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Brewers vs. Braves Pick MLB – September 23rd

The Cardinals dropped their nightcap against the Brewers, keeping the NL Central  race into the final week (and sending me to a losing pick thanks to two late Cardinal runs), while every other division is either literally or all but settled.  The A’s and Braves added their names to the division clinchers, leaving only the NL Central and Detroit, whose magic number is 2, left to officially punch their ticket.

Just because the division races lack some drama, the wildcard races are serving just the purpose Bud Selig originally intended – keeping the regular season dramatic to the very end.  The American League is starting to look more and more like the Rays and Indians, but it will be interesting to see if the Rangers can make a late turnaround to stave off a second straight epic collapse.

Today’s free pick might not be a game that many folks were be watching, as it is largely irrelevant for the standings (though Atlanta is still looking to secure home field advantage in the NL), but it is easily the most intriguing line on the board today.  So let’s dig in the breakdown of today’s free pick…

Milwaukee Brewers +112 at Atlanta Braves -122 (Total: 7)

Marco Estrada vs. Mike Minor

The Brewers have long been eliminated from payoff contention, and it’s a good thing because the schedule makers didn’t do them any favors.  They are heading immediately from a series against the Cardinals into a three game set against the Braves.  That’s a rough sled to pull the final week of the season.  But, as last night proved, the Brewers are still capable of swinging some pretty decent bats.

In their last ten games they have scored 46 runs, and tallied five or more runs in six of those contests.  They rank in the middle of the pack or above in team batting average and runs scored, despite the insane amount of injuries and suspensions they have dealt with this year.  Even with a patchwork lineup, they remain a viable offense.

Their problem has been starting pitching, which ranks 11th in ERA.  Tonight’s starter has been OK.  His ERA is in the low fours and his last three starts have seen the ERA shrink into the low threes with a WHIP of just 0.97.  But still, nothing to dazzle an opponent or scare them off.

So why, oh why is tonight’s total only 7?!?

Is it Mike Minor??  In his last three starts he is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.26.  Not too impressive.  On the season he is a good 3.19, but again, we aren’t talking about Clayton Kershaw or anything.

This line feels really low.  The offenses and pitching matchups make this a decent value at 8.  At a total of just 7, I’m jumping all over the OVER.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 7