Boom! Nothing feels better than winning a major underdog bet! We picked up the big win last night when we backed the St. Louis Cardinals as big underdogs of +147 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was shocked to see this number where it was as the Cardinals had been white-hot since the trade deadline. They had won sixteen out of twenty games in the month of August and were on the verge of sweeping the boys in blue, yet they were major dogs. It just didn’t add up to me.
Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty had been lights out over his last several starts and was even better last night. Flaherty flirted with a no-hitter and ended his day with six innings of one run, one hit, ball. The lone hit was a solo shot home run from Joc Pederson in the sixth inning. He also threw in ten strikeouts along the way. This game was a tight one throughout and we stole the game late when the Cardinals were able to touch up Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen for two runs in the top of the ninth inning.
With the loss, the Dodgers fall to four and a half games back for the National League West crown and are in real danger of missing the playoffs at this point. The Dodgers are in fifth place in the NL wild-card race, and if they don’t get things moving in the right direction soon, they are going to be on the outside looking in come playoff time. For today’s pick, I will focus on one of those teams the Dodgers are chasing as the Colorado Rockies host the San Diego Padres.
The San Diego Padres are in Colorado Thursday for game three of a three-game series with the Rockies. The series is all tied up at one game apiece as the Padres stole game one and the Rockies battled back to tie the series up by taking game two last night. The Rockies are in a dogfight in the NL West Division right now as it is a three-team race with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies are currently in second place, a game and a half back of Arizona.
Starting tonight for the Rockies is their ace, Kyle Freeland (11-7 2.96 ERA) and for the Padres it is Joey Lucchesi (6-7 3.79 ERA). The Rockies are big -168 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at ten runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
If you don’t think the Colorado Rockies are a playoff caliber team this season, you need to take a better look at this team. They are good on both sides of the ball, and they are getting hot at the right time. One guy that has been really good, especially at home, is today’s starter, Kyle Freeland.
Freeland has figured out how to do something that almost no other pitcher ever has, and that is how to pitch well at Coors Field. Most pitchers hate to pitch in the thin air of Coors Field, but Freeland has made a career out of it in his two seasons with the Rockies. In eleven home starts this season, Freeland is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA. Those are great stats anywhere, but at Coors Field, those numbers are borderline unbelievable.
Freeland is really coming into his own as the best starter this Rockies team has to offer. The Rockies have won eight out of his last nine starts, and he is carrying them into playoff contention. In four August starts, Freeland has an ERA of just 2.13. In his last start against the Padres, he pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just three hits. And where was that start? Coors Field. Another guy that has had some success at Coors Field this season is Padres starter, Joey Lucchesi.
Lucchesi is enjoying a solid rookie campaign for the Padres. His 3.79 ERA is more than respectable for a rookie in the National League, and he is looking like a guy that could very well be a major part of this Padre’s rebuilding process. The knock on Lucchesi this year has been the fact that he just doesn’t get very deep into games.
The deepest he has gone into a game this year is six innings, and he has pitched less than six innings in fifteen of his eighteen starts. He has struggled a bit recently as in two of his last four starts he has gotten banged up for at least five earned runs. We see this a lot with young pitchers, once late August and September hit, they hit that proverbial rookie wall, and the production really falls off.
I don’t think this game is going to be close. Freeland is unhittable at home against good teams. Against this Padres team that is dead last in batting average in the majors? He might not give up a hit. And Lucchesi? As good as he has been at times he is starting to look run down and tired. I see the Rockies jumping on him early and often and coasting to a multi-run win.
As a general rule, I don’t like to take a team on the run line and lay odds. But every once in a while, a situation like today’s comes across that just seems like free money. And I am never opposed to picking a little low hanging fruit. So, I will back the Rockies on the run line and expect this game to be a blowout. Even if Lucchesi pitches well enough to keep the Rockies at bay, I don’t see the Padres scoring against Freeland. Give me the Colorado Rockies laying a run and a half in the run line today at -114!