I mentioned in yesterday’s pick, that at some point this Mariner’s offense is going to have to slow down. They traded slugger Jay Bruce away in May and followed that up by shipping off the leading home run hitter in the American League, Edwin Encarnacion, to the New York Yankees earlier this week. And while the Mariners have been near the top of the runs scored and home run leaderboards all season long, the fire sale is expected to continue, and at some point, it is going to catch up with Seattle.
The M’s didn’t seem to miss those bats last night though as they still put six runs on the board against the Oakland Athletics. If I had known that Seattle would score six runs, I would have told you my over nine and a half runs bet would have been a lock. The Mariners pitching staff has been rough, to say the least, and their bullpen in specific has been awful.
The Mariners started Mike Leake last night, who had given up the most home runs in all of baseball. And last night he got bit by the home run bug again as he allowed two more long balls. He has now given up twenty-two dingers on the season, that is three more than any other pitcher in the game. But somehow, the A’s managed just three runs against Leake and the dreadful M’s bullpen, and we came up a half of a run short.
The A’s gave us plenty of sweat to push the game over as they had a leadoff double in the eighth inning that they couldn’t drive in. And they followed that up by getting a leadoff single in the ninth that failed to score. What can you do, I think if they played this game a hundred times with all of the same inputs, it would go over well more often than under. So, we will just scratch this one up to a little bit of run bad and variance and move on. For today’s pick, we will head to the National League where the Nationals host the Phillies.
Bryce Harper and his Philadelphia Phillies are in Washington tonight for game one of a four-game series with the Nationals. Harper and the Phillies are hoping to shake off last night’s beating as they lost 15-1 to the Atlanta Braves. This will be Harper’s second trip back to Washington since signing with Philly in the offseason. In the first series, Harper crushed the ball against his old team, going 5-7 with a home run.
For the Nationals, they were on the opposite end of a blowout last night, as they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 15-5. The Nats started out this month by winning seven out of their first nine games, but they had lost three out of their last four before winning last night, and many expect them to be sellers at the trade deadline this season.
Starting for the Nationals is Patrick Corbin (5-5 4.11 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is Jake Arrieta (6-5 4.31 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten runs. The Nationals are -140 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington DC.
This is a bit of a strange matchup on the mound tonight. Both of these guys have spent the majority of their careers as elite pitchers. But neither one of them are enjoying much success this season. If I would have told you coming into this season that with these two guys on the mound, the game total would be double digits, you would have laughed at me, yet here we are. And to be honest, it seems like a fairly sharp number that I won’t touch.
Arrieta has been very mediocre most of this season, but he has done a decent enough job of getting deep into games and letting this Philly offense win games for him. Despite an inflated ERA of 4.31, the Phillies have won eight out of his fourteen starts this season, including four out of his last five. In his lone start this year against Washington, he pitched well as he threw six innings and allowed just two earned runs and struck out seven.
Patrick Corbin was brought in to be another ace in the trio of aces the Nats have with Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. And while the strikeouts have been there, he has ninety-four Ks in eighty-five, and a third innings pitched, he just hasn’t been consistent enough to produce good results. He has been especially bad in his last three starts where he has gotten hammered for a whopping twenty runs in just twelve and two-thirds pitched. The Nationals have lost four out of his last five starts.
In a vacuum, this is a very even matchup on the mound. But with Arrieta trending up recently, and Corbin getting slaughtered in the last month, I am going to lean towards Arrieta as the better side of the matchup, just slightly. But when I look at the overall strengths of these teams, it is easy to see that Philly is the better squad.
The Phillies are six games better than Washington entering play today, and I have a feeling that Bryce Harper is going to make a lot of noise in this series. Harper has always been one that loves the spotlight, and he will get plenty of it tonight in his return to Washington. My gut tells me that this is a very evenly matched game, that will probably be a little lower scoring than the game total suggests.
Getting the opportunity to back what I see as the better team, with the better starter on the mound, and getting a bunch of dog money, is just too much value to pass up on. Corbin hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in four out of his last five starts, and this Washington bullpen is inarguably the worst in the major leagues. The Nat’s bullpen ERA is the worst in the majors, nearly a full run higher than every team not named the Baltimore Orioles.
If Corbin doesn’t go at least six innings, the Nats have no shot in this one. So, I will back yet another underdog tonight and take the Phillies on the road in game one. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as fairly big road underdogs tonight, getting +130!