This weekend is a tough one for MLB handicapping. The All-Star Break begins after Sunday’s games and that means that we have a lot of players that are looking ahead to a little R&R. Not everybody will be motivated over the next few days. You probably want to try and rely more on teams that are on prolonged hot streaks or teams full of veterans. You probably want to shy away from teams that have had a rough patch that will be happy to be away from the field for a few days.
I’ll try to isolate some of those as I go along. My pentathlon entry did not do well, but after losing the total on the first day, I went for high-risk, high-reward plus-money prices aside from the heavy favorite on the White Sox on Wednesday. My three bets were + 181, + 205 and + 700. It’s different with the 7/1 HR prop I had on Nathaniel Lowe, but + 181 and + 205 equate to implied probabilities of 35.59% and 32.79%, so those weren’t really expected to win.
If I had known that $226 would be the winning amount (with five $100 bets), I’d have really altered my strategy in a big way, but I anticipated more positive variance from the field with the nature of the contest. A lot can happen in a five-pick sample size, especially with the prop element. Hopefully we do it again (or maybe in another sport) and I can approach it differently.
Pirates/Marlins: Miami’s low offensive output in the four-game series against Pittsburgh was along the lines of what I expected, though the odds never really lined up to take advantage. The Marlins scored 11 runs over the four games, as their offense did regress against righties as expected. Ironically, the only play I had in the series was an over that got there due to extra innings. It’s better to be lucky than good.
The two teams were 4-for-30 with RISP yesterday in a 3-2 game that went 11 innings, so that one could have gone differently. Marlins starter Braxton Garrett had 23 whiffs on 49 swings with a very impressive start.
Padres/Rockies: Nobody is really talking about it, but the Padres are falling back to earth. San Diego has lost three in a row, five of six and 14 of 20. The lackluster offensive output has caught up with them, as they rank 18th in wOBA and 17th in wRC + for the season. Over the last 14 days, San Diego is 20th in wOBA at just .293. The pitching has also faltered. This is a team I’m going to study over the Break to see if I think their struggles will continue or if they can right the ship.
Dodgers/Cardinals: Tyler Anderson fired six shutout and only allowed three hard-hit balls in the 4-0 win over the Cardinals. I’ve been running under the assumption that the Cardinals have just continued to hit lefties, but their wOBA by month against southpaws has been .349, .346, .323, .283. Paul Goldschmidt’s homerless streak now dates back to June 28 and he’s only driven in two runs since then. Meanwhile, Nolan Arenado is slashing .404/.491/.745 in July. Per DraftKings, Arenado, who leads MLB in fWAR, is 35/1. Goldschmidt is -110. Hmmmmm.
Mets/Cubs: I didn’t really understand the move on the Cubs yesterday and wish I would have backed up my opinion with a wager. The Mets absolutely fit the bill of a veteran team charging forward, while the Cubs are a young team locked in an ugly season. I think winning that series against the Braves gave the Mets a little bit of extra life. Carlos Carrasco fired six solid innings and the Mets had 17 hard-hit balls, including 13 against Keegan Thompson, in the 8-0 win.
Today’s game has already been postponed with a ton of rain in Chicago.
Brewers/Giants: Corbin Burnes outpitched Carlos Rodon yesterday, as he went 7.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and just one earned run allowed. Rodon was yanked after five with seven strikeouts, but he danced around danger with eight hits and three walks. Milwaukee is set up to have 12 more home games than road games in the second half and also has two games in hand on the Cardinals. It’ll be tough for St. Louis to win this division.