Milwaukee Brewers -125 at Pittsburgh Pirates +116 (Total: 8)
Marco Estrada vs. Kyle McPherson
I have been making money with the Brewers the entire second half of the season. I know many of the facts and stats I’ll throw at you later in the column may sound familiar to some of our more faithful readers. If they sound redundant; you’re welcome. It’s because they have been accurate.
Back in July when the Pirates were a staggering 13 ½ games ahead of Pittsburgh I wrote that they would get caught and passed by the Brew Crew before the season’s end. I was basing it on run differential, the fact that Milwaukee had lost an inordinate number of one-run games and that their once reliable bullpen led all of baseball in blown saves. Once those things tightened up a bit, coupled with the fact that Ander McCutchen hit over .440 in June (a lifetime .276 hitter entering the year), and that both he and the pitching staff were playing well beyond what any reasonable fan could expect to continue, the Pirates and Brewers were bound to get closer… my belief was strong they’d eventually trade positions.
The finally did last night.
The Brewers crushing win in Pittsburgh put them ahead of yet another team on the road to their improbable postseason chase. They have now won four in a row against Milwaukee and six of seven overall against the Pirates. Tonight they send Marco Estrada who has been excellent in his last three outings, posting a 2.46 ERA with a fantastic 0.91 WHIP. I expect Estrada to pitch well against a Pittsburgh team that has lost eight of ten ballgames, scoring three or less runs in seven of them (all losses).
The Pirates will counter with Kyle McPherson, who will be making his first major league start. Often first-time hurlers will fare well against division foes, simply because they will be seeing most of the hitters for the first time. However, I think handing a kid the ball, telling him “the season is spiraling helplessly out of control; SAVE US!” is expecting (and asking) for far too much.
I like the Brewers to do as they have often against the Pirates; score early and get out to a comfortable lead. From there, I like Estrada to cruise for seven innings and hand the ball off to the surprisingly-reliable of late Milwaukee bullpen.
When I first wrote Milwaukee would leapfrog Pittsburgh (in addition to taking a big leap, given the 13 ½ game discrepancy) I was hoping I might be wrong. It would be a fantastic story to see the Pirates, who haven’t even finished above .500 in nearly two decades make the playoffs. I mean, what a story, right??
That story is going to have to wait at least another year. Give me the Brewers to win, and win easy. I like them at -125, and am going to double up with them on the runline (-1.5) as well at a nice, fat, +135.
Free Pick: Milwaukee Brewers to WIN -125 & Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 (+135)