We’ve got a more traditional slate of games on Tuesday, though we still have one stray day game out there between the Mariners and Padres. Otherwise, nighttime baseball comes our way after the holiday weekend and there is a lot to discuss.
After a 17-4 run from June 10-22, the last 15 picks have gone 5-9-1, including a 0-4 start to July. This is an example of why the “hot hand theory” can be a dangerous game. It is also an example of why overreacting to small sample sizes in your handicapping might not be the best course of action. Hopefully July turns quickly, but I expected a downturn after the torrid 12-day pace because that’s largely just how this business and the world of variance goes. Sometimes you see the board well and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get a set of series that you don’t really like or there are a lot of huge favorites and unattractive underdogs on the card.
It’s all about the long game and being mentally and emotionally prepared for the grind. With that, let’s look at what happened yesterday and then focus on today.
Marlins/Nationals: Back-to-back solid efforts from Patrick Corbin certainly caught me off-guard, as the Nationals southpaw gave up eight hits, but only one run in the loss to the Marlins. He also went eight innings of one-run ball against the Pirates and struck out 12 to end June on a high note. Opposing hitters are batting .354 with a .524 SLG on his four-seam fastball this season and he’s thrown that pitch less often in recent starts. I’m still not sure he’s fixed by any means, but he may be less of a punching bag in the short-term.
Cubs/Brewers: Speaking of enduring the tough times, the Brewers are back up to a three-game lead over the Cardinals. I mentioned at the time how that split against St. Louis on June 23 was big for the team and they’ve gone 7-3 over their last 10 games since. This is also a really soft patch on the schedule with the Pirates and Cubs for 10 straight games. With Brandon Woodruff back and a good effort from Eric Lauer yesterday, the team’s projection does look a lot different.
Mets/Reds: Another over in Cincinnati on a warm day, as the Mets took down a 7-4 decision. Taijuan Walker gave up three runs on four hits and struck out nine over six innings. I have noticed that the market is a little skeptical of him with a low strikeout rate and a 2.86 ERA with a 3.82 xERA and 3.73 xFIP. His HR/FB% of 5.9% is well below his career mark of 12.7%, likely a byproduct of throwing his splitter more than ever this season. I’m skeptical myself, though, and I wish he was facing Atlanta next week on the road. That would’ve been a great fade spot.
Cardinals/Braves: I know that we’re pretty hardwired not to lay big numbers, but sometimes it just needs to happen. I should have bet the Braves yesterday. I’ve preached all season long about Atlanta against pitchers that don’t generate swings and misses and they scored six runs on nine hits in four innings against Dakota Hudson. I’ve also talked about the Cardinals against above average RHP. Sometimes, you just have to lay the price and this was one of those spots. Wright was limited to four innings because of a rain delay, not because of injury.