Thank you Marlon Byrd. I breathed a nice deep exhale last night as Byrd homered in the eighth inning to secure the Reds third straight win and to push the Reds past the Giants, even after the bullpen once again squandered a potential Johnny Cueto win. The win snapped one of my worst losing skids in five years, but by no means does that let me off the hook quite yet – there’s still a lot of work to be done to get this season on track and hopefully this is the start of a big weekend.
There are some great matchups on the board this weekend, including the rest of the Giants and Reds series, the Yankees and Royals in a battle of the top two teams in the AL, and the Tigers and Cardinals in a delightful possible World Series preview. So enjoy a nice weekend of baseball, and hopefully we can enjoy a nice start to a winning run…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Toronto Blue Jays +124 vs. Houston Astros -132 (Total: 8.5)
R.A. Dickey (1-4, 5.00 ERA) vs. Dallas Kuechel (4-0, 1.38 ERA)
This one feels like a mismatch on paper. The 1-4 and often struggling R.A. Dickey taking on the first place Astros and one of the young emerging pitching stars in baseball. Starting with that basic principal, it’s hard not to like the value of the ‘Stros at just -132. But let’s look deeper in the numbers and see if there are some other good wagering possibilities.
The Astros have cooled off a bit lately, winning just 4 of their last ten after an odd sweep by the Rangers last week. However, they’ve won two in a row and their bats appear to be waking up again. They’ve tallied ten runs in their last two games, and they have their absolute ACE on the mound tonight. Kuechel has a WHIP of just 0.85 to go with his miniscule ERA of 1.39. If they can muster four runs off Dickey, I think Dallas makes it stand.
Dickey enters with just a single win against four losses and an ERA of 5.00. He owns a 4.79 ERA over his last three starts, so it isn’t like he is showing many signs of his former Cy Young glory. At this point, the journeyman may just be what he is – an average #4/#5 MLB starter.
Keuchel will have his work cut out for him. Toronto is hitting .312 against left-handed pitching this season, which is ridiculous. However, Kuechel ain’t your average southpaw. I like that that stat is keeping the line tight, but I also still like Kuechel, especially given Dickey’s struggles.
There’s still good value in the Astros at -132, but with Toronto’s bats, I’m not willing to go runline. You can roll the dice if you want, there’s good value at +150 to +160, but I’m sticking with a straight Astros win.