What a great week it has been! We have won six out of eight bets this week, with all six wins coming as plus money underdogs! Last night’s win was the biggest underdog of them all as we backed the Philadelphia Phillies at +150 against the Washington Nationals. I hated to have to bet against a guy as good as the Nationals Max Scherzer, but I sure did love getting to back Philly starter Aaron Nola as a huge underdog.
Nola did exactly what he has been doing all year long, and that is dominate opposing lineups. In my pick yesterday, I said that Nola could go seven or eight shutout innings and he did just that. All told, Nola pitched eight innings and allowed no runs on just five hits while punching out nine along the way. Nola loves pitching in big moments. We saw that earlier this season when he stared down Clayton Kershaw in LA and came away with the win, and we saw it again yesterday as he went toe to toe with Mad Max and came away with his hand raised yet again.
For Scherzer, the frustrations continue as he once again pitched well, and the Nationals lost. Scherzer’s final line was seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just two hits and striking out ten. That is a pretty tough day at the office when you strike out ten and allow just two hits and you are charged with the loss.
Scherzer has unfortunately gotten used to this type of treatment though as the Nationals are just 7-7 in his last fourteen starts, despite the fact that he is pitching at an elite level. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Milwaukee Friday for game one of a three-game series with the Brewers. The Pirates are coming off a disastrous homestand that saw them score just seven runs in seven games. The Pirates are quickly falling out of contention in the National League playoff picture and need to win now if they want to stay in the chase for the postseason. The Brewers are in a battle themselves as they are currently in a tie for the second wild-card and final playoff spot in the NL with the Colorado Rockies.
Starting tonight for the Brewers is Wade Miley (2-2 2.18 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Joe Musgrove (5-7 3.31 ERA). The Brewers are -130 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The wheels are falling off this Pittsburgh Pirates bandwagon in a big way right now. They made a push at the trade deadline to get better and try and get themselves back into contention but that run looks to be over as the bats have completely turned off for Pittsburgh. They just went 2-5 in their most recent homestand and averaged just one run a game during that stretch.
And if you look forward a little bit, things are only going to get worse, as after this series with Milwaukee they face the Cardinals and the Braves on this long road trip. All three of those teams would be in the playoffs if the season were to end today and this road trip could spell the end of the season for a struggling Pirates team.
The Pirates will turn to Joe Musgrove today to try and turn things around. Musgrove has pitched well most of the season. In August he has posted an ERA of just 2.25. The problem is the Pirates just seem to always lose when he pitches. The guy has lost seven out of his last ten decisions, and on the season the Pirates have lost eight out of his last twelve starts.
Musgrove has one start against the Brewers this year, and he escaped with a win despite giving up five earned runs. It will be interesting to see what the Pirates can do in support of Musgrove tonight as they have been shutout in two of his last four starts and are averaging just a run and a half a game of support over that stretch.
The Brewers will send Wade Miley to the mound to look to take the lead in this series. Miley has been a very pleasant surprise this season for the Brewers. After missing several big chunks of the season with injuries, Miley is now healthy and pitching well. In nine starts this season, Miley has posted an ERA of just 2.18. Miley has one start against the Pirates this year and threw five innings of two-run ball and picked up a hard-luck loss.
I don’t think Wade Miley is anywhere near as good as his 2.18 ERA would tell you he is this season. And I don’t think this Pittsburgh offense is as bad as they looked in their recent homestand. But baseball is a streaky game, and I feel that Wade Miley is going to post more stellar results tonight against this struggling Pirates team.
The Pirates have made some head-scratching moves with their bullpen and their starting lineup, benching a couple of their best players in their last series, doing anything they can to light a fire under the team, and it just isn’t working. This team is quickly realizing that their season is likely over and they have come out very flat.
I think this road trip will finish them off for good this year and that all starts tonight in game one in Milwaukee. Musgrove will likely pitch well, but I don’t think it will matter as this Pirates offense just can’t be trusted right now. So, I will defer from my trend of backing underdogs and lay a little wood tonight on the home favored, Milwaukee Brewers. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers tonight in game one at -130!