Thursday was a bad day for statistical underdogs, as only four out of twelve games with an underdog were won by the underdog. Only two of those four were actually underdogs when we wrote our column yesterday (Yankees and Tigers were favorites in the afternoon, but a lot of late money shifted them). In addition, the pitching match-up of Jays/Red Sox changed in the late afternoon, which negated why we picked it. Our column was terrible yesterday, going 1 for 7 in the games we picked. We were down $243 on the day, so in our fifteen days of the underdog column, we are 45 for 96 and are up $288.82 over that fifteen day period (with all 96 bets being $50). Here are the underdogs that you should consider betting on Friday.
Pittsburgh Pirates (+102) vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 PM EST Start
This will be a rematch of the June 30 game in Milwaukee. Milwaukee will send Zach Davies to the mound, and Pittsburgh will send Steven Brault to the mound. Neither pitcher got a decision in the game, a game that the Brewers ended up winning 2-1. The Brewers are coming off losing three of four to Cincinnati, and the Pirates are coming off winning three of four against the Cubs.
Davies has had an up-and-down season. After starting the season 7-0, Davies has gone 0-2 in his last four starts, with an ERA of 6.88 in those four starts. Steven Brault was consistent in May and June, giving up two runs or less in seven of his last eight outings. During that time period, his ERA dropped from 8.82 to 4.29.
The Pirates are 6-4 in their last 10 games, while the Brewers are 4-6 in their last 10. The Brewers are an under .500 ball-club away from Miller Park (19-24 this season). The Pirates are within 3 games of the division lead, and expect them to use that as motivation for this series. Take the Pirates to win game one.
Philadelphia Phillies (+163) @ New York Mets, 7:10 PM EST Start
This match-up features two teams that have been struggling in June and July. The New York Mets are 7-15 in their last 22 games, while the Philadelphia Phillies are 8-14 in their last 22 games. Four of those eight Phillies wins came in the last series between the Phillies and Mets, when the Phillies came back from deficits in all four games to sweep the Mets.
The Phillies dropped to third place in the NL East with their loss on Thursday. They send Vince Velasquez to the mound on Friday to right the ship. Velasquez has given up five runs in his two starts since returning to the rotation, and has also struck out 11 batters in 9 and 1/3 innings of work in those two starts.
The Mets send Jacob DeGrom to the hill. DeGrom has been consistent this season, going 4-7 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Just like last season, he doesn’t get a whole lot of run support. The Mets have only won one of DeGrom’s last seven starts.
Take the Phillies tonight to upset the Mets in game one of this series.
Miami Marlins (+170) @ Atlanta Braves, 7:10 PM EST Start
Julio Teheran’s last five starts have been really bad. Over this stretch, he has given up 17 runs in 23 and 1/3 innings of work(6.56 ERA). In his last nine games, his control has also been a little erratic, as he has walked at least three batters in eight of those games. The bright side for him is that he has owned the Miami Marlins this season, pitching twelve scoreless innings against them.
The Marlins will send one of their young studs, Jordan Yamamoto, to the mound. Yamamoto has posted a 2.35 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP during his three starts in the big leagues. He has a tough challenge tonight, though, facing the NL East division leader. In addition, he knows that he may be on the bubble with Caleb Smith returning this weekend. He knows that he may need to have a great start to solidify his place in the starting rotation.
The Washington Nationals have had the Marlins’ number, beating them six times in June and July. The Marlins have either won or split six of their last nine series that were not against the Nationals. Don’t be surprised to see Miami rise up and steal game one in Atlanta tonight.
Colorado Rockies (+165) @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:10 PM EST Start
This series features two teams that got swept in their previous series. The Diamondbacks were swept by the Dodgers, after blowing two ninth-inning leads. The Rockies were swept at home by the Houston Astros. Both teams are looking to shake off these series and gain some momentum going into the all-star break.
The Diamondbacks send Zack Greinke to the mound. The Diamondbacks have won 12 of Greinke’s 18 starts this season, as he sports an impressive record of 9-3, with a 2.90 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. If you look deeper at his schedule, though, you’ll see that Greinke is win-less this season against the Rockies. As a matter of fact, three of those six starts that the Diamondbacks of lost this season have come against the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies send Antonio Senzatela to the hill. He has given up two runs or less in five of his last seven starts, and has gone 4-1 in those seven starts. In his two starts against Arizona this season, he has given up three runs in 12 and 1/3 innings of work (2.19 ERA) and has a record of 1-0.
Look for Greinke’s bad fortune against the Rockies to continue tonight, and for the Rockies to win game one of this series.
Tampa Bay Rays(+105) vs. New York Yankees, 7:10 PM EST Start
The Rays and Yankees had a barn-burner on Thursday night, with the Yankees scoring five runs in the tenth inning to win the game 8-4. The Rays did score two runs in the ninth inning off Aroldis Chapman, and were able to send the tying run to the plate in the tenth inning.
The Yankees will start Masahiro Tanaka in tonight’s game. He has been inconsistent as of late, giving up four or more runs in four of his last six starts. He has, however, owned the Tampa Bay Rays this season. In three starts, he has given up just one run in 22 innings of work (0.41 ERA).
The Rays will start their young prospect Brendan McKay on Friday night. He was impressive in his first career start last week, giving up no runs and only one hit over six innings of work against the Texas Rangers. Now, the test doesn’t get any easier for him, as the high-powered Yankee lineup is in town this week.
Tanaka is due to have a statistical letdown against the Rays, and look for McKay to build off of his first start and put together another quality outing. Take the Rays in this one.
Texas Rangers (+158) @ Minnesota Twins, 8:10 PM EST Start
This match-up pits Adrian Sampson of the Rangers against Martin Perez of the Twins. Perez was a member of the Rangers for a good portion of his career. Perez has given up four or more runs in five of his last six starts, while Sampson has given up three runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. The Rangers are 6-4 in their last 10 games, while the Twins are 4-6.
While the Twins will be happy to be home, expect the Rangers to come out swinging against Perez and cause him to have a shorter outing than he would hope to have. Take the Rangers to win tonight.
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