I mentioned a few columns ago that the second half is typically harder, and to be honest, around the trade deadline is hardest. Teams are in flux, players’ minds are elsewhere, etc. It just adds wrinkles to the handicapping. No excuse, my plays the last four days haven’t been good enough. We go just 1-2 yesterday, and I found myself overthinking one of them. Let’s rebound now that the deadline is behind us. Though, just to share – things are different teams are now in a different place again with new rosters, so this is closer to the beginning of the season than the May/June/July months.
Reds vs. Marlins
Not much needs to be said about Sandy Alcantara, he’s looked great in almost every single game this season. If he didn’t have to pitch against the Mets this year, he might look even better. Luckily for him, he faces the Reds today. The Reds had a firesale, arguably the first correct thing they’ve done this season. They are left with Mike Minor pitching for them today and the aging Joey Votto as one of the few dangerous remaining pieces in the lineup. It sounds crazy but if there was a bet to make on Alcantara throwing a no-hitter today, I’d probably sprinkle it. You can play under 4.5 hits allowed at +115 on DraftKings if you want. My official bet though is the Marlins runline. Mike Minor is not a good enough pitcher to keep the game close against Alcantara.
Cubs vs. Cardinals
In a surprising change of events, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ are still Cubs. Easily the two best hitters in the lineup for them this season, the asking price must’ve just been too high. Unfortunately for the Cubs, it really doesn’t do much for them now or in the future. They might win a couple of extra games – that’s not a good thing, or they might trade them before the end of the season in a post-deadline deal. Who knows. Tonight, though, is our focus. Justin Steele goes for the North Siders and he’s had an overall good campaign. There have been some tough starts, certainly, but he’s also fared pretty well in some games. The problem is the Cubs face Miles Mikolas and their bullpen is depleted. There is no way you can back them in this one. To me, this is a blowout game unless Steele can match what he did against the Cardinals on June 5th (seven innings, one earned run – a game the Cubs still lost). Play the Cardinals run line.
Athletics vs. Angels
It seemed like a load of crap if you ask me. The idea that the Angels would trade Trout or Ohtani seems ridiculous for multiple reasons. Ohtani probably makes that team a ridiculous amount of money as one of the most popular players in the sport right now. Same with Trout. So even as awful as the team is, it makes no business sense. Today Ohtani takes the mound to face the Athletics. He’s been dominant against their hitters in the past and tonight should be no different. To his credit, James Kaprielian has also been strong against the Angels. He’s held them to just seven hits in 45 at-bats against him. Tonight should be a low score. Play the under.