We picked up a nice even money win last night when we backed the Philadelphia Phillies in their game against the Washington Nationals. I was surprised to see Philly priced at such a tight number with their ace, Aaron Nola, on the mound, against a Washington team that was going to be playing very short-handed, as many of their best players have been shut down due to injuries.
And while Patrick Corbin for the Nationals was having a decent season, he hadn’t been pitching up to his standards, and I felt that Nola and the Phillies were the clear side to be on. So, I fired hard on Philly and expected Nola to carry his team to victory.
And that is exactly what happened. Nola was a little a shaky early on, but settled down and finished his night with seven innings of quality work, allowing just two runs on only five hits, while striking out eight. Corbin was nearly as good, as he lasted six innings and only gave up two earned runs. But as has been the case for the last two-plus years for the Nationals, once the Washington bullpen got in the game, they couldn’t close things out.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 27, 2020
Walt Harris came in for Washington after Didi Gregorius led off the seventh inning with a triple off of Corbin and immediately gave up an RBI single to Alec Bohm to tie the game up at two runs apiece. Three batters later, Harris gave up the go-ahead run when Bryce Harper went the other way for an RBI single that plated Roman Quinn to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.
The Phillies took the lead late, and never looked back. Philly closer Brandon Workman made us sweat it out in the ninth, as he gave up a leadoff double to Howie Kendrick, and the Nats were able to get runners on first and third with just one out in the inning. But Workman was able to strikeout back to back hitters to slam the door shut, and we picked up a hard-fought victory. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to St. Louis, where the Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pittsburgh Pirates (7-19) at St. Louis Cardinals (11-9)
The St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates today in a one day, two-game, series with a scheduled doubleheader. The Cardinals have won four out of their last five games and six out of their last nine, and are quickly catching up to the rest of the National League in terms of games played, after missing over a week of action to a Corona Virus outbreak.
For Pittsburgh, the Pirates got swept in their last series, a quick two-game set with the Chicago White Sox, and have the worst record in Major League Baseball. The Pirates were no-hit in game one of the series against Chicago, and weren’t much better in game two, as they didn’t score a run until they were already down 8-0 in the sixth inning and got blown out.
Starting today in game one of this doubleheader for the Cardinals is Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0 1.69 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Chad Kuhl (1-1 2.84 ERA). The game total over/under is set at seven and a half runs in the scheduled seven-inning game. The Cardinals are -155 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 12:15 PM PST from Busch Field in St. Louis.
I am not going to spend too much time breaking down this Pittsburgh Pirates team. They can’t hit, they can’t pitch, and they are the worst team in the Major Leagues. They somehow managed to pick up a three-game sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers last week, and that little run will likely keep the Pirates from finishing this season with the worst winning percentage in modern Major League Baseball history, a target they were on track to hit.
In every way that you can slice it, the Pirates are the worst team in the National League. Their winning percentage is over a hundred points lower than the next closest team, and their -44-run differential is by far the worst in the NL. But, in a season where there have been very few bright spots, today’s game one starter, Chad Kuhl, is managing to have some success for Pittsburgh.
Chad Kuhl (1-1 2.84 ERA)
If you aren’t a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you might not recognize the name, Chad Kuhl. Kuhl missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched a full season since 2017. And while Kuhl has never been an overly impressive pitcher for Pittsburgh, he has been respectable, with a lifetime record of 18-20 with an ERA just below four and a half runs in three seasons with the Pirates.
This year, Kuhl is really pitching well as he has made five starts and has a 2.84 ERA to show for it. He hasn’t been getting deep into games at all, as he has pitched just a combined 19 innings in those five starts, but when he has been in the game, he has been serviceable.
St. Louis Cardinals
Nobody had any idea what the St. Louis Cardinals were going to look like after they saw their season interrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak. But despite having to play a super-condensed schedule, with few days off and lots of doubleheaders, the Cardinals are more than holding their own.
St. Louis lost three out of five games in a five-game series with the Chicago Cubs, but they have won back to back series over the Reds and the Royals in their last two series, and their .550 winning percentage has them in second place in the National League Central Division. They currently have the fifth-best record in the National League and if the season were to end today, they would be playing in the postseason.
Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0 1.69 ERA)
Kwang Hyun Kim was a superstar in the Korean Baseball Organization and flirted with a move to the Major Leagues for nearly a decade, before finally making the move this year and signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis snatched him up on a deal two-year deal worth just $8 million, and if his hot start this year is any indication of how he is going to pitch in the majors, the Cardinals hit a home run with this international signing.
Kim has made three appearances, two of them starts, as the Cardinals have chosen to bring Kim and the rest of their starting rotation back slowly from the long layoff. But even in this short time frame, Kim has really impressed as he has pitched 10.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs. In his last start, Kim pitched six innings of shutout ball against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing just three hits and not walking a single batter.
Who Do I Like?
This is a low hanging fruit spot. I love to back underdogs when betting on Major League Baseball, as it is hard to show long term value laying a bunch of wood every day. But when I see a spot like this one, where the favorite is clearly undervalued, I don’t have any objection to taking an easy win and picking up some free money.
When you look at this starting pitching matchup, I am guessing that the casual betting public sees Chad Kuhl with a low ERA, pitching against a guy they have never heard of, and decided that the Pirates were worth a play as underdogs. But that guy they have never heard of, is a quality starting pitcher, and I would expect as his name becomes more familiar, you are going to see him priced more aggressively each time out.
The Pirates are awful, the Cardinals are good, and as they start to get healthy, they could be very good. To see St. Louis priced as only moderate favorites in this game is just a bad number, plain and simple. So, I will pick the low hanging fruit in this one and lay a little wood on the Cardinals. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals, laying -155 today at home in game one of a double-dip with the Pirates!