Oh those Washington Nationals. Those choking, figuratively AND literally, bums, just waiting, begging for the season to reach its merciful conclusion. Perhaps this is why Kyle has been imploring you that last weekend wagers in MLB can be a little tricky. Of COURSE the Nats and Scherzer head out last night and deliver one of the most dazzling pitching performances in the history of baseball; a seventeen strikeout no-hitter with zero walks and zero hit batters. A game absolutely perfect aside from an Asdrubal Cabrera throwing error. Sure. Why not??
In baseball news of the more germane, the Astros control their destiny today. Win and they are in. Lose and an Angels win will force a one-game playoff tomorrow (rooting for it, but as you will see below, not betting on it). Ditto for the Royals. Win and they are home for the duration. A loss and a Blue Jay win flips the script.
Meanwhile, things can get truly insane with a Rangers loss. After yesterday’s stunning gut-punch loss, allowing five runs in the ninth to blow a four run lead in the final inning for the first time in over five YEARS, a loss today coupled with an Astros win would force them to play another game to settle the AL West crown. It didn’t seem a scenario worth mentioning three days ago, but here we are…
My point? It’s gonna be a FUN day of baseball. NFL will steal the headlines, but there is nothing quite like the tension of post-season or do-or-die baseball…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Angels +115 at Texas Rangers -125
Garrrett Richards vs. Cole Hamels
We picked up a nice win yesterday and will try to keep it going into the final day of the season. A quick word of caution, lines have been VERY slow to trickle out this morning as there is so much uncertainty in the final day of the season. However, the first two lines I have seen posted have Texas anywhere between -125 and -130, so I am going to go with the number for today’s play. With this pitching matchup and everything that is at stake, I’d be willing to flirt with close to -140 before being cowed away.
Cole Hamels is here for EXACTLY this reason. An ace when they need him the most. A guy who has stared into the face of the postseason pressure and survived. A guy who, a disaster like yesterday and the harrowing memories of World Series heartbreak they evoke, won’t rattle or faze.
In short. The Rangers and Cole Hamels were married for EXACTLY today. And I think it will come to pay major dividends. Neither pitcher has lost in their last three outings, and Richards has actually been a tiny bit better, posting a 2.08 ERA to Hamels 3.31. If you are an Angels fan, there are a few things to hang your hat upon; the Rangers are very pedestrian at home and Richards has been excellent of late. They also have plenty of incentive to perform well today as a playoff play-in is on the line should Houston lose.
If yesterday is any indication, today should be a fantastic game. I know, I know, Texas got absolutely stunned yesterday afternoon, but I think they get up off the mat, if for no other reason that Hamels is getting the ball, and wrap up their improbable division title.