We are officially heating up as we ran our record to 4-1 on the week with another win last night. Last night we picked up the win when we backed the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals as small road favorites. I liked how Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was finally looking healthy after years of never being himself and felt that he was the much better of the two starters in this game, being matched up against the National’s Anibal Sanchez.
For the second game in a row, the Nationals jumped out to an early lead only to see the Cardinals battle back late and steal the game. The big hit in yesterday’s game was a two-run single in the fourth inning by Harrison Bader that gave the Cardinals the lead for good. Wainwright impressed again as he pitched into the seventh inning and ended his day with six and a third innings pitched, allowing just two runs on six hits.
Sanchez was actually decent as he threw five innings and gave up three runs, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as his team came up short and his record now stands at a dismal 0-4. With the win, the Cardinals continue to make a run at the best record in the National League and they have just one fewer win than the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. For Washington, the Nats are quickly falling out of contention, and they are prime candidates for a trade deadline sell-off. For today’s pick, we will stay in the National League as the Atlanta Braves host the San Diego Padres.
The San Diego Padres are in Atlanta Wednesday for game three of a four-game series with the Braves. The series is tied up at one game apiece with the Braves taking game one of the series, and the Padres taking game two last night.
Starting tonight for the Braves is Max Fried (3-1 2.30 ERA), and for the Padres it is Cal Quantrill (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Braves are -150 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Max Fried was once a promising prospect in the Braves organization, and after starting out the season in the bullpen, the still just twenty-five-year-old Fried has pitched his way into a spot in the regular starting rotation. Through his first four starts of the season, Fried was 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA. He got touched up a little bit in his last start against the red-hot and hard-hitting Colorado Rockies, but this kid has more than shown enough to deserve a spot on the mound every fifth day.
Fried has struck out twenty-six batters in just twenty-nine innings of work while walking only five guys and allowing three home runs. And two of those home runs came in his last start against Colorado. Those are some elite numbers. It will be very interesting to see how well Fried performs tonight against what just might be the worst hitting team in all of baseball.
The San Diego Padres have surprised a lot of people this season. While they are stuck in third place in their division, they do have a solid record at 17-13 and are winning a lot more games than we have become accustomed to in the last decade or so of struggles in San Diego. But one part that hasn’t come around for the Padres is their hitting. The Padres are 29th in the majors in on-base percentage, 27th in batting average, and despite the fact that they have a lot of pop, they are 7th in the majors in homers, they can’t seem to score runs without the long ball as they are 26th in runs scored.
And that already limited lineup will be even more limited tonight as the Padres will be playing without superstar in the making Fernando Tatis Jr who pulled a hammy last week and has missed the entire series so far. To make matters even worse, the Padres are starting a rookie in his first ever big league start tonight.
Cal Quantrill is a former first-round draft pick that is making his long-awaited debut tonight. But it is more out of the necessity of the Padres needing a live arm than him being ready for the call up as he has struggled in the minors this year. Quantrill has a 4.68 ERA in five starts at triple-A El Paso. Those are not the type of results that beg for a promotion to the show.
This could be a blood bath tonight. The Braves have one of the best offenses in the game. In fact, they lead the majors in on-base percentage and are third in batting average. Against a guy that is sure to be all kinds of nervous and on a short leash tonight, it could get ugly. And when you look at Max Fried, this kid has been nearly unhittable outside of his last start, and I think he will mow through this weak-hitting Padres team.
So, when I look at the money line of -150, I certainly think it is the side to be on. But when I look at the run line, something I very rarely like to do, it seems to offer even more value. If you back Atlanta laying that run and a half, you can get a super juicy +127 number. That is a seventy-seven-cent premium. Taking the run line is always a bit of a gamble, and home run lines are even more so of a gamble.
But games like this that could very easily get out of hand early are what this bet was designed for. So, I will gamble a little bit and chase after the jumbo payout tonight. Give me the Atlanta Braves laying a run and a half on the run line tonight in game three!