Season Results: All three of my under predictions hit on Wednesday night (Mariners-A’s, Angels-Padres and Giants-Dodgers). That runs my MLB record to 11-5 in this column.
(951) New York Mets at (952) Philadelphia Phillies Game 1, 3:05 p.m. CT
I gave this pick out on-air in “The Turn” but I’ll explain my reasons for liking the over. It’s rare when an over/under climbs a full run but that’s exactly what the total did in Game 1 of today’s Mets-Phillies doubleheader. The number opened at 9, then climbed to 9.5 (which is when I gave out my pick of the over), then it hit 10 before first pitch at 3:05 p.m. CT. Given the line movement, most of the money being bet on the over, and the pitching matchup (Corey Oswalt’s strikeout rate is just 16% on the year while Ranger Suarez is making only his second career major league start), the over was enticing despite the value being sucked out of the number (i.e. we would have loved to get the total at 9 but I still liked the over at 10).
Prediction: Mets/Phillies over 9.5
(957) Washington Nationals at (958) St. Louis Cardinals, 6:15 p.m. CT
Adrian Johnson let me down on Sunday when I picked the over in the Red Sox-Orioles game (a 4-1 win for Boston). Johnson is one of the best ‘over’ umpires in baseball this season, as 16 of the 21 games he’s called behind home plate has gone over (76.2%). While that over didn’t hit, I knew I was taking a risk with Chris Sale pitching for Boston. Nevertheless, the average ERA of pitchers in games called by Johnson is 5.0 this season, while batters are hitting .262.
Johnson isn’t the only reason I see tonight’s game turning high-scoring at Busch Stadium. Luke Weaver owns a pedestrian strikeout rate of 21.0% and he’s struggled against left-handed hitters this season, allowing a .359 xwOBA and a 34% hard contact rate. That spells trouble against a Washington lineup that boasts Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Juan Soto and Daniel Murphy from the left side. Furthermore, the over is 5-2 in Tanner Roark’s last seven starts and is 11-4-4 in the last 19 meetings between these two clubs.
Prediction: Nationals/Cardinals over 8.5
(961) Arizona Diamondbacks at (962) San Diego Padres, 9:10 p.m. CT
Clay Buchholz has had a solid season for the Diamondbacks and benefits from facing a weak-hitting Padres lineup tonight. San Diego strikes out a ton against right-handed pitching and is just 6-16 this season against right-handed starters. Arizona is also 4-1 in Buchholz’s last five starts, is 4-0 in its last four games played in San Diego and has beaten the Padres in five of the last six meetings between these two division rivals. At -148, the Diamondbacks are right at the threshold of what I’m comfortable with from a money line favorite.
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks -148
MLB: 11-5 (+550.00)
*Based on projected $100.00 wagers)