputation as a ballpark where lots of balls leave the field of play. The Toronto Blue Jays are using Sahlen as their home away from home, as they were kicked out of Toronto due to Corona Virus concerns, and in the park’s short stint as a Major League Baseball park, there have been fireworks.
Entering play last night, there had already been twenty home runs hit in Buffalo, in just four games. It was hard to expect last night to be much different in the game between the Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, but I felt that Tampa Bay’s pitching staff would find a way to hold the Jays back just enough to sneak out of Buffalo with the series win. So, I backed the Rays as small road favorites.
The game didn’t start out as I had hoped as Yonny Chirinos got beaten up early and was out of the game by the third inning. But Tampa Bay has an elite bullpen, and the Rays relievers managed to slow the Blue Jays down long enough for the Ray’s lineup to get them back into the game. Tampa Bay scored in the top of the seventh inning to force extras and scored two more in the top of the eighth to take the lead for good.
NO ONE sweeps a doubleheader like the Tampa Bay Rays
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 16, 2020
It was a nice win at basically even money, and looking back on this line, you have wonder what all the sharps were seeing when they backed the Blue Jays heavily and tightened the line up, opening up a bunch of value on Tampa Bay?
Oh, and for those of you counting at home, five more balls left the ballpark again last night. That is now 25 dingers in five games at Sahlen Field, can anybody say Coors Field East? For today’s daily betting pick, we will look at another spot where I feel the sharps might have gotten it wrong, when the Miami Marlins host the New York Mets.
New York Mets (9-14) at Miami Marlins (9-6)
The Miami Marlins continue their homestand tonight as they host the New York Mets in game one of a four-game series. The Marlins missed a big chunk of action when they saw a Corona Virus outbreak, and despite having to play without several of their best players, they have found ways to win games since returning to the field. The Marlins are currently in the first place in the National League East Division, and their .600 winning percentage is amongst the highest in the National League.
For New York, the Mets have been ravaged by injuries and opt-outs this season. Noah Syndergaard is lost to Tommy John surgery, Yoenis Cespedes and Marcus Stroman both decided to opt-out mid-season, and the Mets just don’t have the bodies right now to stay competitive. New York is in the last place in the division, and their .391 winning percentage is better than only the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants in the NL.
Starting tonight for the Marlins is Jordan Yamamoto (0-0 9.82 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Robert Gsellman (0-0 9.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Mets are -150 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Marlins Park in Miami.
New York Mets
It is hard to imagine a much worse start for the New York Mets. We already talked about all of the guys they are missing, and for the most part, even the guys that have shown up, aren’t playing very well. Pete Alonso, who was a rookie sensation for New York last year, when he bombed 53 home runs, has just 3 so far this year. Alonso is hitting just .214 and is slugging an anemic .357.
Jeff McNeil, the other young stud in New York, is struggling at the plate as well as he has yet to hit even a single home run after hitting 23 last year in 133 games. McNeil’s batting average is a respectable .288, but that pales in comparison to his lifetime average of .324 coming into this season. And it’s not just the bats that have been weak in New York, as the starting pitching has been an abomination outside of Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
Robert Gsellman (0-0 9.00 ERA)
The Mets were supposed to have a three-headed monster on the mound with deGrom, Syndergaard, and Stroman. We already talked about how New York will be without both Thor and Stroman the rest of the way out, and while deGrom continues to be his normal light’s out self, he is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts, the rest of the rotation has really struggled. Rick Porcello is 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA, Steven Matz is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA, and Michael Wacha, who just hit the IL with shoulder inflammation, was 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA.
With limited options to choose from, the Mets have decided to move Robert Gsellman to the starting rotation. Gsellman made his first start of the season on August 12th against the Washington Nationals and got smashed for three earned runs in just two innings of work. Before last week, Gsellman hadn’t started a game since 2017, when he went 8-7 with a 5.19 ERA for the Mets before they sent him to the bullpen, where he has pitched the last couple of seasons.
Just about nobody expected the Miami Marlins to be in contention this season. But with this fast start, if they can find a way to limp through the next week or two until the rest of the guys get back from the IL, they have a real shot at the postseason. The Marlins have slowed down a bit as of late as they have lost five out of their last seven games, including two out of three to this very same Mets team just over a week ago.
The Marlins have managed to win games with timely hitting, and better than expected pitching. Even with Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Jose Urena all on the IL with Corona Virus infections, the Marlins have managed to pitch very well, with a team ERA of just 3.90, which is one of the lowest in all of baseball.
Jordan Yamamoto (0-0 9.82 ERA)
Jordan Yamamoto is one of the young building blocks that the Marlins expect to be part of this team once they have completed their rebuild. Yamamoto made his MLB debut last year for the fish and, in fifteen starts, showed some flashes of why this guy is a big part of the Marlins plans moving forward. In his first six career starts last year; Yamamoto ran out to a 4-0 record with a 1.59 ERA.
He struggled to stay consistent, as many young pitchers tend to do, but he showed that he belonged in the big leagues. This season, we have seen more of that inconsistency, as he hasn’t pitched well in two starts, and has seen his pitch count swell early in games. The Marlins badly need Yamamoto to get back on track as they wait for the rest of their rotation to get healthy.
Who Do I Like?
This line opened up at Mets -130. The early betting sharps have jumped on the Mets side, and have pushed this number twenty points towards New York. And for the life of me, I just can’t see why. Why are all the sharps chomping at the bit to get a piece of a Mets team that is in last place and are coming off of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies?
Maybe they see something in Robert Gsellman that I don’t? The guy has made one start in the last three years, and he got rocked. And to be completely honest, he wasn’t very good in the bullpen either, as he has a career ERA of four and a half runs. This guy would have never been moved to the rotation if it weren’t for all of the injuries and opt-outs, and I will look to fade him and his Mets today.
I can see why the sharps are losing confidence in the Marlins right now. They came out of the gates hot and have cooled considerably recently, and I think we can all agree that this isn’t a first-place roster in terms of talent in Miami.
But my bet tonight is a straight fade of the New York Mets. I just don’t think this Mets team should be substantial road favorites against any team right now if Jacob deGrom isn’t on the mound. So, I’ll buck the betting trends, and back the Miami Marlins tonight at home, getting +135!