We took a tough-luck loss last night, with the Giants outlasting the Nationals in a record-setting 18 inning marathon – the longest postseason game in MLB history. Things looked good. Jordan Zimmermann was incredible and needed just one more out to lock up the 1-0 win and cement his p[lace in Nationals’ lore… until manager Matt Williams gave him the hook after a walk to Panik and barely 100 pitches thrown.
Enter Drew Storen, and cover your eyes Nat fans, replay the 2012 postseason nightmare. He promptly allowed back-to-back hits to Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, and the game continued on…and on… and on…
It’s been a wacky postseason, but we will keep at it and look for some advantageous lines along the way. Let’s see if the baseball gods can be a little kinder to us today…
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Today’s Free Pick
Los Angeles Angels +115 at Kansas City Royals -122 (Total: 7)
CJ Wilson vs. James Shields
I’m guilty along with most of the media. I bought into some of the “Big Game James” mythology. And yes, there are a few games that easily pop into mind to validate the moniker. But if the postseason is the ultimate definition of “big games” then he comes up dreadfully short. He has a lifetime 5.26 ERA in the postseason, and in three starts dating back to 2010 he hasn’t gotten through the sixth inning yet and has allowed 15 runs in 14.1 innings. That’s an ERA over 9.00, and it means he hasn’t even given his team a chance to win (no, the wildcard miracle comeback off Lester doesn’t get Shields off the hook).
The fact that he IS in fact a very good pitcher suggests he will likely regress back to the norm today and be somewhat better, but there is little evidence to suggest he is a dominating shut-down October ace.
The same critique can be offered of his counterpart tonight, CJ Wilson. He has been to two World Series, so he has plenty of postseason experience under his belt with Texas, and the results haven’t been very good. He is 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44. He has similarly struggled, not only winning games, but in giving his team a chance to win.
Something has to give tonight, and one team HAS to win, but I’m not willing to stake a wager on either starting pitcher being the reason. The Angles bats have been frigid, with their big boppers, Trout, Pujols and Hamilton going a combined 1 for 25. Look for one of more to emerge from their postseason coma tonight and for one of the best offenses in baseball to get back on track.
Meanwhile, if CJ Wilson is going to allow nearly a baserunner and a half to reach base, you can bank on the Royals manufacturing plenty of those runners into runs.
I like offense tonight, and given these two starting pitchers postseason woes, seven feels pretty vulnerable for the OVER.