Last night hurt. After having a blazing hot month of July where we won more than 70% of our picks, August has been a struggle. And that was personified by what happened last night in the game between the Red Sox and Indians. I made a play on the Indians at home and was looking to fade Chris Sale, who while still being very good at times, has been super inconsistent all season long.
And Sale did struggle as he gave up five runs, all earned, in six and two-thirds of an inning pitched. Easy game, right? You bet against Sale, he sucked, we win our bet, right? Not so fast. In one of the more inexplicable moves I have seen all season, Frankie Lindor decided to run the Indians out of a come from behind victory last night in the bottom of the ninth.
Just moments after Lindor smashed a game-tying double to center field, he took off trying to steal third base for no apparent reason. He was caught stealing and killed the Indians rally. There was just one out when Lindor tried to take third base, and the Indians had the heart of their order up with their number four and five hitters coming to the plate. It just didn’t make any sense at all as he was already in scoring position and with his elite speed, he was scoring on just about every base hit.
The Red Sox took advantage of the gaff and took the lead on a Jackie Bradley Jr solo shot home run in the top of the tenth inning. The Indians got the leadoff man on in the bottom of the frame, but he failed to come around to score, and we lost our bet. It was a frustrating way to lose, to say the least. For today’s pick, we will head to Kansas City where the Royals host the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Kansas City Wednesday for game two of a quick two-game set, looking for the sweep. The Cards took game one last night as these weak Royals bats were completely shut down by the St. Louis pitching staff. Jack Flaherty tossed seven shutout innings, and Andrew Miller and Carlos Martinez finished off the shutout and the Cards won the game 2-0.
The win was a big one for the Cardinals as they are now just one game back of the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central division title race, with the Milwaukee Brewers lurking just a game and a half back in third place. The Cardinals have won four straight games after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in their last series, they will look to make it two straight sweeps tonight and they can ill afford to let a soft matchup like this one pass them by.
For the Royals, they are slogging through the season as one of the worst teams in the game. Their 43-77 record is better than only the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. They are just 3-7 in the month of August, and that comes on the heels of them losing six out of their last seven games to close out July. Winning just hasn’t been a big part of the equation this year for a rebuilding Royals team.
Starting tonight for the Cardinals is Dakota Hudson (10-6 4.01 ERA), and for the Royals, it is Brad Keller (7-12 4.09 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Cardinals are -129 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Dakota Hudson has been a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals this season. The second-year player had never made a major league start before this season but has done a serviceable job in that role this year. He has racked up double-digit wins, and his ERA of 4.01 is solid for such a young arm. One thing that Hudson has done remarkably well as of late is giving his team a chance to win games.
The Cardinals have won twelve out of his last fifteen starts. And that trend has been mostly true all season long as they are 16-8 on the year when Hudson takes the mound. He is rarely spectacular on the mound, but he almost always gives a good effort. He has allowed three runs or fewer in twenty-two of his twenty-four starts this season. Allowing more than three runs in a start just one time since April. I expect good things from Hudson tonight against this Royals team that is near the bottom of nearly every offensive category.
Brad Keller is likely better than his stats would lead you to believe. His twelve losses are the second-most in the major leagues, behind only Aaron Sanchez, but in reality, he hasn’t been all that bad. In July, he posted solid results as he went 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in five starts. But that success has fallen off recently as he has allowed eleven earned runs in his last three starts, and the Royals have lost each game. Unlike Hudson, who always seems to find a way to win, the Royals have lost sixteen times when Keller has started this season.
This is a sharper number than it may appear on paper. Hudson has a better record than his results support, while Keller’s record shows that he has been awful when really, he has just been average. That being said, this is still a mismatch on paper. The Cardinals are the significantly better team. When you have one team that is twenty games ahead of another team, and you can back them at anywhere near even money, you need to pounce on it.
Yeah, the Cardinals haven’t been great on the road this season, they are a very underwhelming 28-32 away from St. Louis, but they didn’t get to play many of those games against a team as bad as these Royals are right now. And it’s not like the Royals are some world-beaters at home, they are thirteen games under .500 at Kaufman Stadium this season. So, I will lay a little wood and back the much better team. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals at -129 tonight in game two from Kansas City!