You know you are running well when you make a bet on the Miami Marlins, and it comes in. Betting on the worst team in the National League isn’t something you are going to want to make a habit out of, but last night I saw value in backing the fish, and I took a shot on them, and they did not disappoint.
I found value mostly in the starting pitching matchup, where rookie Merrill Kelly for the Diamondbacks looked to be hitting the rookie wall as he had been really bad recently. And Marlins starter, Caleb Smith, might just be one of the best young pitchers you have ever heard of.
The game went pretty much as planned as Kelly got absolutely lit up early on, getting blasted for six runs in the second inning. Smith gave up a couple of runs as he was pitching carefree with a big lead but managed to settle down and actually pitched a solid game. Smith ended his day with seven innings pitched, allowing four earned runs while striking out nine along the way.
It wasn’t his best performance of the year, but when your lineup spots you a six-run lead early, you don’t have to be all that sharp. For the DBacks, the loss was devastating as it now seems inevitable that they will be selling before the trade deadline on Wednesday. You can expect several key players to get shipped off, and if the DBacks recent play is any indication as to how they are going to play once dismantled, you are going to want to find ample opportunities to fade them.
They had a shot to go to Miami, sweep the dreadfully bad Marlins, and prove to upper management that this team had a real shot of contending for the playoffs. Instead, they lost three out of four in Miami and all but sealed their fate. For today’s pick, I will take a look at two teams competing for the playoffs in the NL, as the Phillies host the Giants.
The Giants head to Philly Tuesday looking to stay hot for game one of a three-game series with the Phillies. The Giants have been the surprise team of the summer as they lead the major leagues with an 18-5 record in July. The recent surge has caused the Giants management to change course as they were primed for a massive sell-off of talent, including guys like Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. Now that the Giants are just a couple of games back of the NL wild card, they seem to be all-in on trying to contend the rest of the way out.
For the Phillies, they are in a similar position as the Giants, as they are currently on the outside looking in for the playoff in the NL. The Phillies are certainly looking to compete though as they have made a couple of minor trades in the last few days and will be looking to add a few more key pieces before the deadline.
Starting for the Giants is Tyler Beede (3-4 4.85 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is the recently acquired Drew Smyly (1-5 7.69 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten and a half runs. The Phillies are -122 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly.
In the last calendar year, the Phillies have done a great job of acquiring top-level talent. They picked up Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, and JT Realmuto in the offseason and were determined to take home the NL East Division title this season. But unfortunately for Philly fans, all those moves haven’t really converted to success as the Phillies are in third place, six games back of the Atlanta Braves. But that hasn’t stopped Philly from still trying to get better as they have been active in the trade market and are rumored to be chasing just about every marquee pitching name on the trade block.
So, it had to be a bit underwhelming when the Phillies did finally pull the trigger to acquire a pitcher, and they ended up with Drew Smyly from the Texas Rangers. Not Mike Minor or Lance Lynn from the Rangers. Not Zach Greinke or Robbie Ray, not Noah Syndergaard or Marcus Stroman, but Drew Smyly.
Smyly has had a decent career, mostly bouncing back and forth between just ok and pretty good in stints with Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Texas. But this year, he has been really, really bad. His 8.42 ERA with Texas this season was twice as high as any other season. In July, right before being traded, he was 0-2 with a 12.79 ERA.
In his final five starts for Texas, he pitched a combined seventeen and two-thirds of an inning and gave up twenty-five runs, including eleven home runs. As a general rule, a change of scenery is usually a good thing for a struggling starter, and going from the AL to the NL is almost always good for a pitcher. And in Smyly’s first start in the NL for Philly he did pitch well as he threw six innings and allowed just one run. It will be interesting to see how Smyly pitches tonight against a Giants team that is second in the majors in runs scored this month at nearly six runs a game.
You probably don’t know who Tyler Beede is unless you are a Giants fan, but the young man is pitching well this season. He didn’t join the team until May and started out in the bullpen, but recently since joining the rotation he has been quite good. In July, he is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts. He got roughed up in his last starts against the Chicago Cubs, but in his previous three July starts, he pitched a combined twenty-one and two-thirds of an inning and allowed just four earned runs. He pitched into the seventh inning or later in each of those three starts.
The Giants have really been hitting the ball hard this month. They trail only the Boston Red Sox in runs scored this month. They have scored more than the Yankees, Astros, and Twins in July. I have a feeling they are going to hammer Drew Smyly tonight. The guy just has been so awful that I can’t support him as a favorite.
Especially when you look at how the Phillies have been hitting recently. In July, the Phillies are twenty-fifth in the majors in runs scored. The only teams to score fewer runs than the Phillies this month are the Mariners, Mets, Padres, White Sox, and Marlins. All of those teams are well out of contention. Despite a star-studded lineup, this team just can’t score.
This is one of those spots where I get to back a red-hot team, the Giants, and get the better side of the starting pitching matchup, all the while picking up some nice dog money. It is like a dream come true! For you readers that read my daily picks, you know that I have been riding the Giants a lot recently, and I will continue with that trend tonight in Philly. Give me the San Francisco Giants as road underdogs tonight in game one from Philly at +112!