Our MLB expert has revealed his three top plays in Tuesday's action around the diamond. Who should you consider betting on?
Welcome to the 3 at 3, where our MLB expert, Gabriel Baumgaertner, will give you his three favorite baseball bets on the day (via current odds from William Hill) at 3:00 p.m. EST. All of his favorite plays on Tuesday's slate are National League games, and we'll start off with an NL West battle.
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks: UNDER 8 Runs (-120)
This one is all about the pitching matchup and the relative struggles of both offenses. Robbie Ray has regressed following a strong 2017, but has compiled a 3.24 ERA over his last five starts after a dreadful month of July (6.12 ERA over six starts). His control remains a problem (4.9 BB/9), but Ray is still a high strikeout pitcher (11.9 K/9) who can limit the relatively punchless Padres offense (30th in batting average, 29th in slugging percentage).
Arizona is a much stronger hitting team than San Diego, but the bats had a tough time against three Dodgers lefties (seven runs scored over 18 innings), and the offense faces another strong one in Joey Lucchesi. The Diamondbacks tuned up Lucchesi the last two times they’ve faced him (a combined 10 earned runs and four home runs over 8 1/3 innings), but the slumping offense has scored just 14 runs over their last eight games.
It’s two struggling teams against two good pitchers. I’ll roll with the under.
St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals: Cardinals -1.5 (+180)
This will be the second time that Miles Mikolas will face the Nationals this month (he allowed four earned runs over seven innings on August 13). He faces off with Erick Fedde, a spot starter making his first start since July 4. Mikolas won’t win the NL Cy Young, but he might be the finest surprise of this season. Mikolas maintains a 2.96 ERA over 27 starts despite some relatively minor struggles (four home runs allowed over his last four starts). Fedde, conversely, has a 5.79 ERA in his limited action this season.
The Cardinals are another team with an inconsistent but powerful offense that can succeed against a relatively weak pitcher. The Nationals have spent most of the season winning a game before losing one (indicative of their 69–69 record) and are trotting out a generally unseasoned pitcher. With St. Louis in the thick of a playoff race, I think manager Mike Shildt’s team should succeed on Tuesday.
New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers: OVER 7.5 Runs (-135)
The Dodgers are struggling to hit before the seventh inning, but they get an easier assignment in Jason Vargas than they did in Jacob deGrom on Monday. Vargas has reduced his ERA from 8.10 to 6.56 over his last four starts and ramped up his strikeout rate, but he remains one of the worst statistical starting pitchers in 2018. Dodgers starter Rich Hill typically doesn’t get into trouble unless he allows home runs, and he hasn’t allowed one at home since June 29. The Mets, 23rd in the league in homers, aren’t much of a threat to hit one off of Hill. Add the struggling Mets bullpen to this game and this one should reach the over with ease.