Sometimes you just have to pick the low hanging fruit and take the free money. That was the case yesterday when we backed the streaking Philadelphia Phillies against the struggling Washington Nationals. Aaron Nola has been mostly dominant this season, and I felt that he would have little trouble with the Nats depleted lineup.
And while I expected Washington starter Patrick Corbin to be solid as well, he hadn’t been getting deep into games this year, and with the Nationals season all but over at this point, I expected them to limit his workload and figured he wouldn’t be around past the fifth inning at the latest. So, I laid a little wood on Philly and expected the Phillies to stay hot and pick up an easy victory.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 2, 2020
And that is exactly what happened. Nola was light’s out as he pitched eight shutout innings of two-hit ball, striking out nine along the way. As expected, Corbin was decent but lasted just five innings, giving up two earned runs. The Washington bullpen has been atrocious for years, and knowing they were going to get a lot of work in this one was a major factor in my bet, and they didn’t disappoint me, as they got blasted for four earned runs, and the Phillies ran away with the game.
These two teams are moving in decidedly different directions right now, and you are going to want to find ways to fade Washington the rest of the way out and look for opportunities like this one to back Philly when the price is reasonable. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the Bronx, where the New York Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay Rays (25-12) at New York Yankees (20-14)
After a heated game last night in game two of this three-game series, the New York Yankees will host the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in the series finale, with the series all tied up at one game apiece. The Yankees have been forced to play without many of their best players as the team is once again decimated by injuries, and after looking like they might run away with the AL East Division title, they now trail the Rays by three and a half games for first place. New York had lost eight of their previous eleven games before picking up the win last night in game two.
For Tampa Bay, the Rays have the best record in the American League, and their three and a half-game lead over New York is the largest division lead in the AL. The Rays were steaming hot in August as they finished out the month by winning nineteen of their last twenty-two games. Tampa Bay was 7-1 against New York this year before dropping game two yesterday.
Starting tonight for the Rays is Charlie Morton (1-1 5.40 ERA), and for the Yankees, it is Jordan Montgomery (2-1 4.44 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Yankees are -130 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in New York City.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays have always been able to pitch. For the last several seasons, Tampa Bay has had one of the best pitching staffs in the Major Leagues, and the production on the mound has been enough to keep the Rays in contention. But without having a reliable lineup to score runs, the Rays have never been able to fully breakthrough with a World Series title. We have always wondered what this team would look like if they could actually hit the ball?
Well, we don’t have to wonder anymore, because this year, the Rays are fourth in the majors in runs scored, and not shockingly, that has led them to the best record in the American League. Tampa Bay has eight players that have double-digit RBI on the seasons, but the leader at the plate has been Brandon Lowe.
Lowe is currently one of the favorites to win the AL MVP Award as he is pounding the baseball to the tune of a .264 batting average, .361 on-base percentage, 26 runs scored, 27 RBI, and 10 home runs. It has been a breakout campaign for Lowe, and he is quickly turning into the face of this Tampa Bay franchise that has desperately needed a marquee hitter, as they haven’t had one since Evan Longoria’s heyday.
Charlie Morton (1-1 5.40 ERA)
Charlie Morton has been one of the best pitchers in the American League over the course of the last several years. Last year he nearly took home the AL Cy Young Award in his debut season with Tampa Bay, when he won sixteen games with a 3.05 ERA and a career-high 240 Ks.
This season, Morton has made just four starts and will pitch tonight for the first time in three weeks, as he was nursing a sore shoulder. Getting Morton back to his old self will be a major key for Tampa Bay as they look to take home a World Series title this year.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees just can’t stay healthy. When New York has had their best players on the field in the last couple of years, they are basically unbeatable. The problem is, they almost never have their best lineup on the field. They have been forced to again play without Giancarlo Stanton, as he is out at least another couple of days. The same is true for other superstars like Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and James Paxton.
The Yankees managed to still win over a hundred games and make the ALCS last year without many of their studs. But since seeing all of these guys all go down at once, again this year, New York has really struggled, and shockingly, they aren’t even comfortably in the playoffs at this point, as the Toronto Blue Jays are hot on their heels for second place in the division.
Jordan Montgomery (2-1 4.44 ERA)
Jordan Montgomery is a guy that the Yankees were hoping could help pick up the slack with Paxton and Severino missing, but for the most part, he hasn’t been able to stay consistent enough to have a major impact.
In four August starts, Montgomery was an underwhelming 1-1 with a 5.30 ERA, and New York went 2-2 in his four outings. The Yankees have used him sparingly as he has pitched six innings just one time this season, and he is averaging only 74 pitches per start. New York knows they have a strong bullpen, so they pull Montgomery at the first sign of trouble.
Who Do I Like?
The Tampa Bay Rays have dominated the Yankees this season. Tampa holds a 7-2 record over New York in 2020, with five of those seven wins coming by double-digits. In their previous four games against New York before last night’s loss, with all games coming at Yankee Stadium, the Rays were 4-0 with a combined score of 25-13.
While Charlie Morton is a bit of a wild card as he has missed the last three weeks, the Rays are in a great spot in the standings, and they wouldn’t have brought Morton back if he wasn’t fully ready to go. Morton was a Yankee killer late in the season last year, as the last time he pitched against the Bronx Bombers, he pitched six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit.
I like Tampa Bay in this game. Assuming Charlie Morton is at 100%, he is the far superior starter in this matchup, and I hate to say it, Yankee fans, but with a Yankee lineup playing without Torres, Stanton, and Judge, the Rays have the much better hitting lineup on paper right now, too. There was a lot of controversy last night after Aroldis Chapman threw a 100-MPH heater at a guy’s head, and I expect the Rays to be fired up and punish New York tonight.
I see the Rays getting to Montgomery early and often, and doubt he sees the fifth inning. Morton might be a little rusty, but I think he will get them five or six quality innings of work and leave the game with the lead. We knew coming into this series that it was going to be a lot of fun, and so far, that has been the case. Expect an exciting finish to this series tonight, with the Tampa Bay Rays coming away with the win! Give me the Tampa Bay Rays as road underdogs tonight in game three from the Bronx!