Two day games and 13 night games are on the MLB menu for Wednesday, as most of the betting world’s attention will be on Game 3 of the NBA Finals. MLB lines are pretty plug-and-play for the sportsbooks at this point, as they have enough data on most starters to feel pretty confident in their numbers. They can also anticipate a lot of the same line moves start after start for many starters and teams as well.
Before I get into today’s article, I’ve got a rant. The Cardinals were one strike away from getting there for us as a + 140 dog yesterday, but Drew VerHagen gave up a walk-off three-run homer off of the foul pole on a two-strike pitch to .147 hitter Taylor Wells by grooving a batting practice sinker. This was after Giovanny Gallegos threw 12 pitches in a scoreless eighth and Ryan Helsley threw 11 pitches in a scoreless ninth.
Baseball has evolved so much, but there are a lot of managers that are still stuck in the past. The idea that relievers can only pitch one inning is infuriating and virtually all of them do it. Why would you go into extra innings, where a runner is automatically placed in scoring position, with your fourth or fifth-best option when you could simply use one of your best relievers for multiple innings?
VerHagen gave up more runs in yesterday’s 10th inning than Helsley has allowed all season in 22.1 innings. But, sure, throw him out there instead of asking for a second inning from your best reliever. It’s asinine. It’s incompetent. It’s frustrating. Bonehead coaching decisions are not limited to baseball, but with all of the other variance we have to try to overcome on a daily basis, managerial malpractice as a major contributing factor in a losing wager is something you lose sleep over.
Diamondbacks/Reds: I could make this a lot easier on myself and just bet every over in Cincinnati. We had 22 runs in yesterday’s Diamondbacks/Reds game, as it sailed over the total of 10.5. As much as Brent Strom has helped the D-Backs, there are still a lot of bad pitchers on that roster. The Reds have a lot of bad pitchers as well. There were 13 runs scored over the final inning and a half yesterday after Cincinnati scored nine in the first three innings.
Graham Ashcraft has some legitimate stuff. He threw six shutout with four strikeouts and scattered three hits. Cincinnati has some dudes with arms. If the command catches up to the raw stuff, there’s something there with guys like Ashcraft and Hunter Greene.
Nationals/Marlins: Another start, eight more runs allowed by Joan Adon. This poor cat has a 6.95 ERA and is throwing BP on a regular basis for Washington. Like I said after his last start, I’m not sure how much longer Washington can watch this without ruining the kid. Let him go to Triple-A and figure it out. I realize the Nats aren’t going anywhere, but this kid might and getting shelled every time out isn’t exactly a good long-term plan.
Phillies/Brewers: It turns out that Josh Hader is human. He gave up two solo homers and the resurgent Phillies won another game off of somebody else’s bullpen, despite Corey Knebel’s best efforts to blow it with three walks in a 32-pitch ninth inning. Those were the first runs Hader has allowed all season long in 18.2 innings and his first runs in an appearance since July 28 of last season. What a run.
Mets/Padres: Yu Darvish fired seven shutout and gave up two hits to a Mets offense that many of us in the analytics community think has overperformed. Pete Alonso was hit on the hand by a pitch in his first plate appearance and left the game. X-rays were negative, but follow-up tests are pending. We’ll see if the Mets have avoided a major injury. Usually, when something can go wrong, it has for this organization, so fingers crossed that they can avoid one this time.