Yesterday’s Results: 2-1
All-time Results: 2-1, +0.71 Units
Chicago Cubs +103 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 1 – Unit
1. “Getaway game” for the Dodgers.
The new collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from playing day games immediately after playing late afternoon or night games in a different city. This results in many day games at the end of long road trips. After the game is over the team is able to “getaway” – i.e. get practically a full day off before playing again the next night. The thinking is that teams in this spot will have one eye toward that mini half-day vacation and lose focus. Yesterday we saw the Mariners not put up much of a fight in San Diego on their last day of a long road trip .
Here we have the Dodgers playing their 7th road game in a row, before flying back home to LA to play a night game tomorrow night. The Cubs are hot at Wrigley, and the Dodgers may be excused if they settle for a casual L here before their early afternoon flight home.
2. Lester’s return will be a welcome sight in Chicago.
Dodgers Cody Bellinger has been Babe Ruth on steroids against RHP so far this season with an OPS on the plus side of 1.500. Against LHP pitching, however, he’s just your average all star with a .943 OPS. The Cubs get left-handed ace Jon Lester back and I look for him to have a solid day. Lester is not a huge velocity guy with a career average 4-seamer of only 90mph. Without extreme athleticism needed, I expect him to be able to return quickly to form, using that veteran guile to get the best of batters.
Cincinatti Reds -131 vs. Atlanta Braves – 1 Unit
1. Luis Castillo 2-1, 1.47 ERA – Future Cy Young contender?
When you’re the best footballer or basketball player in the world, everybody has known your potential since your 19th birthday. Everyone knew who Messi was when he wore 17 and was 17 for Barcelona. In baseball, it’s different. Mariano Rivera was a short stop in Puerto Rico 365 days before throwing some of the best stuff ever seen in the 1996 World Series. Rivera was 26 in his MLB debut. It’s a hard game, where potential at a young age promises nothing and average 24 year-olds can still dream of one day being the greatest. It sneaks up on you.
26 year-old Luis Castillo may be the best in the world already and nobody knows it. He may fade, but I’m betting on the kid to stay stellar. He throws a mean 96 MPH fastball with nasty sinking action that generates a ton of swing and misses. His change up is just as good, taking 10% of the heat off the ball and also having good movement. The Reds have been feast or famine offensively, and I like this wiz-kid to keep’em hungry all day.
LA Angels -105 vs. NY Yankees – 1 Unit
Yankees have pulled themselves out of the doldrums winning 4 in a row after losing 6 of 9. However, their win streak has been about as unimpressive as possible, winning 3 out of the 4 by 1 run. I feel like their mini-win streak is helping people see the Yankees as the Evil Empire again despite their thin lineup. The Yankees are still missing their biggest bats in Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Arlandis Chapman has pitched 3 out of the last 4 nights to closeout these close-games. He might not be able to go tonight, and he if he does he might be less effective.
Angels have been disappointing this year – again – but still are better than .500 at home. With Cahill on the mound and the best player in baseball looking to get back on track after a cold spell, I like the Angels to avoid the sweep and pull it out tonight.
Texas Rangers +135 @ Seattle Mariners – 1 Unit
The fact that Seattle Mariners have been the most profitable bet-on team in baseball convinced me to take them as a big underdog yesterday. But I’ve changed my thinking on that. Much like the Charlotte Hornets in basketball, sometimes bad teams look average or even good to start the season and its really a whole lot of positive variance signifying nothing. The Mariners do not have a ton of talent to point to justify their 16-11 record. I’m starting to think its wiser to look for them to return to the middle of the pack. Robinson Cano currently has his lowest OPS+ since 2008, and he’s still probably their most trustworthy player going forward.
The Mariners were overpowered by rookie Christian Paddock yesterday. I don’t think they will be happy to see Taylor Hearn’s heat when trying to break out of their funk tonight. Just like Paddock yesterday, Hearn is another rookie pitcher trying to prove he has the stuff to be MLB Starter. I like Hearn to earn his first W tonight.