The wins just keep on coming! Our red-hot summer continued last night, as we have yet to lose a bet since the All-Star break and are at north of 70% winners for the month of July! Last night we took the over ten runs in the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners game. Both starting pitchers were shaky, and with how hard Oakland has been hitting the ball lately, I expected a high scoring A’s blowout victory with lots of balls leaving the park, and that is just what happened.
The runs came early and often as these teams combined for nine runs in the games first six innings. They made us sweat just a little bit late, but the awful Mariners bullpen didn’t let us down as they gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth, to send the game sailing over. The A’s hit six homers in the 10-2 blowout win.
For the A’s, they are playing really good baseball right now, but they need to stay hot heading into the trade deadline. Oakland GM Billy Beane is famous for trading away players mid-season, and if the A’s slip up at all between now and the July 31st trade deadline, it could trigger a fire sale.
For the Mariners, they are a team of dead men walking as many of their veteran players are expected to be traded off at any minute, and this team is going to end up finding a way to lose 100 games. For today’s pick we will head to Cincinnati for game one between the Reds and the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Cincinnati Thursday for game one of a four game series with the Reds. The Cards have come out of the All-Star break playing well as they have won four out of their first six games, to get back on the right side of .500 on the year. St. Louis needs to string together some more wins as they are in third place in the National League Central Division and need a big push to get back in contention.
For the Reds, they have done a decent job of playing spoiler in the NL, and despite being out of playoff contention at this point, they are a hard team to beat night in and night out. That being said, Cincinnati has lost six out of their last eight games.
Starting for the Reds is Tanner Roark (5-6 3.99 ERA) and for the Cardinals it is Dakota Hudson (8-4 3.48 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten runs. The Reds are -121 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
There are several teams that are in a similar position as the Cardinals are right now, that are technically in contention, they are only three games back of first place in the central division. But needing to do a lot to actually make the playoffs. The central is a truly wide-open race as the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals are all above .500 and the Pirates and the Reds are both just one or two good weeks away from suddenly being in the mix as well.
And when you look at the wild card race in the NL, it has never been tighter. Every team in the league, except the Miami Marlins, are currently within five games of the second wild card in the NL. So, this year’s trade deadline should be very interesting, as the decision to make a run for the playoffs, or dump salary and rebuild for next year, is a tough one for many teams. My gut tells me that the Cards are all-in, while the Reds, just four and a half games back of St. Louis, will end up selling at the deadline.
The Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson tonight in game one. After a slow start to the year, Hudson has pitched really well the last couple of months. Since June 1st, his ERA is hovering right around three runs. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April. He has given up just two earned runs or fewer in a start in ten out of his last twelve starts.
Hudson doesn’t look to overpower guys and strike them out. Rather, he forces a ton of ground balls and manages to work very efficiently. And he has been somewhat of a human victory cigar this year as the Cards have won nine out of his last ten starts, and they are 13-6 on the year with Hudson on the mound. He has faced the Reds twice this season and has pitched a combined twelve innings and has allowed just four earned runs, and the Cardinals won both games.
The Reds will answer Dakota Hudson with veteran Tanner Roark. Roark is a prime candidate to be traded before the deadline as he is posting decent results and the market is starved of starting pitching. But unlike Hudson, who seems to be getting better as the season wears on, Roark has really struggled recently.
In the month on July, Roark has an ERA of 8.74 in two starts. In June, the Reds lost four out of his five starts. Tanner allowed just two home runs in his first eleven starts of the year. But he has gotten blasted for eleven home runs in his last seven starts, including a whopping six in his last two appearances. The Cardinals aren’t known for their power this season, but with guys like Miguel Ozuna, Paul Goldschmidt, and Yadier Molina, they have guys that can knock the ball out of the park.
This is a bad number. The only thing I can see that is making the Reds favorites in this one is the fact that the game is in Cincinnati. The Reds are a much better home team than on the road, and the Cardinals have had their fare share of struggles playing outside of St. Louis. But the Cardinals are the much better team.
Even though their record isn’t THAT much better than the Reds, the eye test tells me this is a playoff team that just hasn’t quite picked up all their momentum yet. Maybe this nice run since the All-Star break will trigger a good couple of weeks for the Cards. But future wins notwithstanding, I think the Cards are clearly the side to be on in this one.
The fact that I get to back them getting some dog money just makes the bet that much sweeter. I think Hudson ends up being solid, and Roark sees a couple of his pitches leave the stadium. The Cards take an early lead and hold on late to sneak past the Reds on the road in game one from the Natti!