Tim Hudson had been very consistent this season until a rocky last start, so he should rebound well here. With Silva off of possibly his two best starts of 2008, go Under.
On Sunday in MLB, I’m going to take a shot with the under in the finale of the Seattle/Atlanta series. The betting odds have set this line at 9½ on the overnights, which I think is a notch or two too high considering the starting pitching and lineups involved.
Starting for the Braves will be almost-stud Tim Hudson. Hudson throws mostly strong starts, with a rocky outing every month or so that keeps his season-long stats honest. He may have filled his June order for that in his last start at Texas, where he was hit hard and given an early exit after having thrown only 71 pitches. I think he will be primed for a bounce-back start here at home where he has been stellar all season long.
On the other side, Mariners’ starter Carlos Silva has been suffering through a poor season, and understandably gives pause to an under bet here. But Silva really hit rock bottom in May, and his June, which has without question been less than mediocre, still has him headed reasonably in the right direction.
His last two starts have been better, and most importantly for me, his ground ball/fly ball ratio for those two starts was way better than it was when he was getting crushed, and that is a key sign for a sinkerballer like Silva. Silva, interestingly, also threw only 71 pitches in his last start as well, due to an ejection.
We don’t know what the lineups for this game will be as yet, but we do know that home plate umpire Sam Holbrook is admittedly a strong over-trending ump in recent years, with an Over record of 48-29 (62%) since 2006, This does temper my enthusiasm a bit for this bet, because one of Silva’s main strengths is that he doesn’t give up a lot of walks, and an ump with a tight zone can turn one of his starts into a disaster, especially when he is struggling as he is now.
But there may be a few starters getting a day off here as both teams are playing on Monday. And Chipper Jones will definitely be out of the starting lineup for the Braves due to injury. And Holbrook does seem to even out as the totals go higher. Since 2006, he has gone 10-10 O/U on games where the total was 9½ or higher.
So all in all, I see pitching looking on the upswing for this game, and lineups probably on a downswing, coupled with a relatively high total. I’m going to grab this overnight line and take the under 9½ -120 in this one.