It wasn’t exactly Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, but we did notch a fourth straight posted winner, and a fourth straight underdog pick last night to get this season finally steaming in the right direction. The Mets were slight underdogs but certainly didn’t look like it, winning 8-0 behind a nice effort from Stephen Matz and another rough go for the Marlins Jeff Locke who is still searching for his first win in a Fish uniform (will he ever get one? It’s a legit question given his surely tenuous spot in the rotation…)
Elsewhere, the Cubs sent some shockwaves by DFA’ing Migeul Montero just a few hours after his direct blaming of Jake Arrieta for the Nationals’ record-setting seven stolen bases. I made the same joke in my column, so I guess it is a good thing I don’t write for the Cubbies – I’d be speaking to a much smaller audience this morning…
Alas, the Cubs are inevitably going to go on a nice run at SOME point – they are too talented to finish at .500 or below, so let me be the first to say that releasing Montero will NOT be the reason WHY the Cubs suddenly got it all together. Hey, at least he’ll always have that World Series Grand Slam…
Let’s see if we can grab another winner today on another nice value play.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Milwaukee Brewers -110 at Cincinnati Reds +100 (Total: 10)
Jimmy Nelson (5-4, 3.50 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (0-1, 43.20 ERA)
No. It’s not a typo. Homer Bailey enters tonight with an ERA just a shade over 43, though for my money, once it hits forty, who’s really counting?? But before we run in panic and put our mortgage payment on the Brewers tonight, keep in mind it was one of his first MLB appearances in close to three years (aside from a quick rehab blip last season that led immediately back to being shelved) and it was a really, really bad single inning. The Reds have been cautious with Bailey; he has made just nine starts in three years, so I feel confident the Reds wouldn’t run him back out there tonight unless they KNEW he was healthy and ready for better things. He has one start under his belt to shake off some of the rust, and he gets to redeem himself tonight at home against a familiar foe. I am expecting a radically different result.
The Reds will get a nice lift with the likely return of potential All Star shortstop, Zack Cozart. The 31-year old veteran emerged as a surprising fringe MVP candidate, leading the NL in WAR just a week before doing on the Disabled List. Add him back in to an already-potent offense, especially at home, and it gives the team a nice lift (not to mention his defensive excellence).
Homer hasn’t been great against the Brewers in his career, but neither has Jimmy Nelson fared well against the Reds. He is 4-3 with a 4.62 ERA in 12 career starts. His Brewers are in first place, but have had some trouble in this series, dropping the first two in Cincinnati and looking a disappointing sweep right in the face. Making things more complicated, Cozart is likely to return and Ryan Braun is likely getting the day off, despite hitting as many homers (23) as any visiting player in Great American Ballpark history.
Oddly enough, despite all the Reds starting pitching woes (easily the worst staff in the NL) they can move to just 5 ½ games out of first today thanks to the foibles of the Brewers and Cubs. Welcome to the 2017 NL Central! A far cry from last year’s snoozer Cubs’ runaway.
I think Homer bounces back, and the Reds, who lead the NL Central in runs scored per game, cap off the surprising sweep.
Today’s MLB Pick: CINCINNATI REDS TO WIN +100