Our late game bullpen woes continued last night. We backed the Oakland Athletics with their best starter, Sean Manaea on the mound, against the Texas Rangers. We looked great all game long as the Athletics took an early lead and were coasting to victory. Then the A’s turned the game over to the bullpen, and the wheels completely fell off. The Oakland bullpen came in and gave up not one, not two, but three late game home runs.
After the dust settled, we ended up seeing a 4-2 seventh-inning lead turn into a 7-4 loss. What can you do, one of these days we’re are going to be able to hold a late lead in a game! For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in Chicago Wednesday for game two of a three-game series with the Cubs. The Phillies took game one last night 6-1. Philly got a stellar start from Zach Eflin, who pitched seven and two-thirds of an inning and allowed only the one run. The power was supplied by Maikel Franco, who blasted a three-run home run that was the difference in the game. The Cubs had won seven out of their last eight games before dropping game one last night.
Starting tonight for the Phillies is ace Aaron Nola (7-2 2.18 ERA), and for the Cubs, it is Jose Quintana (6-4 4.30 ERA). The Cubs are -134 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
I took Aaron Nola in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was an underdog, and I noted that we likely won’t be seeing him as an underdog again anytime soon. That one made a little bit of sense as he was matched up with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but I still loved getting Nola with dog money and pounded on it. Kershaw pitched well before getting hurt and pulled from the game and Nola was lights out yet again and picked up the win. Getting Nola as a dg seemed like a dream come true that I would likely not see again for the rest of the season.
Much to my shock, I see Nola as an underdog again this week! And this time it’s not against Clayton Kershaw, it’s against a very mediocre Jose Quintana and the Chicago Cubs. And I just can’t for the life of me figure out as to why Nola is a dog. In the month of May, Nola was elite. His team went 5-1 in his six starts, and he posted an ERA of just 1.80. He had forty-six strikeouts in forty innings pitched. This guy is quickly becoming one of the best pitchers in the National League, and it is shocking to see him as an underdog tonight.
The Cubs will look to protect their home field with Jose Quintana. As I mentioned above, Quintana isn’t bad, he is just very average. In his last four starts, he has either been great or terrible. In two of those starts, he pitched thirteen shutout innings, allowing just four hits and the Cubs won both games. His other two starts? He pitched nine innings and gave up ten earned runs, and the Cubs lost both games. Quintana has been very hot and cold all year long and he is a guy that is very tough to back as he is so inconsistent.
This is a number that I just don’t understand. These teams have nearly identical records on the year. Neither team is particularly hot or cold at the moment, the Cubs had a nice streak going but nothing that makes me afraid of fading them. And the starting pitching matchup is very clearly favoring the Phillies. Nola is likely the best pitcher in the National League right now not named Scherzer or deGrom and continues to be undervalued.
Well, I will once again take advantage of this bad number and jump all over the Phillies in this one. At some point, the betting market is going to figure out his guy is unhittable, but until then, I will back Nola as a dog every chance that I get. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as road dogs tonight in game two at +114!
The Bet: Philadelphia Phillies +114
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