Another day, another chance to fade the Los Angles Angels as big favorites. Despite being the worst team in the American League, the Los Angeles Angels are still consistently favored in many of their games. The Angels have the worst record in the league, yet they have been favored in 19 of their 36 games this season.
No team has more losses as a favorite than the Halos do this year, so when I saw them laying a bunch of wood yesterday against a plucky Seattle Mariners team that has been playing good baseball in the last two weeks and had their ace starting pitcher on the mound in Marco Gonzalez, I happily backed the M’s and expected to pick up another outright money line underdog winner.
And that is exactly what happened. Marco Gonzalez had one of the best outings of his career as he pitched a complete game, allowing just one run on only four hits and a walk. Jose Marmolejos came through with the big hit for Seattle, a solo shot homer in the sixth inning, to give the Mariners the lead, and they never looked back, eventually taking the game 2-1.
That game felt… complete.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 31, 2020
It was the Mariner’s eighth win in their last twelve games, and despite seeing several of their veteran players traded away this week at the trade deadline, the Mariner’s young guns are playing well right now, and they are starting to play themselves into the American League wild-card conversation.
For LA, the Angels again lose as favorites, and anytime that you see the Halos laying wood, you want to find a way to get on the other side. Don’t let the big names like Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon distract you from the fact that this team just doesn’t win baseball games. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will take a look at another team that is trading on their name, not their results, as the Washington Nationals play the Philadelphia Phillies.
Washington Nationals (12-20) at Philadelphia Phillies (15-15)
The Philadelphia Phillies host the Washington Nationals tonight in game two of a four-game series. The Phillies are finally starting to come alive here at the halfway mark of the season and managed to get back to .500 on the year with the win last night, in game one of this series. The Phillies finished out August by winning six out of their last seven games and are now tied with the Miami Marlins for second place in the NL East standings.
For Washington, the Nationals are struggling badly as of late, as they have now lost six out of their last seven games, and shockingly, the defending World Series champs are stuck in dead last place in their division and have the second-worst record in the Major Leagues. The Nats have just one series win this season and are hoping that they can tie this series up tonight in game two.
Starting for the Nationals tonight is Patrick Corbin (2-2 3.82 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is Aaron Nola (3-2 3.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Phillies are -150 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.
When the Washington Nationals shut down starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg on August 22nd, I announced my intentions to fade them a lot in the second half. I felt that the Nats were going to give up on the year after seeing Strasburg join the long list of their injured Washington players, and the fact that they won a world title last season, and this year is such a mess anyway, gave them an easy out to pack it in for the year.
Since then, the Nats have lost six out of their seven games, losing by multiple runs in all but one of those six losses. Washington has started the shutdown process in the last week as Seth Romero, Carter Kieboom, and Starlin Castro all saw their seasons come to a premature end in the last several days.
I mentioned in an article last week that the rumors of the Nats buying at the trade deadline had to be false, and as I expected, Washington didn’t make any meaningful moves this week. Instead, they stood pat and hope to press the reset button next year, when things get back to normal.
Patrick Corbin (2-2 3.82 ERA)
You have to wonder how many more starts we are going to see out of Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer this year. There are no fans to appease and no tickets to sell, and in a season that is over for Washington, you would think that these two guys are going to, at the absolute minimum, get their workload reduced, and possibly even get shut down.
Corbin has been solid this year for Washington, but he has seen his strikeout numbers decline significantly over his results from the previous two years, and the Nationals just aren’t winning when he pitches. Despite some respectable pitching from Corbin, the Nationals have lost his last three starts and four out of six on the year. The only team that Washington has beaten with Corbin on the mound are the New York Mets, who are tied for the third-most losses in the National League right now.
I have been waiting for the Philadelphia Phillies to heat up all season long, and it looks like they finally are, as they played well to finish out the month. Philly has been able to hit the ball hard all year, and the majority of their struggles have been on the mound, particularly the bullpen. The Phillies addressed their biggest need this weekend, as they made the move to acquire reliever David Phelps from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Phelps was having a strong year pitching out of the Brewers bullpen, and he will be a major addition to this Philly pitching staff. He has been one of the most reliable relievers in the game since transitioning to the bullpen full time after having mediocre results as a starter early in his career. Phillies manager Joe Girardi has a history with Phelps from their time together in New York, and I would expect a lot of success for Phelps with his new team.
Aaron Nola (3-2 3.00 ERA)
Aaron Nola is a stud. In August, he had one fluky bad start against the Atlanta Braves, but in his other four August starts, he was basically unhittable. In those four outings, Nola pitched a combined 28 innings and allowed just four earned runs while striking out 38 batters.
In his last start, against these Nationals, Nola was stellar, as he pitched seven strong innings, allowing just two earned runs, striking out eight, and picking up the win for his efforts. The Phillies have won three out of his last four starts, and if Nola can continue dominating, he can carry the Phillies to the postseason.
Who Do I Like?
Last week, we saw this exact same matchup. It was a tightly contested game, but the Phillies came away with the victory. Since that game, the Phillies have stayed hot, winning three out of their last four games, and the Nationals are the exact opposite, as they have lost three out of their last four. I expect Philly to take care of business tonight in this one.
While I am never a huge fan of laying a lot of wood in a game, I see the Phillies as a very safe play tonight. The Nats have given up, the Phillies are fighting hard to make the playoffs, and I think this game will look a lot like the game did a week ago when we had this same starting pitching matchup. Nola and Corbin should both be good to very good, but with the depleted Washington lineup and the awful Nats bullpen, the Phillies are the clear side to be on.
I am going to back the Phillies tonight in game two. I can’t imagine that Washington is going to work Patrick Corbin overly deep into this game, as they should be limiting his pitch count, making sure that he doesn’t get hurt while playing out the stick of a disappointing season. Corbin has thrown fewer than 90 pitches in four of his starts this year, anyway, and I would expect a similar pitch count for him tonight.
That means we are going to get a heavy dose of this bad Washington bullpen, and that is a great thing for our bet. Nola gets me seven innings of quality work, Corbin is decent in five or six innings, and the Washington bullpen gets beaten up late, to give us the win. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as home favorites tonight in game two!