What a crazy 72 hours it's been in the world of Major League Baseball. There is no major story to lead off with because they are all just equally as crazy. The New York Yankees have seemingly gone into seller mode after trading their highly-coveted offseason signing, Aroldis Chapman, to the Cubs in exchange for some good prospects. This now officially makes the Cubs the team to beat should they right the ship and get hot heading into the postseason.
Then there was the Chris Sale incident, where the Cy Young candidate was sent home and given a five-game team suspension for bashing the team's throwback
uniforms. He said they were uncomfortable and that he would rather not wear them on his pitching days. Yes, that actually happened. This leads me to
believe there is something more to that then a uniform disagreement. With less than a week before the trade deadline on Aug. 1, there will be no shortage
of storylines heading into this weekend.
Thursday's card was about as weird as you could possibly get. In the Rockies/Braves game, two gas-cans took the mound and produced shocking results. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, which, in Colorado, is a pretty rare feat. Then the floodgates opened. Ten runs were scored over the last four innings to produce a 7-3 Rockies victory. If only that offense was present in the first five innings. The other game on my card was another weird result. Tom Koehler of the Marlins pitched a two-hit gem, which is the equivalent of finding a unicorn. Sometimes you just have to rub your eyes and accept what's happening. On to the next.
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Tuesday presents us with a full slate of MLB action, with a special double-header going on at Citi Field between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets thanks to a rain out last night. The early game (4:05 p.m. EST) sees Noah Syndergaard take on Carlos Martinez. The night game sees Jaime Garcia take on Bartolo Colon. These games appear to have no value on the betting side of things since we well see two very evenly-matched pitchers in both games. Instead, I will look elsewhere on the diamond where slumping teams are surprisingly favorites in their respective matchups.
These props are based on the First 5 Inning lines, and I have the utmost confidence in what I expect to happen. As always, odds and lines are courtesy of 5dimes.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Los Angeles Dodgers
The Rays are a miserable baseball team right now. They have just six wins in their last 21 games and have a starting rotation that is almost dead last in all major pitching categories. The Rays have dropped the last three games in a four-game set against the Oakland Athletics - in dramatic fashion, no less. Tampa allowed the A's to walk off in both Friday and Saturday's game while blowing a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning in the finale on Sunday. They are a team with no confidence right now, and the person that embodies the self-doubt the most is once-upon-a-time "ace" Chris Archer.
Archer has had a miserable go of it this season, and his body language tells the story. In his last start against Colorado, despite pitching half decent through six innings, he was all but crying when the Rockies would muster up a hit. A pitcher with no confidence is not someone you want to put your money on. Archer has surrendered at least six hits and four runs in four of his last six starts. Those numbers need to change if Tampa backers have any chance at cashing a ticket when he is on the mound. As if that's not enough to fluster someone, he is also the subject of some trade rumors involving the Dodgers, who he goes up against tonight. The Dodgers are looking for some insurance on Clayton Kershaw, and I do believe they will be better served looking elsewhere.
The Dodgers come into this game after taking two of three from a weekend series against the Cardinals. Led by Adrian Gonzalez's first-inning grand slam, the Dodgers won 9-6, and with that win cut the San Francisco Giants' NL West lead to just three games. The lead was 6.5 heading into the weekend, but the Giants lost three of four to the Yankees.
Taking the bump for the Dodgers is Bud Norris, whose last appearance was capped by a 16th-inning walk off home run courtesy of Matt Adams. Norris has been a little erratic of late but is 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA against the Rays in seven career games.
The Dodgers as a team are rolling right now, and they have the top of the NL West in their sights. Nobody should want to back the Rays any more this season, which is why this is Dodgers or nothing.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -0.5 - First 5 Innings (+110)
Philadelphia Phillies @ Miami Marlins
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
We have a rematch of the game I wagered on five days ago, with Tom Koehler going up against Jerad Eickhoff once again. The difference in this series is that Miami is slumping and the Phillies are playing half decent baseball. Miami hasn't scored a single run in 19 consecutive innings. They were blanked last night by the Phil's and the night before by the Mets. They have lost three of their last four games, and much of the blame is placed solely on the offense.
I always love playing against a pitcher who has had very recent success against a certain team. In last Thursday's matchup, Koehler was able to pitch a two-hit gem, going eight innings with one earned run and five strikeouts. I am willing to bet that lightning doesn't strike twice for him. The Phil's will be ready for Koehler and should be able to adjust and understand what he wants to throw and when he wants to throw it.
The opposite can be expected from Eickhoff, who should be ready to tinker with his approach and game plan to keep the Miami hitters guessing. Despite being 0-2 against the Marlins so far this year, both times he has faced them when Miami was in the middle of playing some good baseball. They currently are not, which is why I give the advantage to the pitcher.
The Phillies own a 6-5 record against Miami this season, and despite being out of contention they would love to play spoiler to a divisional opponent.
Like I said, Fool me twice… shame on me.
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