This week’s winning streak will keep on rolling into Saturday after five straight winners, including four consecutive under winners. But we’re going very much in the opposite direction today in a game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals that might just be one of the strongest plays I’ve had all year – these are the ones you lose, though.
The Braves visit St. Louis in the second game of a three-game set over the weekend and will run Aaron Harang out to the bump against young Shelby Miller. After opening with a total of 8.0, some action has moved this total all the way down to a flat 7.0. And it would be an understatement to say there’s some value on the total in a game that could see a lot of scoring in St. Louis.
It would be easy to say Aaron Harang has been a little tough to figure out this season. But he’s really been pretty darn good with the exception of just one start in Miami, where he allowed 9 earned. In fact, Harang has allowed two runs or less in all of his seven other starts and has allowed just 40 hits in 48.1 innings so far in 2014. But the veteran has appeared more and more hittable of late – surrendering 15 hits in his last 12 innings, which span over two outings. One of those starts came against the Cardinals in a game Harang gave up 9 hits. But the Red Birds could only push 2 runs across in a tight game in Turner Field. Harang is a solid starter, but his recent tendency of escaping starts without many runs allowed despite the hits given up has to come to an end soon. And the Cardinals aren’t the type of offense to completely sputter. If Harang pitches well, he’ll throw similarly to his last outing against St. Louis. But if he slips up, this is a spot where he could certainly see 4, 5, 6 runs on the board. And in a game where Atlanta will put up runs, the Cardinals may only need a couple to push this thing over.
I say Atlanta will score runs because Shelby Miller just doesn’t provide me a whole lot of reason to think he can be very effective against Atlanta. I don’t want to sound like Gabe Kapler trying to explain how his advanced pitching numbers don’t align with the results on the field. But just watch him pitch. The better part of the league has figured him out since that dazzling start to 2013. And teams are hitting the ball very hard against the young righty. He’s especially susceptible to left-handers, which the Braves have. It could be a big day for Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman en route to a high scoring day for Atlanta as a team. I don’t expect Miller to throw any more than 5 innings, at the most. And the Braves may score 7 as a team.
The unders have been kind to us all lately. But the sixth win in a row will come in the form of a smooth over. I’m even going to play this one for x2. Let’s stay hot!
Free Pick: Over 7 (-120)
2014 YTD: 17-6 +9.74
Atlanta Braves • st. louis cardinals