The wins just keep on coming, as we are officially red-hot once again. Last night’s winner was our sixth win in our last eight bets, a sizzling hot 75%-win rate on the week. And last night they didn’t even make us work for it as we backed the Washington Nationals on the run line, at a very attractive +103, and the game was a blowout, as expected. The Nationals are leading the National League in runs scored in the month of August, and I expected them to hammer Pirates starter Joe Musgrove, and that is just what happened.
Washington scored six runs on Musgrove in the third inning to jump out to a commanding lead, and they coasted the rest of the way out. The Nats played add-on later, and by the time this game was all said and done, Washington walked away with the 11-1 victory, and we cashed our dog money ticket. Washington has now scored double-digit runs in five of their last seven games.
I don’t know where this production has been hiding at all season long, but right now, this team is hitting the ball better than any other team in the league, by a wide margin. The Nats kept pace with the Atlanta Braves who also won yesterday and remain six games back for first place in the National League East Division. For today’s pick, we will check in on those Braves, as we head to Atlanta where the Braves host the Marlins.
The Miami Marlins are in Atlanta Thursday looking to avoid the sweep in game three of a three-game set with the Braves. This series has not been competitive to this point as the Braves took both of the first games by a combined total score of 10-1. For Miami, they are just praying for the season to end at this point as their production has really fallen off here in August. Miami is a major league-worst 3-15 in their last eighteen games.
For Atlanta, the Braves are hoping to complete the sweep as the Washington Nationals are hot on their heels in the NL East Division. The Braves have been one of the best teams in the league all season long and have won seven out of their last nine games, including series wins over the Mets and Dodgers.
Starting tonight for the Braves is Mike Soroka (10-2 2.41 ERA), and for the Marlins it is Sandy Alcantara (4-11 4.35 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Braves are big -275 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Mike Soroka has been an invaluable addition to this Braves starting rotation this season. After having a cup of coffee with the big-league team last year, making five starts, he has been a full-time part of the rotation this year and has produced some stellar results. His 2.41 ERA is good for second in the majors, behind only Hyun-jin Ryu, and ahead of guys like Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Jacob deGrom.
At just twenty-two years old, Soroka is just another in a long line of very young, and very good players in Atlanta. The kid has had only one losing decision since April 18th! And the Braves just seem to always win when he is on the mound. Atlanta is 15-7 when Soroka starts this year.
Against Miami this season, he has been almost unbelievably good in three starts. In those three starts, Soroka tossed a combined twenty-two innings, never pitching fewer than seven innings in any one start and has allowed just one earned run. His ERA in those three starts? 0.41, the lowest against any team he has faced this year.
Sandy Alcantara is much better than his 4-11 record might lead you to believe. When you play for the worst team in the league, wins can be hard to come by, but Alcantara has done a serviceable job of pitching well anyway. He made his first, of what should be many, All-Star teams earlier this year and has pitched really well here in August.
This month, Alcantara has an ERA of just 3.20 in three starts. That includes a strong outing against these very same Atlanta Braves a couple of weeks back where he worked into the eighth inning, tossing seven and two thirds and giving up just three runs. He has made a quality start, six innings or more, three runs or less, in four out of his last five games. With the one hiccup coming against the Minnesota Twins, that just might have the best lineup in all of baseball.
This number is way too big to really consider taking Atlanta. Yesterday we saw the Detroit Tigers win a game against the Houston Astros where the Astros were laying an absolutely absurd -500, so big upsets can happen, but I don’t see lightning striking twice here today. And I think that this Marlins lineup won’t have anything for Mike Soroka.
Soroka has owned them all season long, and I expect nothing but the same tonight. You can pencil him in now for seven-plus innings or work. And when I look at Sandy Alcantara, I think he is going to find a way to be decent as well. He won’t shut the Braves down, not many people do, but I don’t see him getting blasted either.
So, when I look at the game total, I see value on the under nine and a half runs. It is very hard for a game to hit double-digits if one of the teams doesn’t score. And the Marlins just aren’t going to put many runs on the board tonight. So, the question is, will Alcantara be good enough to get beaten but not destroyed? And I think that answer is yes.
We saw two weeks ago when Alcantara pitched well against the Braves that he can handle their firepower, and with the Braves as prohibitive favorites to win the game, they should have a healthy lead late, and won’t get to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Little details like the fact that the Braves will only get eight innings to score runs, and push this game to the over, need to be evaluated.
I see Atlanta taking an early lead and winning going away. Something in the range of 5-1 Atlanta sounds about right. Give me the under nine and a half runs tonight in game three from SunTrust Park!
The Bet: Under 9.5 runs at -110