Our red-hot week continued last night as we picked up another win, our seventh win in nine plays this week. Last night’s winner came on the under nine and a half runs in the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins game. The Marlins have had the worst hitting lineup in baseball pretty much all season long, and in August, they are dead last in runs scored and batting average.
And they were facing a guy in Mike Soroka, who had completely shut them down three times already this season. So, I felt strongly that the Marlins weren’t going to be doing much scoring. And when you looked at Miami starter Sandy Alcantara, I felt that his ability was far outpacing his results and figured that he would be at least decent, and this game would come in well under the total.
And for the most part, that is exactly what happened. These teams combined for just one run through six innings a of play, and the under was never in doubt. Soroka had a shutout going until the seventh inning, where he got tagged for two earned runs. On the day he pitched seven innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits.
And Alcantara was even better as he put in seven innings of work and gave up just one unearned run on three hits. This game was tied at two runs apiece heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, where superstar in the making Ronald Acuna Jr singled in the game-winning run with two outs to give the Braves their fifth consecutive win.
It was a big win for the Braves as the Washington Nationals are playing good baseball and are determined to track them down for the NL East Division title. While Washington remains six games back of the Braves, they have won nine out of their last eleven, and are all-in on a playoff push. For today’s pick, we will head to Seattle, where the Mariners host the Blue Jays.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in Seattle Friday night for game one of a three-game set against the Mariners. The Jays find themselves losers of five straight games, the last two of which came in devastating walk-off fashion at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Toronto has really struggled this season as they are twenty-six games under .500 entering play tonight. That being said, they have some fun young pieces as they build towards the future.
For the Mariners, they have surprisingly won three straight series, including taking two out of three from these very same Blue Jays in Toronto last week. The Mariners are also well out of contention but have played good baseball recently, and some of their young guys are starting to look like big-league ballplayers.
Starting tonight for the Blue Jays is Trent Thornton (4-8 5.30 ERA), and for the Mariners it is Justus Sheffield (0-0 6.00 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Blue Jays are slight -107 favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Seattle fans have waited a long time for Justus Sheffield to make his first-ever major league start. Sheffield was the centerpiece of the Mariners trade when they traded James Paxton to the New York Yankees and was one of the top-rated prospects in the game. Instead of letting Sheffield figure things out in the majors, they had him pitch most of his season in the minors. Sheffield bounced back and forth between double-A and triple-A with middling success.
But that doesn’t mean that the Mariners aren’t excited to finally see him on the starting mound tonight. While it seems like forever ago that he was drafted in the first round, Sheffield is still just twenty-three year’s old. And he absolutely has major league ready stuff. And it should be a fairly soft landing spot tonight for Sheffield at home as he is facing a Blue Jays team that is twenty-ninth in the game in batting average and twenty-eighth in on-base percentage.
Trent Thornton is another young guy that is struggling through his first season as a major leaguer. Thornton hasn’t had much success in this, his rookie season. His ERA in June was over eleven, and here in August, it hasn’t gotten much better as he has allowed ten runs in his last three starts. His last start came against these Mariners where he tossed six innings of work, giving up three earned runs, and the Blue Jays lost.
One big issue for Thornton has been his command. In his last start against Seattle, he walked four batters in just six innings. On the year, he has fifty-one walks in only one hundred and twenty innings pitched. His WHIP is nearly 1.50. When you are constantly putting that many guys on base, you are going to find it hard to produce consistent results.
The Blue Jays haven’t won very many games this year. And when Thornton pitches, they barely ever win. On the year, Toronto is 9-16, in games where Thornton was on the mound, that includes losing his last three starts. While the Mariners offense has been all over the place this season, they are still sixth in the majors in home runs, so they have plenty of pop in their lineup.
I normally won’t bet a game between two teams that are completely out of contention. There are just way too many variables that are hard to predict when winning isn’t a priority for either team. But this situation is a bit different. And that is because of Justus Sheffield. Sheffield is one of the only guys currently on this roster that seems to be a part of the Mariners long term plans.
And this Mariners team is going to play hard for him tonight. They have been playing well recently anyway, but with Sheffield on the mound in front of the home field fans, I expect a different atmosphere from the Mariners tonight. And it would seem that the sharps are in agreement as they have hammered the Mariners in the overnight betting.
This line opened up with Toronto -120, and that was clearly a bad number. To see one of the worst teams in the majors as road favorites against anybody just didn’t make a lot of sense. The line moved quite a bit, and to be honest, I expect it to keep moving towards Seattle. The Mariners aren’t a great team by any means, but they are better at home than on the road, and the Blue Jays have one of the worst road records in the game.
So, if you like the Mariners as home dogs, and you should, jump on it now before the line moves too far and they are favored. As it stands now, I will back Seattle as home dogs at -102, and feel like I should be the favorite. Give me the Seattle Mariners tonight in game one at -102!