If you are a daily reader of my picks, you know how I feel about the rain. It seems like mother nature has had it out for me all season long! We got bitten by the weather bug again last night. I backed the Chicago White Sox as home underdogs with their pitching phenom, Michael Kopech set to make his highly anticipated major league debut.
Kopech gave up a couple of hits in his two innings of work but showed just why he is so highly regarded by racking up four punch outs in those two innings. The rain came after the second inning, and the White Sox decided that after the hour-long rain delay they would pull Kopeck from the game despite the fact he hadn’t allowed a run. So, our bet backing Kopech turned into a bet backing the White Sox bullpen for seven innings. Ouch.
The game itself was still very competitive and was tied up at two runs apiece heading into the eighth inning. The Twins stole the game in the top of the ninth with a three-run explosion. The White Sox failed to answer in the bottom of the ninth, and we came up short and lost our bet. It was a frustrating way to lose a game but seeing how close it was even with Kopech not in the game, I feel we were certainly on the value side of things.
You would be smart to keep an eye on this kid as he showed flashes of greatness yesterday. He will have his growing pains for sure, but man does this kid throw heat. Finding profitable underdogs down the stretch can be tough to do in baseball, and the White Sox with Kopech on the mound could offer some elite value as the season winds to a close. For today’s pick, we will look at another underdog when we break down the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Los Angeles Wednesday for game three of a three-game series with the Dodgers. The Cardinals have taken the first two games of the series and are looking for the sweep tonight in the series finale. As improbable as it may seem, the Cardinals are the hottest team in the National League, having won eight out of their last ten games, and are in prime playoff position. The Dodgers, on the other hand, would be on the outside looking in for the playoffs if the season were to end today.
Starting tonight for the Dodgers is Walker Buehler (6-4 3.19 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Jack Flaherty (7-6 3.05 ERA). The Dodgers are big -157 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
The St. Louis Cardinals made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline that signaled they were done trying to compete this season. They completely ripped apart their bullpen, and there was rumor of several more moves to come. In the end, they didn’t move any really key pieces, but it was seemingly a white flag going up for the Cardinals. And then something strange happened, they started winning.
The Cardinals have gone 16-4 since the trade deadline and have shot up the standings in the National League. They are just two and a half games back of the floundering Chicago Cubs for the National League Central Division title and are currently occupying the first wild-card spot in the NL. It is a tight race with several teams in the mix, but the Cardinals are right in the thick of things in the NL.
One guy that has been basically unhittable this month has been tonight’s starter, Jack Flaherty. In the month of August Flaherty is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts. This kid is really coming into his own down the stretch and at just twenty-two years old looks like a future all-star. In eleven of his twenty starts this season, Flaherty has allowed one earned run or fewer, that is elite level stuff.
The Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler tonight to try and salvage one game of this series. Buehler has been very good in August as well as he is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his three August starts. Buehler has been a very pleasant surprise for the Dodgers this season and has pitched very well. After struggling through June and July, he looks to have gotten things back on track here in August.
These two teams looked like they were going in exactly different directions at the trade deadline. The Dodgers went all-in as they made moves to pick up Brian Dozier and Manny Machado amongst other moves. And the Cardinals looked like they might just be giving up. Yet here we are three weeks later, and it’s the Cardinals that are surging and the Dodgers that are struggling.
Everyone keeps assuming the Dodgers will turn it around at some point, but they have lost eight out of their last eleven games and are sliding down the standings. Entering play today, LA is in fifth place for the wild-card chase in the NL and in third place in their own division. When you look at this roster, you figure they will find a way to sneak into the playoffs, but right now, this team can’t be trusted.
The Dodgers were huge favorites in both of the first two games of this series, -200 and -210 respectively, and lost both games. They are once again big favorites tonight, and I just can’t see as to why. I will just chalk this up to that west coast Dodgers bias. This team is almost always overvalued, and that is the case again tonight.
Walker Buehler has been good but so has Jack Flaherty and this is a great pitching matchup of two promising young starters. But I have no choice but to back the hot hand, St. Louis Cardinals. This team is playing with all kinds of swagger right now and has forgotten how to lose. The Dodgers look completely lost, and at this rate, they are going to miss the playoffs. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals as big road underdogs tonight as they complete the sweep in Los Angeles!