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The win pushes us to 59-40 on the year, which will make today’s pick our 100th of the season. A win today would push us to an even 60% win rate with a 60-40 record - those are nice, round numbers that our mathematical mind quite enjoys, so we’re motivated to get it done today.
Arizona Diamondbacks (Miller) at Miami Marlins (Straily)
Things haven’t gone well for Shelby Miller since joining the Diamondbacks in 2016 after being traded by Atlanta. First of all, the trade was widely panned at the time, as the D’Backs gave up multiple prospects for Miller, including first overall pick Dansby Swanson. It didn’t help when Miller posted an awful 6.15 ERA over 20 starts in 2016, and things got even worse in 2017 when he was injured and forced to undergo Tommy John surgery, from which he’ll make his return today.
While the Diamondbacks will probably never get the value they wanted out of that trade, there are reasons to believe that Miller can be a serviceable pitcher for the D’Backs for the remainder of 2018. First of all, Miller does have a track record of success - from 2013 to 2015, Miller posted a solid 3.27 ERA over 96 starts for the Cardinals and Braves. Also, his strikeout/walk ratio in his rehab starts (28 Ks to 6 walks) was encouraging, so there hopefully won’t be much rust when he takes the mound tonight. The projections see him as roughly a league average starter for the remainder of the season, which would be encouraging for D’Backs fans given his struggles of late.
Despite the fact that he’s been much healthier than Miller, Marlins starter Dan Straily has not been having much success of late. His 4.89 ERA is actually lower than his peripheral stats would suggest - his walk rate (4.89 BB/9) and his homer rate (2.15 HR/9) are both dangerously high. While the projections see those two rates coming down, Straily should still be extremely prone to the free pass and the dinger, and his BABIP and LOB% figure to start heading in the wrong direction soon. It’s a good thing that Straily pitches for the Marlins, a team that doesn’t care about losing, because all signs point to a lot of struggles for Straily for the remainder of 2018.
While both teams rank in the bottom six in offense so far (Arizona at 25th, Miami at 28th in wRC+), we’re going to chalk up a lot of the struggles the D’Backs have had to a truly awful month of May. They’ve been better of late, especially slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who has posted a ridiculous slash line in June (.393/.490/.845) after sleepwalking through the first two months of the season. The Marlins on the other hand have nobody remotely as talented as Goldschmidt, and actually might be overachieving offensively - outside of catcher J.T. Realmuto, this Miami lineup is as bad as it gets, and has a good shot of finishing dead last when everything is said and done.
With just how bad Straily and the Marlins have been, it’s kind of amazing that the sportsbooks are offering such a favorable line to bet against them; Arizona is only a -124 favorite on the moneyline today at BetOnline. The public must be having a hard time trusting Miller in his return from Tommy John, but we’re ready to roll the dice, given the weakness of his competition and the somewhat optimistic projections. That’s why we’re going with Arizona as our free pick for Monday.
Be sure to check back in throughout the week for our free predictions and wagers on the MLB and the World Cup, which is in full swing as the group stages start to wind down.
Good luck out there, and let’s get a win!
Bet the Diamondbacks -124
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