Sometimes less is more. In the draft for yesterday’s article, I had written up the Cubs/Brewers over as one of the picks. Like I mentioned in the write-up, both teams had pitch-to-contact starters on the mound and the Brewers bullpen was noticeably shorthanded and fatigued. Rather than stick with my initial thought, however, I backed off the total and went with the Cubs at an underdog price. They never had a prayer in the 11-1 loss.
I got greedy. I looked at the -115 on over 7.5 in a season chock full of unders and got selfish. It cost me a winning bet. You’ll meet these forks in the road many times over the course of any season and picking the correct choice between the two could be the difference between a winning and losing season. Sometimes your gut instinct and intuition are simply on point and you have to roll with them.
After more than a decade in this business, those lessons still need to be reinforced and new ones need to be learned. Never stop striving to be better, smarter and more confident.
Padres/Pirates: How many starts does it take to reevaluate your position on a pitcher that you like? I’ve reached that point with Zach Thompson. The baseball is carrying with the effectiveness of a wiffle ball bat against a brick, yet Thompson has allowed four homers in 14.1 innings. He has a 10.05 ERA and five of his 21 runs allowed are unearned. The 28-year-old came into the season with a career 3.24 ERA and a 3.69 FIP after 75 innings with the Marlins. He now has a 4.33 and a 4.21 after just four starts with Pittsburgh. Woof.
Phillies/Mets: Okay, I’ll be “get off my lawn” guy. I’ll pass on combined no-hitters. It’s an interesting footnote to some degree, but nothing like a complete game no-hitter from a starter. There were only eight total hard-hit balls in this game, four for each team. The Mets were 4-for-4 on theirs with three singles and a Pete Alonso homer. The Phillies were obviously 0-for-4. Baseball is quite a sport.
Also, after a 15-cent line move on Tylor Megill, I’m convinced that we’ll be paying a premium on him moving forward.
Cubs/Brewers: Milwaukee hit six home runs yesterday after hitting 15 in the previous 20 games. There were 44 home runs hit across the 15 games after we had just 11 homers in 13 games on Thursday and 26 homers on Wednesday in 15 games. I don’t know if I’m trying to make a point here or not, but it’s interesting with all the buzz about the baseball. Anyway, the Cubs are a regression candidate, as I’ll talk about Sunday night on The Run Line in my new segment called The Regression Report. I’ll also be writing about teams and players to watch for regression in Point Spread Weekly moving forward as well.
Diamondbacks/Cardinals: In a case study of how much pitching matters, the Diamondbacks have scored 3.1 runs per game this season. The Reds have scored 3.2. Arizona is 9-12 after a rather shocking upset win over the Cardinals with lefty Madison Bumgarner on the hill. The Reds are 3-17. Arizona has allowed 4.0 runs per game, while the Reds have allowed 5.9. If you can hang in there, you can give yourself a chance and Arizona has done that pretty impressively of late. I give them a ton of credit for not having one of the league’s worst records to this point.
Reds/Rockies: Speaking of the Reds, another run line fade led to yet another winner for anybody that laid the -1.5 with the Rockies. Cincinnati wasn’t a big underdog, but played like one in the 10-4 loss. Since averaging 99.7 and 100.2 mph in his first two starts, Greene is down to 95.8 and 96.7 in his last two outings. I’m assuming he was told to scale it back a little bit, but his spin rates are also down. I’ll keep a close eye on the prized 22-year-old and hope for the best.
Nationals/Giants: The Giants only scored four runs in 14-4 loss at the hands of the Nationals, but 18 of 27 balls in play from San Francisco were hit 95 + mph, including 13 against starter Aaron Sanchez over five innings. The Nationals were 11-for-23 with RISP, while the Giants were just 1-for-6. San Francisco is missing Brandon Belt and Mike Yastrzemski on the COVID list, along with two relievers. This lineup will look different for a few days.
Red Sox/Orioles: The Red Sox only managed three runs on six hits, but it was good enough for a win over the Orioles. I’m still amazed at how poorly this offense is performing, but this is another instance where pitching has saved the day. The Red Sox have only scored 3.6 runs per game, but have also only allowed 3.8 runs per game. I would think this offense has to get going sooner rather than later with all that talent. I guess we’ll see.
Astros/Blue Jays: League-wide trends are important to keep in mind, like how unders were cashing at a 60% clip for a long time before falling down to around 57% now. Each game needs to be handicapped in a vacuum as well. I got scared off by the 8.5 on the total for this game and 18 runs were scored. It was over the total by the fourth inning with two pitchers likely to allow a lot of hard contact. In fact, of the 57 balls in play, 32 of them were hit at least 95 mph. Jose Urquidy allowed 11 of them himself over five innings of work. Every Astros hitter had at least one high-velocity batted ball. Another lost opportunity with this game that stings the morning after.
Guardians/Athletics: Today in “Baseball makes no sense”, the Guardians and A’s had a total of 6.5 yesterday and 17 runs were scored. Both Aaron Civale and Frankie Montas struggled, as Montas allowed a third-inning grand slam to Andres Gimenez, who is a bright spot for this Cleveland bunch thus far. Cleveland’s offensive eruption was a surprise, but so was another awful start for Civale against a bad offense. The markets were heavily against him here and that probably continues.
Mariners/Marlins: Remember when Matt Brash was the next big thing just a few weeks ago. I, too, got caught up in some of the hype. After a strong first start against the White Sox, Brash has now allowed 11 runs in 11.2 innings of work with 12 walks against just 10 strikeouts over his last three starts.
By the way, how about the Marlins off to a strong 11-8 start? The offense is a bit better than I expected and the pitching was always going to be the team’s best attribute. They’re a fun ballclub and we did see some love for Elieser Hernandez at home here. Keep in mind, they’re going to take money more often than not in home games.
Braves/Rangers: Ian Anderson navigated around hard contact to allow two runs on three hits in six innings. He allowed 10 hard-hit balls, but the Rangers weren’t able to make much out of it. The top of this order really continues to struggle and the guys that are supposed to set the table have not. If you see Marcus Semien and Corey Seager really start to get going, that will be the time to start investing more in the Rangers.
Weather: Rain threatens a few games today, as the Diamondbacks and Cardinals may have a lengthy delay at the start. Weather is also a factor in Chicago, where it is up into the 60s. Maybe we’re putting the cold weather in the rearview as the calendar flips to May tomorrow.
Winds will be blowing in at a very stiff clip if the Angels and White Sox get the game in. Notable winds will be blowing out for Yankees/Royals and especially Nationals/Giants.
Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. Also, my friend @MLBDream on Twitter put together a great MLB beat writer list to follow.
The poor White Sox may have another injury, as Andrew Vaughn was hit on the hand by a pitch in the ninth inning yesterday. Their run of bad luck this season is beyond belief.