Zack Greinke made a nice return to action last night, pitching a solid six innings and the bullpen shutting the door the rest of the way to lead the D’Backs to the win over Steven Matz and the Mets. Matz was uncharacteristically inefficient, throwing 120 pitches in six innings, but was effective enough to leave the game with the lead and the potential win, only to have it undone by the bullpen. We took the loss on the favored Mets, but will look to get back on track this evening.
There are a few NL teams off and a few getaway day games today, leaving just four on the evening slate, but we are going to head back to a familiar source for tonight’s upset value wager.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Reds +145 at St. Louis Cardinals -154 (Total: 7.5)
Anthony DeSclafani (6-0, 2.94 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (8-8, 4.04 ERA)
One of my favorite things about wagering on baseball is the narrow reality of “good” and “bad” compared to the perception of those same two things. For example, the Cardinals are “good” and the Reds are “bad.” Therefore, the Cardinals are heavy favorites tonight, despite the pitching matchup indicating this is actually a really god matchup – even a favorable one – for the “lowly” Reds.
Add in the fact that Cincinnati has gone 17-15 since the beginning of July – the same as St. Louis – and the fact the Reds have won all but one series since the All Star Break, and the “good” and “awful” discrepancy is far more narrow than one might expect. Furthermore – throw out the Reds DISASTROUS month of May, where they went 8-20, and they are a pretty competent baseball team. During that month they also had all five of the projected Opening Day starters on the disabled list.
That is a roundabout way of saying, the notion of heavy underdogs in baseball when they have very good starting pitchers on the mound is a little silly. DeSclafani is a PERFECT 6-0 this season with an ERA under three. Jaime Garcia is .500 this season with an ERA over four. He HAS been good against the Reds in his career, posting a 10-3 record, but has only a 3.75 ERA over the span.
Are the Reds the favorite? No. But they are a good value play at the current big money line. DeSclafani at least gives them a chance to win, especially with a lineup that has been scoring plenty of runs even after the departure of Jay Bruce to the Mets.
I’ll take the positive money line and a hot starting pitcher tonight with Cincy and DeSclafani.