Well, friends. I’m back. The MLB season resumes with six games on Thursday and two doubleheaders. It’s not very nice of the schedulers to give the Yankees, Astros, Tigers and Athletics a double dose of baseball on the first day back, including some early day games, but that’s what we’ve got as the second half gets underway.
I’ve written three articles regarding the second half, with some adjusted season win total bets, play on/against teams and the top run line teams to this point, so that will be some additional reading to supplement today’s daily article.
One overarching point to remember over the next several days is that a lot of guys will pitch on extreme rest after the All-Star Break and may be rusty. Take stock of how long it’s been between starts and decide if that should factor into your handicap.
Braves/Nationals: Spencer Strider had a rare misstep on Sunday, as he gave up five runs in just four innings of work to the Nationals. When you look a little deeper, though, he only gave up three hard-hit balls and nothing over 99.3 mph. Victor Robles homered on a batted ball with a xBA of .420 The Nationals only had four hits, three of them singles, and didn’t hit a single ball with a xBA of better than .420. It was just a bad luck day. I wouldn’t worry about it.
Phillies/Marlins: The Marlins went scoreless over their final 18 innings of the first half, losing 10-0 and 4-0 to the Phillies. Without Jon Berti and Jazz Chisholm Jr., this is arguably the worst offense in baseball. Aaron Nola struck out 10 over 8.1 innings on Sunday and Ranger Suarez had five shutout on Saturday. Between the two games, the Marlins only had 10 hard-hit balls. Their regression at home against RHP has been swift and may continue.
Mets/Cubs: New York swept Saturday’s doubleheader before dropping a 3-2 decision on Sunday. The three-game series only featured 15 combined runs. Max Scherzer looked good again in Saturday’s nightcap with 11 strikeouts over 6.1 innings and got pushed to 102 pitches. I didn’t mention them in the above article, but the Mets are likely a play-on team in the second half to start things off.
Pirates/Rockies: Six shutout innings from Jose Urena against the Pirates at Coors Field on Saturday makes me question everything I know about baseball. Mitch Keller also threw six scoreless, but the Rockies pen was better than the Pirates pen. Keller looks like a good play-on pitcher in the second half, as his ground ball stylings have really helped his overall profile.
Brewers/Giants: Milwaukee limped to the end of the first half with a couple of losses at the hands of the Giants. Aaron Ashby was used as an opener on three days rest on Sunday for Jason Alexander and it backfired, as he got hit hard and had spin rate decreases. He did get engaged over the All-Star Break, so maybe he’ll come back with a vengeance.
The Giants got good starts from Alex Cobb and Logan Webb in these two games and those are great signs moving forward for a team that has good pitching, but has been hurt by shoddy defense.