What a day for Major League Baseball. The Dodgers forced a third Game Five (and notched us another winner), meaning all but one series is going the distance in the opening round. And it’s the series that is over that’s the biggest story. The Cubs won a playoff series on their home field for the first time since 1908, setting off an insane celebration – and a celebration that really feels like it could happen one or two more times… this team is young, uber-talented andseemingly unafraid of the magnitude of what they are trying to accomplish. I remember being in Chicago for business the week before the start of the season when several players said the expectation for this season was to win the World Series. Even homer radio shows laughed at the audacity.
No one is laughing now.
We have some business to take care of today first, namely two thrilling winner-take-all games to settle the DS round of the American League Playoffs…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Houston Astros +125 at Kansas City Royals -135 (Total: 7.5)
Colin McHugh vs. Johnny Cueto
Well Kansas City. Today is what you traded away a stable of prospects for, an ace on the hill in October to tip the balance of power decisively in your favor. To say the Cueto deal has been a disappointment thus far is an understatement. The veteran pitcher with some of the best numbers in all of baseball consistently over the last five years has endured the worst two months of his career; all in a Kansas City uniform.
So naturally he will be handed the ball for one of the bigger games in franchise history and arguably the biggest game of Cueto’s life. You gotta love baseball.
But will the Royals love the result? Cueto looked better in his last few starts but still hasn’t been the ace of expectations. McHugh only allowed two runs in six innings in his first appearance in this series and has a 3.03 ERA over his last three starts with 13 K’s. Cueto, meanwhile, is just over four with 11 K’s and an alarming nine walks.
I think the Astros have the pitching edge tonight. But the Royals have THE edge mentally. That Game Four collapse was pretty epic and showed the youth (defensively) and the bullpen issues the Astros possess. Kansas City is tough, resilient, and appears to still have some of their 2014 magic. It is a silly reason to bet on a team, but I’m betting on them anyway. I like Cueto to be decent, and I like his team to be excellent.
I’ll take the Royals at home to advance, and the Astros spending the offseason thinking what could have been….