MLB Baseball Betting: Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds

MLB Baseball Betting:  Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds

You remember the Jim Carey movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’? This series is a matchup of ‘Bad and Badder’ (yeah, I know that’s grammatically incorrect). Both of these teams bumbled into the All Star break losing 7 of their last 10 games and have lost sight of the ‘lead pack’ of teams in the NL Central. The Brewers are 38-49 on the year which puts them 14.5 games out of first place. The Reds are a dumpster fire at this point with a record of 32-57 putting them 21.5 games out of first place. What’s really amazing about the Reds–and not in a good way–is their Major League worst -154 run differential. There are two teams in baseball with a triple digit run differential deficit. The Atlanta Braves have a -107 differential meaning that the Reds are -47 worse than the second worst team in this statistical category. Ouch.

So why are the Reds favored? It’s the pitching matchup. Milwaukee starts struggling Matt Garza and they haven’t won any of his four road starts this season with Garza putting up a 5.40 ERA. They’ve been even worse in his last two starts–Garza pitched a total of 10 innings allowing 11 earned runs including 3 home runs for a 8.44 L3 ERA. Not good. The Reds, on the other hand, start easily the most capable member of their pitching staff, Anthony Desclafani. Desclafani missed much of the early season due to injury but he’s been excellent since his return. His L3 ERA is 2.18 with a 1.016 WHIP 20 2/3 innings pitched allowing 5 earned runs and striking out 19 against only two walks. That’s solid pitching my any metric. What might be most impressive–the Reds won two of his last three starts.

My first inclination is to go against the Reds. That’s usually a good inclination. In this case, however, the Reds will start the more capable pitcher by a long shot. Milwaukee has been horrible on the road this year (15-27) while the Reds have been ‘less bad’ at home (18-25). If you’ve read my other stuff you know that I’ll frequently argue that starting pitching is overrated in MLB handicapping. In this case, however, it’s the primary salient difference between these two otherwise miserable teams. And at this price, it’s enough of a disparity between the talented and capable Desclafani and the struggling Garza to play Cincinnati.