Tonight kicks off a good weekend of MLB series with some fantastic matchups including Atlanta at Detroit in an interleague gem, the scorching Brewers visiting the Dodgers and two of the top teams in the National League, the Reds and the Nationals hooking up for a four-game set.
Let’s take a look at a few good matchups in tonight’s games and get a nice winning start to the MLB weekend.
Cincinnati Reds +117 at Washington Nationals -126 (Total: 7)
Homer Bailey (1-1, 3.24 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (3-1, 2.67 ERA)
The Nationals finally got back in the win column last night with Gio Gonzalez one-hitting the Reds en route to an 8-1 victory. However, they have had their fair share of offensive woes this year and I think last night might have been the high water mark for this upcoming series with the Reds rather than a sign of things to come. The Nationals have scored two or less runs in seven of their last nine games and have been shut out twice.
Homer Bailey pitched well against Washington last time he faced them, and has commanding stuff when he is on his game. Both he and Zimmerman had less-than-stellar starts last outing, but I expect both to pitch decently this evening. However, despite each team’s struggles at the plate, they have tended to light up the scoreboard against each other. They have averaged over 12 runs combined in their last five meetings and have scored at least nine runs in each game.
I like the Reds tonight, despite their 1-6 road record in the early going of 2013. It’s more of a statistical anomaly than a reason to panic. They are a good value with +117 on their side, especially with their recent mini-slump at the plate itching to break loose. But my favorite play is the OVER 7 run total. Both of these offenses are too good to stay dormant for long.
Free Picks: Cincinnati Reds to WIN +117 & Run TOTAL OVER 7 (-105)
Atlanta Braves +125 at Detroit Tigers -133 (Total: 7.5)
Paul Maholm (3-1, 103 ERA) vs Anabel Sanchez (2-2, 1.75)
Suffice it to say, both teams would be thrilled if their starting pitchers tonight pitched HALF as well this season as they have so far to begin. Paul Maholm has allowed runs in only ONE inning this entire season; a three-run sixth in his last outing in a close loss to the Pirates. Meanwhile, Anabel Sanchez has deserved far better than a 2-2 mark with his 1.75 ERA and WHIP of just 1.13.
I like Maholm for the Braves tonight, who has pitched well in his career against Detroit. He has faced them each of the last three seasons with the Pirates and has posted a solid 2.60 ERA. I do NOT like Sanchez tonight for Detroit. He is off to a fantastic season, but has been OWNED by the Braves throughout his career. His 5.43 ERA against them is his highest against any team in all of baseball. Over the past two seasons with the Marlins his ERA against Atlanta is an enormous 9.80!
I like Atlanta tonight, and LOVE the fact I am getting +125 for a good team with a pitching advantage. Assuming Maholm gives them another quality start, Atlanta also has a significant bullpen advantage over the Tigers as well (1.60 ERA vs. 4.86 ERA).
Give me Atlanta. I’m personally doubling-up on this one – the value is very good considering the matchup and the +125 line.
Free Pick: Atlanta Braves to WIN +125