We picked up another win last night when we backed the Atlanta Braves against the Toronto Blue Jays at basically even money. Blue Jays starter Jaime Garcia had really struggled at times this year, and I didn’t like his chances against the best offense in the National League. This hard-hitting Braves lineup punished Garcia, and he lasted just three innings and gave up five runs, all earned.
I expected better out of Braves rookie starter Mike Soroka, but he didn’t have his best stuff either and failed to go the minimum five innings to qualify for the win. But in the end, it didn’t matter as the Braves bats banged out eleven runs in the blowout victory. Johan Camargo led the way for Atlanta with a home run and five runs batted in. For today’s pick, I will break down the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Philadelphia Wednesday for game three of a three-game set with the Phillies. This series has been an exciting one as both teams have won one game apiece with late-inning heroics. Philly took game one in walk-off, come from behind, fashion. After blowing the lead in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings, the Phillies found themselves down a run in the bottom of the tenth and rallied to win on Aaron Altherr’s walk-off two-RBI double.
Game two was just as closely contested as it was St. Louis that found themselves down big early in the game and they stormed back to win the game late. The Cardinals took the lead for good on a Matt Carpenter solo shot home run in the top of the ninth to win the back and forth affair. Both games one and two were exciting, back and fourth games, full of action we should be in for a treat in game three!
Starting for the Phillies is Jake Arrieta (5-5 3.33 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Michael Wacha (8-2 3.24 ERA). The Phillies are slight -115 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 AM PST from Citizen’s Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.
Jake Arrieta was mowing through the competition in the season’s first two months. Through the month of May, Arrieta was 5-2 with an ERA of 2.16. The month of June has not been nearly as kind for the former Cy Young Award winner as he has lost all three decisions in June and his ERA is nearly eight runs in those three starts. The story for Arrieta this season has been one about where he pitches.
On the road? Arrieta has been a below average pitcher at best. Away from Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, Arrieta is 2-4 with an ERA of 5.05, and opposing batters are hitting .309 against him. At home? This guy looks like a Cy Young Award candidate. At home, Arrieta is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting a meager .189 against him. Arrieta wasn’t overly sharp in his last home start, he pitched just five and a third innings against the Milwaukee Brewers and gave up four earned runs and picked up the loss. But in his previous four starts at home, Jake pitched twenty-eight innings and allowed a total of just one earned run.
Michael Wacha has been the model of consistency this year for the Cardinals. Except for his last start against the Cubs where he got slammed for nine runs in just four innings of work. He saw his season-long ERA go from 2.47 to 3.24 after just one game. As has been the case with Arrieta, Wacha has been better at home than on the road. His ERA on the road is a full half run higher than it is in St. Louis. In his one starts against the Phillies this year, Wacha was solid. He pitched six innings of two-run ball while striking out eight and picked up the win.
I expect this game to be much like the first two games of this series. A close game where the lead changes hands a couple of times. I can’t find much to separate the starting pitchers in this one, they have both been great most of the year and have struggled a bit recently. I suppose the one spot that I do find some value in this one is that the Phillies are playing at home.
Philadelphia is ten games over .500 at home this season. That is the best home record in all of the National League. Arrieta is a much better pitcher in Philly, and this team just finds ways to win game on their home field. I would be shocked if either team got out to a big lead in this game, this has 4-3 written all over it. This is a tight game with a tight line, but with Philly playing at home I am going to lean their direction and take them today in game three. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as small home favorites today!