We grabbed a second straight win yesterday as the Mets B-Team decimated the hapless Cincinnati Reds and scuffling starter Keyvius Sampson. The game had a little meaning for the Mets who already have the division safely in tow but have now also edged two games ahead of the Dodgers for home field advantage in the NLDS.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Pirates begin an interesting series tonight with the Buccos just three games behind the Cards in the loss column for the division crown. It is conceivable that, if the Pirates were to sweep, we could see the St. Louis Cardinals with more than 100 wins facing a one-game winner-take-all showdown with the Cubs and be underdogs against Jake Arrieta… Suffice it to say St. Louis will be fully engaged this week and looking to wrap things up.
Let’s see if we can make it three in a row with another winner tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Toronto Blue Jays -125 at Baltimore Orioles +115 (Total: 8.5)
Marco Estrada vs. Chris Tillman
The Blue Jays are really close to locking up the AL East, but perhaps more importantly, they are neck and neck with the Royals to capture home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Given the staggering offensive numbers they have put in the Rogers Centre all season long, that could spell trouble for the rest of the league. It’s hard to see anyone shutting down that offense two or three times in a single series.
However, in order to accomplish that aim, they are going to need to win a few games on the road first as they begin a season-ending seven game road trip tonight in Baltimore. The Orioles haven’t scored a run in three games, so things bode well for Marco Estrada tonight. Also, Chris Tillman has an ERA over five for the season and a 5.26 ERA over his last three starts. Even more staggering, the Blue Jays have hit .407 against Tillman in five appearances this season. Needless to say, he is 0-4 in those starts with an ERA of 15.50.
In his last six starts overall, his ERA is 7.06, so expecting a dramatic return to competence tonight seems a bit ambitious. In fact, it makes tonight’s line seem downright charitable. The Blue Jays should be overwhelming favorites, but are still prices reasonably.
Estrada is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season and has been an excellent road pitcher, going 3-1 with a 2.32 ERA over his last five road outings. He is 6-2 with a 2.52 ERA in his last eleven starts overall and is starting to look like a nice playoff pitching option behind David Price.
I think the Jays take a big step towards locking up their official playoff berth tonight on the road with a convincing victory. I’m taking them to WIN for my official play, but also really like getting a little greedier and snapping them up at -140.