The second half began for eight teams yesterday, but 28 teams take the field tonight with a nearly full dance card across Major League Baseball. The Trade Deadline is under two weeks away, so front offices are hard at work figuring out their plans and there will be some teams trying to make a push that proves that they are worthy of some help. Other teams are back together on pins and needles wondering who will go and who will stay.
This can be a tricky time for betting baseball with so much going on off the field, along with long gaps between starts for pitchers. I’d make sure you have stronger convictions than usual about every bet you make right now.
Giants/Dodgers: It looked like the Dodgers were going to cruise with a 5-0 lead through six, but then a five-run explosion from the Giants turned the game on its head. Trailing 6-5 in the eighth, the Dodgers scored four, as Mookie Betts hit a huge three-run homer and the dejected Giants couldn’t muster anything in the ninth.
The big story here is how shaky Carlos Rodon was with five runs allowed on six hits. He struck out seven and had 17 swings and misses, but didn’t locate well. This was his worst start by Game Score since June 7 and just the third time this season he’s allowed more than three runs in a start. Tough assignment with the Dodgers on six days rest. No need to panic, but let’s see what he does next start.
Yankees/Astros: The Astros swept a double dip from the Yankees by scores of 3-2 and 7-5. The silver lining for the Bronx Bombers was that Jordan Montgomery was really good in Game 1 with eight punchies over six and 18 whiffs on 49 swings. The offense just couldn’t solve Cristian Javier and the pen.
In Game 2, Domingo German was not up to snuff with five runs allowed on six hits. Brandon Bielak let the Yankees back in the game with three runs allowed over 3.1 relief innings, but the damage had already been done.
Keep a close eye on relievers over the next week or so. Those guys are used to pitching every couple days and you’ll have guys on five or six days rest, if not more. Bullpen arms may not be as sharp.
Tigers/Athletics: These two split their doubleheader, with the Tigers by a 7-2 count in Game 1 and the A’s by a 5-0 score in Game 2. It was Oakland, but this was a huge start for Tarik Skubal. He gave up an unearned run over six innings with nine strikeouts and had 17 whiffs in 48 swings. His velo ticked back up as well, so it seems like the extra rest was good for him. From June 7 to July 13, Skubal had a 6.86 ERA and allowed seven homers in 42 innings.
Montas threw three innings in his return with five strikeouts and a walk. I’m sure it was good enough to keep David Forst’s phone ringing off the hook with trade calls. Oakland needed 158 pitches worth of relief work yesterday, which is something to follow as the week goes along since none of their starters work deep besides Montas.
Rangers/Marlins: Don Mattingly was poignant and direct after his team was shut out again yesterday. Miami hasn’t scored in 34 innings and Mattingly called out his offense.
This isn’t a very good offense all the way around, but the recent stretch has been brutal. Overshadowed by the Mattingly comments and the offense is that Pablo Lopez allowed five runs on five hits in five innings again. He only allowed one hard-hit ball and had 16 whiffs, but he walked three again. Since he struck out 11 Brewers on May 13, Lopez has a 4.50 ERA with a 4.78 FIP with a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 66 innings and he’s allowed 10 home runs. He hasn’t been sharp for a while now.