**Quick note: if you don’t want to read about one of the worst beats in the history of sports, (why wouldn’t you, though) you can skip to the picks by scrolling to the bottom of this page.**

I’m not exaggerating when I say that yesterday’s slate featured the worst beat in the history of absolutely horrendous beats. If the Minnesota Twins do me dirty today, I’m really not sure how I’ll be able to respond given my current, fragile state.

Let me lead with the positive – our Play of the Day, the Indians under, hit with a little room to spare. The dice roll, on the other hand, came painfully close. The Nationals plated two runs in the first, rather than the lone run I bet on, so we missed out on that +300-profit gem. As sad as I was about that pick being tantalizingly close, though, nothing compared to what was in store.

I loved the Mariners and Reds under 8 play. Sonny Gray was on the bump, throwing to a sputtering Seattle lineup and Marco Gonzalez, an underrated pitcher in home starts, drew a Cincy group that has been known the disappear on the road.

Regardless, though, this is baseball, and you can do as little or as much research on these plays as you want. There are days where the most educated bettor flops and the casual player wins big, that’s the nature of the beast. The value was right, that’s just a fact. Everything, from the pitching splits to the recent production of the respective lineups, checked out.

Through seven innings, it looked like this was going to be a painless win and I was going to nab another 2-1 day. Sonny Gray had a no-hitter intact through six but entered the seventh with a pretty lofty pitch count. Now, I’m not an MLB manager, I’m merely a moderately successful sports bettor. Still, I would think that if I was in charge of a pro baseball team, I would be a little more concerned about my guys’ pitch count and I’d subsequently weigh how realistic the no-hitter was, given his declining efficiency at that point.

Damn, this is hard to write.

David Bell saw things differently. Even after Gray beaned the first batter and walked the next guy, he left him out to face rookie Kyle Lewis, who had homered in his debut the previous night. What could go wrong?

Well, Lewis cranked another moonshot and gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead. This was a play on the total, though, I couldn’t have cared less about who won. This was actually optimal, if the Mariners held on, I’d only need to survive the away half of the ninth inning. We were only at five, too, so that jack might’ve actually been for the best.

Then, things started getting close.

Austin Nola drove one in, six runs, then Kyle Seager doubled, seven runs. Before I knew it, we had no more leeway. The Reds stopped the bleeding, though and kept the total at seven heading into the final three outs of the game.

It couldn’t have started any worse.

Tucker Barnhart draws a walk to open the ninth, then we got an absolutely massive strikeout. Two more outs. Freddy Galvis gets hit in the next at-bat, we’ve now got runners at first and second. Brian O’Grady walks, bags jammed with an out. It’s really going to go down like this, huh? The Reds are about to mash a grand slam and win this game 6-5. Well, no, but the actual events were far more painful.

Curt Casali struck out with the bases loaded. We had a pulse. One batter left, one more out, that’s all we needed, and we had survived. Enter Derek Dietrich, who has made a habit of killing my bets all season long. I instantly felt the pit in my stomach. This dude was going to sink me again.

Dietrich is down to his last strike; the game is down to its final out and all that can send it over at this point is a hit from a dude with a .194 average. Or, I guess, there’s a scenario where Dietrich reaches first and the runner from third scores on a dropped-third strike, because he struck out on check swing and the ball, after bouncing off the catcher and then his bat, rolls to the back stop, all the while, the home plate umpire is still appealing the swing to the third-base guy and no one even knows what’s going on. No way that happens, though.

Except, that’s exactly how it happened. The runner from third scored, on a check-swing strikeout that should’ve ended the game, and the total pushed. This sport truly has a way of burying you.

Wow, that was long. Sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better though, it was extremely therapeutic. I think I’m ready to move into today’s picks after that.

Today, I’m going with the Nationals and the Twins to break out offensively against shaky starters, the Red Sox and Blue Jays being held in check by some veteran arms and the Braves pushing the Phillies to the brink.

It’s only up from here.

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Page 2: Play of the Day

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