Our red-hot summer cooled off just a bit last night as we came up short when we backed the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals. Sean Newcomb for Atlanta was ineffective the entire night and lasted just three innings, giving up five earned runs. The Braves did make a game out of things though as they tightened the game up to 5-4 heading into the ninth inning. But alas, a major comeback was not in the cards, and we picked up a rare losing bet.
What can you do, even when you are winning 70% of your bets like we are in the last two weeks, you are still going to lose a game here and there. We will look to get right back to our winning ways tonight as we break down the game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals head to Atlanta Monday for game one of a three-game series, with their season on the line. The Cardinals are currently tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second wild-card and final playoff spot, in the National League. The Cardinals had lost four straight games before picking up a win last night in the series finale against the Dodgers, and need a good showing in this series if they want any real shot of making the playoffs.
St. Louis is just 6-9 during the month of September after finishing up August as one of the hottest teams in all of baseball. If they get swept it could be the end of their season. For the Braves, their playoff position seems to be fairly secure as they hold a six and a half game lead over the fading Philadelphia Phillies for the National League East Division lead but would love to wrap things up sooner rather than later and rest up for the playoffs. The Braves had won six straight games before dropping the last two games to the Washington Nationals.
Starting for the Cardinals is Miles Mikolas (15-4 2.99 ERA), and for the Braves it is Mike Foltynewicz (11-9 2.66 ERA). The Braves are -130 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Mike Foltynewicz doesn’t have the greatest record on the year as he is just 11-9, but don’t let that fool you, this guy has been pitching at a very high level. Foltynewicz is fourth in the National League in ERA, top ten in WAR, and top six in both WHIP and H/9. He hasn’t produced as many wins as the Braves would like, but it hasn’t really been his fault. Foltynewicz has been pitching even better recently as he has allowed one run or fewer in six out of his last seven starts.
In fact, since the start of August, this guy has had a sub-two-run ERA, that is some elite stuff for sure. Against the Cardinals in one start, he was dominant as he pitched five innings of shutout ball and allowed just one hit and struck out nine. I know he has a funny name and his record isn’t eye-popping, but there is little doubt that Foltynewicz is a top ten pitcher in the NL right now.
Another guy with a hard to pronounce name and not much fanfare that is putting together a stellar season is Miles Mikolas for the Cardinals. Mikolas has enjoyed a lot more winning this year than Foltynewicz though as his fifteen wins are fourth most in the National League this year. The Cardinals are 21-8 in games where Mikolas starts. They have won eleven out of his last thirteen starts. Mikolas has one starts against Atlanta this season, and he was fantastic. On June 29th, Mikolas pitched six and a third innings against the Braves and gave up just one run.
This is another late season game that should be very closely contested. Both of these teams are scratching and clawing for every win right now, and this game will have a playoff atmosphere for sure. I could be talked into either side of this game as both starters are hard to bet against. So, I will stay away from the side and look at the game total over-under.
I am surprised to see this total as high as eight and a half. These are two of the best pitchers in the NL, yet they are being rated as a couple of middle of the rotation type of guys. I guess the fact that they are both very new to the scene as far as being elite pitchers and lack name recognition has kept this total where it is at. Both of these guys have pitched well all season, and both of them have strong histories against each other’s teams.
And late in the season, when the games really matter, we just don’t see a lot of high scoring games. You almost never see a 10-9 playoff game and make no mistake, this is basically a playoff game for both teams. I think both starters pitch well and I expect a one-run type of game that ends up 4-3 one way or the other. So, I will jump on the under eight and a half and hope for a lower scoring, tight game. Give me the under eight and a half runs at -123 tonight in game one from Atlanta.