Sometimes a name is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, it’s just a name.
For the time being, that is the case with Madison Bumgarner with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s a World Series hero, a 4 time All Star, and a huge free agent signing for the Dbacks this year. But you don’t need to be an expert to see that something is very wrong with him on the mound right now.
MadBum is 0-4 with an ERA of 8.53 in 2020. He’s given up 13 home runs in just over 31 innings. He looks like a shot fighter. A game like this presents an opportunity, it’s just a matter of whether or not the gambler has the resources to play it.
Diamondbacks +1.5: -116
Astros +1.5: -102
Diamondbacks M/L: +180
Astros M/L: -210
Over 9.5: -114
Under 9.5: -106
A Sneaky Starter
The Astros have been a disappointing team this year, but they’re at least serviceable. And they send young Jose Urquidy to the mound who was electric his last time out. Urquidy danced around the Rangers on Tuesday, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 7 through 7 innings. Not only is Urquidy talented but he’ll be a tough matchup on almost any team this year that hasn’t seen him. The Arizona hitters will have no scouting report or experience when at the plate.
I touched on how bad Madison Bumgarner has been this year, but it goes even further than that if you look at his metrics in recent years. One of the reasons the Giants didn’t make a huge effort to re-sign him last year was that there was concern he was only pitching well at home in San Francisco, which is a pitcher friendly park. He’ll be in hitter friendly Minute Maid Park Sunday. For reference, hitters have a career average of .223 against the lefty in San Francisco. In Houston, he’s allowed an average of .407.
Let’s Get Trendy
I’m going to throw out one trend, that the Astros are 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 games against Arizona. This game calls for some circumstantial evidence as we have to look at what is going on right now in the baseball landscape. The Dbacks have traded away some of their established veterans and are in full rebuild mode. They’re just playing out the season. The Astros are battling for playoff positioning as they sit in 2nd place in the AL West. Here are some better trends: The Dbacks are 4-12 in their last 16 games on the road. The Astros are a fantastic team at home, where they’ve posted a record of 18-8 this year. And the game has gone OVER the total in 5 of 6 games between these two teams. Those are the trends I’m following.
Take a deep breath, and lay the large number. The Astros are winning this game unless something bizarre happens. Play the run line to help yourself get some better odds. Even if Bumgarner gets run support, no lead is safe. He was given an 8-1 lead after 4 innings in Anaheim in his last start. Two innings later, the score was tied 8-8. You should also play the OVER, as these two teams tend to play high scoring games in their bandbox ballparks. The OVER can also work as a hedge in case Urquidy doesn’t have his good stuff. In that case, both teams should put up a fair amount of offense.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Astros 8, Diamondbacks 3