We took a hard-luck loss last night when we backed the San Francisco Giants as home underdogs against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Giants rookie starter Dereck Rodriguez had been pitching at an elite level, and I loved getting to back the Giants, one of the best home teams in the National League, as home dogs. But things just didn’t break our way in this one.
Arizona starter Zack Godley had what was likely his best start of the season as he pitched seven and a third innings and allowed just one run on two hits. He took a shutout into the eighth inning and was dominant all evening long. That performance was hard to see coming as Godley had really been struggling recently.
What can you do, it was a great spot for value, but the variance bug bit us last night. Home dogs still remain my favorite spot to find value, and we will look at another potential home underdog situation tonight when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The series is tied at one game apiece tonight in St. Louis as the Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates for game three of a three-game set. The first two games of this series have been low scoring, and hard-fought games and the Cardinals are looking to win their tenth consecutive series with the win tonight. The Pirates have quickly fallen out of contention in the National League as they have lost eleven out of their last fifteen games and find themselves buried, eight and a half games out of the second wild card. The Cardinals are just the opposite as they have used this recent hot streak to surge up the standings and currently occupy the first wild-card spot in the NL.
Starting tonight for the Cardinals is John Gant (5-5 3.56 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Joe Musgrove (5-7 3.56 ERA). This game is currently sitting at even money with both teams at -105. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Cardinals are getting destroyed by injuries right now. Kolten Wong, Marcell Ozuna, and Jedd Gyorko have all hit the DL is the last week. Matt Carpenter was pulled from yesterday’s game with an illness after he puked on the field. But all of these injuries just haven’t seemed to phase the Cardinals. The Cardinals are 20-6 in August and have gone from playoff pretender to playoff contender in just a couple of weeks.
Every once in a while, we see a run like this in baseball where the breaks just seem to always go one team’s way. That is what’s going on right now in St. Louis. As unlikely as it seems, this team is playing very quality baseball and winning a lot of games. They have really embraced their new manager Mike Shildt, and recently pulled his interim manager tag and the team is playing inspired baseball.
John Gant is a guy that is riding that wave right now. In his last four starts, Gant has pitched a combined twenty-two and two-thirds of an inning and has allowed just five earned runs. Gant has allowed more than two earned runs in just two of his thirteen starts this season after starting the year in the Cards bullpen. Gant has had some struggles this year with the Pirates though as he has gotten touched up for nine earned runs in his two starts against Pittsburgh this year.
The Pirates will turn to Joe Musgrove to try and steal this series tonight. Musgrove has been a solid addition to the staff this season in his second full year as a starter for Pittsburgh. His 3.56 ERA is more than respectable, and he has gone deep in a lot of games this year. In fifteen starts, he has gone seven innings or more in seven of them, that is quite the accomplishment for a young pitcher. Similar to Gant, Musgrove has been a bit unlucky as the Pirates have lost nine out of his last thirteen starts.
It scares me a little bit that the Cardinals are so banged up right now. But they seem to be playing through it just fine, and I love getting them at home at such a great price. This number has moved all around since opening with the Pirates as small favorites. It swayed towards the Cardinals in the overnight betting and has now evened backed out.
It’s hard to say where this number will close at as you can make a compelling case for both teams being the favorite. But getting the chance to back this red-hot Cardinals team at home at even money is just too much value for me to pass up on. I expect another low scoring game and will make today’s pick a double bill as I will go with the Cardinals at -105 and the under eight runs at -115 as well. With the playoffs just around the corner, you can expect more of these tightly contested, low scoring games. Give me the Cards and the under tonight in game three!