As if I wasn’t missing football already, last week I went 0-6 in the picks I gave out here. While one of those picks was a preseason NFL game, the other five were MLB or WNBA. And they were all losers.
Now, despite a couple of losses on WNBA games last week, I’m still up quite a bit on the season, but I’m taking a bath in MLB this season. I don’t know if it’s the juiced balls, but a lot of principles I’ve been able to rely on over the years for profitable seasons just haven’t worked out this year. Maybe it’s just a course correction, or perhaps I need to rethink some things.
Or maybe I’m just stupid, who knows? I did take the Orioles +401 at home against the Astros on Sunday afternoon, and the Orioles managed to blow a lead in the ninth inning only to come back and win, so maybe that’s a sign things have turned around!
And now that I’ve told you about how poorly I’ve done picking MLB this year, here are three MLB picks for you on Monday night. Remember, you can always feel free to fade me.
All odds via William Hill.
1. Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals: Over 10.5
It’s going to be a warm evening in D.C., with wins blowing out toward left-center. That should help us with our pursuit of the over here, but what I like more is how tonight’s starters have done, and how weak the bullpens have been for both of these teams have performed lately. Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani has been mostly league average this season, but he gives up a lot of hard contact, and his HR/9 has been 29 percent above league average. So I predict he’ll give up a dinger or two. Washington’s Erick Fedde doesn’t give up a lot of groundballs, but he doesn’t strike anybody out, either. His strikeout rate is a full 49% below league average, which is why his xFIP of 5.33 is nearly an entire run higher than his 4.38 ERA. Expect runs to be scored here.
2. Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians: Indians +106
I’m just riding the wave, man. On June 14 the Indians were 11 games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, and after taking three of four from the Twins this weekend, they’re now tied for the division lead. Cleveland is 26-9 since the start of July, and is a home underdog against a Boston team that’s lost seven of its last 10, is out of the AL East race, and now finds itself 7 1/2 out of the wild card. The Red Sox aren’t very good this year, and there’s no reason for them to be favored on the road against one of the hottest teams in baseball right now.
3. Tampa Bay Rays at San Diego Padres: Under 8
Night games in San Diego tend to be lower-scoring affairs as is, and I like this matchup to suppress runs on Monday night. Joey Lucchesi has been terrific at home, posting a 2.71 ERA in 12 starts. The Rays have also been better against righties than lefties like Lucchesi. As for the other end of this matchup, Diego Castillo will open for the Rays, and it isn’t clear who will follow him. Considering that Ryan Yarbrough went 8 2/3 innings for the Rays on Sunday, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tampa throws the whole bullpen at San Diego in this one.