In today's pitching preview report, this handicapper will examine the three largest underdogs on the board and try and determine if any of them have a chance to be on a list for MLB picks.
It is a bit of a sleepy Monday as the summer season starts to wind down. This time of year MLB picks are fascinating, with sportsbooks betting odds often inflated based on teams performance. What we mean is the really bad teams are 15 to 20 cents higher as underdogs compared to what they were two months ago as the losses have mounted and if you want to wager on most of the division leaders, that to comes with a price against the MLB odds.
Can Phillies Morgan Contain Mets Hitters?
Tell you what, have to give props to Philadelphia, their manager lost the team and resigned, in the midst of a dismal season they started moving some of their best assets, yet they have no quit. Philadelphia for weeks was the hottest team after the All-Star break, but when they lost six of seven from August 10th to the 18th, baseball handicappers and interested fans figured that was it for the Phils. However, after a stunning win against the team that replaced as the smoking hottest club, Toronto, the Phillies marched into Miami and took three of four and are now tied for last in the NL East and are only three games out third in the division.
Philly starter Adam Morgan (4-4, 3.92 ERA) has no simple assignment, trying to hold down a suddenly explosive New York Mets offense (Should Mets and explosive offense ever be used in the same sentence?), which is averaging 8.4 runs a contest on the first five games of their road trip. Morgan has been throwing with increased confidence and has a 2.84 ERA in his last three starts.
Morgan's problems are two-fold, limit New York's offense and hope his teammates can score off of Jacob deGrom (12-6, 1.98 ERA), who has gone 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last seven starts, with opposing batters hitting a putrid .155 against him. With how the Mets are playing and still realizing Philadelphia is 24 games below .500, the Phillies are +190 home underdogs at Heritagesports.eu.
We like the Phils moxie but we have not won 15 of last 23 picks by going against situations like this - The Mets are 10-0 playing against a team with 38% to 46% win percentage in the second half of the season.
Disadvantage - Morgan and Philadelphia
Koehler Tries to Alter Marlins Chances
Except for the occasional brief glimmers of hope, Miami is playing like they would prefer to see the season end now and not on Oct. 4th. The Marlins just lost three of four at home to Philadelphia, which at least to this sports bettor is an indication of where they mentally. Next up is the other team from the Keystone State, who only happens to have the third-best record in baseball, the Pirates.
Though not a great pitcher, Miami's Tom Koehler (8-11, 4.02), was having a fine season at 8-6 with a 3.16 ERA as of 32 days ago, when the bottom fell out. Since then Koehler has lost five straight with an ERA of 7.48. Granted, the Pirates J.A. Happ (5-7, 4.45) is hardly as tough as Gerrit Cole, but Koehler is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA versus the Bucs, making Miami a very deserving +150 underdog, who is 0-9 at home with a struggling bullpen whose ERA is over 7.00 the last five games since 2013.
Disadvantage - Koehler and Miami
Can A's Win in Coffee-Town?
Though Oakland is in last place in the AL West, trailing Seattle by four games, one could still make the argument the A's are the better team. Oakland despite its 54-71 record still is +11 in run differential compared to the Mariners AL-worst -92 figure. However, relief pitching is part of the game and Oakland bullpen has the second-worst ERA at 4.52 and it's save percentage is the poorest in the majors at 51.2 percent, which correlates directly to them being 14-29 in one run games.
Tonight the A's are +155 underdogs at Seattle against Hisashi Iwakuma (5-2, 3.74), who 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts, which includes a no-hitter. Felix Doubront (1-1, 3.89) is your Oakland starter and he has a 1.23 ERA in four career games (two starts) versus Seattle and the Mariners are 15-24 against left-handers this year. This at least provides the Athletics with a chance, as long as the game doesn't come down to them winning with their bullpen. Gulp.
Slight Disadvantage - Doubront and Oakland