Buyer beware on rookie pitcher's dazzling debut

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

Fountain of Inspiration! Rookie Daniel Poncedeleon throws seven no-hit innings in his Major League debut. Should bettors explore investing in his future starts? Plus, litmus tests all over MLB on a busy Monday. Numbers and notes right now in VsiN City.

MLB Monday: Now THAT’S a debut

Just over a year ago, Daniel Poncedeleon underwent emergency brain surgery after being struck in the head by a line drive during a minor league game. Monday night, in his Major League debut for the St. Louis Cardinals…

7 innings

0 hits allowed

0 runs allowed

116 pitches

That’s against the Cincinnati Reds, who possessed one of the most productive offenses in baseball the past several weeks. 

As impressive as that is, there are reasons bettors should use caution moving forward.

*Poncedeleon only managed three strikeouts

*Throwing 116 pitches in seven innings is inefficient

*That’s way too many pitches with only three strikeouts!

*On the night…13 swinging strikes and 31 foul balls

Sharps respect velocity and strikeouts. Poncedeleon wasn’t missing a lot of bats in his debut. Keep that in mind the next time out. St. Louis HAS to give him a sequel after this prominent premier. That sequel will be featuring a tired arm that may not miss many bats.

You probably know by now that the St. Louis bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. A quick peek at the box…

Cincinnati (-115) 2, St. Louis 1 

Total Bases Plus Walks: St. Louis 8, Cincinnati 12

Starting Pitchers: Poncedeleon 7 IP, 0 ER, Castillo 5.1 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: St. Louis 1.2 IP, 2 ER, Cincinnati 3.2 IP, 0 ER

Of course, the offense deserves even more blame than the bullpen, getting so little on the board against Castillo and company. Not an electric start to the second stage of the season for the Cardinals, who fired their manager just before the All-Star break. St. Louis falls back to .500 at 50-50. Cincinnati is 44-56, but does end a recent losing streak. 

NL Monday: Dodgers win see-saw game in Philly, D-backs drub the Cubs, Nats fading

Three games on the card matching teams with winning records. Let’s take them in rotation order. 

LA Dodgers (-165) 7, Philadelphia 6 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Los Angeles 31, Philadelphia 21

Starting Pitchers: Stripling 4.2 IP, 5 ER, Elfin 2.2 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: Los Angeles 4.1 IP, 1 ER, Philadelphia 6.1 IP, 4 ER

Must have been great hitting conditions because BOTH teams hit FOUR home runs…and a pair of respected pitchers had uncharacteristically bad outings. Total Bases plus Walks suggests that LAD was more dominant than the final score suggested. Should have been more like an 8-5 win. 

Kenley Jansen picked up save #29 despite allowing a solo home run in the ninth. New Phillie reliever Brad Hand didn’t get a chance to “close” because the Phils entered the ninth tied 5-all. 

Dodgers move to 56-44 at the 100-game mark, but are a much more impressive 40-18 their last 58. Phillies fall to 55-44, but are still on a 14-8 run. Who would have guessed back in March that these teams would be within a half-game of each other on July 24? 

Arizona (pick-em) 7, Chicago Cubs 1 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Arizona 17, Chicago 8

Starting Pitchers: Corbin 7 IP, 1 ER, Farrell 3.1 IP, 6 ER

Bullpen: Arizona 2 IP, 0 ER, Chicago 5.1 IP, 0 ER

Arizona scored five runs in the top of the first inning. That was pretty much the ball game right there. Corbin’s a top-quality pitcher. Cubs were in a letdown spot off a five-game series with hated St. Louis. 

Arizona moves to 55-46 with the win, staying 1.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Chicago falls to 58-41, still clear of the pack in the NL Central. Cubs are 15-6 their last 21 even with this loss. 

Milwaukee (pick-em) 6, Washington 1 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Washington 10, Milwaukee 15

Starting Pitchers: Gonzalez 5.2 IP, 5 ER, Chacin 5.2 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Washington 2.1 IP, 1 ER, Milwaukee 3.1 IP, 0 ER

Getting harder and harder to see Washington as a serious playoff threat. This is 1-2 out of the gate, when a sense of urgency should have grabbled the team by its Nats. Washington falls back below .500 at 49-50, and is a sorry 16-28 its last 44 games. Milwaukee snaps out of a recent funk to move to 57-46, but is still 2-8 its last 10. 

Also Monday in the National League…

*Atlanta (-115) won at Miami 12-1. Braves (54-43) now tied with Philadelphia in the race for first place in the NL East. 

*The New York Mets (-165) lost another home game, falling to San Diego 3-2. Mets are now 7-21 their last 28 at Citi Field. Also, another home Under. Mets games are 20-32 to the Under this season. San Diego is 17-32-2 to the Under on the road. 

AL and IL Monday: Yankees suffer a rare loss in a Severino start, Bucs beat Indians in six innings

We can still wonder if Luis Severino has broken baseball betting. Even with Monday night’s surprisingly high scoring 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay, the Yankees are 18-3 in games started by Severino this season. That works out to exactly -600 as a money line price. 

In a New York Post article last week, we talked about the trouble NYY was having keeping focus when facing non-contenders. Another example in this most recent loss to the Rays…

Tampa Bay (plus 250) 7, NY Yankees 6 

Total Bases Plus Walks: New York 16, Tampa Bay 21

Starting Pitchers: Severino 5 IP, 6 ER, Wood 2 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: New York 3 IP, 0 ER, Tampa Bay 7 IP, 3 ER

Offensive bases suggested more of a 5-4 type game. As we’ve discussed before, bettors also have to think about whether or not Tampa Bay has broken betting! This newfangled pitching strategy of letting relievers start many games may have led to an inflated price here. Bettors must break the habit of thinking it’s “Severino vs. Wood,” or “Whoever vs. Reliever.” It’s Whoever vs. a staff that’s thrived so far with this approach. 

Tampa Bay is now 48-37 since a 3-12 start, and 17-9 its last 26 games. Certainly playoff caliber since that pitching experiment started. The Yankees fall to 63-35, but are just 13-13 their last 26 games. That counts as a BIG slump compared to prior standards, and compared to what Boston continues to do. Red Sox beat Baltimore 5-2 to build a six-game divisional lead. 

Pittsburgh (plus 260) 7, Cleveland 0 (in six innings)

Total Bases Plus Walks: Pittsburgh 17, Cleveland 6

Starting Pitchers: Williams 6 IP, 0 ER, Kluber 4 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: Pittsburgh 0 IP, 0 ER, Cleveland 2 IP, 0 ER

A few things to talk about here. If you’re new to baseball betting, weather-shortened games have quirky rules all their own. 

*Pittsburgh (plus) to win on the money line is a victory, while Cleveland (-) is a loss. That’s normal.

*However, on the run line, this is a refund because games must go at least 8.5 winnings to count on those props. So, if you took Cleveland -1.5 runs to make the high price seem cheaper, the weather gods smiled on you. You get your money back rather than suffering an almost certain loss.

*Over/Under bets are also a refund for the same reason. And, that would have been true if the score had been 14-0 and had already gone Over the posted total. Games must go at least 8.5 innings on Over/Unders for bets to count. 

That awesome 30-8-2 trend toward the Over at this ballpark holds steady because the game was shortened. Call it 30-8-3. Obviously, it was on an Over “pace” through six innings. Sports books don’t pay on pace! 

Pittsburgh wins its TENTH straight game to move to 52-49. Cleveland falls to 54-45. 

Might as well check on Interleague, with the NL scoring a big money line upset over the AL. The National League has surged to 107-88 dominance thus far in 2018, making it a virtual cinch to score its first full-season win since 2003. The AL Central is so bad that any sort of rally seems unlikely. 

CFL: Westgate updates odds to win the Grey Cup

Jeff Sherman of the Westgate tweeted updated odds to win the Grey Cup Monday. We haven’t had a chance to run CFL futures in awhile. Let’s take a look. Percentage win equivalents are in parenthesis. 

Calgary 5/4 (44%)

Edmonton 6/1 (14%)

Hamilton 6/1 (14%)

Winnipeg 7/1 (13%)

Saskatchewan 7/1 (13%)

Ottawa 7/1 (13%)

Toronto 12/1 (8%)

British Columbia 15/1 (6%)

Montreal 100/1 (1%)

Those add up to 126% (thanks partly to some fractional rounding). Sports books create a universe larger than 100% to represent the house edge. 

You can see that Calgary is a large favorite over any individual team, but is still an underdog to the field. And, with that nudge up to 126%...Calgary is a larger underdog to the field than it seems. 

Will be quite a battle to see who’s second best!

We’ll talk more CFL at the end of the week. No word yet on whether or not Johnny Manziel will see action Thursday night for the Montreal Alouettes. Head coach Mike Sherman told media members Monday “We didn’t bring him here to sit on the bench.” Manziel will be in uniform. Montreal hosts Edmonton in this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football. 

VSiN News: Brent Musburger not currently involved in Fox sports betting show

News broke last week that Fox was “developing” a sports betting show that would include our own Brent Musburger as a featured component. That was news to Brent. The story got picked up all over the internet, with reporters parroting the initial story. 

Brent explained what happened on “Follow the Money” with Mitch and Pauly (welcome back from vacation…Mitch, Pauly, and Gill Alexander on “A Numbers Game!”) You can see the clip by clicking here

As Brent explains to Mitch and Pauly, he still will be hosting “My Guys in the Desert” on weekdays and he'll be the radio voice of the Raiders on weekends.

Your handicapping challenge…figure out who leaked a story that wasn’t true? 

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See you Wednesday. 

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