And down the stretch we come! Baseball is getting ready to turn the page to the final stretch run with exactly 30 games remaining for most National League teams and there is still a ton to be determined. But in order for things to shake up, well, things are going to have start shaking up a little bit. Over the past ten games, four teams in the NL are 6-4 and three teams are 4-6. Everyone else is 5-5.
That list of 5-5 teams includes the Marlins, Cardinals, Pirates and Giants. It also includes the Reds, Padres, Diamondbacks, and the Braves and Nats are both 4-6. Parity, anyone? The whole “easy series/tough series” game isn’t as easy to play as it seems no such thing currently exists.
My crystal ball looks like this: Cubs, Nats, Giants to win divisions, Cardinals and Dodgers in the wildcard. But from a wagering standpoint, this month, I’ll be keeping the basic fundamental in mind; starting pitching, starting pitching, starting pitching.
Let’s build on Saturday’s easy winner with the Reds and Anthony DiSclafani’s four-hitter.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Reds +138 at Los Angeles Angels -147 (Total: 7.5)
Dan Strailly (10-6, 3.57 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (8-13, 3.98 ERA)
The Reds have been one of the better value wagers over the past month and tonight’s starting pitcher has been a HUGE part of that equation. Were it not for coming up two-thirds of an inning shy of completing the sixth inning three starts ago, Dan Strailly would have quality starts in ALL of his last ten starts. His ERA for August was 2.45 and his WHIP was 1.05. He posted 26 strikeouts against just three walks and has been simply fantastic though no one (except us sharp handicappers – and maybe not even them) seems to have noticed. Despite all that, and an offense averaging six runs a start in his last five outing and the Reds having won EIGHT straight Strailly starts, he is STILL an underdog (large one at that) tonight in Anahiem.
I don’t get it.
Matt Shoemaker has 13 losses this year, the Angels have been one of the worst teams in baseball the last month-plus and the Angels are tenth in the AL in hitting and runs scored. Shoemaker’s last two outings have been solid, but the value still clearly lies with Strailly and the visiting Reds at +138.
I’ll take the hotter pitcher, the hotter team, and the sizable plus-money opportunity with Strailly and the Reds.