It’s getaway day for a large part of the National League today with more than half of the NL teams in action getting started before 4pm. The highlight of the schedule is probably Stephen Strasburg trying to notch his 16th win by taming the dangerous terrain of Coors Field, but in truth, tomorrow is a pretty lackluster schedule. Baseball is just sort of in a little bit of a lull, the calm before the frenzy, as we have about two or three weeks before the pressurized playoff final stretch commences.
In the meantime, let’s see if we can shake off a little recent swoon by notching a slump-busting winner tonight.
When in doubt, why be cute – just go with what you know. And there is definitely one thing we know on tonight’s schedule…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Milwaukee Brewers +185 at Chicago Cubs -205 (Total: 9)
Jimmy Nelson (6.12, 4.07 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93 ERA)
One thing we do know for sure, and that is the Cubs are RED HOT and Jon Lester has left his mid-summer blues well in the rear view mirror. The Cubs won their 12th game in 14 tries last night thanks to another ridiculous outing from Jason Hamel, and tonight, Lester will try to match his string of zeros. Lester has three straight solid outings, allowing four runs over his last twenty innings. During that stretch he has a dazzling 21:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a WHIP under 1.00.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Nelson has five straight outings lasting five innings or less and has allowed 19 runs in 19 innings for a big fat 9.00 ERA. His WHIP is over 2.50 and the Brewers, predictably, have lost all five games by an average margin of 4.6 runs. To think he is going to miraculously find his grove tonight against the most prolific offense in the National League, playing in their home stadium with their co-ace on the mound none the less, is a bit optimistic.
The Cubs are massive favorites tonight. And they deserve to be. But looking at the consistent track record of Nelson losing by multiple runs, the runline is a pretty good value and a nice safe play tonight. Minus 120 is a pretty cheap price to pay for two teams heading in such radically different directions with starting pitchers heading in such dramatically different directions.
Everything adds up to the Cubbies tonight. No reason to get cute and look for a hidden gem on the slate. I’m taking the low hanging fruit, and hopefully the easy money.