My hopes for cashing in last night came to a halt abruptly with the awakening of the Red Sox bats last night. They scored early and often to put the OVER to rest with innings to spare, as well as give them another game clearance in the AL East race over the Orioles. Meanwhile, things have taken a rapid turn in the NL Central this week. With the Pirates dropping a pair, and the Cardinals doing what they seem to ALWAYS do against the Reds (light up the scoreboard – they are 10-4 against Cincy this season), St. Louis has roared into first place and has a game and a half lead over Pittsburgh – 4 ½ over the Reds. Homer Bailey will get the ball trying to prevent an incredibly damaging sweep, but he will have a tough opponent Cards ace Adam Wainwright… It appears the Cardinals are starting to peak again right around the time everyone seems to have forgotten they were the best team in baseball for the first half of the season…I wouldn’t sleep on them down the stretch.
One other quick wagering note – I’d be cautious of the HUGE line favoring the Nationals tonight (-235). They are just 10-15 in games Strasburg has started this season, so his strong pitching is by NO means guarantee of a victory in 2013… There have been a bunch of low-scoring 2-1, 1-0-type losses by the Nats, wasting brilliant pitching outings by Strasburg…
Meanwhile, let’s try to get back on the winning track tonight with another pick focusing on totals in the American League.
Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Angels +155 at Tampa Bay Rays -165 (Total: 7.5)
Garrett Richards (4-5, 3.95 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (7-5, 2.93 ERA)
The Rays pitching is certainly the hallmark of this team, but it has been surprisingly absent in their recent matchups against the Angels. In the past four games they have allowed twenty runs. However, it hasn’t been too big of a deal, because they have scored a staggering 35 runs themselves. Add those two together and it averages to a game total of just under 14 runs per game. That’s denting the plate in a serious way.
So will it continue tonight? I’m wagering that it will. Archer has been very good this season, but the young hurler’s ERA has swelled to close to four in his last three outings. Meanwhile, Garrett Richards has been good but not great all season long. Both these teams average more than 4.5 runs per game, and both have hit the other team well all season long.
The Angels have lost six of their last seven against the Rays and are at a pitching disadvantage tonight, so I’m going to double up and make two plays on this game. The first is the Rays winning outright, the second is the total eclipsing the 7.5 run total.
Free Picks: Tampa Bay Rays to WIN -160 & Run TOTAL OVER 7.5