We notched an easy winner last night with Johnny Cueto’s woes continuing. For the fourth straight start he allowed more runs than innings pitched and his Kansas City ERA is now in the high fives. Both sides insist there is no injury – which begs an even more interesting and difficult question. If Johnny’s problems aren’t physical, what is going on mentally right now for the veteran star righty? And even more bizarre, forget starting Game One of a playoff series – can you even give him the BALL in the postseason unless something changes??
Meanwhile, the Cards and Yankees stopped the bleeding from tough weekend series to salvage game four of their respective four game sets. The win leaves the Yankees a still-possible three and a half games back with three weeks to play, while the Cardinals are going to have to hold on tight to their two and half game cushion over the relentless Pirates.
Toronto has the day off today before embarking on a series in Atlanta against the miserable Braves, which makes CC Sabathia’s start tonight against Tampa even more vital. It should be a good week of baseball action, and we will have you covered with picks every day.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Houston Astros +115 at Texas Rangers -125 (Total: 8)
Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (9-8, 3.76 ERA)
This is how the West will be won. The biggest series of the season to date embarks with a pair of newly acquired pitchers attempting to justify the reason they are in the new locales. Scott Kazmir caught fire upon his immediate arrival to Houston, and I was forced to eat my words a bit after being less than enthusiastic about the acquisition. However, his last three starts he is 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA in a bit of a regression to the mean.
Cole Hamels was by far the splashier name at the trade deadline, and more than a few people raised an eyebrow that this move might be geared more towards a 2016 run than 2015. After all, the Rangers were pretty far back at the time, had already lost Yu Darvish for the season and were just a season removed from having one of the worst records in baseball and franchise history. But the Rangers enter tonight’s game as the favorite and oonly one and a half games behind the ‘Stros. This game is HUGE tonight.
Given the magnitude and the relative momentum of each team, you have to like Hamels and the Rangers tonight. The Rangers were eight games back before sweeping the Astros back in early August. A month later, they can shoot past them with a similar result. Kazmir has lost four road starts in a row and the Astros are just 29-42 away from home. Laying -125 is a reasonable price for Hamels and the Rangers tonight, and that’s where I am heading.