With just six games, two heavy favorites, and a day game, it’s going to be a very short edition of today’s picks and analysis article. Fortunately, BangTheBook readers and fans looking for MLB insight and analysis can tune in to The Bettor’s Box to get their fill. It’s definitely a day focused on football with the start of the college football season, but we still love baseball and we’re not going to leave you hanging. With a small card of games, let’s see if it’s possible to find some value.
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This would have been an exciting game to talk about. With the lead time before this 1:10 p.m. ET start, there’s no reason to go too in depth about it. But, for those that do see this before the game, here are some thoughts:
Jeff Samzardija has exactly two quality starts since the All-Star Break. All of the sudden, he’s walking people and given up a ton of hits. He wasn’t great before the break anyway, but this is severely impacting his ability to get paid over the winter. Samardzija has allowed 37 runs over his last seven starts. He’s given up eight home runs in that span and his command is completely gone. There may be some sort of underlying injury here. He actually had his best start from a velocity standpoint two outings ago, but one of his lowest last time out. He seems like a guy trying to tinker and those are often guys throwing through pain.
Kyle Gibson hasn’t been very good, but the White Sox on a short turnaround with their season basically over would not be a smart play. It’s basically the Twins or nothing in this game. If you want to lay -135 with Kyle Gibson, be my guest. I wouldn’t do it, but it is a standalone day game and I know how enticing those are.
I’m not about to back the Braves, but the Nationals at -250 given how they’ve been playing? That’s definitely hard to do. The under might be a decent look, especially if Bryce Harper is out of the lineup.
The Pirates are having a pretty tough series against Milwaukee. The Brewers, who entered Wednesday’s game as one of the worst offenses in baseball against lefties, knocked Jeff Locke around. Locke and the Pirates were in the -150 range against Zach Davies, making his MLB debut. Now, the Pirates are in the same -150 range with one of their most consistent pitchers against Taylor Jungmann? Something doesn’t sit right about this line. Jungmann was supposed to start two days ago, but the Brewers pushed him back, presumably in the interest of watching his innings. He’s been extremely good over 15 starts, but that 3.83 xFIP is staring at me. Will a couple days off throw off his rhythm? It could.
The Pirates on the run line might be a good look. Some may see look-ahead spot with the Cardinals on deck. I see a team that wants to get the deficit to 5.5 before the series starts.
Matt Boyd vs. Edinson Volquez. No. Just, no. You don’t mess with the Royals’ devil magic spearheaded by Edinson Volquez.
Today’s podcast pick was on this game, almost by default. I’m normally not one for pitcher ballpark stats, but Vogelsong has a 6.63 ERA with a .292/362/.597 slash against at Coors Field over 36.2 innings. I honestly expected it to be higher. He’s a guy with huge home/road splits in a regular season anyway.
I’m not a Chris Rusin fan, but he’s been effective enough to basically be the ace of the Colorado staff. The concern for me lies in the fact that the Giants haven’t hit much since Hunter Pence went down, and that’s exactly what happened in April as well. The Giants are having a hard time getting up off the mat right now. Vogelsong or not, the Giants have something to play for and should be a bigger favorite than this. They’re not. That’s worrisome.
The market hasn’t been on board with Mat Latos since the Dodgers traded for him. The overnight line saw a 25-cent line move at some shops on the Dodgers. That’s not really surprising because it’s worth fading the Padres and it’s worth backing the Dodgers against a right-handed pitcher. The market has done that with regularity this season.
Poor Colin Rea has found out firsthand just how horrible the Padres are defensively. Rea has a 5.95 ERA despite pretty average K/BB rates because he has a .339 BABIP against and a 58.8 percent strand rate. His 3.90 FIP and 3.68 xFIP suggest that he can be pretty decent. It’s hard to gather a lot from sample sizes this small, but I’d be really surprised if Rea can hold the Dodgers down. On the other hand, the Dodgers have been no-hit twice this season and aren’t as good offensively as the numbers or perception seem to suggest.
This is Latos’s return to the rotation after a brief DL stint. He’s pitched better than his traditional numbers suggest and perhaps the DL stint was enough to get him back on the right track. (When I hear or say ‘back on the right track’, I always think of Chris Farley as Matt Foley on SNL. Is that just me?) The sharpness of this move on the overnight lines while public bettors are trying to figure out what college and NFL games to bet leads me to take it seriously. I’d definitely look Dodgers or nobody in this one.